The Most Encouraging Book of the Bible

Which book could we ascribe with the title of “the most encouraging book of the Bible?” Immediately there are several candidates that come to mind. One might be the book of Revelation, with its constant affirmation of the victory that God’s people will have, even in the face of adversity (Revelation 2:10). Another candidate might be Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, for its continuous message of joy throughout the book (Philippians 4:4). And yet another possibility could be the book of Joshua; showcasing Israel at its spiritual peak, conquering the land of Canaan. However, I believe there is one book that stands tall among all of these possibilities, even though it is the unexpected underdog. I would nominate the book of Judges as the most encouraging book in Scripture.

This may come as a surprise, as we could be tempted to label this book as the most discouraging book of the Bible. After spending 40 years in a tiresome wilderness, the people of God were ready to enter the land of Canaan as it was promised to their ancestors. But before they saw this promise come to fruition, God presented them with a caution in Deuteronomy 6:10-12: And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers…then take care lest you forget the LORD. Upon reception of the coming abundance, they were to be watchful to keep the Lord in their remembrance. However, this warning was not given adequate attention, as the time of Joshua and the conquering of Canaan showed a faithful nation, but the time of the Judges, another type of nation. It is perhaps the most anticlimactic event in Biblical history. God’s people finally gained the abundance they sought after, only for a generation to rise up that knew not the Lord, or the great works He did (Judges 2:10). This led the nation, and the rest of the book of Judges, into a continual spiral of the people sinning, going into captivity, calling on God for help, the Lord rescuing them, and then the cycle repeats.

Why would we declare such a disheartening narrative the most encouraging book of the Bible? Because its message is not just about Israel’s wickedness. That is the element we tend to emphasize the most: the habitual regression of God’s people. Nevertheless, attached to that theme is the incredible patience, mercy and grace of God Almighty. Yes we see Israel sin over and over and over again; but we also see God save and restore them over and over and over again. That is what makes the book so encouraging. It’s dark and depressing atmosphere of a special nation continually allured by sin gives opportunity to show a measurement of just how far God is willing to go to save an ungrateful and disobedient people. You can’t really understand the extent of God’s grace until you see it in action against the most heinous of iniquities. This brings encouragement to a church filled with individuals that love the Lord, yet often make mistakes and fall to temptation, in spite of their love.

Have you ever felt like your sin was too big, terrible or grotesque for God to forgive? Read the book of Judges. Have you ever told yourself, “I have sinned too much, I have made the same mistake over and over again; God really has no reason to put up with my habitual mistakes?” Read the book of Judges. Have you ever imagined God being so angry with your continued rejection of Him that He won’t even listen to your plea for help anymore? Read the book of Judges.

If we keep getting up, even after we stumble, the book of Judges teaches us that God is willing to keep helping us up. This is not an attempt to encourage continuing in sin that grace may abound (Romans 6:1); but it is simply an acknowledgment that, no matter how great or numerous our sins are, grace can abound more (Romans 5:20-21). Repeatedly dipping in and out of sin is the most dangerous type of stumbling a Christian can fall to, no matter what the nature of the sin is. However, it is also the time we most need to be reminded of how far God is willing to go with us. After being caught up in cyclical mistakes, we tend to give up and forget that we have a way out, an advocate with the Father (1John 2:1). If this is you, if you feel too far into your sinful habits that you can’t turn back or that God has given up on you, I strongly encourage you, read the book of Judges.

 

 

What to expect

We in churches of Christ take seriously the Lord’s words in John 4:24: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The word of God, and specifically, the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:6-13), is our standard of truth for acceptable worship (John 17:17). God has not left it up to us to do as whatever we please when we approach him; through the inspired apostles of Christ he has directed the church in the manner in which we are to worship him. Our goal is to do as the early church, which “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).This makes our worship distinctive from what most are accustomed to seeing in other churches.

Because we are committed to following the God-given, apostolic pattern for worship, we praise God in song, “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col. 3:16). Our singing is not accompanied by a piano or band or other forms of instrumental music because we do not find authority for these additions in the New Testament. We learn from God’s word the church is to sing (Eph. 5:19), and we do not add to what God has instructed us to do or go beyond the authority of his word (1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19). While most visitors find our a cappella singing unusual, they also find the four part harmonies beautiful and edifying.

We learn from apostolic example and instruction to the early church that God’s people are to observe the Lord’s supper when they meet every first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29), and so each Sunday we partake of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ. Also, our members give into a collection for the work of God’s kingdom in accordance with the teaching of God’s word (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

In our worship assembly we also offer prayer to our Heavenly Father in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and listen to the preaching of the life-changing, soul saving gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). Our preaching is Bible-based, for we are to “speak as the oracles of God,” (1 Pet. 4:11). We are committed to exalting God by teaching and preaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and citing book, chapter and verse as we exalt God and focus on hearing his will for our lives revealed in the scriptures.

You will also find a warm welcome from friendly folks who want to help you understand God’s will for your life and his plan for your salvation so that you can be sure you are saved by his grace and have the hope of eternal life. We hope you can attend one of our worship assemblies or Bible classes soon. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

“The churches of Christ greet you”

Those are the words of Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, and we in the Roanoke Church of Christ echo that same sentiment to you today. But perhaps you’re wondering: Who or what are the churches of Christ? We hope the following will help answer that question:

Before the world ever began, God had a plan for you. That plan is revealed in the Bible and includes his church. The Bible tells us the church is part of the “eternal purpose” of God for every one of us that was made possible through Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:10-11). But there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the importance and identity of that church.

It was Jesus who said to his disciples, “I will build my church” (Mt. 16:18). The Lord kept that promise; he built his church and it exists today. The word of God tells us the church is called “the body of Christ” (Eph. 1:22-23) and that there is “one body…one Lord, one faith” (Eph. 4:4-6). There are no denominations in the Bible, yet when we look around today we see so many different churches, different faiths, different teachings. All of this religious contradiction can be confusing.

But if set aside the denominations, doctrines and traditions of men and simply go back to the Bible, we can belong to the church that Jesus built—the Lord’s church that is a part of God’s eternal plan to redeem us and bring us to heaven through his Son. If we follow the New Testament of Christ and do today what they did then, we can be today what they were then—simply Christians (Acts 11:26). Nothing more, nothing less—just Christians. Not members of any denomination, but members of Jesus’ church we read about in the Bible.

We in the churches of Christ are striving to be faithful to the authority of God’s word and abide by the pattern he has given us for his church (Acts 2:42; 2 Tim. 1:13). We kindly invite you to join us in going back to the Bible to be Christians only, a part of the Lord’s family, the church which he died to save with his blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23-25). Please let us know if you would like to study the Bible to learn more about the Lord’s church and his plan for our salvation.

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Location
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 737
Roanoke, TX 76262
Physical Address
Map
305 Rusk
Roanoke, TX 76262
P: (817) 491-2388
Meeting Times
Sunday

9:30 am - bible class

10:30 am - worship

6:00 pm worship

Wednesday

7:00 pm bible class

Singing every 5th wednesday of the month