Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is the Bible Just a General Guide?

Is the Bible just a broad, general guide, or is it in fact the Word of God? Roman Catholicism believes in the authority of God, but they believe the revelation of God comes in two forms -- the scriptures and the unwritten or oral tradition. Their oral tradition runs alongside the scriptures in inspiration and authority.

Protestants believe in the authority of the scriptures, but most of them take the Bible as a very broad and general guide, and do not believe it to be a system of rules to be followed completely. They rely on their experiences which they have had (or think they have had), and thereby their feelings now become the authority. The modernists in religion think that an objective authority limits man's freedom and inhibits his search for truth. If this really is true, then the Universalists must be right in believing everyone is going to be saved.

The Bible is not just a broad, general guideline. It is in fact the inspired word of God! The apostle Peter said that his words came by the Spirit. The apostle Paul said the same thing. In Galatians 1:12 it says, "For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." Many today believe that Mary Baker Eddy, or Joseph Smith, or even the Pope were or are inspired. I think it is wise to stick with just the Bible as being inspired by God. Jude wrote, "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." This means that all of God's revelation had been given long before the above mentioned men and women were born.

It is important that we respect and honor God and the wonderful, inspired words that He gave to us so that we can learn and know what we MUST do in order to gain eternal life with our Lord. Read the Bible and remember, this is God speaking to us. We please Him only by doing what He has stated for us to do, not what we think we should do. 


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Bible is the Inspired Word of God

All religious people should understand that God has ALL authority. The right to command belongs to God only. Unfortunately people say that God has all authority, yet they do not do all things that God has directed. It seems that most people only respect subjective authority. This means an authority that comes from within themselves. This subjective authority is expressed in such statements as: "I think I am saved," or "I think one religion is as good as another," or "I don't think the church saves anyone."

Of what importance is it, really, what you or I think? The Holy Bible is inspired which literally means God breathed. The apostle Paul stated, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In other words, the scriptures are "God breathed." That allows for no mistakes. You and I may think that one church is as good as another, but what does the scriptures say about that? Be honest and think about that. There really is NOT ONE scripture in all of the Bible that even implies that one church is as good as another. Can a church that originated by man really be as good as the one that was blood bought and built by Christ (Matthew 16:18)?

The problem is that men bend God and His Word to fit their own lives and selfish ideas and teaching. The Bible says, "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6). God is immutable and so is His inspired, God-breathed, Word. His divine will to man was given in the book that we call the Bible and regardless of the lives of men throughout the centuries, His word is still the same, and God's attitude toward men is the same.

When Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia he said, "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12). We can see that man did NOT write the Bible in the real sense -- he only wrote what the Lord caused him to write. God's Word cannot be changed. When I sin, maybe I would want God t change His law to fit my particular case and allow me to do this thing, but no, He cannot change His will for me or any other man. We would not want to serve a changeable God ---- would we?

Examine the scriptures daily and make every effort to live for God and be the kind of Christian and example that He would be pleased with. Remember, it is God that will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What Religious Standard Do I Use?

I want to encourage all of us to think seriously about what our standard of authority is in religious matters. There is no way that we can unite religiously unless we use the same standard. If our standards are different, then our religious practice will be different. The fact is, God is not a god of confusion. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10).

While most people claim that the Bible is their guide, in reality it is not. For example if someone says "I am saved, because I feel like I am" then it is their inner feelings that have become their source of authority because the evidence of salvation is their own feelings or conscience. The Bible has got to be our source of divine authority, not our own feelings. People have all sorts of different feelings, but there is only one God and one inspired word that He gave to us. Feelings are literally a dime a dozen. One says "I feel I'm saved when I believe," another says "I feel I'm saved when I repent." Another says they are saved in another way, and so on. Can "feelings" really tell us when we are saved?

Many religious people believe deeply on "tradition." They may not all claim that they base their religious beliefs on "tradition," but in reality that is exactly what they are doing. If their religion was good enough for their father or mother, then it is good enough for them. Could it be that one's father and mother did not learn all about the TRUTH from God's Holy word? The apostle Paul thought that he had the truth, being raised a Jew, but when he found out that the law of Moses had been abolished, he gladly accepted Christ. He even admitted that he was doing all things in "good conscience" (Acts 23:1). In the judgment, will God do the judging, or will I be my own judge? Will God be the one that decides whether I go to heaven or hell? I think that we all know that the answer is obvious. Unfortunately, many today think that they will be the judge -- or whether or not they are now saved. You and I will have to meet with God's approval then, and we must also meet with His approval now.

Yet, we still hear many religious people say "I think I am saved." Or they may say, "I'm satisfied with my baptism or the church of which I am a member." Please do not miss the point here. The questions are these and we must be honest before God with our answers: 1) Will God find me righteous at the judgement? 2) Do I have God's assurance that I am now saved? 3) Can I read from the Bible the evidence that my church is really the Bible church? 4) Is God satisfied with my baptism? Remember - God is the one who tells us what we must do in order to receive eternal life with Him.

The bottom line is that we are no more the judge of present righteousness than of future righteousness in order to enter heaven. God is the one that we must satisfy in all matters religious --- not me or someone else. Please take this seriously and think on these things. Our eternal destiny depends on it.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Why Is There Religious Division?

A question that every religious person should be asking is "why are people divided religiously?" There are many, many churches that exist today. Most all of these churches have conflicting doctrines and practices, and as a result, do not have fellowship with one another. Most of the time we just cast aside such thoughts by saying "we cannot understand the Bible alike." However, when you come to think of it, we understand and are pretty well united on what the Bible actually does say; but we become divided on what it doesn't say. Let's look at a few examples of what I am talking about.

