THE SPIRIT’S SWORD
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
Mt. Baker church of Christ
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In this issue:
Sing And Be Happy
by Joe R. Price
Ancient Israel was taught the value of making a joyful noise to the Lord (Psa. 95:1-2). Thankfulness to God for their creation, salvation and sustenance by His hand was to be at the heart of their praise (Psa. 81; 98; 100).
Neither the need for joyful praise nor the reasons for such praise has diminished with the changing from the old covenant to the new. The gospel of Christ says “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (praises)” (Jas. 5:13)
One way to help us remember to be joyful every day is to take time to count our blessings. Remember to meditate every day upon the many and diverse favors you receive from God’s hand and you will remember to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 4:4). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17). We have a magnificently beneficent and consistent Father! (Matt. 7:7-11) Is there a better reason to “sing and be happy?” (Acts 14:17)
Yes, there is. The spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus out strip every material blessing we could hope for (Eph. 1:3). The value of the soul makes it so (Matt. 16:26). The remission of sins by His grace, adoption into the family of God, prayer to the God of heaven and earth, a sure hope of heaven, a constant strength in trial - these and far more now belong to those who are in Christ (Eph. 1:4-7; 1 Pet. 3:12; Heb. 6:18-19; 13:5-6). And in the end, eternal life (Mk. 10:28-30). Sing and be happy!
So, why do Christians live life with frowns, frets and furrows on their brow? Jesus said the reason is “little faith” (Matt. 6:25-34). When we start trusting our strength, our ingenuity, our money, our achievements.....we forget God (cf. Dan. 4:28-37).
We are not suggesting a Pollyannaish denial of reality. But, we are taught to both look at the blessings of the moment and to look beyond the moment in faith so that we have an eternal perspective of life. If anyone on earth should have reason to “sing and be happy” it is the people of God! Will you join in the song?
Who is Going to Heaven?
In an article entitled, “Don't Kid Yourself,” brother Carl McMurray writes, “Sunday School Adult Quarterly took a national survey and compiled the following statistics. While this survey was not taken among our brotherhood, it still supplies some interesting information since attitudes common in the world are often found (to a degree) in the church of Christ. It was found that among church members:
10% cannot be
20% don't attend,
25% admit to not praying,
35% admit they don't read the Bible,
40% don't contribute financially,
60% never give to special efforts,
70% never assume any responsibility,
85% never invite another to worship,
95% never won another to Christ, yet,
100% expect to go to heaven.”
The above statistics don't really surprise
me; rarely will one affirm they are on the road and pathway to hell. To be
plain, though, we cannot fool ourselves. The Bible does not teach one may have
eternal life apart from hard work, dedication, and commitment. And so we
entertain the above question, “who is going to heaven?”
1) Few. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus revealed, “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.” This tells us that entering Heaven isn't a free-for-all, or one which involves a mass exodus! Jesus said few will find it; and few is set in contrast to many. Further in Matthew 7:22, Jesus announced, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and
done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” The many who practice lawlessness will sadly be turned away. Many are called, but few are chosen (Mt. 22:14).
2) Those Who Are Faithful. Notice that each of these statistics from church attendance and prayer, to taking responsibility and preaching the gospel, are commandments of God (Heb. 10:25; Phil. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Cor. 16:2; 1 Pet. 4:10; Mk. 16:15). (To clarify, though, the Bible doesn't teach one must baptize someone to be saved -- but certainly, we read of a great commission!) James writes, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10). So for the 100% who think they are on the stairway to glory, a reexamination of faithfulness is in order. Only those who heed the whole counsel of God may enter the pearly gates.
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5).
The Day Of His Power
(Scripture Reading: Psalm 110)
Who/what rules your life? - Matt. 6:24
2. The day of Christ's power is here! - Psa. 110:3; Matt. 28:18.
I. JESUS HAS POWER OVER SIN - Heb. 1:3; 1 Jno. 3:8; Heb. 2:14-15.
He Is Our Sacrifice For Sins (Gal. 1:4); Heb. 2:9-10; 9:26; 10:10-13.
B. He Is Our High Priest - Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:1; 2:17-18; 7:1-3, 15-17, 20-21;
Heb. 8:1-2 (10:21); Heb. 9:11-14, 24-26.
II. JESUS HAS POWER OVER DEATH - Jno. 11:25-26.
His Resurrection From The Dead - 1 Cor. 15:20; Acts 2:32-35.
