Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         September 28, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 30



Did you ever think about who turns out the lights and locks the doors at the church building? It may seem a small thing, but it could create some problems if no one did it. The point is, someone accepts the responsibility that most members give very little thought to. The same could be said of cleaning and maintaining the building, parking lot, lawn, etc. Usually, some few willing souls will volunteer their services — and most others are perfectly willing to let them. Many Christians simply do not relate themselves to such work, and worse, may not appreciate those who do. But, in the absence of paid janitors and yardmen, why is any one member any more or less responsible than any other? What if no members cared about the appearance of a dirty building, or a weed-filled lawn or broken windows? Such neglect would soon become embarrassingly apparent.

On the other hand, other and more serious neglect is not so apparent. Take, for instance, the erring brother. Whose responsibility is he? Who cares? Must he finally embarrass the church like an unpainted door or a broken window to merit attention? God says, "Ye which are spiritual" should restore such a one (Gal. 6:1). As none will admit to not being spiritual, that makes the erring member the business of every member! When Christians are motivated by genuine love and concern for each other; when they have the same care one for another (1 Cor. 12:25); and when each looks to the needs of others (Phil. 2:4), little time will be wasted in trying to figure out who has to go and help "save a soul from death" (Jas. 5:20). What if no one in the whole church cared about the weak brother? It's bad when Christians don't care about unkempt meeting places; but it's far worse when they neglect the erring brother, one for whose sake Christ died.

Equally important is the responsibility every Christian has in regard to teaching the lost. The faithful are to be able to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2). All are to be ready always to give answer concerning their hope (1 Pet. 3:15). To that extent they can teach others how to gain such hope. When the early Christians were scattered abroad, they went about preaching the word (Acts 8:4). Unscattered Christians can and should do the same. Paul writes of how most of the Roman brethren were bold to speak the word of God without fear (Phil. 1:14). The world urgently needs such bold brethren speaking that same word today! But who will do it? Those who turn out the lights and lock the doors? Only those who preach from pulpits? God looks to His people — all of His people — to help others in the way of salvation. The blessings of truth and salvation are not to be hoarded, but shared — else, we risk losing them. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). How can His followers not be interested and involved in the same work? How can they not care?

Shunned and shifted responsibility has hurt the Lord's church immeasurably. The slothful spirit of “doing-as-little-as-you-have-to" may suit the world, but it is grossly inappropriate for those who care — and those who have been blessed with God's best. 

—Dan Shipley

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It is not difficult to convince someone of the importance of knowledge they need pertaining to their job, a hobby they like, or other item of interest to them. We desire to know all we can about our job in order that we might do it better. A hobby or something of a particular interest is more enjoyable the more we learn about it. Should we not have the same desire to know spiritual things that pertain not only to our lives now but eternity, too?

The importance of Bible knowledge can be seen in that it can give us the PROPER CONCEPT OF GOD. We can know that God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1). It is in Him that "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). While we are His offspring, we must not change Him in to some graven artwork or any other thing that man might devise. While "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalms 19:1), these things do not tell us about God's will. That's the importance of Bible knowledge.

Knowledge of the Bible also gives us the PROPER CONCEPT OF SALVATION. This is certainly important in view of the fact there so many false concepts. Many, today, have forgotten why Jesus came into the world. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). Since He is the one who can save us from our sins, we need to listen to what He says. "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24). "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3,5). "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32). "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16).

May we all realize the importance of Bible knowledge and begin our search for the truth that we might put it into practice in our lives. 

——E.R. Hall, Jr.

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 Trust. It is a vital part of every positive human relationship. Think of the problems that come when nations cannot trust each another, or when suspicion and doubt clouds the relationship between parents and children, husbands and wives, citizens and governments, or bosses and employees. How many wars, separations, divorces, revolutions and strikes could be attributed primarily to a lack of trust? Surely we could fill the world's oceans with the tears of bitterness and pain that have streamed from the eyes of people who could not trust each other.

"Well, yes," you say, "Lack of trust ruins a lot of good relationships, but the solution is simple; we should all just decide to trust   each other!" Really? Do you think the United States should just go ahead and trust the governments of Korea and Iran with all the        nuclear weapons they want? Should citizens whose government has been oppressive and murderously violent continually trust their     government to do the right thing? Should the boss give the combination of the safe to the employee who has been caught stealing? I     think you see the problem. Trust is not something that can or should be extended to people who have shown themselves to be unworthy of it. Most of the time there is a reason for a lack of trust.

The Bible shows clearly that those who break trust are responsible for causing the pain and problems that a lack of trust brings. Trust-breakers often want to place the blame on others and seek pity for themselves. But frankly, it is hard to feel sorry for the teenager who complains "My parents don't trust me" after his parents have found drugs in his room, or an unpaid speeding ticket in the mail, or a beer can in the floorboard. Those who have been untrustworthy need to bear their own reproach, face the consequences of their own actions and (if they wish to be accepted by God and trusted again by their fellowmen) repent and take appropriate steps toward rebuilding trust.

Here are some things that those who have broken trust must face up to:

* They've caused pain for others. It hurts to count on someone who can't be counted on! “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint" (Proverbs 25:19).

* They have created their own problems. "The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust'' (Proverbs 11:6). "Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard" (Proverbs 13:15). “He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known" (Proverbs 10:9).

* Their lack of faithfulness and fidelity is disgusting to righteous people. “I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word" (Psalm 119:158, NIV).

* People have good reason not to trust them in other areas. Unfaithfulness in one area indicates a tendency to be unfaithful in other areas.  In Luke 16:10, Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (see also Jeremiah 9:1-5).

* They must commit themselves to rebuilding trust by making full confession of their unfaithfulness, seeking forgiveness and changing their behavior. Rebuilding trust takes a lot of effort on the part of the one who has been unfaithful. When one who has behaved in an untrustworthy way attempts to hide part or all of what he has done, or  minimizes it in any way, it becomes very difficult to renew trust.  Look at what God instructed Israel to do to rebuild their relationship with Him after they had been unfaithful. "But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me . . . if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt; {42} then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land" (Leviticus 26:40-42). The restoration of Israel to a good relationship with God depended on her willingness to humbly acknowledge her guilt.

Trust is such a precious thing. If you have it in the vital relationships of your life, do everything you can to maintain it. Be faithful. Be true. Be honest. If you've been unfaithful, untrue, or dishonest, do all within your power to restore the trust. You'll be glad you did.

—Steve Klein

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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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