Know Your Bible

VOL. 7                           May 25, 2008                           NO. 18

Mission Of The Church

    The true object of the church of Christ has been greatly misunderstood by even the members themselves. Its design was never to bring about a state of indolent peace and ease with any given standard of morality. But its object was and is to induce the members of that church to submit themselves unreservedly to the law of God.

    Peace in the church of Christ is not only impracticable, but even undesirable unless it is attained by the whole church coming up to the perfect standard of God's law. Until this is attained, continual, earnest effort, investigation and discussion upon the part of the members of the church must be kept up until they all come "in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The unity and harmony of the faith are to be attained but only through "the knowledge of the Son of God." A unity, then, of faith itself, is desirable only so far as it may be in complete harmony with the teachings of the Bible.

    The schisms and divisions of Christendom are certainly to be deprecated as the works of the evil one. Yet, a union of these sects in error, would certainly be a more fatal, and more to be dreaded calamity.

    The great object of the church then, is to assist its own members and the outside world in learning the truth of God, the law of Christ, and their persuading and encouraging them to obey that law. Its true unity then can never be attained by compromising the truth, or winking at and tolerating error, but by a diligent and earnest and continual striving to learn the whole truth, and to teach it to others, by an increasing effort to bring the church up to the perfect standard of Christian truth and Christian practice. We should be much more fearful of tolerating error, which breeds sin, than of tolerating investigation. We should be more anxious to make the impression upon the world that we will use ever means in our reach, and make every effort possible, for the discovery of truth, than to make the impression that we are in perfect peace and undisturbed quiet. Such an impression will command the respect of every man that values truth higher than popularity, and will give a new, high, holy, incentive to activity and energy in the church of Christ.

---David Lipscomb,

Gospel Advocate,

February 20, 1866, pp. 123,124

 Page 1

"Yeah, Yeah, I've Heard It Before!"

    While at the dentist's office recently for a routine cleaning, the hygienist asked if I had been flossing, just as she does each and every time I go. I mumbled something about "Not as much as I should" (It's hard to speak intelligibly when someone has a sharp instrument in your mouth!) and she promptly lectured me on the importance of regular flossing just as she does each and every time I go. All the while I thought to myself, "Zeke, you wouldn't get this lecture if you'd just do what she says!" Still, she continues to remind me hoping that I will put into practice what she keeps reminding me about.

    God's people are like that sometimes. We come to services each week while the preacher tries to exhort us into right living, all the while thinking, "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it before!" and it's almost as though some folks have an "off" switch in their heads that they throw when he starts talking about the same old things. Some may even be thinking that when a preacher starts to repeat himself, the congregation ought to get another!

    If that's so, then the apostle Peter should have gone job hunting, for he wrote, "I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,..." (2 Pet 1:12,13) You see, although he knew that they knew these things, still he continued to exhort, encourage, and rebuke them anyway. He even said that after he was dead and gone, he would make sure that they (we) would be able to recall what he said (2 Peter 1:15). No doubt he was referring to the letter that they (we) can read repeating the principles that they (we) already knew. By applying these things, Peter wrote, "...the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." (2 Pet 1:11)

    School teachers will tell you that the most effective tool they use is simple repetition, giving the same instructions over and over again. In this way the child learns and then begins to apply that knowledge to the task at hand. It's the same way for us. The principles and concepts given to us in the word of God are repeated throughout the Bible giving us not only instruction, but also warnings of the consequences of failing to apply that instruction! Why keep rehashing the same old things again and again? Because God desires that we not only learn, but learn and do.

    Jesus gives us the parable of the two builders in Matt 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49 to contrast the difference between the one who hears His words and acts on them as compared to the one who simply hears. Jesus infers that doing what we hear is what will give us the firm, stable foundation we need to weather the storms and adversities of life. Why do we sometimes feel that some adversities are harder to bear than others? Maybe it's because we haven't built on the firm foundation of hearing and doing the will of God!

    James 1:22 tells us, "...prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." To "prove" oneself is to demonstrate what one knows. It's an action verb and can only be accomplished by doing. The alternative, James says, is to delude ourselves. The deception is in thinking that all we must simply do is show up to services at the appointed times and listen, without ever intending to put into practice what we have heard. To do so and believe we are accepted by God is to deceive ourselves.

    Let's all resolve to take more seriously the charge that is set before us every time we meet, even if we have heard it before. There is nothing new that the preacher can preach, it is the same age-old word of God which will always stand and never pass away and the only thing that matters is if we allow it to change our lives and save our souls. (James 1:21)

    As for my recent visit to the dentist, the hygienist told me I have 2 new cavities, probably because I never heeded her repeated admonitions to floss!

---Zeke Flores

Page 2

Do You Love The Truth?

    The lost are those who have been deceived by unrighteousness, and the reason they are deceived is because they do not have a love for the truth (2 Thess. 2:10). Love of the truth is therefore critical.

    There is a significant and discernible difference in claiming to love the truth, and actually loving it. The question, then is, "Do I really love the truth?" The following questions are asked with that question in mind:

  • Does he love the truth who does not seek it?
  • Does he love the truth who knows it, but does not obey it?
  • Does he love the truth who professes to obey it, but doesn't like to hear it?
  • Does he love the truth who never wants to talk about it?
  • Does he love the truth who does not carefully distinguish it from error, especially from the error that resembles and represents itself as the truth.
  • Does he love the truth who, for it, has never given up anything he desired?

---Jere Frost

Page 3

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