THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 22· August 06, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. PriceGod had a controversy against His people Israel in the days of the prophet Hosea (Hosea 4:1). She had played the harlot with the nations around her, abandoning the love of a gracious, loving God for the momentary trifles of her impotent "lovers" (Hos. 2:4-13). Yet still God was merciful, wooing her back and giving her hope through the Messiah (Hos. 2:14-23).
At the heart of God's charge (legal complaint, Hos. 4:1) against Israel was that truth, mercy and a knowledge of Him had vanished from the land (Hos. 4:1). Without the guidance and restraint of God's law, Israel lived according to the flesh and bore its fruit of violent selfishness (Hos. 4:2-3).
Punishment was coming upon Israel for her sins, and the stated reason was "my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6). God had "written for him (Ephraim, God's people, JRP) the great things of My law, But they were considered a strange thing." (Hos. 8:12; cf. 12:10)
I am afraid for us, brethren. A similar lack of knowledge of God and His word is apparent among God's people today. Can sin and destruction be far behind?
Our young people need grounding in the word of God (Eccl. 12:1; Deut. 6:4-9). There are many well taught youth in the kingdom. But there are also many young people who, although they have grown up with Christian parents, have not been taught a knowledge of God and His word. Maybe we assume they will just "pick it up" in two Bible classes and a couple of sermons a week. They won't. Not without the reinforcement of teaching and training at home. We must teach our children God's word. By doing so we help protect them against the eternal destruction which inevitably comes from a lack of knowledge.
Brethren are confused (and being confused) about what God's word teaches about the duration of the days of creation. The credibility and reliability of the Bible is being called into serious question more and more by those who should know better. Many do not know how to establish and apply Bible authority to the work and worship of the local church, or to their individual lives (Col. 3:17). Will we answer these challenges with God's word of truth? Are we able to use the "sword of the Spirit" to "stand against the wiles of the devil?" (Eph. 6:17, 11) Or, are we "unskilled in the word of righteousness?" (Heb. 5:13) Brethren, we must get serious about learning and living the word of God -- our souls are at stake!
Unbelief resides where a knowledge of God's word is absent (Rom. 10:17). But be assured, unbelief does not live in a vacuum. A lack of faith will fill one's "house" (heart and life) with something, usually with a knowledge of and love for the world. The world will pass away and its lusts along with it. To escape this destruction we must know and do the will of God (1 Jno. 2:15-17).
Like Israel of old, we are being destroyed for lack of knowledge. The destruction we face lasts forever! (Matt. 10:28; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)
"Don't Worry That's Not A Salvation Issue"
For years the denominations have justified the doctrinal division that exists among them by arguing that there are only about five essential doctrines that Christian's must embrace in order to have unity. Typically these are doctrines surrounding Jesus, such He is the Son of God, He was resurrected and He died for our sins. Now it seems that some of this type of thinking is trying to make its way into the church. It is tempting to say that unity on this or that doctrine isn't important because it doesn't seem to directly impact upon the deity of Jesus. The problem this is view is that the Bible, in both Testaments, strongly argues against it. For example, Cain's sacrifice was rejected (Genesis 4), Nadab and Abihu were struck dead for offering strange fire (Leviticus 10:1), King Saul was rejected as Israel's king for failing to carrying out a simple command (1 Samuel 15:1ff) and Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1-7). On the surface it looks like none of these violations had any connection with what some might label "essential doctrine". How did touching the ark undermine the truth about the one true God?
The same is true in the New Testament. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for lying (Acts 5). But how did their lie violate "essential doctrine"? Paul opposed those who wanted to insist that Gentiles needed to be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15; Galatians 2:1ff). But how did this view violate the deity of Christ or the atonement? To this list we could add Paul's condemnation of the Corinthian's social meal in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. How did this meal undermine "essential doctrine"?
First of all, it is presumptuous on man's part to divide the doctrines and commands in the Bible into the categories of "essential" and not-so-essential. Does God give any non-essential commands? Rather, Jesus commanded Christians to teach new converts to "observe all things" He had commanded (Matthew 28:20).
Second, we tend to forget that every command or teaching in the Bible was given by God. In the New Testament, the teaching in the Epistles are the words of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 14:37). Therefore, the rejection of any thing that Jesus taught is a direct attack upon His authority. Uzzah was struck dead because he violated a command of God, and the violation of any command is "irreverence" (2 Samuel 6:7). Saul was rejected as king, because disobeying any command, is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Nadab and Abihu were struck dead, because going beyond the Scriptures in any realm is to treat God with dishonor and disrespect (Leviticus 10:3).
"That Will Turn People Off From The Truth"
Now and then someone will make the above argument concerning a particular doctrine, such as what Jesus said about marriage, divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19), or what the Bible says about how the world was created in Genesis 1. This point of view basically is saying that if we teach what the Bible says, people will ridicule us and such teaching will turn people off from becoming Christians. I am always amazed at how quickly people can forget simple Bible passages (Galatians 1:6). In contrast to this philosophy, let us get back to the Bible and simply embrace what Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" (Romans 1:16). As a side note, we will not convert more people if we water down the gospel, for how convicted can we be in the first place, if we are embarrassed concerning what God has said?
