THE SPIRITíS SWORD

published by

The Mt. Baker church of Christ

Bellingham, WA

March 26, 2000 -- Volume IV Number 04

Editor: Joe R. Price

 

  

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STRENGTHENING THE HANDS THAT HANG DOWN

Joe R. Price

We all can become discouraged at times as we labor in the Lord's vineyard. That the "harvest is plenty" but the "laborers are few" can itself cause one to feel overwhelmed and incapable of meeting the challenges of preaching and the gospel. But, we must not grow weary in well-doing! (Gal. 6:9)

Then there is the discouragement which comes from brethren who will not stand foursquare in the gospel. Those who hold up the hands of brethren teaching error harm the cause of Christ, as do those who disparage faithful efforts to warn of the dangers of error in the body of Christ (cf. Acts 20:26-31). We should "strengthen the hands which hang down" when discouraged in the battle for souls (Heb. 12:12). Like Aaron and Hur, we must support the arms of the faithful, assured that the Lord will win the day (Exo. 17:8-16).

The following was penned by Tolbert Fanning during the midst of fighting against Missionary Societies in the Gospel Advocate, 1857 (pp. 181-182). In it he pleads for diligence in the face of brethren who call for compromise and the militancy of the gospel rather than retreat. I have copied his comments and carried them in my Bible for many years. I thought you might benefit from them, too.

Hear this brother's wise counsel with thoughtful consideration. Where do our loyalties stand?

"Courteous Reader: In the forty and seven years of our pilgrimage, and particularly in the twenty-eight we have labored in the Lord's vineyard, our journey has been rather pleasant than otherwise. Thankful to Heaven are we that much of the time we have been able to look on the bright side of human nature, when frequently there was no small amount to discourage us. Not only have we been successful in the cultivation of kindly sentiments toward our fellow beings, but we have even been scrupulous to entertain a fair degree of self-respect, without the least envy toward any living mortal. True, we have not, like Paul, been "in prison," "received from the Jews five times forty stripes save one;" neither have we been "beaten with rods," "suffered shipwreck," been "a night and a day in the deep," or "fought with wild beasts at Ephesus" or elsewhere; but we have endured what is much worse--we have on several occasions been forced to taste a bitter cup from the hands of those who called us "brother." In our ni neteenth year we enlisted as a corporal in the cause of One who "has gone to prepare a place" for his friends; so soon as we were able to bear the King's weapons, we threw his banner to the breeze for a life voyage, and we have not yet taken down our sails or put off the armor. We now hope not for peace, nor even an armistice. When we consult the flesh, our Master's enemies oft whisper in honeyed strains, "Compromise, compromise': but our Captain says: "Onward! There is no time for trifling. Fight the good fight of faith, take the kingdom by violence, and lay hold on eternal life." In our well-intended struggles for the cause we plead, we have necessarily been forced in to severe conflicts with some of our brethren of earth; but while sin abounds, we can hope not for rest. Our inclinations, and especially our desire to merit the favorable opinions of men, oft urge us to abandon the field, and sincere friends whisper in our ear, "You will appear to love debates and strifes"; but we endeavor to heed them not, and pray God for strength to more skillfully wield the spiritual weapons furnished us. We hope by the favor of our King still to stand for the defense of the heavenly oracles "as they are written."

 

 

SERMON OUTLINES

 

For the complete outline of this sermon please visit

http://www.neonocean.com/client/bibleanswer_user/topical/perspec1.htm

 

Part 1

LIVING WITH AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

-A Warning To Keep Our Eyes On Heaven-

[Scripture Reading: Heb. 3:5-15]

Intro.

We must live with an eternal perspective of life: "We will die in the wilderness if we fail to keep our eyes on Canaan."

I. ISRAEL'S SINS: OUR WARNING - 1 Cor. 10:5-12.

A. Lust After Evil Things - 10:6 (Num. 11:4ff) -1 Jno. 2:15-17; Jas. 1:13-15.

B. Idolatry: Having Other God's Before The Lord - 10:7 (Exo. 32:6); Exo. 20:3; Matt. 4:10; Col. 3:5.

C. Fornication: Defilement Of The Body - 10:8 (Num. 25:1-9); 1 Cor. 6:15-20; 1 Thess. 4:3-8.

D. Make Trial Of The Lord: Tempting God - 10:9 (Num. 21:4-9); Matt. 4:7; Num. 14:22; Acts 5:9.

E. Murmuring: Complaining Against God's Ways - 10:10 (Num. 16:41-50); Phil. 2:14; Prov. 19:3; Col. 3:17.

Conclusion

If we allows the distractions of the world to catch our eyes, they will cause us to die in unbelief, and we will lose our eternal reward - 1 Cor. 10:12-13; Heb. 3:12-13.

