Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          September 8, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 28



This was spotted on the marque of a denominational church whose preachers teach that if ANYTHING is done to have forgiveness of sin, salvation is no longer a gift. The idea is that if you have to do anything to receive a gift, it is no longer a gift but is earned.

In view of their teaching, I find this statement on their marque to be contradictory. Is not to "accept the gift" doing SOMETHING and if we do something it is no longer a gift but something we've earned? If not, why not?

Indeed, salvation is a gift. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) but is it free in that it demands or costs nothing of us? The gift of our salvation cost the Father His Son. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."(John 3:16). The gift of our salvation cost Jesus His life. "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). The gift of our salvation came at a high cost to both the Father and the Son.

There is also a high cost for us to "accept the gift". We must "deny self". "And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23). We must deny self and follow Him (do as He says). And He says, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:10). Was Jesus EARNING anything from His Father? No, no more than we are EARNING anything when we do what He tells us to do. That is what it means to deny self and follow Him! Therefore when we do what He tells us to believe in Him (John 8:24), repent of sin (Luke 13:3), confess Him (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into His death (Mark 16:16; Romans 6:4) we are not EARNING anything. We are simply denying self and following Him.

What cost God and Christ such a supreme price, does not come cheap to us. Jesus must be Lord (Ruler) over self, our lives, and all that we have.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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The following ten ideas can help each of us intentionally make time for our spouse:

1. CULTIVATE COMMON INTERESTS. Your spouse should be your best friend and friends enjoy spending time with one another. If you and your spouse have different hobbies, find something that you both enjoy doing and do it together. You may want to go bike riding, take a walk together at the end of a long day, play tennis, or play a game together.

2. GO ON WEEKLY DATES. If you don’t have a relative nearby who would gladly watch your children, then consider swapping babysitting with a friend on a regular basis.

3. TRY NEW ADVENTURES TOGETHER. If you and your spouse would like to do something a little more daring, consider motorcycle riding, overnight camping trips, hiking, attending a play or musical concert. These adventures have a way of knitting you and your spouse together.

4. WRITE LOVE LETTERS TO ONE ANOTHER AND READ THEM OVER A ROMANTIC DINNER. Express your love to your spouse in a way you have never done before. Then read it to your spouse over a romantic dinner.

5. DO AN OVERNIGHT GETAWAY - WITHOUT THE CHILDREN. The possibilities are endless. Many state parks have great campsites and beautiful lodges. Staying at a nearby bed and breakfast can be a real treat. Hotels often have special weekend getaway deals. It is worth the time and money spent to do this. What wonderful fruit it brings to your marriage.

6. SET ASIDE REGULAR TIME TO TALK WITH ONE ANOTHER -- WITHOUT ANY DISTRACTIONS. Make time to focus on one another and talk about the day’s and week’s events. It may be 10-15 minutes before or after dinner each evening. The important thing is sharing heart-to-heart and face-to-face.

7. READ A BOOK ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE BETTER. It could be the same book or a book for the wife on being a helper to her husband or a book for the husband on being a leader for his wife. Take time to talk with each other about what you learned from the book.

8. BE ACCOUNTABLE TO ONE ANOTHER. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us, “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” Your spouse can “bring you back to earth” and help you establish a more balanced schedule. Accountability gives your spouse free access to your life and share honestly with you without fear of being rejected or criticized. 

9. PRAY TOGETHER. When you regularly pray with your spouse, your souls and hearts are uniquely knit together. Spend time thanking the Lord for all your spouse has done for you. Ask God to help you be for your spouse all you can be.

10. BE INVOLVED TOGETHER IN SERVING THE LORD IN YOUR LOCAL CONGREGATION.  Be like Aquila and Priscilla. Do your work together for the Lord (i.e. visit, study, teach, etc.). The church needs to see you together serving the Lord in love.

----Shawn Bain

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Conservative or Liberal?

Conservative: Moderate, cautious, disposed to maintaining existing views, conditions, or institutions.

Liberal: Not strict in the observance of established forms or ways.

(Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary)

By the above, we can see by even secular definitions, there is a great difference in "conservative" and "liberal" and the difference is in whether or not one observes and maintains an established practice. In the political world there are conservatives and liberals; so, too, in the religious world.

If the difference is whether or not one adheres to a norm or standard, can one know for sure what that standard is? Jesus gives the answer in John 12:48 when He says, "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings has one who judges him, the word I spoke is what will judge him on the last day."

He says we must be conservative in maintaining the standard He set forth for His followers: "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine..." (John 8:31). One reason for this is so that the world will have a set and established benchmark by which people can "test yourselves to see if you are in the faith." (2 Cor 13:5) In that faith are boundaries and limitations that one must observe if he is to truly be a disciple of Jesus.

In 2 John :9 the inspired apostle writes, "If anyone goes too far and does not abide (continue) in the teaching of Christ, he does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." Clearly we can see the danger of overstepping the boundaries set by Jesus either by Himself directly or through the apostles He inspired. 

There is nothing shameful about being conservative, rather it is something to which everyone must strive for if we are to be faithful followers of Christ and someday reap the ultimate benefit. At the close of this life, let us say with the apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith..." (2 Tim 4:8).


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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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