THE SPIRITS SWORD
The Mt. Baker church of Christ
July 2, 2000 -- Volume IV Number 17
Editor: Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Christ's Church is not a denomination, nor any part of denominationalism. It is not Catholic, Jewish, nor Protestant. All denominations (even the Catholics) admit that a person can be saved, can be a Christian, a child of God, in the family of God, and a member of the body of Christ WITHOUT being a member of ANY denomination (including the Catholic).
The Bible plainly teaches that Christ's Church is Christ's Body (Eph. 1:22-23), and that ALL saved people are added to this church by the Lord when they are saved (Acts 2:47). This is the church of which Christ is the HEAD (Eph. 1:22-23), for which Christ DIED (Eph. 5:25), which Christ purchased with His BLOOD (Acts 20:28), in which the HOLY SPIRIT dwells (1 Cor. 3:16-17), of which Christ is the SAVIOUR (Eph. 5:23) and to which the Lord adds the SAVED (Acts 2:47).
This church met together and worshipped God (Acts 2:41-42), and rendered service to the needy (Acts 2:44-45) WITHOUT joining A N Y denomination. They were simply Christians (Acts 11:26 and 1 Peter 4:16) -- not Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. (Acts 4:12 and 1 Cor. 1:12-13). They were members simply and only of Christ's Church -- the church to which God added them -- the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). Does it seem unreasonable to you that even though 19 centuries have passed by and in spite of the confusion and chaos of present day denominationalism, that Christ's church is in existence today in the same faith and form that it was during the days of the Apostles? This is exactly what the church of Christ is today!
Yes, you can be JUST A CHRISTIAN, a member of the Body of Christ, His church, WITHOUT being a member of the Catholic Church, or the Baptist Church, or the Methodist Church, or ANY other denomination. Come to the Church of Christ this Sunday.
The apostle Paul attributed these words to Jesus, "It is more blessed to give that to receive" (Acts 20:35). Although this quotation is not recorded in the gospel accounts of His life, it is no doubt genuine. Jesus lived this teaching. Though maligned, mistreated and shamefully abused to the point of death, He reigns today in the heavens at God's right hand (Acts 2:22-24, 32-37; Phil. 2:8-11; Heb. 12:2-3). The giving of Himself not only blessed Jesus, but it continues to bless all who will obey Him in faith (Heb. 5:8-9).
One of Jesus' statements which reminds us of Paul's reference is in Luke 6:38: "give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again." The comments of McGarvey and Pendleton in The Fourfold Gospel are helpful at this point:
Give, and it shall be given unto you. This is not necessarily a promise of the return of our gift in kind. It rather means that we shall receive an equivalent in joy and in that blessedness which Jesus meant when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (#Ac 20:35).
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. The figurative language is borrowed from the market where the salesman, grateful for past kindness, endeavors, by pressing, shaking, and piling up, to put more grain into the measure for us than it will contain.
Shall they give into your bosom. Pockets were unknown to the ancients, and what they wished to take with them was carried in the fold in the bosom of the coat, the girdle below holding it up. Ruth bore thus a heavy burden in her mantle which, in the Authorized Version is mistakenly called the "veil" (#Ru 3:15).
What a better world this would be if everybody lived by this principle of giving! Although we will not be able to persuade everyone to adopt this way of treating others, we can adopt it for ourselves and make the corner of the world in which we live a little better. Jesus' context in this passage is that of giving: give love to your enemies (Lk. 6:27-35), give mercy to those who need it (Lk. 6:36), give righteous judgment to others (Lk. 6:37; cf. Matt. 7:1-5); give forgiveness to sinners (Lk. 6:37 - "release" is the same word translated "forgive" in the N.T.). Then, Jesus gives us an illustration of this kind of giving (Lk. 6:38). It will cause our blessings to overflow!
"For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again" (Lk. 6:38). Here is the tricky part. Jesus teaches us to give with no thought of return. That is the "golden rule" (Lk. 6:31). Many will "tolerate" an enemy if they think it will eventually bring them some good in return. But Jesus commands us to love our enemies even though we may be mistreated for it! (Lk. 6:29-30, 32-33, 35). It takes genuine faith to not despair but believe that "your reward shall be great, and he shall be sons of the Most High" by taking this course (Lk. 6:35).
Take joy from giving, even to those who refuse your gifts. God sees and rewards.
