Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         November 13, 2016                                                                                                                            NO. 35



The above caption not only represents the thinking of a great majority of people in the denominations, but unfortunately it reflects the attitude of some of our own brethren. It involves the idea that we should preach only what is agreeable to everyone, avoiding anything of a controversial nature.

First of all, it is impossible to preach the truth and leave other people alone. It does not matter what subject a gospel preacher may select, it will contradict the belief of somebody. For instance, suppose that I should decide to preach on the subject of God. In that sermon I point out that there is but one God and no other. I point out the attributes of God, showing the characteristics of God as taught in the Bible. That sermon would meet the approval of many people who are not even members of the church of Christ. But are we so naive as to believe that it would meet the approval of everyone? It certainly would not leave the atheist alone and it would not be agreeable to the man from China whose ancestors have worshipped idols for hundreds of years.

But suppose that I should decide to preach on the subject of Christ. I go to the word of God and prove His virgin birth, His divinity, His pure and sinless life, His example for us to follow, and the authority of His teaching. This sermon too would meet the approval of many who are not even Christians. But even that kind of preaching would not be agreeable to the orthodox Jew who rejects Christ as the Messiah. Are we to cease preaching Christ because it offends the Jew?

But now I decide to preach on baptism. I simply preach what the New Testament says about it. I quote such passages as Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:27 and 1 Peter 3:21. However, when I do this I am not leaving a good majority of religious people alone. A good part of the denominational world would not be in agreement with my preaching on baptism because a good part of the denominational world denies the essentiality of baptism as a condition of salvation. Should I refrain from preaching on baptism because it does not leave others alone?

We cannot preach and leave other people alone in the first place, and in the second place God does not expect us to do so. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ." Just before this, Paul had said in  verses 6 and 7: "I marvel that ye are so quickly remov- ing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ." No doubt this statement did not take well with those false teachers in Galatia, but Paul did not leave them alone. He preached the truth regardless feeling.

Let a preacher oppose mixed swimming, immodest dress, dancing, or preach on the present-day issues facing the church, emphasizing that each congregation is to do its own work of benevolence and preaching without erecting human institutions and adhering to centralized elderships, or call denominational names and some of the brethren will accuse him of being a "hobbyist" and they will charge him with being "too hard."

Jesus Christ did not leave others alone and neither must we. He said to His disciples in Matthew 16:6, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." The entire 23rd chapter of the book of Matthew is a denunciation of the teaching of the Pharisees.

Most people, including some of our brethren, do not know what it means to preach the truth in love. If we know the truth and love the truth, we shall want it preached regardless of whom it may offend. To preach the truth in love means to preach the truth in love of the truth and in love for those who hear it. Paul asked in Galatians 4:16, "So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?" People must know the difference between truth and error so that they may be saved from their sins. Many are sincere, but wrong; many are honest, but they are misled. It is only when error is pointed out to people that they will know to leave error.

Gospel preachers must not submit to the advice of denominational folks and uninformed brethren who cry, "Preach, but leave others alone." The matter of how we are to preach was decided a long while ago by the word of God. May faithful gospel preachers continue to "preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." (2 Tim. 4:2).

—Hoyt H. Houchen

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One of the deacons was frequently called upon to pray at the mid-week service, and he always concluded his prayer the same way: ""....and now Lord, clean out all the cobwebs in our lives.""

I think you know what he was talking about - those little unsightly words, deeds and thoughts that we let accumulate through-out the week.

Well, it got to be too much for one brother who heard him say that prayer so many times. So, one Wednesday night, just after hearing these words again, this one brother jumped to his feet and shouted, "Don't do it, Lord, KILL THE SPIDER!"

Brethren, how well it would be if we would kill the spider rather than continually having our lives full of cobwebs. We will never be able to live acceptably for God and reach heights that Christ presents for us until deep within us we have that clean and rightful desire.

The great problem in the average Christian life is that we do not have the desire to really give up the world and completely surrender to Christ. Thus, we always find our lives cluttered with “cobwebs", with sins and shortcomings.

Let's start inside of our lives. Create that humble desire; and the external part of Christianity will come. Once we have killed the spider, we will no longer have to worry about bothersome cobwebs.


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Serving God is an option; meeting Him is not


It is a sickly faith that is shaken because some frail human being goes wrong. 


Our heart is the mainspring for our tongue. 


Some folks aren't interested in anything unless it is none of their business. 


If revenge is so sweet, why does it leave such a bitter taste? 


It is better to have bad breath than a sour disposition. 


Patience is the ability to count down before blasting off. 


A modern bathing suit is the difference between not very much and nothing at all.

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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.





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