 

 

For the complete outline of this sermon please visit

http://www.neonocean.com/client/bibleanswer_user/topical/perspec2.htm

 

Part 2

LIVING WITH AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

-How To Keep Our Eyes On Heaven-

[Scripture Reading: Heb. 3:16 - 4:6]

How can we live with an eternal perspective (cf. Col. 3:1-4)?

II. THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IN FAILING TO KEEP OUR EYES ON HEAVEN: UNBELIEF - Heb. 3:7 - 4:2.

A. The Effects Of Unbelief:

1. Hardens the heart -3:8, 13, 15; Matt. 13:12-16

2. Eliminates reverence for God - 3:9-10; Psa. 106:21-22.

3. Perpetuates evil - 3:12; Mk. 7:20-23.

4. Falling away - 3:12; Heb. 10:26-27.

5. Disobedience - 3:18-19; 4:6; Lk.6:46; Matt. 7:21; Jas. 2:18.

6. Brings death & rejection - 3:11, 17-19; Rev. 21:8.

B. We Live In Unbelief By Failing To Keep Our Eyes On Heaven!

III. SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF UNBELIEF.

A. Hear Gospel With An Open Heart - Heb. 4:1-2; Lk. 8:8, 15, 18.

B. Obey The Truth We Hear - Heb. 3:18-19; 4:6; 5:9; Rom. 6:16-23.

C. Diligence In Our Faith - Heb. 4:11; 3:6, 14; cf. Heb. 12:1-2; Matt. 6:33; Rom. 12:11.

D. Live In Hope - Heb. 3:6, 14; 4:9-10; 6:11-12; Rom. 5:2.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN'S REST: HEAVEN - Heb. 4:8-11.

A. Rest From Our Works and Our Enemies - Heb. 4:4-5, 9-10 --Rev. 14:13; 1 Tim. 4:7.

B. The Christian's Objective: Col. 3:1-4.

Where are you headed: Rest or destruction?!

 

 

NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Pope Apologizes For Catholic Sins Of Past And Present

 

By: Richard Boudreaux, L. A. TIMES STAFF WRITER

VATICAN CITY -- In a landmark public confession, Pope John Paul II begged God's forgiveness Sunday for sins committed or condoned by Roman Catholics over the last 2,000 years, including sexism, racism, hatred of Jews and violence in defense of the Catholic faith.

The pope listed or alluded to a wide range of victims of Catholic hostility, prejudice and indifference as he asked his church to enter its third millennium with a purified conscience. These victims included heretics, Protestants, Jews and other non-Christians, immigrants, ethnic minorities, women, abused children and the unborn.

"We forgive and ask forgiveness," John Paul said several times during his solemn Day of Pardon Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, a crowning moment of a 21-year-old papacy that has made repentance a central theme. It was the first call by any pope for such a sweeping pardon for past and present wrongs.

The initiative was welcomed inside and outside the billion-member church as a bold, exemplary appeal for soul-searching and reconciliation. Some critics said it didn't go far enough; Jewish leaders voiced regret that it didn't condemn the Vatican's silence on the Holocaust during World War II.

John Paul faulted no Catholic leader, past or present. He mentioned no sinner by name, explaining that only God can judge individual responsibility.

A key passage of his homily defended the church as "a wonderful wealth of holiness, of missionary ardor, of total dedication to Christ and to our neighbor," but acknowledged that "some of our brothers have been unfaithful to the Gospel."

Their failings, he said, were especially glaring "in the second millennium"-- a period covering the holy wars of the Crusades, the executions of heretics and other non-Catholics by courts of the Inquisition, and the forced conversions of native peoples in Africa and the Americas.

Without specifying those bloody chapters, John Paul added: "We ask forgiveness for the divisions among Christians, for the use of violence that some Christians have committed in the service of the truth and for the attitudes of mistrust and hostility sometimes assumed toward followers of other religions."

Turning to contemporary sins, he asked Catholics to reflect on their responsibility for secularism, ethical relativism, violations of the right to life, indifference to poverty and "other evils that disfigure the face of the church." (edited for length, jrp)

 

COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

Does this papal confession of Catholic sins include the sin of corrupting the organization of the church and placing a man at its head, calling him the "Vicar of Christ" (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:20-23)? Does this papal plea of forgiveness for "divisions among Christians" constitute a repudiation of the "creeds of Christendom" which the RCC proclaims as orthodoxy despite their Biblical contradiction (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Gal. 1:8-9)? Does it include the sin of venerating images and people in the name of Christ (see picture above)? Will the RCC truly repent of its sins against God and mankind (cf. Lk. 3:8; Acts 26:20)? Or will it plead for pardon while continuing to infest the globe with its dogma and traditions which deny the gospel of Christ (Col. 3:17)? We shall see......judge righteous judgment! (Jno. 7:24)

 

 

The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA

Send all questions/comments to the editor at: ssword@bibleanswer.com