Study the Word: Bulletin Articles
In line with the first article, I shall share something that happened. During the Bible class, I made a point in passing, as to what some people believe. I stated that there are many who teach that once you become a Christian you cannot fall away. In other words, you cannot so sin as to lose your salvation. After saying such, one said to me, “I was taught that, how is that wrong?”
This is what happens in Bible studies, people hear things contrary to what they might already believe to be the truth. We then proceed to study what the Bible teaches. In this case we went to James 5:19-20. In this text we are told, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” From this we learn that if one does not return they will die spiritually not having taken care of their sins.
Paul spoke about those who had their faith shipwrecked (I Tim. 1:19). To believe that if someone falls away they were never a Christian in the first place, would be like saying a person suffered shipwreck without being on the ship! It is true someone might pretend to obey, but there are many passages that teach people leaving the faith. Remember, you can’t leave from a place you have never been (Heb. 3:12, etc.).
What was interesting about this was the fact that the person didn’t get angry for having (what they believed to be) the truth challenged. After all, I didn’t get upset when I was challenged to prove what I believe is right. I actually liked the fact that I was told to prove it. The last thing I would want is someone to believe just because I said it. Remember, the apostle commended those who searched the scriptures to see if what he was teaching was right (Acts 17:11).
We must acknowledge that there are many examples in the Bible where people thought they were right but were not (Acts 19:1-5; Acts 15:1; Matt. 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3, etc.).
This past week a gentleman called, who said he has been watching our weekly TV program. He said, “Yes, every Sunday morning at 9:30 on FOX, I watch Study the Word.” He finally mustered enough courage to call and take me up on my offer for a home Bible study. After he called, we decided to meet at McDonalds, with him and a couple of friends. We then went back to his place to study. This is now a weekly class and they are excited about studying the Bible. Even though they have read much of the Bible, they have lots of questions.
The reason I mention this is to illustrate just how easy it is to set up a weekly Bible class. Whether it is just with one person, or if they gather a few together, the goal is to study the word of God. I assure you that when it comes to studying, James 1:19 is put into place. We are to be swift to hear and slow to speak. This isn’t a dictator setup. If someone doesn’t agree, they speak up. If there is something misunderstood, they speak up.
When Jesus said that those who seek will find (Matt. 7:7), He is affirming that there are those who will seek. As the title mentioned, it is refreshing to see the desire that people still have in wanting to learn the word of God. One does not have to be totally ignorant of the Bible to desire a class. Some have invited me who were actual teachers of the Bible. Why get together then? The truth is, the only thing that suffers from investigation is error. If error is taught and exposed, then we all can be a winner. You can’t know what error is without knowing the truth.
It is not our place to follow blindly (Matt. 15:14), nor is it our place to put our head in the sand and not test those who say they have the truth (I Jn. 4:1). This means that everyone is to be aware of the need and responsibility to examine themselves to make sure they are right (II Cor. 13:5). There is an obvious reason why we read in so many places that we should not be deceived. It’s because many fail to keep their guard up.
You might wonder what we talked about in our first meeting this past week. Well, as we talked about the word of God, I asked if I could take the next three classes (40-45 min. ea.) to teach the whole Bible. This is to get them familiar with the “big picture” of the Bible. Then the fourth class would be on understanding the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. From there, we will study about Christ and His plan of salvation for man and His church. It will be during these studies that many of the questions and confusions will be cleared up.
The goal of these classes that we have is NOT to get anyone to come to the church I attend. The goal is to provide enough Biblical instruction so they can rightly divide the word of God on their own. No one wants to believe false teaching, so the more knowledge one has, the better armed they are. As the Psalmist put it, “Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” (119:104). The less one knows, the more vulnerable they are (Eph. 4:14).
Another benefit of these classes is to confirm what one knows to be the truth. When people have the attitude of, “If I am wrong I want to know it”, nothing but good will come. If you learn that what you believe is correct, it will strengthen your faith. If it doesn’t, you will have the opportunity to get on track. Studying he Bible is not just for those who doubt, it is for those who are convinced they have the truth. I study believing what I believe is right. However, if I am shown from the scriptures to be in error, I will take hold of that which is right.
This article was to encourage you to see the value in having a Bible class. If this appeals to you, don’t hesitate or email today. Phone –
812-550-6234 or email: email@example.com
You may or may not be familiar with the term “offering grace”, but many religious people use the term to describe offering thanks to God before a meal. This is not so much a study of the term “offering grace” as it is on the giving of thanks for one’s food. Is it really required of Christians? When one is in public or at work, should a child of God really bow their head and thank God for what they are about to eat? Let’s see what the word of God teaches us about this.
Prayer is a vital part of the Christian life. As Paul put it, saints are to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). Interestingly the brethren were also admonished in this text that “in everything give thanks” (verse 18). Did followers of the Lord really pray before all their meals? Consider our Savior when He walked on this earth. When Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand with five loaves and two small fish, He had the people sit down. He then offered thanks before everyone ate (John 6:11). Jesus also offered thanks before He fed four thousand people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish (Mark 8:6-7).
