THE SPIRITíS SWORD
The Mt. Baker church of Christ
April 9, 2000 -- Volume IV Number 06
Editor: Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
The Unity of the Bible
Watchdog Or Hushpuppies?
Often those who find themselves in indefensible positions resort to "invective" for justification. One of the more popular invectives is for those who speak out against error and criticize false teaching is "watchdog."
Now it is funny that the usual criticism of "watchdogs" is that they are not kind in the way they deal with problems. It is resented that they should be critical or that they should communicate their concerns to others. It rarely matters whether the language used is kind or unkind, or what kind of spirit is manifest when "watchdog" does his thing. The fact is that they have done it, and they have actually used such terms as "false teacher" with reference to those who teach that which is false. The funny part is that "false teacher," while it may not be pleasing to hear it used about oneself, is an entirely useful term. It describes one in terms of what he does, and it rarely is applied unless one persists in his teaching of error. That is fair. But "watchdog" is intended as invective, not a kind or descriptive way of putting things at all. Those who use it must make an effort not to sound bitter or superior. And it wreaks positively of what it is intended to criticize.
What does God say? "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall diem his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezek. 3:17-19). God commends the function that some have decried as being "watchdogs," but uses a more functional and less abusive term - "watchman."
Those who take it upon themselves to speak for God are privileged to do so. With the privilege comes grave responsibility. "Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment" (Jas. 3:1). As servants of God we are entrusted with the spiritual welfare of the world, the souls of men. As each must answer to God, we must answer for how we have effected their answer. We have a responsibility to teach and to warn of those who teach error. If we cannot do that, then we dare not claim the privilege.
Paul said, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Was Paul being a "watchdog" when he told the brethren to reprove those who work darkness? By the way, "reprove" makes an interesting word study. "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Gal. 2:11-14). When error is publicly proclaimed or endorsed, it needs to be publicly exposed. That is Paul's teaching an d his example. To do less is to neglect God's will in the matter.
The best watchdogs are the ones who make the most noise. I had a friend once who had a vicious Doberman. He bragged that no one would dare rob his house because of the fear that dog would provoke. He came home one day to find his house empty and the dog chewing on a strange "soup-bone" while his mind was apparently "lost in space." What good was that mutt? The dog the thief fears the most is the poodle or Chihuahua. Have you ever seen one of those that didn't bark his head off. The noise of exposure and contradiction the false teacher cannot abide. He must do his work unopposed by the light of truth. He searches out the dark corners of vulnerable ears to plant his seed. Those who would warn are called "watchdogs" as though that classifies them as vile.
But it is the dog that doesn't bark - the "hush-puppy" - that is condemned in Scripture. "His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, the dogs are greedy, they can never have enough; and these are shepherds that cannot understand: they have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, from every quarter" (Isa. 56:10-11). Faithful servants are watchful. The best watchdogs are the ones who make the most noise.
-(Desert Trails Companion, VII:35; Nov. 10, 1996)
Miracles In The New Testament
"SIGNS, WONDERS AND POWERS" (Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:4)
-SIGNS: Their design was to reveal the presence of God - Jno. 3:1-2; 9:32-33.
-WONDERS: Their nature was to attract the attention of men, to cause astonishment - Acts 3:9-11.
-POWERS: Their origin was God - Acts 10:38; 3:12, 16.
WHY WERE MIRACLES WORKED?
-Produce belief that Jesus is the Christ - Jno. 20:30-31; 5:36; 10:25, 38; 11:42; Matt. 11:2-6.
-Reveal the gospel to Christ's apostles and prophets - Jno. 16:13; Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:3-5.
-Divine confirmation of the gospel message - Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:2-4.
WHO WORKED MIRACLES?
-Jesus Christ - Matt. 4:23-24; Acts 2:22; 10:38.
-Those to whom Jesus gave the power - Matt.10:1; Lk. 10:1,9,17.
-The Apostles Of Christ - 2 Cor. 12:12 (baptized with the Holy Spirit - Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4).
-Christians On Whom An Apostle Laid His Hands To Impart Spiritual Gifts - Acts 8:14-18; 19:6; 2 Tim. 1:6.
HOW LONG DID MIRACLES LAST?
-Until the death of those who had the power to work them. (The means of imparting miraculous gifts ceased when apostles died.)
-Until their purpose was fulfilled (the gospel completely revealed and confirmed - 1 Cor. 13:8-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
For the complete outline of this sermon please visit
Scripture Reading: Psalm 27
1. Our attention is given to many things in this life. Many things require our attention. Such is not wrong, but we must be cautious-Matt.6:33; Lk.9:62.
