THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 27 September 10, 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:

-Overcoming Doubt

-Stones and Serpents


SPEAK BOLDLY

Joe R. Price

One of the striking features of the apostolic work is the energy and boldness with which they proclaimed the soul-saving message of truth (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 4:29-31; 9:20, 22, 27, 29). They saw boldness in preaching the gospel as not only desirable, but morally obligatory: "praying...for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Eph. 6:18-20) They were constrained and compelled by divine appointment to boldly preach. We are under the same divine appointment: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7)

Boldness is not arrogance or a display of "knowing it all." Such evil must never accompany gospel teaching. "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Thayer says the word which "boldness" translates means "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech...openly, frankly, i.e. without concealment...without ambiguity or circum-locution...without the use of figures and comparisons...free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage...the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." (491)

Bold preaching is not an "intellectual exercise" that leaves one wondering what the truth is, or whether we can even know the truth (remember Pilate's "what is truth?").

Boldness is being plain spoken in what one says. Clarity, not ambiguity, is a trait of gospel preaching. The "uncertain sound" is not characteristic of boldness (1 Cor. 14:8).

Bold gospel preaching draws attention to the message we preach, not the messenger (1 Cor. 1:18-21; 2:1-5; 4:9-13; Acts 14:1-7).

Bold teaching and preaching is the result of one's confidence (faith) in the credibility, accuracy and truthfulness of the gospel. Rarely will one who is unsure of his message show boldness in its proclamation. (cf. 2 Tim. 1:8-13)

But beware! False teachers can be bold, too (cf. 2 Pet. 2:18; Jude 16). Every message, no matter how boldly presented, must be analyzed under the microscope of inspired scripture to verify its credibility (Acts 17:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). Then we can boldly live truth and teach it to others.

Bold gospel preaching has never received wide acceptance. Sin and error love darkness rather than light (Jno. 3:19-21). Even some brethren disdain bold preaching intended to spread the truth and save souls. Some refuse to publicly debate the gospel when differences exist, insisting that it does more harm than good. (Gladly the apostles did not share their thinking! Please read Acts 6:6-8; 9:29; 15:1-2; 17:1-4, 17-19; 18:4-5.)

Others resist publicly identifying teachers of error lest we "lose our opportunity" to reach them. But, it is because their error is public that a bold challenge is warranted! God knows that publicity vindicates truth and protects the innocent (Rom. 16:17-18).

Why does the Lord want us to be bold when we teach the gospel? He wants the gospel to gain publicity so that more may openly hear and understand its message of salvation (Lk. 12:3). Then, more will be saved by its power (Rom.1:16). Be bold, my brethren! (1 Cor. 16:13)


SERMON OUTLINES

 

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

 

OVERCOMING DOUBT

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-13

 

Intro.

1. Endurance in the face of life's conflict, temptation & trials is a mark of strong faith: Prov. 24:10; (Heb.12:3-5)

2. Doubt - "to be without a way (no way)." - Lk. 12:29

3. Doubt is one of Satan's devices which he uses quite effectively to cause discouragement & complacency within Christian's life! (2 Cor. 2:11)

 

I. AREAS WHERE DOUBT CAN OVERTAKE US & DESTROY OUR FAITH.

A. In Our Personal Faith In God - Psa. 73:13-18; Matt. 13:20-22; Heb. 3:12-14.

B. We Can Begin To Doubt God's Care For Us & His Power In Our Lives (Does God hear me & care about me)? - Psa. 22:1-2; Mk. 4:37-40; Heb. 12:3-6; Psa. 77:1-3, 7-15.

C. We Can Begin To Doubt The Truthfulness & Effectiveness Of God's Word - cf. Rom. 10:16, 21.

 

II. DOUBT RESULTS FROM TRUSTING IN SELF MORE THAN GOD!

A. Overcome Personal Doubts By Trusting God's Sovereignty - Psa. 73:21-28.

B. Overcome Doubt In God's Care & Power By Trusting God's Deliverance - Psa. 22:19-21, 24; Heb. 13:5 (Psa. 71:1-5).

C. Overcome Doubt In The Effectiveness Of God's Word By Trusting In Its Power - Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:18; Rom. 1:16; 2 Cor. 4:7 - The power of gospel is in God, not in its messengers! Trust God, not yourself!

