THE SPIRITS SWORD
The Mt. Baker church of Christ
April 23, 2000 -- Volume IV Number 08
Editor: Joe R. Price
Visit our Web Sites:
Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker
BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com
--Easter Sunday, A Sad Day (Larry Ray Hafley)
--"What's Behind The Sign?"
----Are We Willing To Suffer For Christ?
----Why We Believe The Bible Is The Word Of God (Lesson 3):The Unusual Style Of The Bible
--Noteworthy News: Too Busy To Pray? Call 'Rent a Prayer'
EASTER SUNDAY, A SAD DAY
Larry Ray Hafley
In many respects, "Easter Sunday" is a happy holiday, filled with childhood fun-Easter egg hunts and the ever present chocolate bunny, along with new clothes, and family meals. Our own children enjoyed such times as they grew up. Those days are fondly remembered. Christians must separate the sacred from the secular, the spiritual from the social, and use moderation in similar matters, never causing their good to be evil spoken of.
However, in other respects, Easter is a sad day. Sad, because millions treat it as an ordinance founded by Christ. Unlearned and ignorant men, who have no concept of the true nature of Christ and his resurrection, will conduct "Son Rise" services to commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-26). Clad in costly robes, with smoking vessels, they posture their piety and pretend to trek along trails trod by the Son of God. Parades and fashion shows flaunting the flesh will violate the very spirit of the meek and lowly Nazarene whom they would feign emulate. True people of God will weep that myths are perpetuated by pretender priests and prelates who know nothing of the humility and humiliation of him who died for us all.
Sadly, even some of our own brethren have adopted the days and ways of human religious traditions while rejecting the divine and spiritual ones. They keep the doctrines and commandments of men, such as Easter, while they reject the weekly communion of the body and blood of the Lord (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17). This is contrary to the revelation of our resurrected Redeemer. We are not to go beyond "that which is written" (1 Cor. 4:6). We must abide in the doctrine of Christ in order to be of God and to have his favor and fellowship (2 Jn. 9; Rev. 22:18, 19).
Yet, some who "weep" to show their alleged "love for Jesus," rail on us when we appeal to them with the word of Jesus. They embrace Easter and other inventions and innovations of men, and reject the words of him whom they so ardently and emotionally claim to "be in love with." Jesus asks them, "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say" (Lk. 6:46)? The disobedient have no response, except to cry against those who remind them of that word which will judge them in the last day (Jn. 12:48). They plead for pity and charge us with persecution while they continue their march with those who love the "wages of unrighteousness" (2 Pet. 2:15).
Certainly, Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead (Acts 2:32; 13:27-31;1 Cor. 15:1-6). Christians remember those events every Lord's day as they are directed to do so (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:2, 23-26). Accordingly, we shall show the Lord's death today as we did last Sunday, and as we shall do again next Sunday, Lord willing. We shall not have affiliation or association with the Easter tradition, for it is not of God, but of men. Though one may draw nigh to God this day, "thinking that he doeth God service," his worship will be "in vain" because Easter is a tradition of men, not a teaching of God (Matt. 15:8, 9; 2 Thess. 2:15).
Truly, it is a sad day. Sad to see so many deceived by that which is not rooted and grounded in the faith of our risen Redeemer (Col. 2:4-8, 18-23).
"WHAT'S BEHIND THE SIGN?"
Joe R. Price
Listening to the radio Friday morning on my way to the office I heard an advertisement for Christ The King Community Church here in Bellingham. The 'tag line' of the ad was 'What's behind the sign?', a reference to their neon sign.
The ad offered several things to expect when you visit Christ the King Church. Here is what is "behind the sign" according to their own ad:
1. Free coffee. The ad says you can even take your coffee into the worship services of Christ the King Community Church!
2. Casual dress. You are told that you can wear your blue jeans - you don't have to dress up to go to Christ The King Community Church!
