Sometimes we look around our world, see the problems, and consider giving up. Our courts force our schools to teach our children evolution while denying creation. The result is people behaving as animals rather than as men made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). They attempt to justify their behaviors as constitutional and in the name of science. Attitudes of skepticism and indifference permeate our society. There is an epidemic of immorality, and few seem concerned. Men teach tolerance while suppressing the Scriptures. After all, we might offend someone. Instead of preaching the gospel, the religious community peddles doctrines of health, wealth, and prosperity. Little by little, mention of God is removed from our country. The world has forgotten that "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34, NKJV).
We may be tempted to think there has never been a generation as corrupt as the one in which we live. Students of the Bible know better. Sometimes we forget the trials which God's people have faced in the past (Heb. 11:35-38). Knowledge of their victory of faith can fortify us for the future. We know how the world conducts itself, but the matter of real importance is the question of how will we choose to live our lives. Let us look at some of the needs of the church today.
One cannot overemphasize the importance of knowledge of the Scriptures. It is by the Bible that men of God may be complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is by the Word that error may be defeated (Eph. 6:17). It is easy for someone to pull the wool over our eyes if we do not have the knowledge to distinguish between truth and error. Therefore, it is wise to search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). In order to give a defense of our hope, we need to know the Bible (1 Pet. 3:15).
We must join integrity with our knowledge of the Scriptures. Skeptics, even Satan himself, can quote Scriptures, but they lack integrity. Integrity is the soundness and honesty of mind to uphold the truth in sincerity. A person of integrity will rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 3:15). He will not twist the Scriptures to his own fancy (2 Pet. 3:16). He will be honest enough to recognize when he needs help in order to understand (Acts 8:30-31). Job is an excellent example of a man holding fast to his integrity even in the direst situations (Job 2:3). The church must be resolved to keep the Word regardless of the costs.
Besides the need of knowledge and integrity, the church needs greater reverence for the Bible. The reverential psalmist composed a psalm of 176 verses that praise God and His Word (Psa. 119)! After all, the everlasting God, the LORD Almighty, and Creator of the earth, inspired the Bible. The church should be an example of reverence to the disrespectful world. We need to live the Christian life, not as a sideline activity but as the whole meaning of our existence.
Understanding the distinctiveness of the Lord's church is necessary. The church of Christ is not a denomination. Jesus said, "I will build My church" (Mat. 16:18). The Lord adds the obedient to "the church" (Acts 2:47). In fact, there is but one church (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18). All over this world, there are congregations of the Lord's church holding faithfully to the New Testament pattern. Remember that, by being one, we are not only fulfilling the desire of Christ but also giving evidence to the world of His divinity (John 17:20-21).
What is the great need of the church as it faces the future? We can summarize it with the restoration motto: "Back to the Bible." Just because we live in a corrupt world does not mean that we must be corrupt. This year, let us, as the church, endeavor to grow in knowledge,develop greater integrity, increase in reverence, and recognize our distinctiveness as described in the Bible. "Preach the word!" (2 Tim. 4:2) -126 California Avenue, Chester, WV. 26034. (304) 387-1293. www.chestercoc.org firstname.lastname@example.org
(Brother Main is the son of Garry and Debora Main. He was born August 4, 1978, in Morgantown and grew up in Pine Bank, PA. He was baptized into Christ March 26, 1998. He is a graduate of the West Greene School District and, in May 2002, received his bachelor's degree from Waynesburg College. He entered the West Virginia School of Preaching in January 2003 and has preached in PA, WV, and OH. He is married to the former Karen Montgomery. Upon his graduation in January 2005, he began his labors as the associate minister with Frank Higginbotham in the Chester church of Christ.)
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