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/notshakn.htm
THINGS THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:25-29
I. THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST CANNOT BE SHAKEN - Heb. 12: 28.
A. Prophecy Is Fulfilled - Dan. 2:40-44; 7:17-18, 22, 27.
1. Kingdom announced by John & Jesus - Matt. 3:2; Mk. 1:14-15.
2. Defined by Jesus - Matt. 16:18-19.
3. Established in NT times - Mk. 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1, 41; Col. 1:13; Heb. 12:28.
B. The Kingdom Cannot Be Shaken By:
1. The kingdoms of men - Dan. 2:44 (Rev. 17:14).
2. The death of its king - Matt. 16:18 (Acts 2:24).
3. By the power of sin - 1 Cor. 15:54-58.
II. THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM CANNOT BE SHAKEN - Mk. 1:14-15.
A. The Gospel Of The Kingdom Withstands Every Assault! - Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; Heb. 4:12.
1. Modernists who deny its inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).
2. Agnostics who doubt its credibility (Jn. 17:17)
3. Atheists who reject its God (Psa. 14:1).
4. False teachers & their false doctrines (Gal. 1: 7-9; 2 Pet. 3:16).
5. Weak Christians who will not rely upon it (Rom. 10:17).
B. The Gospel Cannot Be Shaken Because Of The Integrity Of God - Heb. 6:16-18.
III. THE ETERNAL KINGDOM CANNOT BE SHAKEN - 2 Pet. 1:11.
A. The Christian's Inheritance - 1 Pet. 1:3-9.
1. Incorruptible: "not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable."
2. Undefiled: "free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigor impaired;" that which is far removed from every kind of contamination.
3. Does not fade away: "unfading, the root idea being that it is unaffected by the withering which is common in the case of flowers."
4. 1:5 - Guarded through faith! Cf. 1:7-9
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/otresurr.htm
RESURRECTION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58Intro. 1. Did OT saints believe in life after death? In bodily resurrection from the dead?
2. Complete revelation came with Christ - Heb. 1:1-2; Jno. 14:6; 16:12-13.
I. THE COMMONLY HELD VIEW OF DEATH IN THE OT.
A. Death Was Seen As The End - Gen. 3:19; Psa. 103:14-16; Eccl. 12:7.
B. Notable Occurrences Which Illustrated Life Beyond Death (One's life on earth):
1. Translations: Enoch, Elijah.
2. Resurrections: Widow's son (1 Kgs. 17:21- 22); (2 Kgs. 4:32-37); Man in Elisha's tomb (2 Kgs. 13:20-21).
C. Death (Sheol) Ended Opportunities On Earth - Psa. 6:5; 88:10-12; 115:17.
D. Death Would Not End The Saint's Relationship With God - Psa. 139:8 (Prv. 15:11); Psa. 17:15.
II. DEVELOPMENT OF THE IDEA OF RESURRECTION IN THE OT - Acts 24:14-15.
A. Job - Job 7:9-10; 14:1, 7, 10-14; 19:25-27.
B. Abraham - Gen. 22:5 (cf. Heb. 11:19).
C. Moses - Exo. 3:6, 15 ( Lk. 20:37-38.
D. David - 2 Sam. 12:23; Psa. 16:8-11.
III. MESSIAH'S RESURRECTION - Lk. 24:46.
A. Prophecies Indicate Resurrection:
1. Psa. 16:8-11 ( Acts 2:24-31
2. Psa. 2:7 ( Acts 13:32-37 (Isa. 55:3; Psa. 16:10)
3. Psa. 118:21-24 ( Acts 4:10-11; Rom. 1:4
4. Isa. 53:9-10 ( Jno. 10:17-18
IV. JESUS: OUR HOPE OF RESURRECTION - Jno. 11:25.
A. A Spiritual Resurrection - Jno. 5:24-25 (Dan. 12:2; Rom. 6:4-5).
B. A Bodily Resurrection - 1 Cor. 15:20-23; Heb. 2:17-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-57.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
JOBLESS RATE STEADY AT 4.0 PERCENT By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's unemployment rate held steady at 4 percent in July, close to a three-decade low, despite the loss of 108,000 payroll jobs during the month, the biggest setback in nine years.
All of the job decline, however, came from 290,000 temporary government workers laid off in July because their work on the census was finished.
The Labor Department report on Friday showed that private payrolls actually rose by 138,000 during the month, a sign that the nation's labor market remained extremely tight.
However, analysts noted that last month's gain in private sector jobs was down significantly from a jump of 242,000 in June and gains of more than 200,000 in many of the months of the past year.
COMMENTARY ON THE NEWS Joe R. Price
Four per cent unemployment. That's wonderful. It means most people who want a job in this country have one. It means America is working.
I wonder what the unemployment rate is in the vineyard of the Lord? There are plenty of jobs to go around. In fact, the "labor market" in the Lord's vineyard always has room for more workers: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." (Matt. 9:37)
Don't think you are qualified? Think again. "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." (Mk. 9:41)
Think you are too old or have started too late in life? Wrong again. "And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, `Why have you been standing here idle all day?' "They said to him, `Because no one hired us.' He said to them, `You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' "So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' "And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.
There is much to do. There is work on every hand. We have no excuse for not being employed in the greatest work of all! We must work while it we can! (Jno. 9:4) "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Gal. 6:9)
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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