What The Bible Says

What The Bible Says

“What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 3”

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 3 / July 14, 2019

"THINGS THAT INFLUENCE US"

    Influence is defined as, "a power indirectly or intangibly  affecting a person or a course of events" (AHD, 660). We all have influence and we all are influenced. In the most notable sermon that Jesus preached in Galilee, he spoke of the influence that Christians would have on the world as light and salt. Jesus, thinking that influence to be powerful, said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

    It stands to reason that if we, the people of God, have an influence on the world, the world is likely to have an influence on us. Paul warned of the same, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ..." (Rom. 12:3).

    It is also true that Christians have influence on one another.The diligent have an impact on those who could do better (1 Tim. 4:12). The life of those who slip into sin works like leaven (1 Cor. 5:1-6). Their influence, though subtle, could permeate the whole church.

    Those who have the greatest impact are those that are most like us. 1 Cor. 5 establishes that point. The vile and wicked drug addict is not as likely to influence us as some seemingly strong Christian who sees nothing wrong with it and suggests that you are being petty for questioning it.

    Let’s consider some things that influence our thinking and change our lives.

1. What becomes accepted in the world can, in time, become "norm" for us, too. Little by little what the world thinks to be okay can eventually infiltrate our minds. At first we may consider the rest of the world as being careless and loose with God's word. However, as time goes on, we think more and more like they do. Consider how we have come to accept what the world would have "condemned" years before: women in the workforce, divorce, wearing short and tight clothes, R-rated movies, etc. That is not to say that all that is accepted in the world and then by us is necessarily wrong. At times, it may simply involve custom or tradition. I'm simply pointing to the power of influence.

    However, I'm fearful what those in my grandchildren's day may accept. What the world accepts now, God's people could easily begin to accept in the future. For evidence of how this works consider how the natives of the land of Canaan turned God's people toward evil (see the book of Ezra). It happens little by little. We become accustomed to the ideas of the world. Whether we agree or not, we become used to the idea that "that's what everyone is doing." So in time, we are "desensitized" enough that we think it is okay for us too.

2. What we see at home. Most of us would admit that at least in part we are what we are today because of what our parents did or did not do in our training. This is true even in things that do not involve right or wrong. More and more I find myself doing things that I remember my parents doing. More and more I see that I judge things based on how I was raised. My point is our home life has a powerful impact on the rest of our lives (Prov. 22:6).

    We can be influencing our children to gradually drift and become looser in their thinking by the little things we do or allow. Do you ever think that in the future your children may base their determination of what is right or wrong upon what you, as a parent, allowed them to do as a child? A child that is allowed to miss services for a ball game or to stay home because some in the family are tired will remember that as he gets older. That child may later reason "What's the difference in missing for a ball game and going fishing?" You see, with every move we make we are building a "value system" into our children that will guide them in the future. Don't forget, that those we teach (especially our children) may carry the principles they learn from us further than we had in mind. Now be honest. Have you ever "justified" something in your own mind thinking, "When I was a child we used to ___________ and we didn't think anything about it. What is the difference in ____________ and doing _________ ?" If you reason that way, don't kid yourself thinking your children will not do the same.

3. We are affected by those with whom we associate. Paul said, "Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33, ASV). Though usually quoted to say we need to watch who are friends are, the context is talking of false teachers. Listening to those who issue uncertain sounds can corrupt our lives. Paul's warning is that we can be influenced by them. Sometimes people drift as much because of what they have not heard as they do from what they have heard.

    It is not just preachers and teachers that influence us. Other "Christians" whose thinking differs from our own can change us and our children. We are now facing ideas and concepts that indicate that a parting of ways among brethren is coming. It is obvious that there are two mind sets. Those with a looser, more tolerate attitude could have an influence on us and our children as our ear is bent to their voice.

    The problem with influence is that by the time we realize the impact it has had, it may be too late.
—Donnie Rader
Guardian of Truth XLI p. 18-19,
September 18, 1997

 

"ONE BODY"

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

    God wants us to understand there is “one body” and He has revealed that “body” to us through His word. Despite what we think this “body” refers to, God’s word clearly reveals what it is. “And hath put all things under His (Christ, ERH) feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:21,22). “And He (Christ, ERH) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18).

    What is “the body”? The Scriptures reveal that it is “the church”. There is “one body” thus there is “one church”, for the inspired Scriptures teach that it is. 

    However, people today do not speak in terms of “the church” but instead they ask, “WHICH church are you a member of?” Some say they believe all churches are acceptable but, while they say it, they don’t really believe it. For example, at a local nursing home, Tim Shepherd and I were trying to make arrangements for one of the residents to attend services with us. The supervisor of the home had permitted him to attend a denomination but when we began making arrangements for an ambulance to transport him to and from services at Wise, the supervisor said, “It doesn’t matter where you go to church for they all are OK.” She made this statement and yet refused him to attend services with us. If it really didn’t matter, why didn’t she allow him to go with us since we had already made arrangements? Even though she said all churches are OK, she really didn’t believe it because here was her opportunity to practice what she preached.

    Just recently I was talking to one of my relatives who maintained that all churches were OK and before our conversation ended, she  expressed concern for her brother being a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If all churches are OK, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are just as right as all the others because they have their doctrines and practices that are peculiar to them like all churches do. Again, I say that I’ve yet to meet the first person who says all churches are OK who really believes what they say.

    The Scriptures do not teach nor has God ever said that all churches are OK. If all churches are OK where are the teachers of FALSE doctrine and where are the VAIN worshipers? “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (1 Peter 2:1,2) Where are the false teachers and where are the many who are following them if all churches are OK? “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) Are there any churches in existence that teach the commandments of men for their doctrines? When you have one church teaching that baptism has nothing to do with saving and another church teaching people to be baptized for the remission of sins, which one is teaching the commandment of God and which is teaching a commandment of men? Both can’t be teaching the commandment of God because they contradict each other and teach the exact opposite of one another. Any church that teaches the commandment of men causes their worship to be rendered vain. Is it alright if you are a member of a church that renders vain worship? Then it does make a difference, doesn’t it?

    We must go to the inspired Scriptures for therein we find authorized what God would have us to teach and practice. If it’s not in the Scriptures it cannot be a commandment of God but rather a commandment of men. If it matters whether our worship is acceptable to God or vain, it matters which church we are a member of.
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

 

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