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THE SPIRITíS SWORD
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

                        published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ
                  Bellingham, WA
Volume III, Number 31 ∑ September 19, 1999
Editor..................Joe R. Price


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Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker
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 In this issue:

-- By Faith Sarah Received Ability  (Jeff Herrin) -- A series on Hebrews 11: Part 7
-- Destruction of the Flesh  (Joe R. Price)
--Sermons:
----Understanding Sin Better (Matthew 15:10-20 )
----The Christian and the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16)
--Noteworthy News: Amnesia Victim To Be Reunited With Family


BY FAITH SARAH RECEIVED ABILITY  A Series on Hebrews 11 (Part 7)

Jeff Herrin

Sarah is one of only two women who are mentioned in Hebrews 11. She also holds the distinction of being the only woman in the Bible whose age at the time of her death was recorded (perhaps even then it was impolite to reveal a woman's age). Far more importantly, no other woman is so pointedly designated as an example in the manner that Sarah has been. Peter said, "For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror" (I Pt. 3:5-6). She was a remarkable woman who faithfully accompanied Abraham in his sojourn.

The text does not say that Sarah used her ability by faith (not to say that faith shouldn't encourage us to use our ability). It says that she received ability by faith. She was miraculously enabled to conceive a child at an extraordinary age. She is not the only woman to come to God's attention because of her faith. Consider Rebekah, Hannah, the Shunammite woman (II Kgs. 4), and Elisabeth. All of these were blessed with children. Not all of these cases are obvious miracles as was the case with Sarah. God is in control and able to bestow abundant blessings in this life. The scriptures tell of many other faithful women who were blessed in other ways.

What is the lesson for us? God is drawn like a magnet to faith in the lives of men and women. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The faithless person worries, doubting the reward will ever come. Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" (Mt. 6:25). Sarah could have worried about all of these things when she sojourned in the wilderness, but her most precious blessing (a child whose name means laughter in Hebrew) came through faith. The lesson for us is simple. Sarah was rewarded for her faith.

Sarah's life encourages us to rearrange our priorities. What can be more important than growing in faith? Jesus encourages us, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Mt. 6:33). Therefore, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6).


DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH

 Joe R. Price

In the New Testament, the term "flesh" often describes the passions and desires which are opposed to God, righteousness and truth. "For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death." (Rom. 7:5)

The person who lives according to the flesh refuses to submit to God's rule over him (Rom. 8:7). Therefore, this person is spiritually dead and as such, an enemy of God (Rom. 8:5-7, 13). The works of the flesh are manifestly opposed to the fruit of the Spirit, and if we live according to the flesh we will inherit eternal death (Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 8:13).

Therefore, Christians must "put to death the deeds of the body" and live "according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:13, 4-9). We must hear and heed the word of truth which the Spirit of God has revealed so that we can bear godly fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-25).

Remember that now you belong to Christ. As a "new creation" you no longer belong to the world. (2 Cor. 5:17) Therefore, Christ expects you to destroy the flesh and be led by the Spirit. "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24).

This is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 5:5: "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Public church discipline of the unrepentant sinner is designed to restore him to godliness -- to destroy the flesh with its passions and lusts. We destroy the flesh whenever we repent of sin and renounce its presence and power in our lives. How are we doing??

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue...." So goes the song we love to sing. I pray we are not singing condemnation unto ourselves -- singing one thing yet living another. Let us "crucify the flesh" and please God (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:8).


UNDERSTANDING SIN BETTER
(Scripture Reading: Matthew 15:10-20)

Sin is real and destructive - 1 Jno. 5:4; 5:17; Rom. 6:23.

I. SIN IS NOT A BIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON.
A. Sin Is Not In Our Genes - Rom. 5:12; Jas. 1:13-14; Ezek. 18:20; Deut. 24:16.

II. SIN IS NOT IN HUMAN NATURE.
A. Man's Constitution (Made By God) Is Not Sinful - Eccl. 7:29; Eph. 2:1-3; Jas. 1:13-16.
B. Blaming Human Nature For Sin In Not Right.

