THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 20· July 23, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Absence Is A SymptomFever is an easily discernable symptom of a disorder somewhere in the body. The primary problem may be a hidden infection that would not otherwise be noticeable until it was in an advanced stage. The presence of fever, however, reveals that the infection exists. The fever is a symptom of an underlying cause.
This does not lessen the significance of fever. Hospitals check a patient's temperature every few hours because the temperature gives such insight into the condition of the body. Sometimes a patient is kept in the hospital several days after he feels well because of a lingering fever. The fever indicates that "feeling well" can be deceptive and may not reflect a person's true condition.
Unnecessary absence from worship services is a fever-like symptom. It invariably is an indication of a more basic spiritual infection or disorder of some kind. The primary problem may be deeply hidden.
As a fever may possess a man who does not know what causes it, even so a man can neglect worship without being aware of the problems that cause him to do so. He can easily camouflage his lack of concern for worship by involvement in his work, his family, or some other interest. This is especially easy when his other interest is a worthwhile one. He is then better able to rationalize that his neglect of worship is reasonable behavior under his circumstances.
Deliberately missing a worship service is always spiritually significant. It is significant because it reveals the presence of a wound, an infection, a depression, or some other primary spiritual disorder. Furthermore, the fact that a person "feels well" about his spiritual life is not a guarantee of spiritual health.
Although the church should be more interested in causes than symptoms, it cannot avoid the implications of continued absence from worship services. This would be like a parent ignoring a high fever in his child. The fever is a symptom, but the primary cause may take the child's life if the fever is ignored. Absence may take a spiritual life if it is ignored.
Sins Of Omission
Joe R. PriceJames 4:17 says "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." The context indicates that the "good" of which he speaks is the Lord's will (Jas. 4:13-15). To live without ordering one's life after the Lord's will is to sin against the Almighty. That which the Lord commands of us in His word is "good," and His very commandment obligates us to do it (cf. Matt. 7:21-23). To omit the stated will of the Lord from our life, even after knowing what it is, brings us into sin.
At times we hear folks comment on the Lord's will by saying, "But I can't do that! God shouldn't expect me to do what I can't do!" Dear friend, 2 Corinthians 8:12 teaches that the Lord does not expect of you anything that you are not able to do. But, the One who knows our hearts expects to find in our hearts a willingness to do all that we are able to do. Remember, even the one talent man was blessed with some ability, and his master expected him to use it (Matt. 25:15, 24-27).
A part of the Christian's spiritual growth is the increase of his spiritual capabilities. An adult can do many things that are beyond the ability of an infant to perform. So it also is in spiritual matters. The NT not only affirms the spiritually mature have the capacity for greater service, but that they are responsible for such. (cf. Heb. 5:12-14; Jas. 3:1)
Every Christian is expected to learn the Scriptures and apply the Lord's will to his life (2 Tim. 2:15; Matt. 7:21-27; 2 Pet. 3:18). The Bible warns us against sins of ignorance (cf. Lev. 5:17-19). We will not be able to plead "I didn't know!" before the judgment seat of Christ. He has fully revealed His will and it is constantly available to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, instead of seeking comfort in ignorance, it is to our eternal advantage to "understand what the will of the Lord is" that we may do it (Eph. 5:17).
Here are a few NT scriptures which illustrate the sin of omission (Jas. 4:17):
1) Luke 10:30-37: In the parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite sinned by not doing what they knew to be good and right. They sinned in failing to love their neighbor.
2) Matthew 25:24-30: The man who received one talent from his master knew he was responsible for using it, but he choose to bury it rather than use it for his master's profit. He knew to do good, but he did not do it. Thus, he sinned against his master and was cast into punishment.
3) Matthew 25:41-46: Jesus warns that many will be delivered to everlasting fire because they failed to do what was right toward their brethren.
Life is brief and uncertain. It is "a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (Jas. 4:14-15). We must always remember to never omit the Lord's will from our lives. Every God-given responsibility is "good." We must commit ourselves to "do" them. (Jas. 4:17)
The "good" the Lord gives us to do includes (but is by no means limited to) such things as:
1) Loving God and our neighbors (Lk. 10:25-28).
2) Teaching the gospel to others (Heb. 5:12).
3) Pressing on to spiritual maturity (Heb. 6:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:1-2).
4) Doing good to all men, especially God's people (Gal. 6:10).
5) Loving our brethren in deed and truth (1 Jno. 3:17-18).
6) Being proper marriage partners (Eph. 5:23-33; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).
7) Not forsaking our assembling together to worship the Lord (Heb. 10:24-25).
8) Hold fast to what is good and abstain from every form of evil (1 Ths. 5:21-22).
The Lord's will is the way of eternal life. The way of the world brings eternal death. Isn't it time for every Christian to ask, "What would the Lord want me to do?"
