THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 21· July 30, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
The following came from a Lutheran minister defending infant baptism. Upon request from a brother who was preparing a response, I offered this reply.
"How can anybody believe? Christian faith isn't an intellectual decision (John 1:12,13). I can't choose to believe in Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches that by nature people are incapable of such decisions of faith (Ephesians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7), that conversion is entirely the work of the Holy Spirita regeneration (James 1:18;1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philippians 1:29; Ephesians 2:8,9 et al. ). Faith is the Holy Spirit's gift. "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3). The Holy Spirit can give his gift of faith to anybody he wants to babies too. Jesus talked plainly about infants and small children who believed in him (Matthew 18:6; Luke 18:15-17). Such trust in Jesus is a gift given to children as well."
It has been asked, "How can anybody believe?" The Bible answer is clear: by "hearing...the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The Christian's faith is a positive decision of heart based upon the testimony (evidence) of truth (Jno. 20:30-31; Heb. 11:1). You can choose to believe in Christ, or you can choose not to do so (Jno. 12:37-41). The decision to believe begins with a willing heart (Jno. 7:17). The sinner is indeed capable of such a decision of faith (Acts 16:30-34). Faith is not the Holy Spirit's gift to the world, for if it is, then would not all sinners be saved (since God desires all men to be saved, 1 Tim. 2:3-4)? The Holy Spirit's gift to the world is an incorruptible seed, the word of God, by which we believe and are "born again" (Jno. 16:13; 1 Pet. 1:22-23). By the word of truth He revealed and inspired, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (Jno. 16:8-13). Without the word of the gospel which the Holy Spirit has revealed and inspired, no one can say "Jesus is Lord." The ability to trust in Jesus as Lord can only be accomplished by those with the capacity to hear and believe (Lk. 6:46; Rom. 10:17). Children possess the dependent, humble nature such a decision of faith requires (Matt. 18:2-3; Lk. 18:15-17). But, they do not possess sin (Rom. 7:9; Deut. 1:39). In closing, if faith is not a decision which man makes, why then did Simon Peter say "we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God"?! (Jno. 6:69)
-(Discussion on BIBLE MATTERS, July 25, 2000)
"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." (Lev. 19:18).
In his book, Lee: The Last Years, Charles B. Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal Artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it!"
It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow bitterness to take root and poison the rest of our lives.-All "Brief Exhortations" are being posted at: http://www.public.usit.net/driggs/brief.htm
Since we do not want God to hold a grudge against us, even though we sin against Him, consistency demands that we also not hold grudges against those who sin against us. (read Matt. 18:23-35)"Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" (Matt. 18:21-22) - jrp
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/good_god.htm
BEHOLD THE GOODNESS OF GOD
Scripture Reading: Psalms 25:1-15Intro. 1. Rom. 11:22 - Behold: to see with the mind's eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception.
2. Goodness: "moral goodness, integrity" (Thayer); graciousness.I. THAT WHICH COMES FROM GOD TO MAN IS GOOD, BECAUSE GOD IS GOOD - Psa. 25:8; 33:4-5; Jas. 1:17.
A. God's Goodness Is Seen In The World & Its Provisions (Which Give & Sustain Life) - Gen. 1:31; Gen. 8:21-22; Psa. 145:15-16; Acts 14:17; 17:25. (Matt. 5:45; Eccl. 2:24)
B. God's Word Of Truth Is Good - Psa. 119:68, 39; Rom. 7:12 (cf. Deut. 4:8; Neh. 9:13); Lk. 4:18-19; Heb. 6:5.
C. God Is Good In Mercy & Forgiveness Of Our Sins - Psa. 86:5; 25:6-7; 109:21; Rom. 5:8.
D. God's Goodness Gives Refuge & Blessings To People Of Faith - Nah. 1:7 (2 Tim. 2:19); Eph. 1:3; 2 Ths. 2:16-17.
II. WHAT GOD'S GOODNESS MUST CAUSE US TO DO.
A. Repent Of Our Sins - Rom. 2:1-4; 2 Cor. 7:9-11; Lk. 13:3;
B. Continue To Be Faithful To God - Rom. 11:22; Psa. 34:8; Rom. 12:1-2, 11.
C. Praise & Thank God For His Goodness - Psa. 106:1; 107:1; 145:7; Jer. 33:11; Heb. 10:25.
D. Tell Others Of God's Goodness - Isa. 63:7; Rom. 10:14-15 (Psa. 86:5); Jas. 4:17.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/severgod.htm
BEHOLD THE SEVERITY OF GOD
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:26-31
Intro. 1. Rom. 11:22 - Need a clear mental perception of God's severity so that we may avoid it!
