An Honest Examination of Bible Truths
An honest heart and an open Bible will help prepare us for eternity. Sadly, much of the religious teaching of our day is rooted in the thinking of men rather than in the truth of God’s word. Man’s thinking is based on opinion and human tradition. God's thinking or His teaching can be understood only by a thorough, honest examination of the Bible. Therefore, if we wish to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ so that people can be saved, we must know and understand the Bible answers to some very basic questions.
What does the Bible teach about God? There is a God in Heaven. (Daniel 2:28) Paul wrote, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) God is the ever present, all powerful Creator of the universe. God knows everything about us and He cares deeply about our eternal destiny. He wants us to go to heaven.
What does the Bible teach about Jesus? The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. Peter said "We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:69) Jesus died, was buried and rose again to make our salvation possible. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Jesus lived a perfect life and therefore serves as our example. His teaching was with authority. (Matthew 7:29)
What do we know about the Bible itself? We know that the Bible is the word of God. In John 17:17 it is declared that God's word is truth, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." Scripture must be studied with a desire both to learn and obey. No book can ever have such an impact on your life as the Bible. It is the inspired word of God!
What do we know about sin? We know that sin is man’s worst problem. The Bible teaches that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The miseries of this life are caused by sin. Sin brings a terrible pay day. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) Christians must be on constant guard against sin!
What do we know about the brevity of life? In James 4:14 life is said to be like a vapor. "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." Think of the funerals you have attended. Read the obituaries in the newspaper. Think of those who have gone on. As they are today we all shall soon be. Life passes by quickly and we all know this to be true.
What do we know about obeying the gospel? Christ saves all who obey and only those who obey. In Hebrews 5:9 we read, "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Only those willing to obey Jesus will be saved. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) Gospel obedience includes hearing God's word, believing in Jesus, repenting of sins, confessing Christ, and being baptized. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47) Disobedience is a tragic thing. Those who fail to obey are condemned.
What do we know about who will be saved? The Bible teaches that few will be saved and many lost. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) Only those who have learned truth and been obedient to it will be saved. Let's face the fact that the majority will be lost. You cannot expect to enter that narrow gate without living the Christian life daily.
What do we know about final Judgment? The Bible teaches both an appointment with death and judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Each person is accountable to God for his life. (Romans 14:12) Can you even imagine what that great Day of Judgment and accountability will be like?
What do we know about Christian living? The way you live your life will determine your eternal destiny at the judgment. (2 Corinthians 5:10) How people think, talk, hear and do will determine where they will spend eternity. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19) How are you living? "Are you living right, should you die tonight, is it well with your soul?"
What do we know about true worship? God desires, God deserves and God expects our worship. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) Singing, praying, preaching, giving and the Lord's Supper are the items of worship ordained by our Father in Heaven. (Ephesians 5:19; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Matthew 26:26-30.) Christians must worship faithfully in order to honor God!
What do we know about the teaching of a second chance after death? The rich man of Luke 16 proves the fact that there is no second chance of salvation after death. When he died it was too late. "Then he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he many dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." (Luke 16:24-26) Please do not wait until it is too late!
What do we know about the one true church? The church is Christ's body. God "Put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:22-23) Paul wrote, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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) If you are not a member of the church mentioned in the Bible you certainly should be! Christ has one church and all the saved are added to it. (Acts 2:47)
What do we know about faithfulness to God? Complacency or indifference is a terrible spiritual state. "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16) There is no such thing as pleasing God while being just a casual Christian.
Do not put off doing what you know you should. Opportunities pass quickly. Are you doing that which meets with God's approval? Is your life built on truth? "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA