What The Bible Says

What The Bible Says

“What The Bible Says - Vol. 1 / No. 21”

What The Bible Says

Vol. I - No. 21 / March 10, 2019


    Several years ago it was reported that the telephone operator in a town in Cape Cod received a call every morning asking for the correct time. Finally, overcome with curiosity, she asked the inquirer, "Would you mind telling me why you call about this time every day and ask for the correct time?" "Sure, I'll tell you," the man said. "I want to get the exact time because I'm the man who blows the whistle at twelve o'clock." Well, that's funny, that is," said the operator, "because every day at the stroke of noon I set our clock by your whistle.”

    How often do we set standards for ourselves based on what others are doing -- without even considering what standard they are following? It is good to follow the examples of others ONLY IF those setting the examples are following the CORRECT standard themselves. This seems to be Paul's point in Philippians 3:16b-17 when he states, "let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." To follow the example of others without being aware of what standard they themselves are following is the height of folly. The Scriptures speak of those who, "measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12).


    Every individual has a personal standard which he takes with him everywhere. He may either choose to follow it or ignore it. This inner standard is the conscience. Like a wristwatch that we may check through the day to keep us "on time," the conscience can be used to keep us on the right track if it has been correctly set. But the conscience can be set by a false standard. Saul of Tarsus lived "in all good conscience" when he was a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians (Acts 23:1; 1 Timothy 1:13). The individual who sets his watch by asking a stranger on the street for "the correct time" is a lot like a man who sets his moral standards and religious beliefs by others.

    This careless conscience setting is seen, for example, in a Christian whose conscience allows him or her to wear immodest attire because "it is not as immodest as what others wear" or "other Christians dress like this." It is seen in the person who believes that they can be saved by "faith only," not because they ever read it in the Scriptures (see James 2:24), but because that's what their parents or grandparents believed.


    Groups of people sometimes also set their collective conscience by an uncertain standard. In the days of the judges, Israel pled for a king; they wanted to be "like all the nations" (1 Samuel 8:5). As a group of people, they had set their clock by the surrounding nations. In doing so, they rejected the Lord as their standard of authority (1 Samuel 8:7).

    Even so, many churches today set their programs of work according to what surrounding churches (denominations) are doing. Children's church, Easter observances, and "rallies" to entertain the young people are just a few of the practices adopted by some churches of Christ (so-called) which illustrate this point. Each of these things have been done among denominations for decades, and now some churches of Christ are setting their clocks accordingly. Not one of these practices can be found in Scripture, either by command, statement, apostolic example or necessary conclusion. These practices are of human origin. Jesus said, "in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).
  —Steve Klein



    Some think that Jesus accepts anything and everything. Some believe like the song sung by Tom T. Hall a few years ago: "Jesus and I have our own thing going." We must be as broad minded and narrow minded as He is.


    Jesus said, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father but by ME." (John 14:6 - Emphasis mine, ERH). This leaves no room for Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, nor anyone else. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). We have no options here; it's Jesus or else! That's very narrow minded, wouldn't you agree? Are we narrow minded as Jesus or are we willing to allow for a little more broad minded view when it comes to world religions and the "multi-cultural" society in which we and our children are growing up in?


   And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18). Since ALL power has been given unto Him and "He 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 pre-eminence." (Colossians 1:18), this again is very narrow. Are we as narrow minded as Jesus when it comes to whose authority that we recognize? Or are we a little more broad minded and allow for the authority assumed by the Pope? What about the authority of man-made creeds? What about the denominational conferences and conventions which have legislative power to impose constitutions and by-laws which churches are duty bound to abide by?


   Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16). Notice, it is not: BELIEVE, SAVED, THEN BAPTIZED. It is: BELIEVE, BAPTIZED, THEN SAVED. Someone says, "That's being too narrow!" Not so! That is no more narrow than to tell you my phone number is 393-6044. What if you insisted it would be just the same to dial 393-4406, would that number dial my telephone? No! Is it being narrow to have things in the right sequence? Of course not! If we want to go to heaven we must do God's will in the right sequence or we'll never make it. Jesus is just that narrow!

    If we insist upon that which Jesus' word teaches it may cause us to be accused of being narrow minded but so be it. We MUST BE just as narrow as He is!
—E.R. Hall, Jr.



In trying times -- don't quit trying!
Every crisis in life makes us bitter or better -- it's our choice.
He who angers you controls you.
Example is a language that anyone can read.


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--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

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