Obviously, Jesus sets forth a wonderful pattern to follow. However, this was not unique to Jesus. In Acts 27, you can read where Paul and others were on a ship in the midst of a terrible storm while he was being transported as a prisoner to Rome (verse 13-20). The crew was so busy trying to save the ship that they had not taken time to eat for fourteen days. Paul urges the centurion and soldiers to eat (verse 34). Notice Paul’s activity in verse 35 though.
“And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.” Who takes time to pray after not eating for 14 days? Who takes time to publicly pray when surrounded by people who don’t follow the Lord? God’s people do.
Some people are rightly concerned with what Jesus said in Matthew 6 about not wanting people to pray for the purpose of drawing attention to themselves (verse 5). This is correct – it is one thing to be somewhere when you quietly bow your head and silently offer thanks for your meal. It is other matter altogether to stand up when you are at Wendy’s having lunch and announce to all in the restaurant, “Excuse me everyone, please be quiet, I am about to pray to my God for the food I am about to receive!”
When Christ taught about prayer, He mentioned that we ought to ask our Father for our daily bread (Matt. 6:11). If we are provided with the very thing we petitioned the Father for, why would we not thank Him for it? Those who are faithful followers of the Lord know that every perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). We may have a job and we may have earned the money to buy the food we are eating. Yet we need to ask ourselves, who gave us life? Who gave us the ability to work? Who provided the materials for people to work for? As we can see, we are nothing without our Creator.
We should not be surprised that even on the night of His betrayal when He instituted the Lord’s Supper, Jesus first gave thanks before eating and drinking (Matt. 26:26-28). This clearly reveals people who pray before meals are not just “traditionalists” or mindlessly praying without purpose. To even suggest that praying for food is not necessary is wrong on many different levels. After all, what Christian would not want to express their gratitude for their physical blessings?
No, praying for our food is not a man-made tradition. It is that which saints are admonished to do with thanksgiving (I Tim. 4:3-5).
If you have not heard the term, the “social gospel” modifies the gospel of Christ to try to make it more appealing to man. This is nothing new. The church at Corinth combined social activities with the work of the church, and they were rebuked for it (I Cor. 11:22). Is there anything wrong with Christians being social? Of course not. But when you make it a work of the church, you have erred.
Many religious groups organize “trunk and treat” events for kids. The appeal to both the members of the group and the broader community is obvious – the community enjoys a free event, and the church makes contact with new people. Churches also attempt this by organizing camps and building gyms and recreation halls.
Many people are attracted to fun and frolic. Churches must keep offering these things to keep them though. Moreover, churches must keep making their events bigger and better to compete with the other churches offering fun. Where is the gospel amid all this? This sounds just like what got Israel in trouble. They wanted to be like the other nations and demanded a king (I Sam. 8:5). This did not go over well because they were rejecting God as their true ruler (verse 7).
Some churches do not use social activities to create openings to teach the gospel. They might only use them to get their own members together. If that is the case, these activities are problematically being used to maintain members rather than the gospel (Eph. 4:11-12).
People have always made compromises in the name of “good intentions.” The problem is, good intentions without Biblical support is nothing more than glorified rebellion. When people start to reason, “What’s the harm?” they have forgotten the most import question, “What does God say?” Whether attracting new members using social activities or only offering them to existing ones, churches are substituting fun for the gospel. May we respect the Lord and what He has said by making sure we have Biblical authority for everything that we do.
Churches have a responsibility to focus on the work God has given it to do (Eph. 3:10). As local congregations spread the gospel and edify the members (Eph. 4:11-12), they all need to realize the circle of life. By that, I mean every gathering of saints throughout this world go through the same changes. Some people are converted, some fall away. Some members move in, some move away. Members grow old and pass away, while other members bring children into the world, who often grow up and become Christians.
The things that were just mentioned cannot be prevented. Because of such, any given church will increase in their church family, and then they may go through a time when they decrease. In some cases a local church can go out of existence. Is the church at Corinth that Paul addressed (I Cor. 1:1), still meeting? The answer is no. Consider the pews we use at the church building. For those who don’t know, a county congregation existed for a good while. Many families came together and worshipped in a small town. The children eventually grew up and moved to find work. Eventually their doors were closed and we were given their pews.
We need to ask ourselves, is a church failing when they go through these circles of life? No. Was there some sort of transgression that took place when a church went out of existence? Not necessarily. Even though the church at Corinth no longer meets, it doesn’t mean the church has been destroyed – for it can’t be (Matt. 16:18). For example, my dad passed away 10 years ago. Did that mean his family no longer exists? We know that’s not true, because I am here.
Churches need not live in the past. I once labored with a church that would only talk about the “good ole days.” They could remember when the building was full and brother so and so was the preacher. It’s nice to reminisce, but brethren must also move ahead. The days of old will not make up for the lack of working today. When I read Acts 8:4, I am thankful my brethren in the past went everywhere preaching the word. But what about now? No, I need not live in the past, but I should learn from the past. Let’s all understand the circle of life and press towards the mark – heaven.