THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 45 · January 14, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
What Are You Reading?
Joe R. Price
The following e-mail was just received, unsolicited, in response to answering a Bible question which had been posed to this writer. The last part is very enlightening:
"Thank you for giving your time to others who have questions. I havw (sic) read and studied my Bible for years but that was one of my sons Bible questions for church and I thought I had looked up Pharoh (sic) but I guess I had not. My husband and I looked and searched with our conc. in the back of the Bible but all of the key words seemed to run into a dead end. I need to get back to reading my Bible more sometimes when we start just reading other things like Max Lucado and other christian authors we get very rusty on our Bible. I will visit this site my New Year is going to be filled with a lot more Bible study. God bless you for helping others."
Over the past decade or so there has been a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement over such authors as Max Lucado and others. Many brethren immersed themselves in these works which are long on emotion-driven stories and short on "thus saith the Lord." "Positive Christianity" was the rage. Lucado and others fueled the fire.
There were some voices in the wilderness which cried out in protest. They advised that such works, when indiscriminately imbibed, would lead to spiritual corruption. These voices of caution and warning were met with sharp counterattacks. They were scolded and told that Lucado and other such authors were generating genuine spirituality and a closer walk with God in Christians' lives. Those who objected to the trend of positivism and such "Bible-lite" teaching were depicted as "negative" traditionalists.
Having sown the wind, some are now reaping the whirlwind. Less Bible reading and more Lucado reading has diminished a knowledge of the word of God. You do not agree? Please read the above email again.
Moral degeneration, social injustice and religious corruption results where "there is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land" (Hos. 4:1, 2-5). Destruction follows such lack of knowledge (Hos. 4:6). Are we so self-confident and blinded as to think that what happened to Israel cannot happen to us? Already "the great things of (God's) law" are "considered a strange thing" by a growing number of Christians (cf. Hos. 8:12). Honor for Bible authority has waned. Honor for the kind of unity in diversity Lucado and others preach and practice has increased. Like Israel, we shall reap what we sow (Hos. 8:7; Gal. 6:7-8).
Commit yourself to the Bible. Read it, meditate on it, study it and walk in its light (Psa. 119:97-105; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:16-18). Therein "you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2:5). Any other source of knowledge is an unstable foundation upon which to build your present life and your eternal future (Matt. 7:24-29).
Deeper Into The Abyss
It is time to turn off the television, what my parents once called the "boob tube," is quickly sinking to an all time low. It appears that the television executives of our nation have done it again. They have decided to help the people of our great land sink deeper into the abyss of moral degradation. The recent onslaught of "REAL TV" which began with CBS' "Survivor" has spawned yet another hedonistic show that I am sure will attract many viewers, "Temptation Island." The keen minds of the television executives are giving the people what they want to see, sex and all forms of immorality.
"Temptation Island features four unmarried, but serious couples and 26 attractive singles who will vacation in Belize and have their sexual antics recorded for America's growing population of voyeurs. It will air in prime time, when teens may be watching it." (TVC News)
What kind of morality does this teach to young adults? Will this not teach them that unfaithfulness is good, sex with strangers is good, and that one can discard a future spouse as easily as one discards yesterday's newspaper? The rise in teenage pregnancy has elevated to all time highs, divorces occur in almost fifty percent of all marriages. The message this presents to our young people is that infidelity in our personal relationships is acceptable, that adultery and fornication are no longer socially or spiritually taboo. It is bad enough that our society accepts sexual promiscuity as being "normal," that is "everyone is doing it," now we can watch it in prime time.
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." (1 Tim. 6:9-10). For the sake of "profits and ratings," the FOX network is putting couples in situations where they will fall into temptation and betray their future spouses. This is just another form of evil brought on by men's greed and to put it the way my fifteen-year old son said it, "kids don't need to see this stuff!" As adults we do not need to be viewing it! In a world already filled with dishonesty, adultery, betrayal, broken families, and single moms, why do they feel the need to add to the world's misery and cynicism?
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of destruction." (Prov. 14:12) The blind are leading the blind when it comes to new television programming; many are falling hard and fast into the deep dark abyss that destroys the soul and ends up in and eternal hell.
For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:
http://www.bibleanswer.com/jnojesus.htmJOHN AND JESUS
Scripture Reading: John 1:19-29
1. John lived & died under the LOM. He was not a Christian. He was not in the church of Christ - Matt. 11:11.
2. John did not work miracles but he was filled with the Holy Spirit & his testimony about Jesus was true - Lk. 1:15-16; Jno. 10:41.