B. Our Resurrection From The Dead - Jno. 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:21-26, 51-58.
III. JESUS HAS POWER OVER MANKIND (WORLD) - Psa. 110:2.
Christ Exercises Universal Authority By Means Of His Gospel - Jno. 17:2;
Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:17.
-The gospel is His instrument of rule: Isa. 2:3; Matt. 28:18; Mk. 16:15; Psa. 110:2 -3.
B. Jesus Will Judge The World - 110:5-6; Jno. 5:27; 12:48; Acts 17:31.
C. We Must Submit To Jesus’ Word - Psa. 2:10-12 (Lk. 6:46; Matt. 7:24-27).
The Instrument of Music
(Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:15-21)
How we approach God in worship is of fundamental importance - Jno. 4:23-24.
I. THE HISTORY OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN WORSHIP.
A. When Was The Instrument
First Used In Church Worship? (cf. NT & history)
B. Assessing The Historical Evidence: Added without God’s approval - cf. 2 Jno. 9-11.
II. A MATTER OF DIVINE AUTHORITY.
All Activities Must Be Authorized - Col. 3:17; Matt. 17:5; 28:18.
B. We Must Respect The Silence Of God’s Word & Not Add To It - Heb. 7:13-14.
C. Mechanical Instrument Of Music Is An Addition, Not An Aid, To True Worship.
D. Whenever We Disregard & Violate God’s Authority - 2 Tim. 2:16-17; 2 Jno. 9; Matt. 7:21-23.
III. IN DEFENSE OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN WORSHIP.
A. They Were Used In OT
Worship - 2 Chron. 29:25; Gal. 3:10-12; 2 Cor. 3:14; Col. 2:14-17.
B. In Eph. 5:19 “Psallo” Means “To Pluck/Twang” - Must Be An Instrument Involved.
C. There Are Instruments In Heaven - Rev. 14:2-3; 1 Cor. 15:50.
D. We Use Them At Home.
E. It Sounds Pretty, We Want It, & We Are Going To Have It - 1 Sam. 8:19, 7; 2 Cor. 5:7.
F. Worship Is A Right Thing To Do, & There Is No Wrong Way To Do It - Matt. 15:7-9.
G. The Argument Never Heard: “We Should Use Instrumental Music In Worship
Because The NT Commands It & The NT Church Used It.”
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Pope calls trip to Romania "historic"
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II today called his recent trip to Romania "historic" because it was his first to a mainly Orthodox country.
The three-day trip to Bucharest was also the first by a Roman pontiff to a mainly Orthodox country since the Eastern church definitively broke from Rome in the Great Schism of 1054.
The pontiff, who returned
Sunday, said during his weekly audience that the visit had offered Catholics and
Orthodox "the opportunity to take, together, an important step along the road
towards full unity."
The Polish-born pope, who will be 79 on May 18, has made reconciliation among Christians his principal goal for the start of Christianity's third millennium.
"Brotherly love and a spirit of dialogue is the way to overcome all the obstacles and difficulties that remain to reach true unity among Christians," the pope said, his voice displaying no unusual weariness from the weekend trip.
The Romania trip was seen as a launching pad for John Paul's ambitious plan of meeting with the patriarch of Russia, leader of the largest Orthodox church. (The Detroit News, May, 12, 1999)
by: Joe R. Price
Real unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches of the world is still a very long way off. It took nearly one thousand years for two of their leaders to even meet to discuss unity - so don’t hold your breath for the final outcome!
Sadly, at times brethren will not come together to discuss their differences (whether they be doctrinal or personal). Why is that? If all involved love truth (as is always averred) and all involved love their brethren (which none would openly deny), why won’t brethren get together with open Bibles and open hearts to resolve disputes upon a “thus saith the Lord” (Col. 3:17; Matt. 5:21-26)?
The reason is sin. Pride is one form of sin which proves to be a major hindrance to unity. The “I’m right and all others are wrong” attitude will never produce helpful steps toward unity (Prov. 26:12; 1 Tim. 6:3-4; Psa. 10:4). Humility cultivates unity among brethren (Phil. 2:1-3; Gen. 13:8-9). Akin to pride is stubbornness (1 Sam. 15:23; Psa. 32:9). “Rule or ruin” is the epithet borne by those in the body of Christ who do not really love unity among God’s people. These love themselves more than their brethren, their God and His word (cf. Matt. 24:12; 2 Cor. 12:15). And then we wring our hands and wonder why there is so much division among Christians!! Who will stand in the gap and plead for unity based upon God’s revealed word of truth?! (Ezek. 22:30; Eph. 4:4-6)
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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