What The Bible Says

What The Bible Says

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What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 11

Sunday, November 03, 2019

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 11 / November 11, 2019

"DIGITAL CHURCH" VERSUS "LOCATION CENTRIC" CHURCHES

    I recently read an article entitled, “Church as we know it is over. Here’s what’s next.” The article de­scribes the rise of the “digital church” and it explains how digital church (streamed worship services and online Bible sermons and studies) will replace the “physical attendance model that is location-centric.”

    The internet has provided an amaz­ing platform for Bible study. It provides access to many different versions the Bible in many different languages. It houses an avalanche of Bible commen­tary, study and resource materials, lex­icons and dictionaries. I personally like blueletterbible.org and use it almost ev­ery day. I keep a tab to this site always open in my internet browser. Of course, as is true with other sources of Bible commentary, whether written or oral, Bible students must be careful to avoid being deceived by the many religious and doctrinal errors that are propa­gated on the internet and through reli­gious apps. There are false teachers who deceitfully plot to overthrow faith (2 Pet. 2:1; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 2:18). How­ever, the internet and digital technolo­gy can be a tremendously valuable tools for learning the Bible.

    The author of the above referenced article is correct that many people do prefer to use their phones, tablets and computers for many things, including spiritual things. However, these de­vices cannot provide all of our spiri­tual nourishment. Watching streamed worship services is not a substitute for actually being in and being a part of a worship assembly. This is not a criti­cism of technology, nor is it a denial of its usefulness, but technology does have its limitations.

    For example, those who presume to speak on behalf of God are obligated to speak “the very words of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). Preachers must base their mes­sage and their conclusions upon what the Scriptures say and teach. Only the Scripture is “given by the inspiration of God” and it alone is capable of guiding people spiritually (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The preacher is obligated to speak where the Bible speaks whether he writes his bul­let points on a chalk board or projects them onto a screen using a DLP pro­jector. He might disseminate his writ­ings and sermons using physical paper or he might do so in digital format via the internet. Regardless of the technol­ogy that he uses, he is obligated before God to speak where God has spoken. Ones use of technology does not violate or negate the basic purpose, which is to disseminate the gospel.
 
Technology and Worship

    Christians are commanded to as­semble. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

    One might walk to that assembly, ride a horse, ride in a horse-drawn buggy or car or fly in some futuristic hovercraft. They may some day invent a Star Trek-like “transporter” capable of dematerializing us and then instanta­neously re-materializing us somewhere else! Regardless of advancements that might be made in transportation tech­nology, our obligation to God remains exactly the same—we are to assemble together. We have approved apostolic examples of saints assembling upon the first day of the week—“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42); “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and contin­ued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7).

    1 Corinthians 14 provides instruc­tions governing worship. It addresses various worship practices as well as the type of attitude and conduct that should be had in worship assemblies. Verse 23 says, “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place…” In order to worship God there must be an assembly, and in order to have an assembly there must be agreement upon a certain time and place. This is, by definition, “location-centric.” Yes, people might reject this concept but they are wrong if they do.

    Singing is the type of music that is authorized in the New Testament for worship and it is to be done “to one an­other” (Eph. 5:19). This requires being together in an assembly. Giving also involves a church assembly—“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

    Scriptural observance of the Lord’s Supper requires eating unleavened bread in remembrance of Christ’s body and drinking fruit of the vine in re­membrance of His blood (1 Cor. 11:24-25). It is also to be done when saints “come together in one place” (1 Cor. 11:20 & 33). The Lord’s Supper cannot be rightly observed through a confer­ence call or on Facebook. It can only be done by saints in a church assembly that has come together into “one place.”

    While it is fine to use the internet, social media, apps and other technolo­gy for certain things relating to spiritu­ality, it is no substitute for the church assembly composed of physical people. Those who are too lazy or too preoc­cupied with other activities to take the time to attend a church assembly cannot worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
—Tim Haile 

 

"THE BIBLE AND YOU"

    Mankind is certainly ingenious when it comes to inventing different views to tip toe around what God's word says. Mark 16:16 is one such passage.

