Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                        September 11, 2011                                                        NO. 33


 Implications Of Faith In The Deity Of Christ

How anyone approaches a study of the life and teachings of Christ is fundamentally influenced by his faith or lack of faith in the Bible teaching that Jesus is the Christ, that He is Deity, that He in His stay upon earth in the flesh was "God with us" -- Immanuel. Much of the "study and research" presented in the media today approaches the subject from the perspective of unbelief, thus from the assumption that Jesus was merely a man subject to all of the limitations of human knowledge and understanding. Thus the "scholars" reason that Jesus must have experienced the work of building houses in order to teach as He did the lesson of building one's house upon the rock (Matt. 7:24-26). They also reason that Jesus must have experienced toil of farming in order to have such understanding of the laborers' toil in the heat of the day (Matt. 20:1-16). 

If we, through the evidence God has supplied, are fully per- suaded that Jesus is the Christ and that He is all that He claimed to be and all that the Scriptures declare Him to be, then our faith in His identity as Immanuel (Matt. 1:23) resolves doubts and questions raised by unbelief. It is no wonder that the teachers of the Law were astonished at Jesus' understanding and answers when He was twelve years old (Lk. 2:46,47). True faith in the Deity of Christ explains Jesus' capability at that age and His ability to put to silence even learned men (Matt. 22:33-46). He who had the fullness of the Spirit of God was thus filled with the excellence of knowledge that appertains to God alone. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself..." (2 Cor. 5:19). "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). 

As Deity, Jesus Christ is eternal. He was with God in the beginning and was God (Jn. 1:1). He is Creator as God is (Gen. 1:1; Jn. 1:1-4; Heb. 1:1-12). All of His declarations are true and accurate. The history He cited as He taught is true without question, because He spoke from knowledge and not from human faith. This history includes the beginning, creation, marriage, the flood of Noah's day, Jonah's account of the great fish, Sodom and Gomorrah, and other places and events that unbelievers have questioned because of their unbelief. Jesus' use of Scriptures was always correct, and His interpretations were always true and exact. He is our perfect pattern for proper handling of the Word of God. 

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament give us the evidence to assure us that Jesus is the Christ, that He is Deity, that He came to redeem lost mankind, and that He will judge us all at last. When we accept that evidence and believe in Him with all of our hearts, we should accept all of the necessary implications that our faith entails. After all, those who believe in Him will not be put to shame (1 Pet. 2:6). Scoffers may ridicule, and the effete elite may arrogantly demean us, but our faith is grounded and sure. Its truth is as firm as the Rock of Ages, for He is our Source. Let us embrace the faith and hold fast, for we are partakers of Christ if we hold our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb. 3:14).

---Gilbert Alexander 

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Improving Our Worship

Our lack of fervency and reverence in worship is a matter of grave concern to all spiritually minded people. We have often caught ourselves singing, but not worshipping; bowing our heads, but not praying; sitting through a sermon, but not participating in a study of God's word. Such action is mockery, bringing condemnation on the "worshipper" rather than God's approval.

What is the solution to the problem? Some have sought for the solution in spontaneous singing and chain prayers. A group meets for a devotional period. No song numbers are announced: somebody (anybody) just starts a song, and everybody joins in. Instead of one person leading the prayer, all the men take part, each one adding his little bit until the last man in the circle gives the final "amen." In addition, lights may he turned down and all in the circle hold hands. The purpose behind this practice is to help people feel closer to God as they worship.

I am not questioning the scripturalness of this practice, but if someone thinks it holds the key to our problems of worship, I believe him to be absolutely wrong. Or if such practice lead participants to look disdainfully on "led" singing or "led" prayers, considering such to be an inferior way of worship, they become downright dangerous. Improvement in worship is not brought about by changing the order or externals of worship, but changing the hearts of men. It comes from stronger faith and greater love for the Lord.

When we come to love the Lord and appreciate His sacrifice as we ought, such words as, "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how he could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean," will awaken an immediate response in our hearts, so that with genuine fervor we will sing, "How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be; How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me." And whether the song is sung spontaneously or is announced and led by a song leader will become a matter of indifference.

When we develop a true consciousness of God - a consciousness of His greatness, His presence, His concern, His love, His awareness, His listening ear and an appreciation of our own littleness and unworthiness, we will begin praying as we ought.

Spontaneous singing and chain prayers only provide temporary help in treating the symptom. But what we need is to get to the root of our problem, our own lack of faith and love for the Lord.

---Bill Hall

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'I'd Like You To Meet My Pastor!'


Most people who use the above phrase are using the word "pastor" as synonymous with the words preacher, evangelist or minister. In other words, they intend to introduce you to the man who preaches in the pulpit where they go to church. Yet despite the word being overwhelmingly used in this way, the Bible teaches that a pastor and a typical preacher are not the same.

There are three principal words or concepts which the New Testament uses to describe the men called pastors and their work. Besides the word pastor (or shepherd), the words elder and bishop (or overseer) are also used. These terms refer respectively to the tending and feeding of the flock, the age and spiritual maturity of these men, and to the work of overseeing to which they are appointed. These concepts come together and show themselves to be referring to the same men in such scriptures as Acts 20:17,28 and Titus 1:5,7. Notice that in Acts 20:17, these men are called "elders of the church," and in verse 28 they are told to  tend, shepherd, or be pastors of the church of God, the flock over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers (or bishops). Likewise, in Titus 1:5, instructions about appointing elders begin, and in verse 7, a man doing the work is described as an "overseer." It is obvious that all of these descriptions are simply different slants on the same men or work.

But the differences between preachers and pastors are more than semantics or a nit-picking technicality. For one thing, the Scriptures always speak of a plurality of elders in every church. So if a church has only one pastor, it has at least one too few. Furthermore, specific qualifications and characteristics must be met before men can be appointed as pastors (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). At times, the work of preachers and pastors may overlap, but they are not the same. If we understand what we mean, we are on safe ground by calling Bible things by Bible names.                                              

---Jim King

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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.

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