3. The music. You will be entertained by a live band at CKCC.
4. The message. The ad says you can relate to what is being said by the preacher at CKCC.
Sounds pretty impressive. Evidently, "What's Behind The Sign" at CKCC appeals to many people judging by the size of their crowds.
Like the ten spies who came back from Canaan telling of the giants in the land, we can become fearful, disheartened and discouraged as we witness the size and strength of the churches around us. Or, we can have the attitude of Caleb, "we are well able to overcome it" (Num. 13:30).
Some brethren think the way to respond to the denominations is to join them in their programs and innovations. Many churches of Christ have recreational facilities and social programs with which to attract people. A few years ago I was told of a church of Christ in Texas that has a short-order grill!
Others try to attract the lost by not having a sign at all, or at least one that doesn't say "church of Christ" on it. They have concluded that to identify ourselves as a "church of Christ" prejudices people. They prefer to say "Christians meet here" or some other such statement on their sign. I understand some judgment is involved in how we identify ourselves, but we should not be ashamed of using "church of Christ" to identify the local church which meets to worship and work. After all, it is scriptural (Rom. 16:16). And, if we have to get people into our services by not identifying ourselves as a church of Christ, what other Bible expression will we have to stop using in order to keep them?
So, "what's behind the sign" of the Mt. Baker church of Christ? Consider these corresponding comments:
1. No coffee. Jesus scolded people who followed Him because they expected food from Him after He miraculously fed the 5,000 with the bread and fish (Jno. 6:26). A recent visitor decided not to return, in part, because we do not have coffee to drink. Should we change in order to draw people in? I think not! (1 Cor. 11:22, 34)
2. Respectful attire. Clothing generally reflects our attitude toward what we are doing. Remember that we are here to worship God, not lounge around on the sofa, and dress appropriately. (Cf. 1 Cor. 14:40)
3. Vocal music. Yes, there is music behind our sign! The God-ordained kind: singing from the heart (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
4. Gospel preaching. We strive to "preach the word" in the understandable way in which God revealed it (2 Tim. 4:2-4). We can all relate to that! (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
I guess what you we are looking for will determine the "sign" you look behind! (Matt. 6:33; Gal. 1:8-9; Col. 3:17)
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS at:http://www.bibleanswer.com/suffer.htm
ARE WE WILLING TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST?
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:12-18
1. As Christians, we should know something about suffering for Christ & His truth!! - Jno. 15:18-20; 1 Pet. 4:14-16.
2. We also suffer with Christ - 1 Pet. 4:12-13; Phil. 3:7-11 (2 Cor. 11:23-27); Rom. 8:16-18.
3. How are we doing? Do we hold up under the pressures of suffering with Christ? - 1 Pet. 3:17
I. JESUS SUFFERED FOR US - 1 Pet. 3:18.
-Left us an example in suffering - 1 Pet. 2:18-24.
II. CHRISTIANS MUST BE WILLING TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST.
A. Are We Willing To Suffer Being Lied About? - Matt. 5:10-12
1. Ridiculed by our friends? - 1 Pet. 4:3-4
2. Beliefs & teachings misrepresented? - 1 Tim. 4:9-11
B. Are We Willing To Suffer The Loss Of Friends? - 2 Tim. 4:10, 16; 1 Cor. 15:33-34 (Prov. 1:10)
C. Are We Willing To Suffer The Loss Of Family Acceptance? - Matt. 10:34-37; 1 Cor. 7:12-16. 1 Pet. 3:1-4
D. Are We Willing To Suffer The Loss Of Income? - Acts 19:21-28.
E. Are We Willing To Suffer The Loss Of Freedom? - Rev. 2:10; 2 Cor. 11:23.
F. Are We Willing To Suffer The Loss Of Life? - Rev. 2:10; 2 Cor. 1:8-11; 1 Jno. 3:16.
III. WHY SHOULD WE ENDURE SUFFERING WITH CHRIST?
A. To Be Glorified With Him - Rom. 8:17-18.
B. So, We Do Not Lose Heart (faint) - 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 2 Cor. 5:1-4 (Col. 3:4)
For the complete text of this sermon visit BIBLE ANSWERS at:
WHY WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD (# 3)
THE UNUSUAL STYLE OF THE BIBLE
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
1. How the Bible has been written shows evidence of its supernatural origin (that its writers were guided by the Holy Spirit).
