THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 24· August 20, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
The word "sleep" is used at times in the Bible to speak of death without any reference to the condition of the spirit or where one goes after death. For instance, consider John 11:11-14, where Jesus used "sleeps" synonymously with "dead." When the body is dead it appears to be asleep, hence, the figurative use of "sleep." Likewise, when Stephen "fell asleep," this is an expressive way of saying "he died" (Acts 7:60, note 8:1).
Death means separation. Man dies when the spirit leaves the body (Jas. 2:26).
Luke 16:19-31 is one of the best places to go in the Bible to teach us about what happens to us when we die. Please notice there is nothing stated in the text that says this is a parable. Jesus describes this incident as a matter of fact, an event which actually took place.
The realm of the dead or the place of departed spirits (sometimes called Hades or the Hadean realm) is here described as consisting of two parts, one a place of comfort and rest (Abraham's bosom), the other a place of agony and torment. There is no passing between these two states (v. 26). There is consciousness as noted throughout this narrative. One's conduct in life determines where he goes upon death (v. 25, 27-31). The living cannot effect or change the condition of those who have died. Neither can the dead change the condition of the living. Our choices in this life determine where we go after we die.
Recall that Jesus said He would be in Paradise after His death (Lk. 23:43). Acts 2:27 says Jesus did go to Hades when He died. Because He was without sin, we conclude Jesus was in that part of Hades referred to in Luke 16:22 as "Abraham's bosom" -- Paradise. This is where every faithful Christian can expect to go awaiting the resurrection of the dead. The unrighteous can expect to enter a place of flaming torment (Lk. 16:24).
At His return, Christ will speak and all the dead shall arise, some to a judgment of everlasting life and others to a judgment of everlasting death (Jno. 5:28-29; 2 Cor. 5:10).
Are you ready for death? (Heb. 9:27)
WALKING BY THE SAME RULE
Jim Sasser(Phil. 3:16) "Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same things."
The religious world is sadly divided by a failure to observe and follow the same rule. In religious matters it is common knowledge that people are divided over creeds, types of organization, doctrinal differences, and ways and means of doing the work of the Lord. The basic reason for all religious division is the rejection of ultimate authority, the refusal to accept one standard of authority. We all need to "walk by one rule," the same source of authority in religion.
Just suppose that every merchant was left free to select and use his own individual yardstick. How would you like for each merchant to use his own scales or measuring devices when he was selling you his products? Imagine the confusion in a world where every criminal could be his own judge. In the absence of accepted, standard authority, where there is no established rule of right conduct, there would always be chaos, division and strife.
Biblical authority must be respected and obeyed if we are ever do obtain the unity for which our Savior prayed (Jno. 17:20-23). We must determine to walk by the same rule in religion and all speak the same thing (1 Cor. 1:10).
Many pay lip service to the Bible's authority and profess to follow it, but in actual practice they have other rules and other standards of authority in which the abide. For example, some people take human reasoning for their authority. They, therefore, reject every practice that does not conform to their own ideas and logic. Some allow emotions to rule their lives. Some say that they allow their conscience to be their guide. Others appeal to traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Very few people down through the ages have ever actually honored and respected the complete and final authority of the word of God. But this is the only basis for true unity and harmony among the followers of Christ (2 Tim. 3:16,17) God speed the day when we all shall desire to "walk by the same rule."
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/beready.htm
BE READY!Scripture Reading: Matt. 25:1-13
Titus 3:1 - Are you ready (fit, prepared) to seize opportunities to do every good work?I. READY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL - Rom. 1:15.
A. Some Are Not Ready To Preach The Gospel - Rom. 1:16; Heb. 5:12-14; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:2; Acts 8:4.
B. Some Are Ready To Preach The Gospel - 1 Ths. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:15, 17; Jno. 9:4.
II. READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER - 1 Pet. 3:15.
A. By Preparing Your Heart - cf. Ezra 7:10
B. By Preparing Your Answer - Matt. 16:13-17; 2 Tim. 2:15.III. READY TO GIVE - 1 Tim. 6:18.
A. This Too Begins In The Heart - 2 Cor. 8:12, 19; 9:2-3, 5; Jas. 1:27; Jno. 9:4; Heb. 12:12.IV. READY FOR THE LORD'S RETURN - Matt. 24:44.
