THE SPIRITíS SWORD

published by

The Mt. Baker church of Christ

Bellingham, WA

June 11, 2000 -- Volume IV Number 14

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:

 

 

BLESSED ARE THE FLEXIBLE

Bobby L. Graham

A few days ago in Canada the following saying appeared on a church sign: "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." It is difficult to know always how far people intend for such sayings to be taken. If the saying was meant to convey the idea of flexibility in personal relationships, the saying is well taken. On the other hand, if it included the current idea of being open to new truth, then the religious humanism demonstrated in the saying must be rejected. According to Bible teaching, there is a time when tolerance is no virtue. Fairness demands that we admit that we do not know which of these ideas was intended; however, the two possibilities open the door for profitable study of the Scriptures.

Some Flexibility Commendable

It is a poor attitude that inflexibly refuses to look not only upon one's own things, but also on the things of others. Such is the mind of Christ described in Phil. 2:3-11. Prejudice is that enemy of the soul which decides before hearing the situation or the facts and apart from a weighing of the matter on the scales of God's Word. The Bereans were commended by the Lord for their willingness to hear what was taught them and to search the Scriptures to ascertain its acceptability (Acts 17:11). James said that the wisdom coming down from the Lord is marked by a willingness to yield (Jas. 3:17), but the Gentiles were said to be guilty of being implacable (unmerciful, unwilling to be agreeable) in Romans 1:31. The reason for such unconcern for others and the associated refusal to consider them is self-centeredness. Jesus said we are to love neighbor as self (Matt. 22:33). Surely we can see that we must remain flexible in relation to others and in relation to God's will for us, so that we might practice wh at He desires.

Some Flexibility Not Good

The attitude that recognizes no certainties, no absolute truth, no finality in what the Lord has revealed is one of unbelief, for the Lord has assured us of these matters. One who wishes to remain aloof from the idea of absolute truth, maintaining a tentative approach to all things, does so because of the shaky ground that he occupies. On the other hand, the firmness desired by God is the result of the firm foundation erected by God in His sure Word. For one to be flexible in relation to the Bible is to manifest uncertainty about God's credibility. These reasons explain why this kind of flexibility is not desirable.

1. God's Word is not subject to change. Because God has indicated the finality of Scriptures in passages like 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jude 3; Matt. 28:19-20, we have no basis for expecting any additional word from the Lord. No latter-day revelations, dreams, vision, or gentle nudges are in store for anyone.

2. Truth is narrow and unyielding. Its nature demands this be said. Truth in any field--mathematical, geographical, or religious--does not change because of whim, official decree, or changing conditions. What Peter declared regarding the exalted position of Jesus the Son of God is yet true. Paul's affirmation of the one body (church) is still true. Nor has it stopped being true that obedience is the path to God's favor (Matt. 7:21-23). Regardless of man's changed view of these matters, God-given truth does not change.

3. The pure gospel of Christ suffers no other gospel (Gal. 1:6-8). Efforts to please men are responsible for all changes imposed by men. Not only is God not pleased by such attempts, but He declares His anathema (consignment to destruction) upon those doing so.

4. The Divine pattern is irreplaceable. Under whatever arrangement God has instituted in His dealing with human beings, He has always made it clear that His way is the only way. It is the role of God to show man the way, and it is the role of man to walk in that way. Passages earlier noted suffice for this point.

Flexibility is good in yielding to put others ahead of self and to practice God's will, but it is evil when it leads us to abandon the certainty of Biblical teaching and to look for something else. Are we flexible in those ways that we should be? Do we remain steadfast in belief and practice of the truth of the Lord? May we remember that the highly honored "god" of tolerance must also bow before the great God of the universe.

 

 

 

SERMON OUTLINES

 

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/sacrific.htm

 

SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-5

Sacrifice (thusia) - "The act of offering; then, objectively, that which is offered" (Vine).

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S BODY - Rom. 12:1.

A. Present Our Body To God To Accomplish His Will - 1 Cor. 6:13; Rom. 6:12-14; 1 Ths. 4:1-8; 1 Pet. 4:3-4.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S FAITH - Phil. 2:17.