Being a Christian gives cause for great joy. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds they brought "glad tidings of great joy" (Lk. 2:10). The resurrection of Jesus from the dead brings a joy to every Christian that no one can take from you (Jno. 16:22). The Christian's joy transcends earthly happiness and reaches into eternity: "ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
When the seventy Jesus had sent out to preach and heal returned to tell of their successes, they rejoiced in the magnificent, miraculous powers which had happened through them. Jesus turned their attention to an even greater joy they needed to appreciate: "Nevertheless, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Lk. 10:20).
God grants us many blessings in life which we should recognize, be thankful to Him for, and use for His glory. Indeed, the power of God continues to work in the lives of His people today (Rom. 8:31; Phil. 4:13). But there is an even greater cause for joy. We are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 12:23). Our names are written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27).
Let your life reflect this greatest of blessings! "Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). Is your life filled with sadness and remorse? Remember to rejoice that your name is written in heaven!
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/godspeak.htm
"LET GOD SPEAK TO YOUR HEART!"
Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
1. Jno. 6:44-45 - We must hear & learn from the Father to be saved by Christ. (Heb. 4:12)
2. That God speaks to man we have no doubt. The issue is: How does He speak to us? (Heb. 12:25) & How do we listen to His voice? (Lk. 8:8, 18)
I. WE HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD BY HEARING THE SCRIPTURES OF GOD - Matt. 22:31-32.
A. God Spoke To The People Of Jesus' Day By Means Of The Scriptures! - Exo. 3:4-6.
* God spoke to Moses on the mount - Exo. 3:15.
* When Moses was read, God was speaking to the readers!
II. MOSES & THE OT PROPHETS ARE HEARD BY MEANS OF THE SCRIPTURES - Lk. 16:29.
A. Moses Wrote Of Christ & Was To Be Heard (Believed) - Jno. 5:45-47.
* Living oracles (words) - Acts 7:38.
* Voices of the prophets heard via scripture! - Acts 13:27; cf. Acts 3:24.
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS THROUGH SCRIPTURE - Heb. 10:15-17; Acts 1:16.
* Holy Spirit spoke (bore witness) of Christ's redemptive work by means of Scripture (Jer. 31:33-34). Cf. 2 Pet. 1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:13
IV. GOD SPEAKS TO US TODAY BY HIS SON - Heb. 1:1-2.
* We Hear The Voice Of God By Hearing Jesus - Matt. 17:5; Jno. 8:43, 45-47, 51.
V. BY HEARING HIS APOSTLES WE HEAR CHRIST - Jno. 13:20 (cf. Lk. 10:16).
* He Sent The Apostles The Holy Spirit - Jno. 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15 (1 Cor. 2:16, 10; 7:40; Acts 13:44-49; 1 Cor. 14:37.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
U. S. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE COPY SOLD ONLINE(http://home-news.excite.com/news/r/000630/06/net-independence-dc)
Updated: Fri, Jun 30 06:44 AM EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rare first printing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence fetched $8.14 million in an online auction, breaking the record for any sale on the Internet, Sotheby's auction house said.
Two bidders vied throughout the daylong auction Thursday, lodging a total of 29 bids on Sotheby's Web site, a spokeswoman said. The price also was the highest ever for a copy of the historic document.
The identity of the buyer and the buyer's plans for the document were set to be disclosed on Friday, Sotheby's said.
Some 500 copies of the first official printing of the Declaration of Independence are believed to have been produced on July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress in Philadelphia made its official announcement of independence, Sotheby's said.
Of those, just 25 are known to survive today -- 21 possessed by institutions and four, including this one, in private hands, the auction house said.
The Founding Fathers of the United States used the document to explain eloquently their reasons for declaring independence from Britain. The document was written by Thomas Jefferson.
This copy was discovered by a man who bought a torn painting in 1989 at a Pennsylvania flea market because he liked the frame, and found that it concealed the Declaration of Independence in its backing, Sotheby's said.___________
Joe R. PriceThe value of this document is obvious. It reminds us of human struggles and sacrifices which paved the way for the freedoms we all too often take for granted in this country.
There is a far more valuable "declaration," the benefits of which everyone can enjoy - free of charge! Of course, we refer to the gospel of Christ - "an everlasting covenant" (Isa. 55:3). Of its value and the life it gives God's prophet said, "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you--The sure mercies of David..." (Isa. 55:1-3). America's Declaration of Independence charted a course of freedom from man's tyranny and oppression of his fellow man. The new covenant of Christ charts a course of everlasting freedom from the oppression and tyranny of sin. In Christ sure and eternal mercies are freely obtained through faith (Eph. 2:5-9). Will you come in faith to Jesus Christ and receive your soul's salvation "without money and without price?" If so, then obey His gospel now (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Heb. 5:8-9).
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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