THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 36 November 12, 2000

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


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 In this issue:


The Great Commission

Joe R. Price

Following the resurrection of Jesus He prepared His apostles for their work by teaching them "things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3, 8). He commissioned them thusly:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20; cf. Mk. 16:15-16)

By apostolic preaching the saving gospel was sent into a world lost in sin (Col. 1:21-23). But, did they do all the teaching and preaching of the gospel? Were the apostles the only ones under the divine edict to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature"? In other words, does the Great Commission apply to Christians today, and if so, how?

Of course, the initial commandment to go into the world and preach the gospel was issued to the apostles (Matt. 28:16-18). They were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ, and as such would bear their testimony to the world (Acts 1:8, 21-22; 2:32).

Please notice that Jesus told the apostles to teach new disciples (Christians) "to observe all things that I have commanded you." Since Jesus taught the apostles to teach the gospel to others, it stands to reason that those converted by the gospel should in turn teach it to still others. Simply put, "yes," the Great Commission applies to Christians today just as it did to Christians in the first century.

Just as the early Christians "went everywhere, preaching the word," so we should, too (Acts 8:4). Every day we have opportunities to talk about Christ and the gospel to others. We can all do a better job of using our advantages and opportunities in this way (Gal. 6:10). At school, in the home, in the marketplace - all these and more are places where the gospel can be taught to others.

The Lord expects Christians to willingly discuss their faith with others: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15).

Faithful Christians are to teach the gospel to other Christians, so still others can be taught the saving truth: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2)

Christians who attempt to teach the gospel to others are following the apostolic example of teaching the way of salvation to the lost (Phil. 4:9). May we all use every occasion we have to teach a lost soul the saving gospel of Jesus!


The Rule of Law

Joe R. Price

This is not intended to be a partisan plea. I have political views, and I expressed them at the voting booth on November 7. Still, our country is on the verge of electoral upheaval. Allegations, charges and counter-charges are flying between the Gore and Bush camps. Cries of "voting irregularities" and "confusing ballots" are being heard and supported by lawsuits. This presidential election is historic, and enlightening, regardless of the final outcome.

One thing being damaged by the present controversy, if not out right attacked, is the rule of law. We have laws which govern the election process. These laws must be observed. In a democracy, if one does not like the present laws he can work to change them. But the law must be respected and obeyed, or anarchy results. Sadly, we are witnessing a citizenry that increasingly disrespects the rule of law for the rule of passion, emotion and self-interest.

What does all of this have to do with spiritual things? For one, it illustrates the attitude we may be tempted to take toward the word of God. When God revealed the law of Moses to Israel there were those who resisted, objected and fought against His law (cf. the rebellion of Korah, Num. 16:1-11). Korah and his cohorts were not content with the role the Lord had given them as Levites. They wanted more power. So, they complained against the leadership of Moses, the man God had placed over Israel. They were not satisfied with the rule of God's law over them. They paid with their lives for their rebellious conduct (Num. 16:20-35).

Then, wonder of wonders, the people complained against the Lord's decision and His punishment of the rebels! (Num. 16:41-50) Another 15,000 perished for their sin.

Can we not learn the lesson to respect the rule of God's law in our lives? Shall we follow the example of Korah and fight against the Almighty? Shall a man withstand God? (2 Chron. 20:6; Acts 5:39; 11:17)

Some fight against the rule of God's law concerning salvation. The gospel plan of salvation is plain. Unless one believes, repents of his sin, confesses his faith in Christ and is baptized for the remission of sins, he is lost and eternally condemned in sin (Jno. 8:23-24; Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16). Selfish interests and defiance of God's law will not change this somber and sobering fact. Humble your heart before God and the Lord will save you!

Some fight against the rule of God's law concerning moral living. Again, the gospel is clear. We must put sin to death in our lives and live righteously (Col. 3:5; Titus 2:11-12; Rom. 12:1-2). Still, many Christians quibble and complain about modesty, decency and purity.

Some fight against the rule of God's law concerning putting God first. As incredible as it sounds, many Christians refuse to put God first, and justify themselves in doing so! Like a nation governed by personal passion and selfish interests, many Christians defend their right to object to the rule of God's law over their lives (Matt. 6:33; 10:37; Lk. 6:46; 14:26)

Christ has supreme authority over us (Matt. 28:18). Why do we choose to ignore the rule of His law in our lives? Pride and self-interests. Love of the world. A lack of faith. All these and more are at the heart of disobedience. If a nation holds its laws in contempt, that nation will not survive. If we hold God's law in contempt, neither will we. We shall fair no better than Korah!