2. Keeping our spiritual priorities in order is crucial - Matt. 6:19-21.
I. ONE THING IS NEEDED - Lk. 10:42.
A. Many Things Are Important, Such As Hospitality - Lk. 10:38, 40.
B. One Thing Is Needed: The Word of Christ - Lk. 10:39, 42.
II. ONE THING I KNOW - Jno. 9:25.
A. I Know That Jesus Is My Sinless Example - Jno. 9:24 (1 Pet. 2:21-22)
B. I Know Jesus Is My Savior - Jno. 9:35-38 (20:30-31).
C. I Know That Jesus Saved Me From My Past Sins - Rom. 8:16; Jno. 8:31-32.
III. ONE THING YOU LACK - Mk.10:21(17-22)
A. We Must Sacrifice Everything In Order To Be Right With God - Lk. 9:23; 14:33; Gal. 2:20.
B. Repentance Of Sin Demands Giving Up Every Sin! (Rom. 6:1-2); Acts 19:18; Matt. 5:29-30.
IV. ONE THING I DO - Phil. 3:13-14.
A. None Of Us Can Change The Past - cf. 1 Tim. 1:12-16. -"Forgetting those things which are behind..."
B. Every One Of Us Can Reach Forward & Press Toward To The Goal Of Heaven - Phil. 3:13-14; 1 Cor. 9:26-27. -"reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize..." - 2 Tim. 4:7.
V. DO NOT FORGET THIS ONE THING - 2 Pet. 3:7-13.
A. The Lord Is Eternal (Not Bound By Time): He Will Keep His Word & Punish All Sin! - 3:8-9; cf. Rom. 12:19; 1:18; 2:3-5; 2 Ths. 1:8-10; Jno. 12:48; Rom. 2:6, 11.
B. What Manner Of Person Should You Be? - 2 Pet. 3:11; Phil. 1:27.
For the complete outline of this sermon please visit
WHY WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
The Unity Of The Bible
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:17-24
1. The Bible reflects the hand of inspiration which gave it (2 Tim. 3:16).
2. If God inspired the Scriptures they should manifest UNITY & HARMONY (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 14:33) -- Not disjointed collection of writings made & gathered by men.
I. THE MARVEL OF THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE. - (66 books - But one book!)
A. Striking Differences, Yet Profound Unity Seen In It: (~40 different writers over 1500 years with different backgrounds, places, and languages, yet one unified book.
B. The Harmony We Shall Consider Defies Human Origin As An Explanation for Its Existence! -All from One, Eternal God!
II. ITS STRUCTURAL & ORGANIC UNITY (Psa. 119:160; cf. 2 Pet. 3:1-2, 16).
A. Structurally United.
B. The Bible Is An Organic Whole - cf. Lk. 24:44.
III. ITS UNITY OF PURPOSE (Theme).
A. Theme Of Redemption Present From Start To Finish. (God redeems man from sin).
B. Bible's Unifying Theme Demonstrates Its Divine Origin.
IV. ITS UNITY OF RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE.
1. Doctrine of God (Acts 17:22-23; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Jno. 1:1-3).
2. Doctrine of Man (Psa. 8:3-9).
3. Moral Standard (Gen. 6:5-8).
4. Doctrine of Salvation (Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:14-15; 5:8-9).
B. If Such Unity Exists, Then Why Is There So Much Division Among Professed Believers? (Religious division used to discredit the Bible.)
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Are Planets Conspiring To End World
[See AP article on the Internet at: http://www.sltrib.com/04062000/science/38941.htm]
Like cosmic billiard balls, six planets and the sun will align themselves next month. This astronomical feat happens every 20 years or so (it occurred in 1962, 1982 and will happen again in 2020, for example). The end-of-the-world prognosticators are out in force.
According to an April 6, 2000 AP report by Matthew Fordahl, astrological doomsayers are predicting this planetary alignment will cause everything from a shift in the Earth's poles to earthquakes and the ruin of the stock market.
As for pole shifting, "Quite frankly, it would be a geological Armageddon," said Richard Noone, author of 5/5/2000: Ice, The Ultimate Disaster." "You'd have volcanism going on globally. Earthquakes beyond the scale anything Richter ever dreamed of. Tsunamis hundreds of feet high, sweeping hundreds of miles inland."
Astrologers see the coming alignment as a change from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. The "pileup of energy" will lead to "some very serious reversals in the stock market" according to astrologer Norman Arens. And that's just for starters. He also sees quakes, floods, volcanoes and a movement away from 2,000-year-old Christian principles on the horizon.
Astronomer E. C. Krupps, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is skeptical that such calamities will occur. There is "no reason to get upset about it. If it is the end of the world, there's very little you can do, he said."
Joe R. Price
Astronomy is the science that deals with the material universe beyond the earth's atmosphere. Astrology, on the other hand, is condemned in the Bible as trusting in false knowledge and as powerless to save men (Isa. 47:12-15). God made the constellations, and it is to Him we must turn for our knowledge, guidance and salvation (Amos 5:8; Job 38:31-33). The "Age of Aquarius" is the figment of the unbeliever's imagination.
An astrologically induced Armageddon is not going to happen. No one is able to predict the end of time. Predictions of the end of the world as well as predictions that there will be no end of the world are both wrong (Matt. 24:42; 1 Ths. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:4-10).
Instead of useless predictions, we would do well to give attention to always being prepared for the moment when Christ returns to judge the world (Matt. 24:42-25:13; 1 Ths. 5:4-11; 2 Ths. 1:8-10). Are you ready?
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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