THE METHODISTS read Mark 16:16 like this: "He that believeth not and is baptized shall be saved". One of their cardinal doctrines teaches the practice of infant baptism when the infant is way too young to know what’s going on much less to believe anything the Bible teaches concerning sin, repentance, and salvation.

THE ATHEISTS read Mark 16:16 like this: "He that believeth and is baptized shall not be saved". They do not even believe in God to Whom man is accountable for his actions. Since there is no accountability to a God, there can be no such thing as sin and definitely no need for salvation.

THE UNIVERSALISTS read Mark 16:16 like this: "He that believeth not and is baptized not shall be saved". They believe EVERYBODY is SAVED and NOBODY is LOST.

THE BAPTISTS read Mark 16:16 like this: "He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved". They believe salvation comes at the point of faith and baptism has nothing to do with saving.

JESUS said in Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved". Now, which view are we going to take on this passage?
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

 

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"What The Bible Says” is e-mailed twice a month. 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 the next 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 you will be removed promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page for further instructions as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
meeting at
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Sunday
Bible Classes …………..….……………     9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….………  10:30 AM
Evening Worship   …………………........ 5:00 PM
Wednesday
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
 

Radio Program
Sunday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM …………………………..  8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
 

Website: www. EastAlbertville.org

What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 10

Sunday, October 20, 2019

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 10 / October 20, 2019

"CHANGE"

    We are moving into the season called "Fall" or "Autumn". It is a season of change. I remember the first time I had ever went away from home to college in Florida. It was in the summer of 1970 and I did not return till December of that year. I had considered what would it be that I would miss the most and concluded that, since Florida did not have mountains, it would be the mountains that I would miss. To my surprise, I did not miss the mountains nearly as much as I missed the change from Summer to Fall to Winter.

    Some changes are necessary while others are not and some changes are welcome while other aren't. If all is normal, we change from a child into an adult, from young to old but some changes have to be deliberately made. They just don't happen by themselves. We are born into this world in a state of innocence; not knowing right from wrong. (Romans 7:7-12). But, through the process of teaching and learning what God expects of us, we make the same kind of choice that Joshua spoke to the children of Israel about in Joshua 24:15 when he said, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve."

    Ultimately, on our own, we choose the way of Satan and the way of sin. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). We choose to sin and sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1,2). Thus, we choose death (spiritual death) for "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23). There is another choice which is available to us: the choice of being reconciled back to God. That choice involves meeting the conditions God as set for the removal of sin. Faith (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17), repentance (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38), confessing Christ to be the Son of God (Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37), and being baptized (buried) will result in the forgiveness of sin (Colossians 2:12; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). This I can and will choose to do or not do. The choice is mine. If God's conditions are met, a change will occur: I will be changed from one who is lost in sin to one who is saved by the blood of Christ. What a change! 
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

"DOES MORAL GOODNESS MAKE ONE A CHRISTIAN?"

    Many honest and sincere souls mistakenly believe that if a person is morally good, then he is a Christian.  No one can be a faithful follower of Christ without being on a high moral plane.  However, Christianity is more than merely being moral.

    Acts 10 tells about a man named Cornelius, whose living standard, from a moral standpoint, was above reproach.  The moral life of this man would put many Christians to shame.  He is described (Acts 10) as a “devout man,” “a just man,” and one, “which gave much alms to the people.”  In spite of these good traits, he was not a child of God.

    Peter came to Cornelius’ house and told him what he needed to do to be in a saved state. Before this, it is clear Cornelius was an unsaved person. In Acts 11, Peter defended himself to the Jewish brethren for having preached to the Gentiles. In doing so, Peter cited what the angel had said to Cornelius, which was, “. . .  Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved (vs. 13-14).”   Thus, before the arrival of Peter and his preaching, Cornelius, a very moral man, was unsaved.

    Further, Cornelius’ prayers and good deeds did not save him, nor was he saved because of hearing an angel.  Instead, he was saved by hearing and believing (Acts 15:7), repenting, (Acts 17:30-31), and by being baptized (Acts 10:48, 2:38).