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/authnchr.htm
FOLLOWING CHRIST'S AUTHORITY IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:23-27
I. WE MUST UNDERSTAND AUTHORITY.
A. This Subject Is Preaching Christ - Matt. 21:23-27; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
B. Scriptural Methods Of Establishing Authority (Acts 15:6-18):
-Direct command - Mk. 16:15
-Apostolic approved example - Phil. 4:9
-Necessary inference - Matt. 22:32
II. WE MUST KNOW WHAT COLLECTIVE ACTION IS AUTHORIZED IN THE N.T.
A. Authorized Work Of The Local Church:
1. Evangelism (preach the gospel) - 1 Ths. 1:8; Phil. 1:5.
2. Edify members - Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 14:26.
3. Benevolence (help needy saints) - Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 5:16.
III. PRACTICAL ISSUES WHICH ARISE IN THE WORK OF A LOCAL CHURCH.
A. Issues Of Doctrine: What Will We Accept? - Gal. 1:6-10; Acts 20:28-32; Jude 3-4.
B. Issues 0f Fellowship: Who Will We Accept &/or Encourage (participate with)?
1. Membership: Open or controlled (by word of truth)? Acts 9:26-28; 1 Jno. 1:3-7.
2. Preachers And Teachers - 2 Jno. 9-11.
3. Sin in the lives of members - Jas. 5:19-20; 1 Cor. 1:11; Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:2, 6.
IV. HELPFUL HINTS:
A. Love For Truth & Real Commitment To Divine Authority - Prov. 23:23; Col. 3:17.
B. Courage To Do The Right Thing (Apply Bible Authority) - Acts 4:29; 5:29 (2 Pet. 1:5).
C. Patience & Forbearance While Dealing With Difficult Situations - Rom. 12:12.
D. Diligence To Abide In Truth - l Cor. 15:58
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/jno11_18.htm
Scripture Reading: John 1:1-18
John's Prologue introduces Jesus to the world (Jno. 1:1-18; cf. 20:30-31).
I. JESUS IS DEITY - 1:1-3.
A. He Is Eternal - 1:1a; Jno. 8:58; Micah 5:2.
B. He Was With God - 1:1b; cf. Jno. 17:5.
C. He Was God - 1:1c; cf. Heb. 1:3.
D. All Things Were Created Through Him - 1:2-3 (Gen. 1:26); Col. l:16 (Heb. 1:2; Jno. 1:10).
-Eternal (God) - Personal (with God) - Active (Creator).
II. JESUS WAS GOD INCARNATE - 1:14, 18.
A. God In The Flesh - 1:14; Phil. 2:5-8 - God took the form or fashion of a man. (Heb. 2:14; Jno. 1:14)
-Here was Deity in the flesh, the manifestation of God in a visible & tangible form (Col. 1:15; Jno. 14:7-10).
B. As God Incarnate, Jesus Fulfilled Several Roles For Our Benefit:
1. 1:4-5. 7-9 - Life & light.
2. 1:16-17 - Grace & truth (14:6; Col. 2:9-10).
3. 1:29. 36 - Lamb of God (Heb. 2:14; 10:10).
4. 1:41, 45 - The Christ (anointed One) (Psa. 45:7; Isa. 61:1).
5. 1:34, 49 - The Son of God / King (Psa. 2:6-7); Isa. 9:6-7; Lk. 1:32-33.
III. JESUS IS GOD'S AUTHORIZED SPOKESMAN - 1:17.
A. He Is Superior To Moses - cf. Acts 3:22-23 (Matt. 17:3-5); Heb. 3:3.
B. We Must Hear, Believe & Obey His Word To Receive Eternal Life (Grace) - Jno. 1:11-13; 12:44-50.
-What will you do with Jesus??
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
A guest editorial by Steve Wallace follows this week's news item. We appreciate his clear discussion of God's word on the matter of modest dress. -JRP
MOTION AGAINST MINISKIRTS IN SWAZI SCHOOLS Panafrican News Agency
"MBABANE, Swaziland (PANA) - Swazi legislators have instructed the education
minister to issue a directive that school girls wear uniforms that are
knee-long or below, starting 2001.
"Senator Majahenkhaba Dlamini moved a motion Wednesday that the minister
issues the directive to school heads so that school girls above 10 years be
compelled to wear knee-long uniforms.
"The motion reads: `To move that the minister for education issue directive
by next year on a plan of appropriate action to the principals of every
primary, junior or high school in Swaziland. The aim is to ensure that every
school girl aged 10 and above wears a knee-long uniform at school (before
and after) unless she is wearing a long tracksuit trouser as approved by the
"The majority of senators supported the motion suggesting that it would
restore decency in society.
"Dlamini later suggested that schools be headed by female teachers who, he
said, have a good track record when it comes to effecting proper dress code
on students, and girls in particular.
"He lamented that mini-skirt uniforms are mainly found in schools headed by
"Dlamini said if female teachers were allowed to be in charge of schools,
girls would adhere to the knee-long uniform concept.
"`We are living in tough times clustered by the HIV/AIDS disease and we must
not sit back and relax. We need to address the problem of dress code among
students because all starts from there. Students are no longer wearing
acceptable uniforms and this motion comes as a result of that,' he stressed.
"But Senator Thab'sile Mavimbela took a swipe at her male colleagues
labelling them sex maniacs.
"She said the motion betrayed the deep-seated lewdness among males and
further demonstrated their weakness to control their feelings.