2. Severity: "roughness, rigor"(Thayer, 69). I. OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE - Heb. 12:29.
A. A Devouring Force Against Evil.
-God hates & punishes sin - Prov. 6:16-19; 10:26-31; Matt. 25:41; 2 Ths. 1:6-10.
B. We Must Fear Him - Lk. 12:5 (cf. Lev. 10: 1-3, 6).
II. THE WRATH OF GOD - Nahum 1:2-3.
-["It is the temper of God towards sin, not rage, but the wrath of reason and law" (Shedd, Robertson's Word Pictures on Rom. 1:18.]
A. Traits Of God's Wrath Include:
1. Reserved for His enemies - 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Num. 14:22-23; Psa. 95:7-11.
2. Just & righteous - Rom. 2:5
3. Impartiality - Rom. 2:5-11
4. Cannot be resisted by anyone - Nah. 1:6; Jer. 10:10.
5. Terrible & no escape - Zeph. 1:12-18.
6. Abides upon the faithless - Jno. 3:36
B. God's Wrath Can Be Avoided By Repentance - Zeph. 2:1-3; Jonah 1:2; 3:4-10; Acts 2:37-38; 8:20-24; 2 Chrn.29:3-10
III. ESCAPE FROM GOD'S WRATH IS AN EXPRESSION OF LONGSUFFERING AND MERCY - 2 Pet. 3:9; Rom. 9:22-23.
A. The Sacrifice Of Jesus Appeases The Wrath Of God - Rom. 3:23-26; 1 Jno. 2:2; Heb. 10:17-18 (Acts 22:16). (Propitiation )
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
BIBLE TOO CONTROVERSIAL: GENERAL MILLS APOLOGIZES
Joe R. PriceThe makers of such breakfast cereals as Cheerios, Chex and Cinnamon Toast Crunch have apologized for including a software version of the NIV Bible on a CD-ROM being given away inside boxes of cereal.
The company issued a statement earlier this month saying "While the inclusion of the Bible may be seen as added value by some, it is the company's policy not to advance any particular set of religious beliefs. Inclusion of this material does not conform to our policy, and we apologize for this lapse." The NIV is the most popular version of the Bible used among "evangelical Christians" in this country.
The AP reported that "Greg Swann, founder of Rhinosoft Interactive of Wisconsin, the company that helped create the CDROMs (sic), called General Mills' claims that it was unaware of the software Bibles 'a flat-out lie.'"
According to Religion News Today, " Controversy arose in March when Disney Interactive, whose computer version of the television game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" is included on the CD-ROMS, told Swann that the Bible was too controversial and demanded it be taken off the "Millionaire" CD-ROMs. That held up production, software developer Ken Patterson told the Free Press."
-(Compiled from the AP & Religion News Today)
COMMENTARY ON THE NEWS Joe R. Price
Well, we've been saying it all along. The Bible is controversial. We didn't need General Mills or Disney Interactive to tell us that. Jesus told us this long ago (Lk. 12:49-53). In this "politically correct" age we are not at all surprised. Everybody knows the Ten Commandments, the 23rd Psalm, the Beatitudes (Matt. 5) and a discourse on love (1 Cor. 13) are far "too controversial" to give away inside a cereal box!!
But, why don't we bring this a little closer to home. More and more brethren seem to think the record of creation in Genesis 1 is "too controversial" - so much so that they are no longer willing to accept its teaching that the world was created in six days (Gen. 1, 2:1). The Clintonesque line, "that depends on what 'is,' is," can be heard as brethren wrestle with what "day" means in Genesis 1. The text says it consists of an "evening and a morning" (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). But, since there is such controversy over it, maybe we should just remove Genesis 1 from the Bible! In line with the sentiment expressed by some, and by adapting the General Mills statement, we could say: "While the inclusion of teaching the world was created by God in six, 24-hour days may be seen as added value by some, it is this Christian's (or church's, or paper's, or college's) policy not to advance any particular interpretation of Genesis 1. Inclusion of such teaching does not conform to our 'no controversy' policy, and we apologize for this lapse." I wonder if that would satisfy Christians who chide their brethren for warning about the danger of false teachings among us? (Jude 3-4; Jer. 6:14).
Perhaps we should follow King Jehoiakim's lead example and cut Matthew 19 out of the Bible. After all, what is more controversial among brethren these days than divorce and remarriage?! Should we just be quiet and not teach on this controversial topic? After all, "While the inclusion of teaching on divorce and remarriage may be seen as added value by some, it is this Christian's (or church's, or paper's, or college's) policy not to advance any particular set of views on the subject. Inclusion of material does not conform to our no controversy policy, and we apologize for this lapse."
My, my. What will be too controversial next? Instrumental music in worship? No women preachers? Condemnation of homosexuality? The plan of salvation? Let us all be "set for the defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17; 1 Pet. 3:15).
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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