THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 25 August 28, 2000

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


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

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 In this issue:

-Do Not Be Deceived By... (Part 1)

-Deceiving Ourselves (Part 2)


HOW AM I GROWING?

Joe R. Price

We all know that growth is vital to one's physical well-being. Good nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle all contribute to the body's growth and wellness.

The same things are needed for our spiritual growth and wellness: Good nutrition (partaking of Christ, the bread of Life - Jno. 6:35, 48, 63, 68); spiritual exercise (Heb. 5:13-14;1 Tim. 4:8) and a disciplined lifestyle (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

How are you doing in your spiritual growth? The scriptures teach us that we either grow away from Christ or closer to Him. Please use the following truths from God's word to "examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5). And then, "draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (Jas. 4:8).

I am growing weaker and away from Christ if:

I am growing stronger and closer to Christ if:

Spiritual growth is not completed in a day. In fact, the growth we seek never comes to an end. God assures us that as we give ourselves to faithful living He will bless us with growth: "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19)


"TIMES OF RESTORATION"

Joe R. Price

With this phrase the apostle Peter assured his Jewish audience that their Messiah and Savior had been received into heaven where He remains until all things are restored (Acts 3:17-21).

The "restoration" of which Peter spoke was nothing less than the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ and man's salvation in Him (Acts 3:18-20, 24). God sent His Servant Jesus to bless all mankind, beginning with the Jews (Acts 3:26). The book of Acts unfolds that grand gospel work and proclaims redemption to every man (Acts 1:8).

The word "restoration" as used in Acts 3:21 means "to restore to its former state," and is translated "restitution" in the KJV. The RSV renders verse 21 thusly: "whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." This drives to the point of the text. In Jesus Christ all that God spoke by His prophets finds fulfillment. All that the OT prophets announced about the Messiah find their fulfillment in Jesus (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:7-12).

Consider just three prophetic elements of the Messiah which have been "restored" (fulfilled, brought to their intended state of being):

1. In Jesus Christ the kingdom of God has been established (Dan. 2:44 -- Mk. 1:15; 9:1). The prophets announced that God would set His Christ upon Zion, ruling over His people in the midst of His enemies (Psa. 2:6-7; 110:1-2). God has fulfilled this in that Christ was raised from the dead and exalted at His right hand, ruling with all authority (Acts 13:32-33; 2:32-36; Matt. 28:18; 1 Pet. 3:22).

2. In Jesus Christ God's promise to send salvation to Israel has been fulfilled (Isa. 11:11 -- Rom. 11:5). Just as the Lord returned a remnant of Israel from their exile in the days of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1), the Lord has also shown His grace by gathering a remnant of Israel unto salvation through the gospel. In the Savior God gives them a glorious resting place (Isa. 11:10). This is Peter's purpose for preaching Christ to the Jews (Acts 3:25-26; Rom. 1:16). Jesus came to turn Israel away from sin and unto God. As many as believed and obeyed Him were indeed restored unto their God.

3. In Jesus Christ a knowledge of the Lord has been restored (Jer. 31:33-34 -- Heb. 8:10-11). As God's prophet, Jesus speaks the will of God which we must hear (Acts 3:22-23). Man had drifted away from God although He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27). In Jesus Christ we obtain a knowledge of the true God (Jno. 1:18; 14:6). We must hear and heed the knowledge of God Jesus speaks to us, or face eternal destruction (Acts 3:23).

Jesus came to fulfill the OT prophets (Matt. 5:17). He has done that very thing. The heavens have received Christ and through Him God sends remission of sins and seasons of refreshing to all who repent and are baptized (Acts 3:19; cf. 2:38-39). Salvation is available to all, whether Jew or Gentile (Rom. 10:12-13). He will return and deliver the kingdom, God's remnant of grace, up to Him (1 Cor. 15:24).


SERMON OUTLINES

 

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/deceive1.htm

 

DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY...

(Part 1)

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

 

Intro.

DECEIVE: "to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid'...synonyms BEGUILE, MISLEAD, DELUDE." (Merriam-Webster)

 

I. SIN - Heb. 3:13; Rom. 7:11; Jas. 1:12-16.

A. That It Satisfies Our Desires - Titus 3:3.

B. That It Gives Lasting Pleasure - Heb. 11:25.

C. That It Has No Eternal Consequences - 1 Cor. 6:9-10 (Rom. 6:23).

D. That It Is Not Seen & Punished By God - Gal. 6:7-8.

 

II. THE ERROR OF FALSE TEACHERS - Matt. 24:3-5 (11, 24-25); 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Jno. 2:26.

