"Sound Doctrine" - (Titus 2:1)

Making Your Own Orange Juice

Steve Klein

Leroy Eims writes the following about driving with his family from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida:

"As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. 'I'm sorry,' the waitress said. 'I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken.' At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen - orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it. Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food - but that many Christians haven't grown enough to know how to get it for themselves."

Keeping your Bible study skills in good working order is indeed a lot like maintaining the ability to squeeze oranges to make your own juice. If you don't use the skill, you'll lose the skill, and you may forget that you ever even had it (cf. Hebrews 5:12-14).

Here's what studying the Bible for yourself has in common with making your own hand-squeezed orange juice:

You are sure of the source. When you are brought a glass of orange juice at a restaurant, you have no idea where it came from or what kind of oranges were used to make it. Even so, when you merely read or hear what someone says about the Bible, how can you be certain that God is the source? But when you read the words of an inspired apostle or prophet for yourself, you know that you are getting divine truth direct from the source. In Ephesians 3:3-4, the apostle Paul points out that the Scriptures he wrote came by "revelation" from God; he promises that "when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ". Paul declared, "The things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37).

You know its purity. A lot of orange juice that you buy is actually made from concentrate. Water and other things are added to it. It's not really pure orange juice. A lot of so-called "truth" that has been reconstituted by preachers isn't pure either; it has been mixed with human error. But God's word, like fresh squeezed OJ, is 100% pure. The Psalmist declares, "Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it" (Psalm 119:140). Proverbs 30:5 states, "Every word of God is pure". We are to desire God's word in its pure and unadulterated form (1 Peter2:2).

You can take your time and enjoy the product with confidence. Like enjoying a glass of fresh squeezed juice to the last drop, when we study for ourselves, and know that we've got God's pure word, we can savor it thoroughly like the Psalmist who said, "I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love. My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes" (Psalms 119: 47-48).

It takes work. Squeezing oranges by hand is a lot of hard work; so is studying your Bible for yourself. In all reality, that is why a lot of people do neither. It's too much work. But if we want juice and truth that are from the right source, 100% pure, and can be enjoyed with confidence, we'll put forth the effort. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

Unmarried And Expecting

Bryan Matthew Dockens

What should an unmarried couple do that is expecting a child?

First, forgiveness is necessary. Fornication has been committed, which is a damnable work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) and a sin unlike any other (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). God's forgiveness is precipitated upon repentance (Luke 24:47), which is change or conversion (Acts 3:19), and comes from genuine sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is important that sinners show their shame (Jeremiah 6:15). In the case of those who have never obeyed the gospel, repentance must accompany a public confession of Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), followed by immersion in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). In the case of those who have previously been saved, the sin must be confessed to God in prayer (1 John 1:9) and to brethren who will also pray (James 5:16).

For many, abortion would be considered an appropriate escape from the consequences of their misbehavior, but such would be nothing short of murder, which is, of course, a grievous sin (Revelation 21:8). In God's word, the occupant of the womb is consistently described, not as a fetus or an embryo, but as a child, a son, or a babe (Ruth 1:11; Job 3:3; Luke 1:36, 41, 44). Under the Old Testament, such a child enjoyed the full protection of the law (Exodus 21:22-25), and so it ought to be today. God still hates "hands that shed innocent blood" (Proverbs 6:16-17).

The prospect of marriage should be considered only with the greatest of caution. A poor choice in the matter of matrimony could very well serve to intensify existing trouble (Proverbs 21:9, 19; 25:24; 27:15). If the involved parties are so lacking in self-control that they cannot refrain from further sexual immorality, then marriage would be worth considering (1 Corinthians 7:1-2), but they must remember that divorce would not be an option (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Marriage is a lifelong commitment (Romans 7:1-2), so wisdom should be sought (James 1:5).

Finally, the father of an illegitimate child should be reminded not to surrender his parental responsibility. It would be sinful to neglect the child's material needs (1 Timothy 5:8; Matthew 7:7-11). Children need fathers to provide discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11; Proverbs 13:24). Most importantly, fathers are duty bound to instruct their children in God's word (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

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