    If moral goodness could save someone, undoubtedly Cornelius, a cut above most, would have been saved.  Moral virtue alone could not save him, and it cannot save us today.  However, we must not get the wrong idea.  A Christian must have high morals, but it takes more than merely being morally good to be a Christian and to be saved.
—Mike Johnson

 

"NEITHER PROTESTSANT NOR CATHOLIC"  

     It’s pretty easy to see that this congregation or church is not Catholic. There is no Roman priest in charge of the parish or nuns to serve, no Vatican connection or leader status for the Pope, and no incense or infant baptisms in our worship and work. Since it is obvious we are not Catholics most will say we must be Protestants.

    The assumption made is that Christians are either Catholic or Protestant. If you are not one you must be the other. But we are not Protestants either. We are not of the Protestant Reformation that protested the excesses of the Catholic Church and sought to reform it. Beyond Catholic tradition and Protestant theology we are, simply, Christians.

    We understand that this sounds strange in a religious world complicated with so many denominations. If you ask a man today what he is religiously he doesn’t say “I am a Christian.” He says he is a Baptist or a Methodist or a Presbyterian or a Pentecostal. In the New Testament followers of Jesus were content to be, simply, Christians (Acts 11:26).

    Christ’s people were described by God in several ways in the Scripture, long before Catholics and Protestants existed. To God they were His children (1 John 1:1-3). To Christ they were His disciples (John 8: 31-32). To each other they were brothers (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). And to the world they were, simply, Christians (1 Peter 4:16).

    We are not claiming to be the first denomination, the best denomination, the most conservative denomination, the non-denominational denomination, or a denomination at all!  We simply follow the New Testament to be Christians, in the unity Christ called for (John 17:21) as an invitation to the world, there for all to see.
—Robert Hines

 

HAVE A BIBLE QUESTION YOU’D LIKE ANSWERED?

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE…

BIBLE CROSSFIRE
A CALL-IN RADIO PROGRAM
WBSA
93.5 FM & 1300 AM
also
SIRIUS XM CHANNEL 113
SUNDAY NIGHTS @ 8 PM CT

PREVIOUS SHOWS AVAILABLE AT:

BibleCrossfire.com

 

IMPROVE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE...

FREE ONLINE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

http://EastAlbertville.org/course

 

"What The Bible Says” is e-mailed twice a month. 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 the next 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 you will be removed promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page for further instructions as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
meeting at
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Sunday
Bible Classes …………..….……………     9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….………  10:30 AM
Evening Worship   …………………........ 5:00 PM
Wednesday
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
 

Radio Program
Sunday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM …………………………..  8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
 

Website: www. EastAlbertville.org

What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 9

Sunday, October 06, 2019

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 9 / October 6, 2019

"EXCEPTION OR THE RULE"

A few years ago during my wife's surgery, I was impressed with the fact that I did not see a male nurse the entire four days while she was in the hospital. This made me to reflect on the fact that, by and large, women make the better nurse when it comes to care and compassion of the sick. This is not to say that men do not care nor have compassion on the sick but, in this area, men are the exception while women are the rule.

In the past three decades of this country, the focus of attention has been placed on the exceptions to things rather than the rule about things. When it comes to the roles of men and women, all the attention has been on the reversal of their roles rather than the rule which God has decreed. God stated that the man was to provide for the family by the "sweat of his face" (Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Timothy 5:8). The woman is to be a "keeper at home” (KJV) “homemaker” (NKJV) (Titus 2:4,5). The focus today is on the "career woman" and the "house-husband"; the exception rather than the rule. We now have a generation that looks upon the exception as being the rule.