A. That Their Teaching Conforms To The Faith - 1 Tim. 4:1.

B. That Their Teaching Comes From Christ (apostles) - 2 Ths. 2:1-3

C. That Nobody Can Be Sure About All Truth - cf. 1 Jno. 3:7 (Jno. 16:13; Jno. 8:32).

D. That They (teachers of error) Are Not Deceivers - 2 Jno. 7-10; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.

 

III. HUMAN WISDOM - Col. 2:8.

A. Persuasive Words - Col. 2:4 (2-3).

B. Empty Words - Eph. 5:6.

C. Smooth Words - Rom. 16:17-18.

 

IV. RELIGIOUS FERVOR WHICH LACKS DIVINE APPROVAL - Col. 2:18-19.

    -Testimonials, visions, experiences, emotionalism - Col. 3:17.

 

V. THE INFLUENCE OF EVIL ASSOCIATIONS - 1 Cor. 15:33.

A. Where We Live (cf. Lot, 2 Pet. 2:7-8).

B. Where We Work - Titus 2:9-10 (Col. 3:22-23)

C. Where We Play - cf. 1 Pet. 4:2-3.

 

Conclusion

Jesus warned: "Take heed, that no one deceives you." (Matt. 24:4).

 


 

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com/deceive2.htm

 

DECEIVING OURSELVES

(Part 2)

 

Scripture Reading: Galatians 6:1-5

 

Intro.

1. Satan is ready to deceive - 1 Pet. 5:8-9.

2. ""No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself." (Greville)

3. WE DECEIVE OURSELVES...

 

I. BY THINKING TOO HIGHLY OF OUR OWN WISDOM - 1 Cor. 3:18-19.

A. The Problem Of Pride - Prov. 3:5-7; 26:12; Isa. 5:21 (Rom. 12:3, 16).

B. Trusting That We Know Better Than God - cf. Jer. 37:9-10; Rom. 1:21-23; Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:25.

 

II. BY BEING ONLY HEARERS OF GOD'S WORD - Jas. 1:22-25.

A. Only Those Who Do God's Will Are Saved - Matt. 7:21-27; Lk. 8:12; 6:46; Heb. 5:9.

B. If We Think Obedience Is A Burden, We Are Deceiving Ourselves! - 1 Jno. 5:3; 2:5; cf. Mal. 1:12-14; Neh. 13:15-17

 

III. BY SAYING WE HAVE NO SIN - 1 Jno. 1:8 (Rom. 3:23).

A. When We Say That "Sin Is Not Really Sin."

B. When We Live As If "Ignorance Is Bliss" - Lk. 12:48.

C. When We Think We Can Sin & Get By With It - Gal. 6:7-8; Deut. 29:19-20.

 

IV. BY THINKING WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ARE - Gal. 6:3.

A. We Need To Keep A Humble Heart About The Power Of Sin's Temptations - Col. 3:12; Rom. 12:16 (Obadiah 3).

B. When We Become Over-Confident In Our Spiritual Strength, We Are Ready To Fall - 1 Cor. 10:12; Mk. 14:27-31.

 

V. BY NOT CONTROLLING OUR TONGUES - Jas. 1:26.

A. Worshippers Of God Deceive Themselves This Way - Jas. 1:16.

B. Misuse Of The Tongue Is A Widespread Problem Among Us! - Jas. 3:2-8

 

-(I am indebted to David J. Riggs for the bulk of this outline. See his lesson, SELF-DECEPTION and much more good Bible study material at http://www.BibleMatter.com)


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

THE CHEATER PRINCIPLE

In an article entitled "The Cheater Principle" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, Friday, August 25, 2000, W1), author Eileen Daspin reports that more and more Americans are cheating the system and feeling good about it. "'The taking-advantage people have gotten worse,' says Bud Konheim, president of fashion house Nicole Miller. 'There used to be a mentality that 'I don't take something that's not mine.' Not, it's, 'Look at everyone getting rich. How about me?'"

Kevin McDermott, New Jersey engineer, justifies busting through the automated toll booth by reasoning "the system is so bad, you have to abuse it." Ms. Daspin writes that "in an era of $3 greeting cards and $2-a-gallon gasoline, a surprising number of consumers feel entitled to cheat."

Some think they are "settling the score" for high priced gasoline, movie and airline tickets and golf green fees by scheming to take and not pay. Many are "doing well by acting badly." -jrp

 

BIBLE COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

Does this really surprise anyone? When a society is trained by its environment to believe it is entitled to luxury and convenience we are not shocked when its citizens cheat to insure their "entitlement." When people believe they ultimately answer to no authority higher than themselves they are well on their way to bending (or breaking) the rules - and justifying themselves for doing so! For those who honor God and love their neighbor, another rule applies. Cheating is dishonest, hurtful and sinful (Eph. 4:25-28)!

Let us not fall into the same sort of thinking when it comes to spiritual things. God has established His purposes and revealed His will for mankind. We have no right to try to "bend the rules" God has made because we think we are "entitled" to do so! (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jno. 9) Let us be content with God's ways, knowing they are always best for us (Isa. 55:8-9; Eccl. 12:13-14).


 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