THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 39 December 3, 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:


How To Treat Others

(Author Unknown)

A young lady named Sally relates an experience she had in class, given by her teacher, whom we'll call Brother Smith.

She says Brother Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into class and knew they were in for another fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts.  Brother Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry . . .and he would allow them to
throw darts at the person's picture.

Sally's girlfriend (on her right), drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend (on her left), drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of Brother Smith, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing. Sally was pleased at the overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts, with much laughter and hilarity. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Brother Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats.

As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn't have a chance to throw any darts at her target, Brother Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus....

A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced out.

Brother Smith said only these words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." (Matthew 25:40)

No other words were necessary; the tear-filled eyes of each student focused only on the picture of Christ. The students remained in their seats even after the bell rang, then slowly left the classroom, tears streaming down their faces.

[May the story above serve as a reminder that our attitude toward Jesus Christ is demonstrated in the way we treat people around us.]


Man's Sincerity, God's Grace

Joe R. Price

A thoughtful question was posed which deserves careful Bible study.  The question was this: "There are many liberal brethren that maintain that if a person is taught that sprinkling is an acceptable baptism, and has a pure heart in truly seeking to please God that Gods' grace may cover that error.  They often use Romans 2:12-15 as their proof-text.  Please comment."

Romans 2:12-15 makes a comparison between the condition of the Gentile world (cf. Rom. 1:18-32) which did not a written law with the Jewish world which did (Rom. 2:1-11).   Remember, "where there is no law there is no transgression" (Rom. 4:15).   So, whether Gentile or Jew, "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23) - nobody is beyond the reach of divine law and its requirements
(Rom. 5:12-13).

Once we understand that all men are now under the authority of Jesus Christ, the question of whether one who has not be Scripturally baptized is answered easily enough (cf. Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17; Gal. 1:6-9). Sprinkling, by definition as well as by practice, is not Bible baptism (baptizo means to "immerse, to dip, to plunge").  Therefore, even after a person has been
sprinkled he has not practiced what Jesus commanded - his sincerity notwithstanding.

All the sincerity in the world will not change the fact that sprinkling is not the baptism of the great commission. (Cornelius was an extremely sincere man, yet lost in his sincerity because of his sin, Acts 10:22; 11:14).

Divine grace is not dispensed to sinners on the basis of man's sincerity or desires.   One can only expect God's grace to be applied when he expresses genuine faith in God and Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).  Since faith is produced by hearing the word of God, we cannot alter His word and expect grace to be given to us in spite of our mishandling of God's word (Rom. 10:17; 2 Pet.
3:16-18).  Carefully read Galatians 1:6-9 and see that by accepting and following a different gospel one in fact turns away from the grace of Christ!

God has not given us the prerogative to extend His grace - only He has the power  and right to do so.  And, we can be sure that He will do so - but only in harmony with His divinely revealed will - the "word of His grace" (Acts 20:24, 32).

Baptism is not the only doctrine on which some brethren try to incorrectly dispense God's grace.  Another prominent one is divorce and remarriage.  Suggesting that the complexity of the subject prevents conclusive understanding of God's word, so brethren call for sincerity in the so-called "gray" areas, certain that grace will prevail as long as one is "fully persuaded in your own mind."  And so, by misapplying scripture and undercutting confidence in the word of God, some accept those in
unscriptural remarriages, concluding that God's grace will cover the entire matter.

No, any doctrine which gives people comfort in their sin is not the gospel of Christ!   Those who teach that divine grace will somehow nullify divine law are mistaken.   The gospel does not condemn people, sin does that (Rom. 6:23). The gospel is God's gracious lifeline of salvation to all who will live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17; 6:17-18, 22-23; Titus 2:11-12).


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

THE CHARACTER and CONDUCT of JESUS

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:24-29

The Christian's goal is to be like Christ in all things (Gal. 4:19; Col. 1:27; 3:10; Gal. 2:20).

By learning the character and conduct of Jesus we are able to better grow into His likeness.

I.  JESUS WAS MEEK AND LOWLY.
  A. Physical - Jno.4:7-8; 11:35; Mk. 6:31.
  B. Mercy & Compassion - Mk. 1:40-45; 6:34; Matt. 20:29-34.
  C.  Patient - Lk. 22:24-27; 23:34-37; 1 Pet. 2:23.
  D.  Humble & Caring - Matt. 11:28-30; 19:13-15.
  E.  Forgiving - Lk. 7:47-48; 23:34.

II.  JESUS WAS CANDID & COURAGEOUS.
  A.  Spiritual - Matt. 4:4; Jno. 4:34-35; 9:4.
  B.  Anger (used shame) - Mk. 3:5; Lk. 13:10-17; 19:45-46.
  C.  Strict - Matt. 23:23; 25:24-27; 19:9-12.
  D.  Controversial - Matt. 15:12-14; 21:23-27.
  E.  Rebuking - Lk. 9:51-56; Matt. 16:21-23.