For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:

http://www.bibleanswer.com/matt5_6.htm

 

HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:1-7

Matt. 5:6 - Jesus challenges our real desire for goodness. "Are you so intensely & sharply pained by your need for true righteousness that you would die unless you get it? Just how badly do you want to be righteous?" (Gospel Of Matthew, Fowler, I:215) cf. Matt. 4:4; Jno. 6:27

 

I. WHAT IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WE MUST HUNGER & THRIST AFTER?

A. "The Character Or Quality Of Being Right Or Just" - Jno. 16:8, 13 (Psa. 23:3); Matt. 3:15.

B. Life Of Holiness Before God - 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Prov. 11:30; 21:21; 1 Tim. 6:11-12.

 

II. HUNGERING & THRISTING AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A. The Priority Of Spiritual Things - Matt. 6:33.

B. A Preoccupation With Spiritual Life - 1 Pet. 2:2; cf. Jno. 6:35. (Lk. 18:9-12)

C. A Strong Desire To Be Right With God - Psa. 42:1-2; 63:1-6.

 

III. WHY HUNGER & THRIST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS?

A. To Be Acceptable Before God - Acts 10:35; 1 Jno. 2:29; 3:7; Rom. 4:5.

B. Because Through Christ We Have Died To Sin - 1 Pet. 2:24.

C. To Be Worthy Citizens Of God's Kingdom - Rom. 14:17 (Col. 1:13).

 


For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:

http://www.bibleanswer.com/church 03.htm

 

(Part 3)

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:

Its Sufficiency

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:25-31

 

If the church is sufficiently arranged & equipped, then no other organization or arrangement is permitted or needed for it to do God's will in God's way.

 

I. THE CHURCH IS THE EXECUTION & FULFILLMENT OF A DIVINE WORK - Dan. 2:34, 44; Heb. 8:2.

A. Prophesied: Foretold By Prophets - Isa. 2:2-3.

B. Prepared: By Preaching Of John - Matt. 3:2-3.

C. Promised: To Be Built - Isa. 28:16; Matt. 16:18.

D. Preached: Now In Existence - Acts 2:47. [Heb. 10:21-23,28]

 

II. THE CHURCH, DESIGNED BY DIVINE WISDOM FOR A DIVINE PURPOSE, MUST BE SUFFICIENT TO ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE!

A. Whatever God Creates Is Sufficient To Fulfill Its Purposes & Functions - Eph. 3:20-21.

B. To Deny The Sufficiency Of The Church Is To Deny God's Wisdom & Power - 1Cor. 1:25-31

C. To Improve On God's Arrangement, Man Would Have To Be Wiser & More Powerful Than God! - Rom. 9:20

D. A Perfect (Complete) Revelation Cannot Set Forth Imperfect Truth, Including An Imperfect (Incomplete) Church!

 

III. THEREFORE, THE CHURCH IS SUFFICIENT TO ACCOMPLISH THE WORK GIVEN IT BY GOD (Eph. 4:12).

A. Edification: Local Church - Acts 2:42.

B. Benevolence: Local Church - Acts 4:34-35;11:29.

C. Evangelism: Local Church - Acts 11:22-26; Phil. 1:5; 4:15-16.

D. God's Way Of Doing This Church Work Is Not Only The Best Way, It Is The Only Approved Way! (cf. Prov. 16:25; Isa. 55:8-9)

-(Adapted from Walking By Faith, Cogdill, 10-12)

 


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

 

Paper Apologizes For Saying Gore Won

Thursday, November 09, 2000

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Lebanese newspaper apologized on Thursday for declaring Al Gore the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

"We are sorry because we put an end to a matter that was not concluded," wrote As-Safir's editor, Talal Salman.

"We are used to a deep-rooted Arab tradition of democracy where results are first declared, then elections are conducted and votes brought in to affirm it," he added.

"Gore Becomes President. Lieberman in the White House," read As-Safir's banner headline Wednesday.

See complete story at... http://news.lycos.com/headlines/Entertainment/Oddly-Enough/article.asp?docid=RTODD-PAPER-DC&date=20001109

 

COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

Reminiscent of the Chicago Daily Tribune's "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline of 1948, the world's media was not sure what headline to run last week. At this writing the outcome of the U. S. Presidential election is still in doubt.

At least the editor of the Lebanese newspaper was honest. He said they were used to a type of democracy where "results are first declared, then elections are conducted and votes brought in to affirm it."

That sounds like a lot of religious doctrines and the assurances they give folks! Men have notoriously declared what the truth is - regardless of what the Bible says is the truth - and then set out to affirm their false conclusions. They convince many souls that what is false is true, thus giving false assurance and deceptive hope to many. Let me offer just one illustration.

The doctrine of "once saved, always saved" expressions the end from the beginning. It says the Christian can never so sin as to lose his salvation. Elaborate theologies have been developed to support this doctrine, and emotional appeals are used to compel acceptance of it. Yet, the Bible says "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:4) Many other verses teach the clear truth that Christians can fall away (1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:4-6; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

We must be diligent to continually live by faith to assure our salvation (Heb. 10:32-39). Don't declare the outcome before the race is over! (Heb. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).


 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