Oh Boy! It's Allowed!
by Bill Hall
How Can You Know God?
by Carrol R. Sutton
Oh Boy! It’s Allowed!
How many timeshave new converts received sound instructions concerning the life of a Christian, only to have the instructions nullified by the example of older members? A brother in Canada recently told me of his first trip south after his conversion. Struggling to overcome his tobacco habit because he had been taught that he ought to do so he watched with delight as the men of the "down south congregation went out between Bible study and worship to enjoy their cigarettes.”O boy!" was his immediate reaction; "It's allowed!"
The same thing happens in other areas of teaching. "Attend every service," new converts are told and sound reasons are given to back such instructions. But Brother Smith only attends the 11:00 o'clock service, and he is accepted as a faithful member. "One service a week must be sufficient," they say to themselves. "O boy! It's allowed!"
"Study your Bible daily, and prepare beforehand for every Bible class," they are wisely told. But, they see little evidence of Bible study on the part of others, and some of the comments in Bible classes definitely betray a lack of preparation. "Ignorance of God's word must not be too bad," they conclude. "O boy! It's allowed."
"Modesty of dress is essential for Christians," they hear repeatedly. But then they hear of mix~ swimming among the members and see Sister Jones wearing the tightest pants in town. "O boy," they think, "It's allowed!"
Older Christians ought to be constantly aware that they are being watched, watched by converts who are looking to them for examples. Part of the teaching those new converts are receiving is coming from the pulpit; the other part is coming from the lives of the other Christians around them. What are they seeing? What are they learning? How sobering to think that some new convert might have been discouraged and led astray by something he saw in my life! Let each live in every aspect of his life so as to be able to say, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Newer converts, though, must learn that God's word is the standard of authority, not the conduct of other Christians. Loyalty in a kingdom is determined by loyalty to the king rather than to subjects of the king. It is to Him that one pledges his allegiance when he becomes a Christian and must be faithful to Him whatever others around him may do or fail to do.
One's "O boy! It's allowed!" then must be limited to those things which God allows in His Word. But even then he would anticipate a certain reserve in one's expression, for the true Christian’s greatest delight is not in some activity that just happens to be "allowed," but in serving the Lord. "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
- Bill Hall
Via Walking in the Light, Vol. 5, No. 30, July 24, 2011
How Can You Know God?
If in the day of judgment, the lord says, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity," or "Verily I say unto you, I know you not," to you or to me, it will be a very sad occasion for us. (See Matthew 7:21 and 25:12). In view of the impending judgment, each of us should make sure that we know God. In order for God to know us, we must know Him. How can we know God? Our feelings do not indicate that we know God. Evil men may have good feelings. Human testimony of others is no indication that we know God.
In order to know God, you must believe confidently that God is, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Hebrew writer says: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6). John says: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." (John 20:30-31). To know God, you must be taught of God. You must learn God's will for man. You must approve of what God says and be willing to obey God's commandments. Jesus said: "Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). John also said: "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." (1 John 2:3).
If you are an alien sinner, God commands you to "repent". (See Acts 17:30-31). The Jews on Pentecost, who had crucified Jesus, were commanded to "Repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins..." (Acts 2:38). Saul, who was a praying penitent believer, was commanded to "...arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,..." (Acts 22:16).
To know God, we must love God. But to love God is to keep His commandments. Therefore, to know God is to keep God's commandments. (1 John 4:7-8; 5:3)
SUMMED UP: In order to know God (and for God to know you), you must learn God's will, believe it with all your heart and obey it sincerely!
-Carrol R. Sutton
Via The Instructor, Vol. 20, No. 6, June 1983