In recent years, much publicity has been given to the homosexual and how their "alternate lifestyle" should be accepted as "normal". Yet, God created male and female (Genesis 1:27) and that the woman's "desire shall be to thy husband and HE shall rule over thee" (Genesis 3:16). "The wife hath not power of HER own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of HIS own body, but the wife." (1 Corinthians 7:4 emphasis mine, ERH). God's word never refers to a wife as a HE or to a husband as a HER! Yet, the homosexuals want recognition in their relationships and "marriages" as acceptable exceptions to the norm and, if not, they are quick to brand others as intolerant, bigots, and haters. Can we not see that we are just a short time away from having a generation that will consider it a rule to accept homosexual lifestyles and those who will oppose such to be the exception?

Due to constant exposure, we are a society that accepts indecent and irreverent behavior as the rule. Clothing, or the lack of it, by men and women is no doubt becoming more like the fig leaves that Adam and Eve sowed together. The only difference is that today people think that they are clothed when Adam and Eve still realized they were naked. (Genesis 3:7-10). Talk is full of four letter words and suggestive, to say the least, but we are told these are the times we live in and it is normal for people to talk that way. It is all a part of our "societal evolution". Look at the parade of "guests" which marches across the TV talk shows that began years ago with Phil Donohue and now up to the present. Notice how the gross, the vile, the perverted, and the filth are held up to admiration while anyone who would object is ridiculed and scorned. We are making fun of the rule of honor and decency and being entertained by the vulgar. We are presently seeing a generation that considers the vulgar as the rule and the descent as the exception and their behavior is the proof.


We have a generation of children who have been entertained by blood, gore, violence, and action till they think that such things as the law of gravity are exceptions if they should decide to jump off a cliff. They believe in actions without consequences. The rule is: "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap" (Galatians 6:7). The rest of the verse says, "Be not deceived: God is not mocked:"

God's rules may be made fun of (and they are) but we are fooling no one but ourselves when we begin to focus, as the world has, on the exceptions rather than looking into God's word and finding out what the rules are. 
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

"ONE SINNER DESTROYS MUCH GOOD"

Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner
destroys much good.” (Ecclesiates 9:18)
 
The title of this article comes from a statement of the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes in chapter 9, verse 18. It conveys a thought that each of us must consider. It tells us that a sinner wields a lot of influence, but it is the wrong kind and it is destructive! Notice that the text doesn't say that "many sinners destroy much good," but "one sinner destroys much good." Many times one sinner does more harm to the cause of good, than one righteous person does to a stampeding herd of ungodliness.

A preacher may be a very effective pulpiteer and he may have a firm grasp on the truth of scripture, but if he doesn't believe what he preaches enough to live it, he is himself a sinner who destroys any good that he achieves (I Timothy 4:11-12).
 
An elder may have tremendous leadership skills coupled with a broad knowledge of God’s word, but if he doesn't practice what he requires about honesty, controlling the tongue, moral purity, and all else, he isn't fit for the position of overseer. He will destroy any good that he accomplishes (I Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:7).

A Bible class teacher may be kind, knowledgeable, and very practical in his application of scripture, but if he is a gossiper, quick tempered, listens to slander, and never asks forgiveness from those against whom he has sinned, any good that he accomplishes will be destroyed by his sins (Romans 2:19-24).

If others see people in the church who claim to be Christians, but whose lives are full of hypocrisy and evil, then any good that is accomplished by the congregation will be destroyed (Hebrews 10:26-29).

We should promote good instead of destroying it. If our lives are not what God says they should be we are destroying the good that we or other saints seem to be achieving. We must repent of our sins and start anew. Christians, if there is sin in your life, stop it and turn to God. Then and only then will the good that we and others are trying to do will not be destroyed.
—Ron Daly

HAVE A BIBLE QUESTION YOU’D LIKE ANSWERED?

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE…

BIBLE CROSSFIRE
A CALL-IN RADIO PROGRAM
WBSA
93.5 FM & 1300 AM
also
SIRIUS XM CHANNEL 113
SUNDAY NIGHTS @ 8 PM CT

PREVIOUS SHOWS AVAILABLE AT:

BibleCrossfire.com

 

IMPROVE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE...

FREE ONLINE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

http://EastAlbertville.org/course

 

"What The Bible Says” is e-mailed twice a month. 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 the next 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 you will be removed promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page for further instructions as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
meeting at
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Sunday
Bible Classes …………..….……………     9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….………  10:30 AM
Evening Worship   …………………........ 5:00 PM
Wednesday
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
 

Radio Program
Sunday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM …………………………..  8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
 

Website: www. EastAlbertville.org

What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 8

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 8 / September 22, 2019

This Is Your Invitation To Hear A Series Of
Bible Lessons
With The
East Albertville church of Christ
Meeting At 4777 U.S. Hwy. 431
Albertville, AL
September 29 - October 4
Speaker: Bobby Graham

Truth Might Not Be What You Think It Is!
Sun. 9:30 AM - What Is Truth?
10:30 AM - The Narrowness of Truth.
5:00 PM - The Truth about Life.
Mon. - Are You Searching for Truth?
Tues. - The Truth about the Church.
 Wed. - The Truth about the 1,000 Year Reign and the End of Time.
Thur. - Do You Love the Truth?
Fri. - The Truth about Salvation by Grace.

7:00 Week Nights
Listen Live At: www.eastalbertville.org

 

"ICHABOD"

    In case you’re wondering, this article has nothing to do with Washington Irving’s fictional character Ichabod Crane, but it concerns the Ichabod in 1 Samuel 4:21. When Eli was judging Israel, the Philistines defeated God’s people and seized the ark of the covenant. In the same conflict the wicked sons of Eli who had besmirched his name were slain. Upon hearing of the defeat and the death of the sons, the ninety-eight year old Eli was undoubtedly shaken; but the Scriptures say that when he heard of the ark’s dislocation by the Philistines, he fell backward, broke his neck, and died. Eli’s daughter-in-law soon heard of the compounding bad news; in her condition of grief she gave birth to a son whom she named Ichabod.

    She explained the name’s significance: “The glory is departed from Israel.” A nation once glorious in her relationship with God had now been brought low through the unfaithfulness of the people, priests, and priestly servants who despised the offerings of Jehovah, and a generally profane attitude toward the holy things of God. There was no glory in Israel for God’s people had left him, and God’s approval of his people had been withdrawn.

    One needed observation relates to the wife of Phinehas, who named the child. Apparently she had some understanding of the will of God in some important matters that were of current concern. At a time when her own husband, his brother, Hophni, and her father-in-law, Eli, had recently manifested a lack of regard for the things of God, she knew where the glory resided. Both of the sons had sinned in fornication with the women who came to the Tabernacle and in the offerings mishandled. And Eli had failed to restrain them. It was evidently left for this wife of Phinehas to uphold the divine glory if it was to be done in this family. Based on her knowledge of what God had desired and her understanding that God had not been served, she declared in this child that “there is no glory.” May she be remembered and her faith in God and reverence for him recalled as a proper model for all time to come (Rom. 15:4).

    Similar conditions at different times can produce similar results. The glory characteristic of the Lord’s church (His family, His people) can also depart through failings of our own, not through any insufficiency on God’s part. God’s design for the church was that it be glorious, “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). Whenever the people of God turn their backs on God and resort to the idols of their hearts, their disaffection with God becomes the means of the glory departing. Such disaffection is shown by our elevating anything of man to the level of God and his will. Our love for Him must be with the whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Entanglements with the sinful element of the world in any form can be our undoing with God, causing the glory to depart. The cares, riches, and pleasures of this life can rise up like thorns to choke out the Word (Luke 8:14). We must remember that the divine glory departs from our lives as we glory in anything defiling.

    Christ’s law of entrance into the body, acceptable worship and service by his holy priests, the organizational structure of local churches, and the functional operation of local churches under local oversight in the areas identified by the Head of the church are all matters included in the will of Christ set forth in the New Testament. Only when we observe His will in these and other matters do we function to His glory in the church.

    When those in a local church depart from the will of Christ, they are glorifying themselves; but glorifying God they are not. Christ removes the candlestick of a local church when its glory has departed (Rev. 2:5). It no longer exists as a true church (Rev.1:20).