III. SIN IS NOT TRANSFERABLE.
A. Man Has Always Tried To Blame Others For Their Sin - Gen. 3:12-13.
B. Sin Is Personal - Psa. 51:3; 32:5 (Ezek. 18:20; Jas. 1:14).

IV. SIN SEPARATES.
A. Sin Separates Man From God - Isa. 59:1-2 (Garden of Eden).
B. Sin Separates People - cf. Prov. 16:28 (Friends, family, etc.).
C. Sin Causes Eternal Separation From God - Rom. 6:23; Matt. 7:23.

V. AS LONG AS THERE IS LIFE, THERE'S HOPE.
A. You Can Combat Sin - Heb. 9:13-14; Acts 4:12; Heb. 5:8-9; Rom. 6:3; 1 Jno. 1:7-9; Eph. 6:13-17.
 


For the complete text of the following sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS at: http://www.bibleanswer.com/chu_indv.htm

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE CHURCH
(Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:11-16)

-Two extremes:
1. Church minimized out of importance (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28).
2. Local church emphasized to the neglect of individual respon. of daily Christian living [Funnel approach]. {Miss. society; support human org.; social}

I. THE WORK OF THE LOCAL CHURCH (Col. 3:17).
A. Preach The Gospel - 1 Ths. 1:8; Acts 11:22-23; Phil. 1:3-5 (2 Cor. 11:8).
B. Edify The Saints (teaching & training of members) - Eph. 4:11-12,15-16.
C. Care For Needy Saints - 1 Tim. 5:16; Acts 6:1-3; 1 Cor. 16:1-3. -Acts 6:1-4 - Basic areas: Ministry of the word / tables.

II. WORK OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH.
A. The Universal Church Does Not Work In An Organized Fashion.
B. The Universal Church Does Work When Christians Live By Faith Under The Leadership Of Christ - Eph. 1:22-23; 4:13-16.

III. EVERY INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN IS TO BE AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST - Eph. 4:16.
A. Notice Individual Christian's Obligations.
B. Christians Are To Be "Self-Starters" As Well As "Jumper Cables" - Gal. 6:1-2.


Noteworthy News
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

AMNESIA VICTIM TO BE REUNITED WITH FAMILY
(Updated 10:26 AM ET September 17, 1999)

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A Native American woman who turned up in Oklahoma a month ago and was unable to recall her name or recognize herself in a mirr or will be reunited with family members Friday, a federal official said Thursday.

Capt. Larry Hoklotubbe, a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, said the woman had been identified by a family living in the area of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who recognized her picture on a flier that was sent to them.

Hoklotubbe declined to release the woman's name before the scheduled meeting with her family at the Oklahoma City shelter where she has been living for the last month.

The woman was dropped off near Springer, Oklahoma, on Aug. 19 by a truck driver who told a store clerk to call for help because she was bleeding from a head wound, officials said.

She was unable to recall basic facts about her life, such as her name or the names of anybody she knew, although she had a wedding ring and bore scars from delivering a child by caesarian section.

Hoklotubbe said the woman's family reported her missing on Aug. 14.

"She was positively identified from a flier we sent them," he said.

COMMENTARY
 Joe R. Price

Losing one's memory must be frightening! We truly hope this lady will soon recover hers.

An even worse loss of memory is when a Christian forgets their cleansing from their past sins (2 Pet. 1:9). Such a loss of memory causes the Christian to become spiritually lazy and negligent, unwilling to energetically grow in faith (2 Pet. 1:5-8).

Are you able to recall your spiritual state before you obeyed the gospel? The apostle Paul could, and it enabled him to rejoice in and teach others of the mercy He had received from Christ (1 Tim. 1:12-16). If you cannot remember that you were once in spiritual death because of your sins, you will not be greatly motivated to love and live for Jesus!

Do you let the Bible, the word of God, help you to remember what parts of your life you need to improve? James 1:21-25 describes the man who sees himself in a mirror, but does not use it to remember what kind of man he is. Similarly, if we see ourselves in God's word but do not use it to correct our character and conduct, we only deceive ourselves. We cannot be hearers only - we must be hearers and doers of God's will in our lives. Spiritual amnesia: Do you remember who you are???


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