THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 20 July 23, 2000

Editor..................Joe R. Price

 


Visit our Web Sites:

Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker

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 In this issue:

    1. Following Christ's Authority In The Local Church
    2. Introducing Jesus (John 1:1-18)

-Posted on BIBLE MATTERS by Jeremy Bailey, Author unknown

 

Absence Is A Symptom

Fever 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. Price

 

James 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?"


SERMON OUTLINES

 

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

 

INTRODUCING JESUS

(John 1:1-18)

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??

 


 

NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(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

school.'

"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

male teachers.

"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

publisher.

 _______

 

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

Swaziland.

 

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.

 

Conclusion

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

Send all questions/comments to the editor at: ssword@bibleanswer.com