    Any who have established an agenda of changing the Lord’s church in any way that would alter those divine features of the church must understand the inevitable result of their changes. It will be Ichabod: the glory associated with God and resulting from God will depart. This is the birth of another human religious system — denominationalism all over again. The glory has departed.

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

HAVE A BIBLE QUESTION YOU’D LIKE ANSWERED?

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE…

BIBLE CROSSFIRE
A CALL-IN RADIO PROGRAM
WBSA
93.5 FM & 1300 AM
also
SIRIUS XM CHANNEL 113
SUNDAY NIGHTS @ 8 PM CT

PREVIOUS SHOWS AVAILABLE AT:

BibleCrossfire.com

 

IMPROVE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE...

FREE ONLINE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

http://EastAlbertville.org/course

 

"What The Bible Says” is e-mailed twice a month. 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 the next 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 you will be removed promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page for further instructions as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
meeting at
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Sunday
Bible Classes …………..….……………     9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….………  10:30 AM
Evening Worship   …………………........ 5:00 PM
Wednesday
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
 

Radio Program
Sunday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM …………………………..  8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
 

Website: www. EastAlbertville.org

What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 7

Sunday, September 08, 2019

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 7 / September 8, 2019

"GOD'S PLAN FOR ME?"

    When I graduated from high school, I had every intention of becoming a veterinarian. I thought a bit about a medical career, but given that I like animals more than people, I decided in favor of veterinarian medicine. But while in college I was preaching a good bit and was asked by a local preacher to help with some duties in a congregation outside of Tampa. After the better part of a year, I decided that I would probably end up preaching whether or not I became a vet, so I changed my major to something I thought might help me more and determined to give my life to that pursuit. And it is not uncommon when I first meet someone for them to ask me about my decision to preach, often phrasing the question in these terms: “When/How did you get your calling?” I’ve always found that an interesting question because it belies some concepts and conclusions about how God works. Preaching is not a normal ‘job’ (though some men approach it as such), but rather a life. And many people recognize that and assume that those who would choose to live such a life have received some special sign or inclination or communication from God Himself. And it’s somewhat humorous to note the reaction of some folks when I reply, “I didn’t receive some call. I simply decided that’s what I needed to do with my life”. They almost act disappointed that I don’t have a good “God moved me” story.

    I firmly believe in the power of God, and that He exercises His will upon the universe. I believe that He has, at times, interrupted the normal laws which govern this world and performed supernatural activities - wonders, signs. The Bible account is full of His power being manifested in order to accomplish some particular goal or in order to confirm His will being revealed (note the exodus account, or the signs offered to confirm the identity of Jesus). I do not believe that He acts in this way in the present age and I believe that the New Testament affirms this truth (study the purpose of miracles - Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4 - and the comments of 1 Corinthians 13:8f). But I do believe that He has the power to act in this world through providential means, that is, accomplishing His will without superseding any recognizable law of nature and without violating the free will of anyone. A Being Who is omniscient and omnipotent, knowing beforehand what men will do, has the capacity to bring about His determinations without the need of miraculous intervention. Thus, when we are told to pray to God regarding our daily needs or for deliverance from temptation (Matthew 6:9-13), He can provide for such without the need for bread from stones or exorcisms. But providence is a hard concept to appreciate because we can never know if God is acting unless He has told us so. Thus, people often draw conclusions that are not in evidence, and then extrapolate theories about God’s will and God’s ways that are completely un-Biblical.