2. At least 4 areas in which the style of the Scriptures is impressive: Its brevity, its omissions, its impartiality & its calm simplicity.
I. THE BREVITY OF THE BIBLE.
A. Brevity Of Books (cf. Eccl. 12:12; Eph. 3:3).
B. Brevity Of Bible Events.
1. Fall of man - Gen. 3:1-24.
2. Flood - 3 chapters.
3. Life of Jesus - Jno. 21:25.
4. Saul's persecutions & conversion - (3 chap.)
5. 1st apostle martyred - 11 words! (Acts 12:2)
II. THE OMISSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES - Jno. 20:30-31; 21:25.
A. The Life of Christ. (Events of only 31-34 days!
B. Omission Of The Events Of Most Of Apostles - Acts. (Peter & Paul).
C. Omission Of Details About Personal Trials & Triumphs - cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-27.
III. THE IMPARTIALITY OF THE BIBLE.
A. Sets Forth Both The Virtues & Follies Of Its Characters With Equal Frankness & Forthrightness.
1. Abraham - Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-12; Jas. 2:23!
2. David - 2 Sam. 11-12; Acts 13:22.
3. Peter - Matt. 26:69-75; Gal. 2:11-14; Matt. 16:16-17 [cf. 16:21-23].
B. Facts, Not Editorials.
IV. THE CALM SIMPLICITY OF THE BIBLE.
A. Magnificent & Commonplace Described Alike.
1. Buying food & feeding 5000 - Mk. 6:35-44.
2. Boat ride & walking on water - Mk. 6:45, 48.
B. Absence Of Human Tendencies, i.e. Anger, Vanity, Egotism, Ambition.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
COMMENTARY ON THE NEWS
Joe R. Price
Too Busy To Pray? Call 'rent a prayer'http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000419_752.html
A woman in northern Italy will pray for you -- for a fee.
Monica Ballinari, 26, operates the new "Paradise" agency for people who are too busy to attend to their own salvation and spiritual needs.
For 3,000 lire ($1.50), this Catholic woman will pray. She has a whole pricing list which goes up to 50,000 lire ($25) for saying a rosary sequence of five prayers. She even makes house calls. For about $12.50 (excluding travel expenses) she will come to your home and recite a prayer.
Potential clients in the Catholic countryside of northern Italy are encouraged to remember they only have one soul. "If you don't have time to save it, call me; I'll take care of it," says the agency's brochure.
So far, about 30 people have hired the professional prayer services of "Paradise."
It is shame that the doctrine of the Catholic Church has convinced people that others can do their spiritual activities for them! Unquestionably, the Bible teaches that each person is responsible for himself - nobody can serve God for you (Ezek. 18:20; Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:6; 14:10, 12). Each person is responsible for his own faith (Heb. 11:6). Nobody can believe in Christ for you (Jno. 8:24). Nobody can repent for you (Lk. 13:3, 5). Nobody can confess your faith in Christ for you (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10). Nobody can be baptized for you (Acts 16:33). Nobody can be faithful to Christ for you (Rom. 12:1-2).
Imagine if we could really do what people are paying this woman to do. There would be no more need to "study to show yourself approved of God" (2 Tim. 2:15) - just hire somebody to study the Bible for you! (Or, is that what we think we already pay the preacher to do? Hum...) Now you can golf Sunday morning with a clear conscience - just be sure to hire a "Worship Temp" before your tee time! You didn't "forsake the assembling of yourselves together" - your representative was present (Heb. 10:25)!
At the Judgment Day you can tell the Lord to "see my replacement" - I'm not responsible! Sadly, it won't work that way. (2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9).
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the
Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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