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:
A Review of James Johnson's
Bible Newsletter Vol 1, No 1, Apr 1999
The Old Covenant and the Doctrine of Christ
Joe R. Price
Consequences Of This Doctrine
Every teaching has consequences, logical conclusions which necessarily follow from the principles upon which it rests. So it is with the opinion that the words of Jesus have no relevant application to or authority over the lives of people today. These consequences include:
1) The disciple of Christ (Christian) is not permitted to appeal to the very words of His Master to authorize his conduct.
A disciple is one who learns from his master and then follows his master’s instruction (cf. Lk. 6:40). Brother Johnson’s doctrine makes it impossible for a Christian to appeal to the very words of Jesus - his Lord and Master - to authorize his beliefs and actions. So, the disciple cannot be trained by the words of his master!
2) The personal teachings of Jesus before the cross can never, ever apply to men after the cross.
Yet, the apostle Paul so applied the words of Christ in 1 Corinthians 7:10 when he said, “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord....” The commandment Jesus spoke before the cross applied to married Jews and Gentiles after the cross! And again, Paul said after the cross: “And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35) What Jesus said before the cross applied to Jews and Gentiles after the cross! The teaching being offered by brother Johnson directly contradicts how the apostles used the words of Christ!
3) The personal teachings of Jesus before the cross never, ever apply to those who are not Christians.
Jesus came as the Savior of all men, and He will save all who believe on Him, whether Jew or Gentile (Lk. 19:10; 1 Tim. 4:10).
The gospel was first preached to the Jews, both by Jesus and by His apostles (Jno. 1:11). But, Jesus (and His apostles) also preached the gospel to Gentiles (Matt. 4:12-17; Acts 13:44-49). One is wrong to conclude that Jesus only preached to Jews before the cross.
Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (Jno. 12:48-50)
According to this verse, the words Jesus spoke contain eternal life. If Jesus only taught the law of Moses, then we must conclude that the law of Moses contained eternal life. If this is true, then Christ died in vain! (Gal. 2:21; 3:21)
4) A teaching must be restated after the death of Jesus before it is binding upon men today. This is the assumption of human wisdom, for we have found it to be complete refuted within the word of Christ. (Matt. 28:18)
Jesus said, “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). Jesus affirmed that what He preached was different from the law and the prophets. The gospel of Christ, which was preached since John the baptizer, caused people to forcefully endeavor to enter the kingdom (cf. Matt. 11:12). Please see that Jesus did not say ‘the law and the prophets were until the cross.’ It is true that the law of Moses remained in force until abolished by Christ’s death. It is equally true that Jesus was preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35; Mk. 1:15). Even though His audience was primarily Jewish, Jesus was not preaching the law of Moses (cf. Rom. 1:16; Acts 2:39; 3:26).
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk. 1:1). So begins Mark’s record of the life and teachings of Jesus. According to brother Johnson, Mark and the Holy Spirit got it wrong. The Spirit of God should have directed Mark to write, “The beginning of the teaching of the law of Moses by Jesus Christ, the Son of God!” Incredibly, this is what the doctrine espoused by brother Johnson and others would have us believe.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matt. 7:15) These words of Jesus resound with all of heaven’s authority for all men - today even as when they were first spoken. Brother Johnson says that what Jesus taught before the cross does not apply to men today. The Bible does not agree. We must resist, reject and reprove this false teaching.
“Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words” (Col. 2:4).
Joe R. Price
Man has always searched for something or someone to worship. History readily proves this point. Unfortunately, when man has been left to his own ways he has bowed down before images graven by human art and device (Acts 17:29; cf. Isaiah 44:9-20). Even when man refuses to worship the true God he will worship something of his own choosing (Romans 1:18-23; Colossians 2:23).
The God of heaven and earth has always expected man to approach Him in reverent worship. From the earliest days of humanity God has revealed the importance of acceptable worship. Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God because it was offered in faith, while Cain’s was not (Genesis 4:1-5; Hebrews 11:4).
Those who worship God must know Him (Acts 17:22-23). And, one must be a “true worshipper” by worshipping God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Here is the New Testament pattern of acceptable worship before God. Use it to make sure you are offering acceptable worship to God.