    There is a troubling sentiment that seems to have pervaded the thinking of the general ‘Christian’ world of our day, namely that “God has a plan for me”. I’ve run across the idea repeatedly of late, though it is nothing new to the thinking of the modern evangelical adherent. Many people who believe in Jesus have accepted the idea that, somehow or another, God has mapped out a course for every individual and that such a blueprint accounts for every little activity, decision, and circumstance in one’s life. And then every day’s events are filtered through the lens that “this is God’s will”. When good things happen, God is blessing me. When bad things happen, Romans 8:28 is taken out of its context and perverted to affirm that “God has something good that will come of this”. I have already affirmed that I do believe in providence and that prayer would be useless without it, but I cannot find any Biblical reference that supports the idea that “God has a plan for me”. I do not deny that God has had a plan for some men. He employed men like Abraham and Joseph and Moses and Pharaoh and David and Nebuchadnezzar and John the Baptist and Jesus and Paul in order to advance, fulfill, and reveal His scheme for man’s redemption. And such certainly raises the possibility that God might put certain men in certain places in this world with the expectation that they will be an influence in the furthering of His determinations. But the New Testament no where affirms that such is the case of every believer. In fact, the idea that God is a puppet master in the life of each suppose follower can have devastating implications. I heard a ‘preacher’ recently raise this question - “What do I do if the life God promised me is not the life God has given me?” Wait a minute! If God promised me a life and then didn’t give it, doesn’t that make God a liar? And thus unholy? And thus imperfect? And thus not at all the God revealed in Scripture?

    In truth, there are serious repercussions to the ‘personal blueprint’ concept about God’s activity. If I can’t find “God’s purpose/plan for me” then have I somehow failed Him? Or maybe He didn’t properly reveal it and He has failed me? Perhaps my faith is somehow lacking or defective. Maybe I’m just too weak or ignorant to really serve God because I can’t “find my place”? What if the pursuit of “God’s plan for me” leaves me confused or frustrated because He’s not revealing things or moving me or guiding me or speaking to me? What if I don’t get the gifts and signs and tongues and dreams and emotions and feelings that I’m supposed to get? Is it me? Is it Him? Do I quit? Where do I go for my answers? To the televangelist or local pastor who has everyone convinced that God is talking to him (while he rakes in the dough and advances the show)? What do I do when I can’t figure out what I’m suppose to do? 

    The Bible tells us what God’s plan is for us. He wants us to put our trust in Jesus (Romans 10:8-23) and sacrifice ourselves to His service (Romans 12:1-2). His plan for me is that I get up every day and live my life as a child of God and disciple of Jesus (Ephesians 4:17f; Colossians 3:1f). He wants us to be holy (1 Peter 1:13f) and godly (Titus 2:11f). Can I be useful to God? Certainly! Can I be a force for good? Without a doubt. Does God hear my prayers and care for me? He says He does (1 Peter 3:10f; 5:5f). I don’t know what will come my way in life - joy, pain, tragedy, success. But as a follower of Jesus, I don’t have to have God pulling the strings. He died for me and saved me. The faithfulness, service, sacrifice, and gratitude are my privilege. I’ll try to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him. Wherever that takes me will be fine.
—Russ Bowman
via Focus Magazine, August 5, 2019

 

"WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FAITH AND OBEDIENCE?"

    There is so much teaching in religious circles about faith and salvation by faith alone, one would think that God has said nothing about obedience having a part. What is often said about obedience in these circles is of a negative nature. It goes like this: obedience is not necessary and has nothing to do with salvation.

    What do the Scriptures teach? Should this not be where we go to find the answer? "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:"(Romans 1:5). "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made know to all nations for the obedience of faith: " (Romans 16:26) [Emphasis mine, E.R.H.]. From these and other Scriptures, it becomes clear that faith and obedience cannot be separated. “But without faith it is impossible to please” God (Hebrews 11:6) and without works, our faith is "dead". (James 2:26).

    What is the conclusion to be drawn from these verses, as well as others? Those who teach and believe that a person is saved by faith, separate and apart from works, are teaching we are saved by a "DEAD" faith. If this is not the conclusion, please tell me what it is! They say, "You are saved the moment you believe and works don't save you!". The Bible says, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). The conclusion? We are saved by a dead faith!

    Let us understand that we are saved by obedient faith. Faith that has not and does not obey is dead. It is only when our faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), moves us to repent of our sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38), confess Christ with our mouth (Matthew 10:32; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10) and be buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12) that we are forgiven of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). While man teaches salvation by dead faith, God teaches that our faith must be obedient to save us.
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

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