A. Those Who Are Prepared Enter Heaven - Matt. 25:4, 8-10.
B. To Be Ready For Christ's Return, We Must:
1. Watch (24:42): Cautious, active attention (cf. Eph. 5:15-16).
2. Ready (24:44): Prepared - cf. 1 Ths. 5:1-6.
3. Don't miss heaven because you refuse to get ready!!Conclusion
Readiness is vital to success! - cf. Matt. 22:4, 8; 1 Pet. 1:5
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/hardprch.htm
"HARD" PREACHING Scripture Reading: John 6:60-69 Intro. Many disciples viewed Jesus' teaching as hard: "Harsh, rough, stiff...of things: violent, rough, offensive, intolerable" (Thayer). I. THE PURPOSE OF GOSPEL PREACHING IS TO SAVE THOSE WHO BELIEVE - Mk.16:15; 1Cor.1:21; 1Tim.4:16 II. WHAT TYPES OF PREACHING ARE VIEWS AS HARD (Offensive) BY UNBELIEVERS?
A. Preaching Which Calls For Definite Action Offends Many Christians - cf. Jno. 6:53, 57, 66 (Matt. 13:20-21).
B. Preaching Which Straightforwardly Rebukes Sin & Error Offends Many Christians - cf. Matt. 23; Acts 7:51-53, 57-58
C. On The Other Hand, Many View Preaching Which Makes Us Comfortable As "Positive" In Nature - Jer. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:3-4.III. GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED EVEN WHEN PEOPLE TAKE OFFENSE - 2 Tim. 4:1-5.
A. Our Charge Before God On Preaching The Word Is To: Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort - cf. Lk. 3:18-20, 7-8; 2 Tim. 2:24-26.
B. Some Will Accept Gospel Preaching & Others Will Not - Prov. 9:7-10.
C. Some Attack The Preacher When He Preaches The Word - Gal. 4:16; 2 Cor. 12:14-19.IV. GOD'S DIRECTIVES ON PREACHING THE TRUTH.
A. To Preachers & Teachers: Preach Truth Regardless Of Reception - 2 Tim. 4:2; Jer. 20:7-11; Amos 7:11-13; Ezek. 2:5-7.
B. To Hearers: Meekly Receive Truth & Obey It - Jas. 1:21-22; Ezek. 33:30-32.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
COLORADO NOTIFICATION LAW STRUCK DOWN
USA Today (Nationline, 08/18/00- Updated 12:46 AM ET)
DENVER - A federal judge has struck down a Colorado law that requires minors to get permission from parents or guardians before having an abortion. U.S. District Judge Walker Miller ruled Thursday that the law violated patients' rights by not allowing abortions for health reasons. The law was passed by voters in a 1998 ballot measure, but Planned Parenthood sued and a judge put the act on hold before it could be enforced. On Tuesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down a similar state law, saying it placed an excessive burden on a girl's right to an abortion.
Joe R. PriceI am appalled! The Coalition for Positive Sexuality says on its web site that minors can usually "get around" telling their parents of their decision to have an abortion. This organization is intent upon teaching teenagers to "just say yes" to sex - whatever, whenever and however. And then, they encourage young people to kill their babies when they get pregnant! Equally upsetting is a judicial system that helps them do so by ruling minors need not obtain parental permission to have an abortion.
The scriptures remain clear and unambiguous on these matters: (1) Parents have authority over their children, and God expects children to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20-21); (2) Pre-marital sex is sinful (Heb. 13:4; Gal. 5:19-21); (3) Abortion is murder (the taking of new, innocent life, Lk. 1:44; 2:16; Psa. 139:13-16; Rom. 13:9); and (4) Sin brings shame and reproach upon a nation (Prov. 14:34).
Such actions by the courts and efforts by activist organizations undermine the family and society. Everyone these days shorts "it is my right!" while forgetting that with "rights" come responsibilities and accountability. May God help us and our nation to return to moral decency and piety. Let us pray for such things (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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