A. Our Faith Is A Presentation To God - Heb. 11:6 (cf. v. 4).

B. The Sacrifice Of Faith Is The Christian's Life (Conduct), Which Comes From Faith - Phil. 2:17 (1:9-11, 27, 29-30; 2:12, 14-16.

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S MATERIAL ASSISTANCE OF OTHERS - Phil. 4:18.

A. Support Gospel Preachers In Their Work - 4:15-16.

B. Helping Needy Saints - 2 Cor. 9:12-15; 1 Jno. 3:16-17.

C. Sharing With Others (Meeting Their Needs) - Heb. 13:16.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN'S PRAISE - Heb. 13:15.

A. God Is Praised When We Confess His Name In Our Lives - Mal. 1:11-12; Matt. 10:32-33.

B. Our Assembled Worship Provides Such An Opportunity - Heb. 10:24-25; Psa. 42:4; Zech. 8:20-23.

C. Our Private Time Provides Such An Opportunity - Jas. 5:13; Acts 16:25.

 

 

For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:

http://www.bibleanswer.com/growfast.htm

 

WHY DID FIRST CENTURY CHURCHES GROW SO FAST?

Scripture Reading: John 15:1-8

1. Striking fact found over & over in Acts: Phenomenal spread of the gospel - 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7.

2. Even with persecution (designed to stop growth), the number of believers grew - 9:35; 11:21. About 15 years after Pentecost, number still growing - 14:1.

I. NOTE SOME THINGS WHICH WERE NOT IN THEIR FAVOR.

A. Most People Rejected The Gospel - Matt. 7:13-14. (Christians have always been in the minority.)

B. Moral Decadence Of The Society - Rom. 1:24-32. (Ex. - Ephesus & Corinth)

C. Active Opposition To The Truth - Acts 4:17-18; 5:28; 8:1-3; 14:2-6.

--Reaction of disciples: Persistence / Not ashamed / Growth continued (not their excuse to do nothing)!

1. Moved ahead - Acts 4:19-20; 5:40-42; 8:4; 14:7.

2. Glorified God - 1 Pet. 4:12-16.

II. THE NT CHURCHES GREW... (Acts 9:31)

A. Because Of Steadfast Faith.

1. Steadfast in the word - Acts 2:42.

2. Steadfast in their fellowship - Acts 2:42.

3. Steadfast in service - Acts 2:44-47.

B. Because Of Personal Evangelism - Rom. 7:4; Jno. 15:2, 8; Acts 8:4; 17:6.

C. Because They Kept The Church Clean - Acts 5:1-11, 12-14.

 

 

NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

 

CAMPUS CRUSADE'S "WHO IS JESUS?"

(http://www.religiontoday.com/CurrentNewsSummary/index.html#story1)

"An average of 40 to 50 people a day become Christians after clicking on the words "Who Is Jesus?" The words appear on a number of Internet sites, including the front page of Crosswalk.com, as a link to the Campus Crusade for Christ site, which presents information on Jesus' life, claims about Himself, miracles, and impact on the world.

...The site explains to inquirers that a personal relationship with God is possible by confessing sin and putting one's faith in Christ. It suggests a prayer to repeat: "Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be." The information is available on the site in 130 languages.

...Inquirers who make a faith commitment can contact Campus Crusade through the site to lean more about Christianity and join a church or Bible study group in their area. About 100,000 people a month visit the site because of the link, Allan Beeber of Campus Crusade told Religion Today."

 

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COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

I visited this web site to see for myself. Sure enough, people are being told that if they "sense Christ knocking at the door" of their heart they can pray a prayer like this one and Christ will save them, right then and there.

"What saith the scripture?" People in the NT NEVER became Christians by just making a verbal "faith commitment" (cf. Mk. 1:23-24; Jas. 2:14). People in the NT were NEVER told to become a Christian by praying a prayer (cf. Acts 9:4-11; 22:16).

In the NT we learn to become a Christian by having a personal FAITH in Jesus (Jno. 8:24; Heb. 11:6) which causes one to REPENT of past sins (Acts 2:38) , CONFESS his faith (Rom. 10:9-10) and be BAPTIZED in water for the remission of his sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21).

If the above numbers are correct, 40 to 50 people a day are being deceived into thinking they have become Christians. They Bible teaches the true gospel on the matter. Campus Crusade is teaching a false gospel and given thousands of people false hope!

 

 

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