 

Conclusion

1. In Christ there is victory over Satan, sin & death.

2. Don't doubt - Be steadfast - 1 Cor. 15:56-58.

3. Commit yourself to God's care today - Live by faith! - 2 Tim. 1:12


 

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

 

STONES AND SERPENTS

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:7-12

 

I. WE GIVE OUR CHILDREN STONES & SERPENTS....

A. ...When They Ask For (Need) Our Time & Affection & Instead We Give Them Material Things - 1 Sam. 1:20-23. (~2-12 yr.)

-Our children need us, not the things we can give them.

 

B. ...When They Ask For (Need) Our Guidance & Discipline & Instead We Leave Them Alone & Look The Other Way - Prov. 4:3-4;Deut. 11:18-21; Prov. 29:15, 17 (cf. 1 Sam. 3:13)

-Children need parents who have the strength to exercise consistent & reasonable discipline, regardless of the cost.

 

C. ...When They Ask For (Need) Our Guidance On Morality & Ethics & Instead We Give Them Unrestricted Access To Immoral Entertainment - Eph. 5:3-7.

-Children need strong, disciplined, spiritually mature parents to serve as models & to surround them with nurturing love.

 

D. ...When They Ask For (Need) Spiritual Focus In Their Lives & Instead We Help Them Focus On The Physical Pleasures Of The World - 1 Jno. 2:15-16; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:8-9.

-Our children need parents who actively & faithfully participate in spiritual work!

 

E. ...When They Ask For (Need) Our Compliments & Praise & Instead We Are Quick To Criticize & Belittle Them - Col. 3:21.

-Children need to be reinforced with praise, trust, attention & affection!

 

F. ...When They Ask For (Need) Order & Stability In Their Lives & Instead We Give Them Chaos & Unpredictability - Mal. 2:16; Gen. 18:19.

 

-Children need the security & growth environment which comes from orderliness in the home!

 


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

WHO WILL PLAY GOD'S MUSIC?

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

 

The organ, the king of instruments, no longer rules in countless Christian sanctuaries.

"Churches are losing their music," says music professor Karen Black of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

Benches stand empty in country churches and city cathedrals, across denominations, across the country.

Michael Silhavy, director of music for the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has scant time to talk about the shortage of organists in 222 Catholic parishes. He has to fill in playing at funerals.

"It can take months to fill a position, and a church may not get many choices," says Bob Anderson, who runs the placement service for the American Guild of Organists (AGO) chapter in the Twin Cities.

Anderson sees 24 vacancies, a record high, right now, including churches with magnificent instruments such as Central Lutheran Church, Hamlin United Methodist Church and St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral.

People able - and willing - to play sacred music are hard to find, hard to keep and, some say, hard to please.

A counterpoint of conflicts underlies the problem.

The organists complain of measly pay and, worse, musically ignorant clergy.

"One organist in the country might make $100,000 at a 'big steeple' church, and the rest are lucky to earn $30,000. The old refrain is 'We can't pay you much, but we get lots of weddings,' which means you have no weekends, no life, working 36 hours straight," says Jared Jacobsen, who plays the world's largest outdoor organ in services and concerts at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York every summer.

Most of the jobs are part time. "There's not a lot of incentive for a $100-a-week job playing Thursday night rehearsals and once or twice on Sundays in carpeted churches with terrible acoustics," says Robert Plimpton, civic organist for the city of San Diego, who also plays for Faith Presbyterian Church.

"Trained church musicians are all fired up to give glory to God through our art, and it's not what the clergy want," says Randall Egan, a retired organist in Minneapolis. "They're jealous because music expresses what words cannot. They don't recognize our vocation."

Silhavy frets: "I've seen organists replaced by recordings for the congregation to sing with. It's karaoke worship. What's next? Charlton Heston reading the Scripture?"

(edited for length, for complete story go to: http://www.usatoday.com/life/lds012.htm

 

BIBLE COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

The first assumption is that God has music which must be played. Who said? Not God! The gospel of Christ is silent as the tomb in speaking about instrumental music we should play in worship to God. The instrument we play in our worship is the human heart (Eph. 5:19). Nothing more or less will please God.

We must not added to God's word (Rev. 22:18-19; Heb. 8:4). Historically, man has always concluded "anything goes" when it comes to worshipping God (cf. Lev. 10:1-2; 1 Kgs. 12:25-33; Mal. 1:6-14).

Churches of Christ are not "losing their music" and will not - if the hearts of worshippers are directed to God ("to the Lord" - Eph. 5:19).


 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