Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          March 9, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 2



What is the purpose of the Lord's church? Is it to eradicate poverty, disease, social injustice, illiteracy from among men? Is it to bring about a cessation of war and conflict? Is it to campaign for a temptation-free society for Christians to live in?

If the church had as one of its great goals the eradication of disease, the Lord could have easily equipped it to accomplish that goal. Could not the same power that enabled one blind man to see have enabled all blind man to see; that enabled one lame man to walk have enabled all lame people to walk; that cured many people of varied diseases have cured all people of all diseases? And could not this same power have been given to the church in all generations?

If the church has as one of its great goals the eradication of poverty, the Lord could have easily equipped it to accomplish this purpose. After all, He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. He similarly fed four thousand on another occasion. Could not He who did these marvelous works have enabled His church in all generations to feed, clothe, and shelter the impoverished masses of the world through miraculous powers?

If the Lord had wanted His church to become a lobbyist group to apply political pressure toward a temptation and persecution free society in which to live, He would have given instructions in that direction. He did not even lead His church into a direct effort to destroy slavery, but taught the Christian slave to be a better slave and the Christian master to treat his slaves as he would have his heavenly Master treat him (Col. 3:22-4:1).

The church's purpose is to save souls and prepare people for eternity - It holds out to the impoverished the hope of some day walking a street of gold; to the suffering a time when there will be no pain; to the sorrowing a moment when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." It tells the tempted and persecuted that there is value in these afflictions, that the testing of their faith is "more precious than of gold," and to rejoice - It tells all to live godly lives in whatever environment they find themselves. It seeks to change people through the power of the gospel, not society through the coercion of legislators - Its weapons "are not carnal, but are mighty through God." Its motivating theme: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

When churches become involved in hospital and health clinic work, or when they build schools for the education of their children, or when they see as one of their great missions to provide for the world's poverty, or when they feel obligated to create social upheaval and campaign for human rights, or when they feel called upon to express their views on the government's use of nuclear armaments or whatever, they have a distorted view of the purpose of the church.

---Bill Hall

Page 1



The greatest of God's servants face times when they need to be encouraged.

Elijah's first job involved great divine power but he delivered a message to a very unpleasant human audience. Elijah said to Ahab: "As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word" (1 Kgs. 17:1). This was the beginning of a roller coaster ride for the prophet from Tishbe in Gilead.

During the days that followed, he was briefly exiled in the Kerith ravine, east of the Jordan, fed by the ravens and the brook. When the brook dried up, the Lord sent him to Zarephath of Sidon. He was fed by a widow, in keeping with the Lord's promise. When the widow's son became ill, she blamed Elijah: "What do you have against me, man of God? did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" (1 Kgs. 17:18). Elijah petitioned the Lord to restore the boy's life, "and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived." In an extraordinary moment of celebration, the widow said, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth" (1 Kgs. 17:24).

After that, Elijah answered the Lord's call again, to present himself to Ahab. It was a time of great famine and Ahab had sum-moned Obadiah to help find some way to keep the livestock alive. As Obadiah traveled through the land on this mission, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized the man of God, and Elijah said to him, "God tell your master, 'Elijah is here'" (1 Kgs. 18:8). Obadiah was upset with Elijah. "What have I done wrong?" he said. He reminded Elijah of how he had protected the prophets from the cruel hand of Jezebel. Obadiah feared for his life.

"Elijah said, 'As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today'" (1 Kgs. 18:15). Obadiah carried the message to Ahab, and when Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" Elijah responded by telling Ahab the truth: "I have not made trouble for Israel...but you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals."

This exchange led to the great contest with the gods of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs. 18:16-46). The false prophets were publicly humiliated, utterly defeated, and slaughtered in the Kishon Valley. Elijah then said to Ahab, "You can go eat and drink now!" (see Jas. 5:18). As the writer concludes the record of the event: "The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel."

Meanwhile, Jezebel was so furious, she threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kgs. 19:1-13). He fled to Beersheba, sat down in despondency under a juniper tree. The account says, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life."

"When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord'...'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep" (1 Kgs. 19:3-5). 

Asleep and depressed, an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." He arose and found provisions miraculously supplied, then went forward. He traveled forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up residence in a cave.

Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words, God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kgs. 19:13-21; compare 2 Kgs. 8:7-15; 9:1-10). Some six years after this, Ahab and Jezebel suffered the violent deaths Elijah had prophesied. He dealt with Ahaziah, who had succeeded his father Ahab. Finally the time came for Elijah to be taken up into heaven (2 Kgs. 2). Elisha was his successor.

Elijah had to learn to experience the extraordinary, while living in the ordinary: -- He had to learn to be exhausted, but not discouraged; blamed but not blameworthy. He overcame discouragement by getting up, listening to the Lord, and doing His Will. God can mend the broken heart and restore us to usefulness, when we listen to Him. Are you listening?

---Warren Berkley 

Page 3


Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





Bible Classes ……….....….…............ 10:00 AM

Morning Worship ……..…….….…...... 11:00 AM

Evening Worship …………...……........ 6:00 PM


Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:30 PM



Radio Program

Monday - Friday

WDXC 102.3 FM .....................…........ 10:20 AM



Television Program


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 6:00 AM & 2:00 PM


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 2:00 PM



World Wide Web:


UNSUBSCRIBE: Reply to and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS: Reply to and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.