THE LORD’S SUPPER SINGING
Every first day of the week - Acts 20:7; 2:42 Speaking to one another in songs - Ephesians 5:19
Communion with Christ - 1 Corinthians 10:16 Making melody with heart to Lord - Eph. 5:19
Memorial of His death for our sins - 1 Cor. 11:23-29 Teach & admonish one another - Col. 3:16
Continue steadfastly in prayer - Acts 2:42
Pray for brethren, leaders, all men - 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 1 Timothy 2:1-2
With one accord and holy hands - Acts 4:24-30; 1 Timothy 2:8
On the first day of the week as we have prospered - 1 Corinthians 16:2
Voluntary, with purpose and cheerfulness of heart - 2 Corinthians 9:7
Having first given oneself to the Lord - 2 Corinthians 8:5
TEACHING GOD’S WORD
The word of God, not fables - 2 Timothy 4:2-4
For the edification of the hearers - 1 Corinthians 14:26; 2 Timothy 2:2
Preach the apostles’ doctrine (gospel) - Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
We must be careful not to change the worship God accepts by substituting the doctrines of men (Matthew 15:7-9; Colossians 2:23). Remember Cain.
Are you worshipping God by faith or by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)? That is, are you worshipping Him as He has revealed in His word (“in truth”)? Do you come before Him with a heart of reverence, adoration and humble submission (“in spirit”)?
We Are Well Able!
(Scripture Reading: Rom. 8:31-39)
Num. 13:27-31 - Ten spies surveyed Canaan & said: “Impossible!”
Caleb (& Joshua) surveyed the same land & said: “More than able!”
2. When you look out over Whatcom Co. & the gospel work before us, how do you view landscape? - Num. 14:1-5, 6-9
3. Like Israel, we are “well able” to take the land!
I. OVERCOME SIN
IN OUR OWN LIVES.
-Faith in God means we know He gives us:
· The power to put the old man to death - Rom. 6:1-6
· The power to resist temptation to sin - 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:22; Jas. 4:7-8
· The power to live holy lives in an unholy world - cf. Jno. 17:15-17; Tit. 2:11-12
II. TEACH THE
LOST IN THIS COMMUNITY.
-Faith in God means we trust God:
· For opportunities - Acts 4:29-31; 5:12-14
· For the message we should teach (His word of the gospel) - 1 Cor. 1:21-25; 2:1-5
· For the salvation of souls (growth) to occur - 1 Cor. 3:6; 2 Cor. 3:5
GROW TO MATURITY AS GOD’S PEOPLE.
-Faith in God will cause us to use:
· His diet (nutrition) - Jno. 6:48-51, 55-57, 63, 67; 1 Pet. 2:1-2
· His exercise - 1 Tim. 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 9:24-27
His maintenance program - 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 5:13-14; 1 Cor. 15:58
Strong In Christ
(Scripture Reading: Phil. 4:8-13) | Phil. 4:13; 2 Cor. 10:3-4; 1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10
I. BE INTERESTED IN GOD’S WILL!
A. The Ethiopian - Acts 8:27-39; Cornelius - Acts 10:1-2, 22, 24, 33; 48.
II. HAVE CONVICTIONS BASED ON GOD’S WORD - Rom. 10:17.
A. Full Of Faith - Acts 11:24; cf. 2 Tim. 1:12; 1:7; 1 Cor. 16:13.
III. HAVE A DESIRE FOR THE TRUTH & RIGHTEOUSNESS. (1 Pet. 2:2)
A. Seek & Apply God’s Word & Will For Your Life - Acts 13:6-7; Matt. 5:6.
IV. DECIDE NOW TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT!
A. Have A Willing Mind - 2 Cor. 8:12.
B. Determine To Deny Self & Sacrifice For Jesus - Lk. 9:23; Heb. 3:7-8; 2 Cor. 6:2.
V. DO THE RIGHT THING NOW! - Josh. 24:15; 1 Kgs. 18:21
A. Must Do The Things Which Produce Spiritual Strength - Eph. 6:10-11,
B. We Must Do More Than Talk A Good Game - Live It! - Matt. 7:23
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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