"`This clearly shows that the men are very weak when it comes to sex, thus
they want to use their privilege of passing laws to protect themselves or
rather hide their weaknesses,' she observed.
"Mavimbela, therefore, said she does not see the reason for the passing of a
law compelling students to put on knee-long uniforms.
"She added that instead of the ministry issuing a directive to schools,
parents must take a leading role in solving the problem."
Copyright (c) 2000 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed via Africa News
Online (www.africanews.org). For information about the content or for
permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the
COMMENTARY ON THE NEWS NEW SWAZILAND DRESS CODE FOR SCHOOLS Steve Wallace
The problem with immodesty in our culture is shocking. Many men and
women have long since become comfortable appearing in public in various
states of undress. Many preachers will not preach on modesty or, if they
do, they have little in terms of what should or should not be worn by God's
people. Some will even take issue with those who try to speak plainly on
such things. The preceding news story entitled, Motion Against Miniskirts
In Swazi Schools, came via the Panafrican News Agency. If there are
preachers in Swaziland, their work of getting young people to dress
properly was made easier recently by a new law.
One knows not if or when such legislation may come down from Washington,
so we take the opportunity of making a few observations on this one from
1. A clear connection between dress and decency. The legislators believe
this motion "would restore decency in society." They obviously believe that
dress is somehow connected with decency. The writer of Proverbs agreed with
them (7:10). While driving recently I was listening to Dr. Laura. She
noted that many women who go to malls today dress like "sluts" (her word)
Dress _is_connected with decency!
2. They legislated a hemline! The motion is to "ensure that every school
girl aged 10 and above wears a knee-long uniform at school." What terms
shall we use to describe these men? After all, they are not religious. So
we dare not call them "legalists," "Pharisees," or "creed-writers." (This
is what some brethren will call preachers today if they suggest that the
definition of nakedness, as defined in the Bible, includes showing one's
thighs [Gen. 3:1-10; Ex. 28:42; Isa. 47:1-3.]) Therefore, in light of what
we have already noted under our first point, I choose to describe their
actions as being in harmony with terms like "modesty," "sobriety," and
"shamefastness" (1 Tim. 2:9).
3. These legislators believe older women can teach younger women to dress
decently. "If female teachers were allowed to be in charge of schools, girls
would adhere to the knee-long uniform concept." Paul wrote that older women
are responsible to teach younger women (Titus 2:3-5). One of the things
they are to teach them is to be "chaste." This word means, "pure, holy"
(A&G, p. 11). By contrast, these young women in Swasiland have been dressing
in such a way as to be _chased_! A clear problem exists in the church
today with regards to this point: Too many older women are dressing in a
manner consistent with the word "chased" rather than the word "chaste." Oh,
that all of them might recognize where such conduct is leading!
4. They see the deeper problems connected with dress. "We are living in
tough times clustered by the HIV/AIDS disease and we must not sit back and
relax. We need to address the problem of dress code among students because
all starts from there." We all know HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted
disease. These men see that dress is connected with fornication which leads
to AIDS. Interestingly enough, Paul Harvey noted years ago that, when the
miniskirt was first popularized, crimes against women greatly increased.
One's dress can lead to lust; lust can lead to fornication and fornication
can lead to AIDS. _But_there_ _is_an_even_deeper_more_enduring_
_problem_than_AIDS_. The Bible teaches that immodest dress, lust and
fornication are all sinful and can damn ones soul (Prov. 7:10; 1 Tim. 2:9;
Matt. 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). Is it not a travesty that these
non-Christian legislators are moved by a temporal problem to do
something about immodest dress when many preachers, who know the
deeper, spiritual problems connected with it do little or nothing?
5. What mini-clothes say about those who wear them. "He lamented that
mini-skirt uniforms are mainly found in schools headed by male teachers."
(We must remember that this is necessarily connected with sex in its
context.) There are several reasons some women would wear such clothing
in such a setting: 1) They know what men like and they are desirous of
seducing them. Therefore, they wear the "proper attire" for the job.
2) They are naive as to the connection we noted under points 1 and
4 above, but like the attention men give them when they wear such clothing;
3) They follow fashion or what is popular. Sisters in Christ, if someone
does not know you and sees you dressed in such a way, how will they
know in which of the above categories you belong? Brothers in Christ,
do you recognize the influence of your dress on the many bawdy women
of our age?
6. The voice of the descenter. Miss/Mrs Mavimbela's words are worth looking
at. She said those responsible for the legislation were "sex maniacs," had
"deep-seated lewdness," and "are very weak when it comes to sex." One
wonders what she would think of Jesus, Paul and Solomon? (Matt. 5:28-29;
Rom. 1:26-27; Prov. 7) However, she hit the nail on the head when she said,
"...Parents must take a leading role in solving the problem." Yes,
preachers should preach on it and it would be just great for schools to make
rules about it, but children need to be taught by their parents to dress in
a decent, modest manner.
Will it take a massive increase in instances of AIDS infection to wake
brethren up concerning the shamelessness manifested in the way many
Christians dress? Will we wait to be led by the world to do that which the
Bible so clearly teaches? Not if we walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7).
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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