III.  APPLICATION FOR US.
  A.  Rely On Jesus, Set Priorities & Be Active - Heb. 4:15; Matt. 6:33; Jno. 4:36.
  B.  Show Compassion & Plainly Speak Truth - Mk. 14:7; 1 Pet. 3:8; Gal. 4:16.
  C.  Be Longsuffering & Carefully Obey - 1 Ths. 5:14; Heb. 12:12-13; 2 Tim. 2:24-26.
  D.  Keep A Humble Heart & Defend Gospel  Jas. 4:6, 10; Acts 17:2-3; 1 Pet. 3:15.
  E.  Rebuke & Forgive Sin - Lk. 17:3-4; Matt. 18:33.


For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS:
http://www.bibleanswer.com/church06.htm

(Part 6)

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:

Individual and Church Action

Scripture Reading:  James 1:21-27

Two wrong extremes about local church action:
1.  Whatever individual do, local church may do.
2.  Whatever local church can't do, individual can't either.

I.  WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN.
  A.  Means More Than Just Believing In Christ - Heb. 11:6 -- cf. Gal. 5:6.
  B.  Means More Than Simply Subscribing To A System Of Doctrine - Jno. 8:32 -- Matt. 7:21.
  C.  Means More Than Just Being A "Member" Of The Church - Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:15-16.
  D.  It Means Submission, Obedience, Conformity To Christ's Will In Every Relationship Of Life - 1 Pet. 1:13-16; Jas. 1:21-27; 2 Cor. 5:17.

II.  CHRISTIANITY EMBRACES EVERY RELATIONSHIP OF ONE'S LIFE.
  A.  Five Basic Relationships Exist In Our Lives.
  B.  It Is Necessary To Please God In All These Relationships - Col. 3:17; Eph. 4:1; Phil. 1:27.

III. DISTINCTIONS ARE MADE IN NT BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL ACTION & LOCAL CHURCH ACTION.
  A.  Individual Duties Of Christians Which Cannot Be Performed By The Local Church.
  B.  Individual Action Is Not Church Action - 1 Cor. 11:22, 33-34; 1 Tim. 5:16; Matt. 18:15-17; Acts 4:35-5:4.
  C.  Some Duties Are Assigned Both To The Individual Christian & To The Local Church - Acts 11:20, 11:22-23;  1 Tim. 5:16.
  D.  Authority For Individual Action Does Not Authorize Church Action - Gal. 6:10; Jas. 1:27.


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

 

Half-Listening

For Obscure Reasons, Men Use Half of Their Brains to Listen

By Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press

C H I C A G O, Nov. 28 - Score one for exasperated women:  New research suggests men really do listen with just half their brains.

In a study of 20 men and 20 women, brain scans showed that men when listening mostly used the left sides of their brains, the region long associated with understanding language. Women in the study, however, used both sides.

Other studies have suggested that women "can handle listening to two conversations at once," said Dr. Joseph T. Lurito, an assistant radiology professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. "One of the reasons may be that they have more brain devoted to it."

Battle of the Sexes?
Lurito's findings, presented today at the Radiological Society of North
America's annual meeting, don't necessarily mean women are better listeners.

It could be that "it's harder for them," Lurito suggested, since they apparently need to use more of their brains than men to do the same task.

"I don't want a battle of the sexes," he said. "I just want people to realize that men and women" may process language differently.

(http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/dailynews/halfbrain_men001128.html)

BIBLE COMMENTARY

Joe R. Price

Our desire for peace and godliness in this country should compel us all to be praying for our Supreme Court Justices as directed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2. The "court of last appeal" hears important matters which effect many, many lives. The need for equity under the law ought to prevail in every case tried by the courts of men. We call it "justice." Our present election controversy is no exception.

God expected the judges of ancient Israel to be just and impartial in adjudicating the law between men because "the judgment is God's" (Deut. 1:16-17). It was His law they were applying to the lives of men. His will was to honored in their judicial process.

While it is man-made laws that will be judged upon by the highest court of the land, it is God who grants its authority (Jno. 19:10-11; Rom. 13:1). When judges fail to equitably decide among men, based upon the law governing them, the injustice of men is seen and judged by the Almighty (Amos 5:12-15).

We can take comfort in this. We will all one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ. His judgment will be righteous, fair and eternal. Every wrong will be righted. Every injustice will receive just recompense. All mercy will be granted to the innocent. (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:1-6; 2 Ths. 1:6-10; Matt. 25:31-46). Appeal to the highest court of all - to the throne of grace occupied by the Judge of all (Heb. 4:15-16; 12:23).


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