Know Your Bible
November 1998

A Really "BIG" Word

We are saved, "IF" we keep in memory God's Word. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, IF ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1,2).

We are the house of God, "IF" we hold fast to the end. "And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; who house we are, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:5,6).

We are holy, "IF" we continue in the faith. "And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" (Colossians 1:21-23).

We are cleansed by His blood, "IF" we walk in the light. "But IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).

We will never fall, "IF" we do these things. "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (2 Peter 1:5-10).

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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That Which Is Unshakeable And Secure

It is gratifying to find in the midst of a world gone haywire something that is everlasting unshakeable and secure. About 2600 years ago in Babylon, there was a king by the named of Nebuchadnezzar that had a dream of an image with a head of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, his feet part iron and clay.

There was a prophet of God named Daniel who came and explained this dream to the King (Daniel 2:31-45). This image represented four great world powers. Daniel said to the King "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom, shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake inpieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure " (Daniel 2:44-45).

There have been many Prophecies concerning the day of this blessed kingdom: (Isaiah 2:1-4), (Joel 2:28-32), (Micah 4:1-3).

As the New Testament began the message of John the baptist was: "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2) Jesus spoke of the nearness of the kingdom when He said, "That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power " (Mark 9:1)

In Acts 2:1-4 we read of the Spirit coming as promised by Jesus (Luke 24:49). Peter stood with the eleven proclaiming that the things that were taking place were not the results of a drunken stupor, but the fulfillment of the prophet Joel (Acts 2:14-21). They also proclaimed that Jesus whom they had crucified was the indeed the Christ (Acts 2:22-36) when they asked, "what shall we do? " They were told what they must do to be apart of the kingdom:" Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remmission of sins " (Acts 2:38). As the Apostle Paul said to the church at Colossae, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Colossians 1:14)

Friends, let us remember the promise that God made, and be apart of that kingdom that "shall stand forever".

---Tim Shepherd

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Who Makes the Rules?

As a child, did you ever make up a game to play? You set the rules, determined the boundaries, maybe invented a scoring system - it was fun because you got to suit yourself Did you ever change the rules of a standard game (like Monopoly, Rook or baseball) to make it easier to play? C'mon, admit it! Most of us have engaged in this sort of childish behavior.

But some never outgrow the desire to make their own rules to suit themselves. This fact goes a long way toward explaining why it is that we have so many different kinds of "churches" today. Nobody wants to play by God's roles! Apparently, most folks view religion as their own personal game, and therefore they make rules to accommodate themselves and make themselves happy. Notice the following statements from a few representative denominations:

THE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE - "We do hereby ordain, adopt, and set forth as the fundamental law or constitution of the Church of the Nazarene the Articles of Faith, the General Rule, and the Articles of Organization and Government... " (Preamble of Constitution). "The provisions of the Constitution may be repealed or amended when concurred in by a two-thirdsvote of all the members of the General Assembly..." (Nazareae Church Manual, paragraph 31).

CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (THE MORMONS) - "Revelation for the direction of the entire Church comes from God to the President of the Church (Global Media Guide, 1998).

THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH - "The Discipline is the book of law of the United Methodist Church. It is the product of the many General Conferences of historic religious bodies which now form The United Methodist Church." (Discipline, 1980, p. 636).

EPISCOPALIAN CHURCH - Laws enacted at the tri-annual General Convention of Bishops are "Canon Law" and "define the rules and procedures by which the church and it members are to live" (J.W. Wall, A New Dictionary for Episcopalians. 1985, p. 34).

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - "The General Assembly performs for our Church functions similar to those which in our national government are preformed by the Congress and Supreme Court. The General Assembly considers and decides upon suggestions and recommendations made by the Presbyteries or by individual churches; it is the only body which may modify either the content or the statement of doctrine... it controls all the activities of the church at large... " (E.G. Adair, A Handbook for Presbyterians, 1951, p. 29).

CATHOLIC CHURCH - "When either the Roman Pontiff or the body of bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accord with revelation itself. All are obliged to maintain and be ruled by this revelation... (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution:22).

The church of which Christ is the head is different. Its rules are not made or changed by men. Rather, the Lord makes the rules) "There is one Lawgiver" (James 4:12). "For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us" (Isaiah 33:22). He makes the rules for admission to the church, the rules for conduct within the church, and the rules detailing the mission, work and worship of the church. The church is to be completely and totally "subject to Christ" (Ephesians 5:24).

Every member of the church is expected to comply with the same rules. The apostle's exhortation is, "Let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." (Philippians 3:16). The word translated "rule" in this verse comes from the Greek word kanon and referred to a standard rule which was used to measure a line or determine boundaries and dimensions. In the church, we are all held up to the same standard of measurement; we must walk the same line and stay within the same boundaries. No person or group has the right to cut the ruler to a different length to suit themselves.

Who makes the rules for the church you are a part of? If it is someone or ones other than Jesus, you don't want to be playing that game when He returns.

--- Steve Klein

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