Most everyone agrees that we are saved by faith. Division comes because of what the Bible does not say. There is no passage in the Bible that says that we are saved by "faith only." We all agree that we are saved by faith (James 2:24). However, have you really tried to find the Bible passage that teaches that we are saved by faith only?

Have you ever heard that Adam and Eve ate an "apple?" Does the Bible really say that? The Bible actually says "fruit" not "apple." Did Adam and Eve eat of the "forbidden fruit?" We all unanimously agree that they did (Genesis 3:1-2). But what kind of fruit was it? Well, here is where the division comes. It comes because we begin to speculate on what the Bible does not say. We can have Bible unity when we stick with just what the Bible does say. When we begin to inject our own ideas where the Bible does not specify, then everyone has a right to his own opinion as the other. We do not have the right to our own opinion when the Bible clearly affirms something. It is a fact that everyone knows that they ate the forbidden fruit; division results when we speculate what kind it was.

Many religious people think it is strange that most all churches of Christ, and some others, do not use mechanical instruments of music in our worship to God. But, why are mechanical instruments not used? For the same reason we do not believe that the Pope is the head of the church on earth. There simply is no Bible passage that states it or authorizes it. What does the Bible really say about music in worship? There are nine New Testament passages of scripture that mentions music, and every one of these nine times it mentions vocal, but not once instrumental (Acts 16:24-25; Romans 15:8-9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; Hebrews 13:15; James 5:13; Matthew 26:30). So let's ask the question: Is vocal music scriptural (authorized in the Bible)? I believe everyone would agree that it is. Is mechanical instrumental music scriptural? Now here comes the division. The division occurs because we are now speaking of something which the Bible does not mention. There is no Bible authority in the New Testament that authorizes it in our worship to God. Once again, division comes when we inject our own ideas into our worship to God.

Finally, do you believe in baptism? Most every religious person believes in baptism in one way or another. Why are we united on that? Because the Bible plainly says that we should be. Now let's ask another question: How should one be baptized? Someone may reply "sprinkling" or "pouring" and others "immersion." Why would there be division on this question? Because the Bible mentions nothing about sprinkling or pouring. Is immersion right? Most everyone will answer yes. We are unified on this because the Bible says baptism is a burial (Romans 6:3-4). The Bible is plain and we can understand that and agree. Division comes when we hear someone say that "sprinkling" or "pouring" is right. But where does the Bible authorize sprinkling or pouring?

I hope that we can all see that the principle has been established. We can really understand and agree with the Bible if we want to. The disagreement (division) comes when we begin to teach and do what it DOES NOT SAY. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17). Are we really striving to do all things religiously in accordance with what God has instructed of us in His Holy Word -- the Bible?

Friday, August 24, 2018

We CAN Understand the Bible

The New Testament was written in the language of the common man. It was not written in classical Greek reserved for the elite and ruling class of the day. It was written for all individuals because God wanted everyone to be able to understand His language. God's message was so important that it was essential that He express Himself in language adapted to all men's understanding.

Those who make the excuse that "we cannot understand the Bible" are really not being honest. When individuals are too lazy, or too indifferent to read and study diligently the Bible, they then say "I just can't understand it." What people are really saying is that they have not really tried, in most cases. It is interesting that we can read and understand newspapers, magazines, and even a novel -- but we just can't understand the Bible. The Bible is a book which averages only five letters.

It is so important that we realize that our failure to understand God's Word is the difference between having salvation or being condemned. God has provided us with His Words of salvation. He leaves it up to each one of us to accept His Words or not. We make the choice of what we read and why. I encourage you to choose to read and obey God's Holy and inspired message before it is everlastingly too late. Hell will be occupied with those who made the choice not to read, understand, and obey the Bible. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

All Good Works

Here is something for us to think about. Suppose for a moment that a lawyer had a set of books that had all the answers to all legal matters, would he need a supplement? Suppose a mechanic had a book that had all the answers he needed in his work. Do you think that he would need another manual? For spiritual matters, we do have such a book. This book of course, is the Bible. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." The lawyer must buy new books because new laws and decisions are handed down daily. The mechanic must buy new books as new gadgets come out yearly. But God handed down a book that never needs revision. It has all the answers to our spiritual needs!

The Bible supplies us with every good work. If your practice cannot be found in the Bible, then it is not a good work as far as God is concerned. Any addition to a perfect revelation makes that book imperfect. Please let God's book, the Bible, direct your life in the ways you need to live and obey Him every day. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Gospel Cleanses us from Sin

It is said that "cleanliness is next to godliness." This has been said with reference to the cleanliness of the body or physical surroundings. But in spiritual matters, we might say, "cleanliness IS godliness." For when one is cleansed from sin he is godly. Just as water is a cleansing agent for the filth of the flesh, likewise there is a cleansing agent for the sins of man. That cleansing agent is the blood of Christ. The scriptures say, "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).

But how can we really know that we have such spiritual cleansing? The Bible tells us, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). The words of Christ tell us of His saving blood and when we are baptized into the death of Christ, then we have our sins washed in the blood of the Lamb. The fact is, we absolutely can't be saved without the blood of Christ and we can't be saved without the word. I encourage you to listen to the words of Christ and respond according to His teaching resulting in complete obedience to Him (Hebrews 5:9).