Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         October 5, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 31



In Matthew 12:41, Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here." According to Jesus, the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah. 

You remember the story, don't you? God had commanded Jonah, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me" (Jonah 1:2). Now Nineveh was not only a city filled with wickedness, it was also the capital of the Assyrians, hated enemies of the Israelites. Jonah didn't want to go.  He fled from God's presence. However, after being given some quality time in the belly of a fish to reflect and pray, Jonah decided to obey God. Jonah walked through the city proclaiming the judgment of the Lord upon these pagan people: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" (Jonah 3:4).

The people of Nineveh repented. They "proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them" (Jonah 3:5). When word came to the king of Nineveh, "he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes." He decreed that "neither man nor beast, herd nor flock" were to eat or drink and that "every one" was to "turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hand" (Jonah 3:7-8). 

The text says that, "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them" (Jonah 3:10). God can read men's hearts. He knows more about what is going on in our heads than we do ourselves. But He did not need to read the minds of the Ninevites to know that they had repented.  He "saw their works, that they turned away from evil". When the men of Nineveh repented, nobody was left to wonder whether or not their repentance was genuine. Nobody was left guessing about their intention to stop committing evil. Nobody would have doubted they had actually repented of their sins.

We really need to learn this lesson from the men of Nineveh. We need to learn how to act when we repent. Repentance isn't just saying "excuse me," "my bad," or "forgive me," and then going on with our lives as if nothing happened. Repentance should produce real change in our actions. We are to "bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8). I am afraid that too many of us think that our repentance should go unnoticed. We are incognito repenters! And while God hardly asks us to don sackcloth and ashes today, He does ask us to "do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20).

Let's resolve to turn away from sin in our lives, and make sure that we behave in such a way that folks can tell that's what we've done! 

—Steve Klein

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We are moving into the season called "Fall" or "Autumn". It is a season of change. I remember the first time I had ever went away from home to college in Florida. It was in the summer of 1970 and I did not return till December of that year. I had considered what would it be that I would miss the most and concluded that, since Florida did not have mountains, it would be the mountains that I would miss. To my surprise, I did not miss the mountains nearly as much as I missed the change from Summer to Fall to Winter.

Some changes are necessary while others are not and some changes are welcome while other aren't. If all is normal, we change from a child into an adult, from young to old but some changes have to be deliberately made. They just don't happen by themselves. We are born into this world in a state of innocence; not knowing right from wrong (Romans 7:7-12). But, through the process of teaching and learning what God expects of us, we make the same kind of choice that Joshua spoke to the children of Israel about in Joshua 24:15 when he said, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve."

Ultimately, on our own, we choose the way of Satan and the way of sin. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). We choose to sin and sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1,2). Thus, we choose death (spiritual death) for "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23). There is another choice which is available to us: the choice of being reconciled back to God. That choice involves meeting the conditions God as set for the removal of sin. Faith (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17), repentance (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38), confessing Christ to be the Son of God (Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37), and being baptized (buried) will result in the forgiveness of sin (Colossians 2:12; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). This I can and will choose to do or not do. The choice is mine. If God's conditions are met, a change will occur: I will be changed from one who is lost in sin to one who is saved by the blood of Christ. What a change!

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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1. PRAYER.  Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Jas. 6:16). Therefore, each member should pray “without ceasing” for the Gospel Meeting.

2. PRESENCE.  To help make the meeting successful and to insure good attendance, be sure you attend every service possible. Make plans to come, and not to be gone.

3. PERSISTENCE.  Ask your friends and neighbors to come with you. One invitation is not enough many times. Ask them again and again. Who knows which invitation they will accept. Do not forget family members!

4. PROMINENCE.  It pays to advertise. We must inform the public about the meeting. Pass out flyers where you work, where you live and where you shop. We must tell them the value of their soul. We must let them know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

5. PERSEVERANCE.  This means that we must have ‘stick-to-it-tiveness!” If you want this meeting to be successful, then we must be certain that we persevere in our efforts.


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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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