THE SPIRITíS 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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SWIFT TO HEAR
Joe R. Price
The epistle of James teaches every man to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (Jas. 1:19) Until we learn to listen we will never be able to hear what God's word teaches us. And, we will not be able to effectively communicate with others. Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matt. 13:9) Ears to hear require:
Humility of heart. Listening involves the ability to say to, "I need to hear what some else has to say." Sadly, some do not develop this trait. They are always right. They have all the answers. They don't have time to listen to anybody else. For the lack of humility, many refuse to listen to God's word (Jno. 8:43).
Listening to the right people. All of us need to listen to God. It is utter folly for us to "refuse Him who speaks" (Heb. 12:25)! Listening to God means that we listen to the word He has spoken to us through His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). The New Testament writers wrote the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37). To cast their words aside and refuse to listen to them amounts to refusing to listen to God!
Listening to divine wisdom. There are many people who will give you their opinions about God and the Bible. But, they only draw from the well of human wisdom, knowledge and experience (1 Cor. 3:18-20). But the person who will listen to divine wisdom is blessed by God: "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD" (Prov. 8:34-35). The best person to listen to for wisdom is Jesus (via His New Testament), for in Him "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
Obeying what we hear from God's word. Listening to God but not obeying what His word says is of absolutely no spiritual value to us. It is like the man who sees his unkept hair in the mirror, but instead of combing it he walks away and forgets about it! (Jas. 1:23-24) That is why the Holy Spirit inspired James to say that we must be "doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (Jas. 1:22).
Listening takes a lot of effort. It is easier to open our mouths and talk than it is to hear and ponder what someone else is saying to us. But the rewards are eternal when we listen to and obey the word of God. Do you have "ears to hear?"
BY FAITH NOAH PREPARED A Series on Hebrews
11 (Part 4)
In the parable of the wicked servant, Jesus warns, "And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes" (Lk. 12:47). Noah was warned by God concerning the flood and told what he needed to do to save himself and his family. He was saved from the flood because of his faith in God's plan to build an ark.
We have also been warned. This earth will not last forever. Peter concluded, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (II Pt. 3:11). Have we prepared? Are we living the kind of life that makes us ready for the Lord's return? Have we made preparations to provide our families with an atmosphere and opportunities that will encourage them to be saved? The clock is ticking. You are running out of time with your little ones and your teenagers. Your own life is passing as a shadow.
One of the most familiar parables is referred to as the "parable of the ten virgins". Five of them were not adequately prepared. They tried to get ready at the last minute, but the bridegroom came in their absence and the door was shut. They begged to enter, "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Mt. 25:12-13). Don't try to get one of your children ready at the last minute. Don't wait until the last minute to talk to your neighbor, or put off obeying the gospel. If you are not prepared to meet God in judgment, you will regret it for all of eternity.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS at: http://www.bibleanswer.com/silence.htm
DOES THE SILENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES GRANT PERMISSION OR SET LIMITS?
(Scripture Reading: 1 Chron. 13:1-8)
-Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Num. 4:1-6, 15; 7:9; 1 Chron. 13:9-14; 15:11-15- Silence of the scriptures is not license...silence restrains!
I. GOD'S SILENCE: MAN'S DISRESPECT & GOD'S JUDGMENTS.
A. Nadab & Abihu - Lev. 8:36; 9:2-4; 10:1-2.
B. King Saul - 1 Sam. 15:3, 9, 13-15, 22-23.
C. Jeroboam - 1 Kgs. 12:26-33; Hosea 8:4-7.
D. Judaizers - Acts 15:1, 24; Gal. 2:5.
E. Priestly Tribe Of The Law Of Moses - Heb. 7:12-14.
II. ADDING TO GOD'S SILENCE IS GOING BEYOND HIS DOCTRINE & AUTHORITY - Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Jno. 9.
A. Music In Worship (Eph. 5:19). Sing + Play = Beyond Christ's authority!
B. Mode Of Baptism (Rom. 6:4). Immerse + Sprinkle = Beyond!
C. Subject Of Baptism (Mk. 16:16). Believer + Proxy = Beyond!
D. New Birth (Jno. 3:5; Eph. 5:26). Water & HS + Tong.-Speaking = Beyond!
E. Divorce & Remarriage (Matt. 19:9). Fornication + desertion = Beyond!
F. Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). 1st day + Thursday = Beyond Christ's authority!
THE URGENCY OF THE GOSPEL
(Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:42-51)
I. The Planning Of Salvation Before Creation Calls Us To Urgency - Eph. 1:4-8; 3:11; Col. 3:1-3.
II. The Compassion Of Christ Calls Us To Urgency - Matt. 9:36-38; Mk. 1:40-41.
III. The Crucifixion Calls Us To Urgency - Rom. 8:32; 5:6-8; Heb. 10:26-31.
IV. Christ's Exaltation Calls Us To Urgency - Acts 2:34-36; Dan. 7:13-14.
V. Christ's Future Coming Calls Us To Urgency - Acts 1:11; 2 Ths. 1:8-9; 1 Ths. 4:16-18.
VI. Christ's Charge To His Church Calls Us To Urgency - 1 Tim. 3:15; 4:11; 2 Tim. 2:2; 4:1-2.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Even the Vatican is Y2K ready
And in U.S., bankers push for sermons urging the faithful to keep cash in bank By George Bullard / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Religious leaders are working hard to make sure that coming of the year 2000 isn't the end of the world.
At least not for their computers.
The Vatican's machines are ready to fight off the Y2K bug, reports Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the city-state and the former archbishop of Detroit. Szoka, who runs the 108-acre nation, has supervised everything from Y2K compatibility to a new parking garage to a new entrance for the Vatican Museum.
"We're ready," Szoka said this week during a visit to Detroit.
Consultants checked out church computers and upgraded software at the Vatican, which is even wired with state-of-the-art fiber optics. Some 29 million additional visitors are expected next year.
In the United States, a group of bankers has proposed a model sermon they hope will convince the faithful to keep their money in their institutions at the turn of the millennium.
The American Banker Association is urging its members to publicize a sermon that says, in part, "Banks will keep your money safe. ... Trust God ... and take a few practical steps." (8.26.99)
Joe R. Price
Y2K -- will it disrupt our electronic world or will it be only an annoying speed bump on the information super highway? It is hard to know.
But, there is a future event we have good reason to believe will occur. For this event, all of us should be prepared. It is the return of Jesus on the last day (Acts 1:11; 2 Ths. 1:7-10; 2 Pet. 3:4, 9-13). We do not know when Jesus will return. But, we do know He will come again. (1 Ths. 4:13-18)
Preachers should be more concerned about preparing themselves and others for the return of Jesus than for Y2K! "For when they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them...and they shall not escape." (1 Ths. 5:3) Like a thief in the night, Jesus will return suddenly and without warning (1 Ths. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10).
Maybe why people are more concerned with getting ready for Y2K than with getting ready to meet Jesus is they know when Y2K will happen - they don't know when Jesus will return. It is easy to forget, and think there is "time enough yet."
Tomorrow may be too late! Prepare to meet Jesus today! (Jas. 4:17)
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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