Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                             November 25, 2012                                                                                                                       NO. 44



The title that heads this article may sound strange, but the actions and philosophies of some merit our consideration of such a question. It is true that we live in a country where we enjoy religious freedom. It is not against the law to preach Christ, in our country; whereas, it was against the law of the Jews for Stephen to preach Christ. There is a vast difference between the attitude of the officials in government in Stephen’s day; and the attitude of the officials in government in our day. Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t just as much a difference in the attitude of Stephen and the attitude of most preachers today. I don’t mean denominational preachers but those who claim to be gospel preachers. How many “gospel preachers” do you know that would use the plain language that Stephen used in his preaching? Stephen said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” (Acts 7:51-53). Every person who claims to be a gospel preacher needs to examine those words very carefully. We need to ask ourself the question: Would we preach like Stephen did? Would we say what the said or would we water it down and soften it up? Would we reason that it would not be using good judgment to preach the way Stephen preached? If Stephen had used some of this good judgment that we are inclined to think about, he might not have been stoned to death. Couldn’t Stephen have used a little more of what we call diplomacy and possibly saved himself from being stoned to death? Sometimes I wonder if what we are doing, when we talk about good judgment and diplomacy, is excusing ourselves for compromising the truth. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not recommending that we do not use good judgment.

Could you image Stephen or Paul or Jesus Christ keeping quite when matters of truth are at stake? Would they excuse themselves from speaking out against unscriptural practices under the pretense of using good judgment or diplomacy? Preachers who never say anything against church support of human institutions, church sponsored recreation, church sponsored ball teams, and kindergartens should certainly ask themselves these questions. Also, preachers who are afraid to say anything about worldly practices, immodest apparel, and etc.

---Windell Wiser

Taken from The Sunny Hill Bulletin, May 25, 1972

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Some months ago Eastern Airlines dismissed a “pilot” because they found he didn’t have a commercial pilot’s license. He had performed well over a period of 20 years. He dressed like a pilot, acted like one, and had been considered one by his friends and fellow workers -- but he was not because he never met the basic qualifications to be such.

More recent the U.S. Army said that a 15 year old would not be recognized as a “soldier”. He had already been in Vietnam twice, had been twice wounded in battle. He dressed like a soldier. He fought like a soldier and I’m sure was considered to be one by both the enemy and his fellow fighters. However, the was not because he didn’t enlist, wasn’t drafted, and didn’t enter the Army through regular channels. No purple hearts, no honorable discharge, no veteran’s benefits because he never met the basic qualifications to be a soldier.

These illustrations bring to mind many who are active in “religious” circles today. They are willing to work and even to sacrifice. They reject sins of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) and live a pure life. They worship God regularly (though in vain). They try to teach others and have a degree of knowledge of God’s word. In short, they act like Christians, they are thought to be Christians by many friends and fellow workers BUT THEY ARE NOT because they have never met the basic qualifications.

The “pilot” wasn’t a true pilot because he never qualified. The “soldier” wasn’t a true soldier because he never enlisted properly. The “sincerely religious person” was never a true Christian because he never became such in the beginning. In short, he was never baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27). It is important to abstain from fleshly sins, to worship God, to teach others, study the Bible, but it is also important (yea, even necessary to give the give the foregoing any meaning) to be right from the start - to qualify - to enlist!

We have several men and women, boys and girls who attend Bible study classes. They worship God (even in vain). They live pure lives and even try to teach others -- evidenced by their bringing “visitors” with them to services from time to time. The sad part is THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIANS! They may be considered such by their friends, but they were never baptized into Christ! How sad, because at the end of life they will be no reward for services rendered (Matt. 7:21-23), no crown of life (2 Tim. 4:7,8; 1 Jn. 5:3) but just the final words. "...depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:23), followed by an eternity in punishment separated from "...the presence

of the Lord and the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9) simply because they didn’t begin right!

---J.F. Dancer

via The Old Paths

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      Consistency is a key to success in almost any endeavor. In business, in school, in athletics – in fact, in every conceivable realm -- consistency is fundamental to achieving success. We submit that consistency is also vital to success as a Christian.

There are some who go through periods of high interest and energy. For a time they will attend every assembly. They will speak to neighbors and co-workers about Christianity. They will actively pursue every possible opportunity to do good and serve the Lord.

Then, without apparent cause, these same people will enter into a period of almost total indifference and apathy. They stop attending Bible classes. They frequently miss the worship assemblies. They have no interest in personal work. They stop growing as a Christian and show signs that they are actually becoming much weaker.

Folks who exhibit these “hot & cold” cycles in their service to God will not be successful in the long term. The “lukewarm” results of their inconsistency will not please the Lord (Revelation 3:16).

We need to be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (l Corinthians 15:58). Christian, are you consistent?

---Greg Gwin

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