3. We learn more about Jesus as we learn more about John.
I. JOHN ANNOUNCED JESUS - Lk. 1:17; Jno. 3:28.
A. John Was Christ's Messenger - Mk. 1:2-3; Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3.
B. John Prepared The Way For Christ By Preaching Repentance - Lk. 3:2-6; Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:16-17 (Matt. 17:10-13); Matt. 3:2.
C. John Prepared The Way For Christ By Preaching Faith In Jesus - Acts 19:4.
1. As the Lamb of God - Jno. 1:29, 34-36.
2. As the Christ - Jno. 1:25-27.
II. JOHN BAPTIZED JESUS - Matt. 3:13-17.
A. A Moment Of Confusion - 3:13-14.
B. A Moment Of Fulfilling Righteousness - 3:15; cf. Jno. 5:30; 6:38; 8:55; Lk. 7:29-30.
C. A Moment Of Heavenly Endorsement - 3:16-17.
III. JOHN EXALTED JESUS.
A. As Superior In Rank - Jno. 1:26-27.
B. As Eternal (Pre-Existent) - Jno. 1:30.
C . As The Christ From Above - Jno. 3:26-30.
1. Matt. 11:7-11 - John was honored by Christ.
2. if you are in the kingdom of Christ (church) you are more highly favored than John (v. 11)!
For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:
http://www.bibleanswer.com/church12.htm(Part 12) THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
The Work of Evangelism
Scripture Reading: Romans 10:8-15
1. "What is 750,000 miles long, reaches around the earth 30 times & grows 20 miles longer each day?" The line of people who are lost!
2. There is a desperate need for evangelism! (Jno. 4:34-35; Matt. 9:35-38; Matt. 28:19-20).
I. GOD'S ETERNAL PLAN HAS BEEN TO SAVE THE WORLD BY THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL
- Rom. 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 2:6-9 (1:18-21).
A. All People Need Salvation - Rom. 3:9-10; Titus 2:11 (Heb. 2:9); Mk. 16:15.
B. God's Grace Gives Us The Remedy For Sin & Its Proclamation (Gospel) - Rom. 1:16-17; Acts 20:24; Rom. 10:13-15.
C. Every Christian Is A Preacher - Acts 8:4; 11:19-20.
D. Every Congregation Using Its Resources To Preach The Gospel - Phil. 4:14-16.
II. CONGREGATIONAL ACTIVITY IN EVANGELISM (1 Cor. 4:16-17 - Pattern
A. Churches Sent Preachers Directly To The Need - Acts 11:22; 13:1-3; 15:2.
B. Churches Directly Supported Preaching By Sending Support Directly To The Preacher - Phil. 4:15-16; 2 Cor. 11:8-9.
C. Congregational Action (Work) Does Not Exclude Nor Fulfill Individual Responsibility - Acts 5:42; 20:20.
III. A FEW WORDS OF EXHORTATION.
A. Satan Doesn't Want Us To Teach The Gospel To Others - 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
B. We Have A Ministry (Service) To Perform - cf. Acts 26:16-18; 2 Cor. 4:1-6.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Eight Arrested for Shooting at the MoonThursday, January 11, 2001
ANKARA, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish police arrested eight people for shooting at the moon during an eclipse for what they said were traditional reasons.
Hurriyet newspaper said Thursday that police in the southeastern town of Kahramanmaras had briefly detained the moon shooters, who said they were following an ancient tradition, and confiscated their rifles. The report did not explain the origin of the tradition.
A religious official in the town said that shooting at the moon was a custom without religious foundation. He urged the faithful only to pray to God during lunar eclipses.
The eclipse was visible in Europe, Africa and Asia on Tuesday night.
Copyright (c)2001 Reuters Limited.
BIBLE COMMENTARYJoe R. Price
Something tells me these celebrants didn't hit the moon!
However, this incident reminds us the religious traditions of men miss the mark of God's approval. Men's traditions are based upon human thinking, human emotions and human rationale. They are anchored in speculation, supposition and superstition which will not save the soul (Matt. 15:1-7; Acts 17:22-23; Col. 2:18-23).
This moon-shooting tradition also reminds us that men's religious traditions change over time. What did they use to shoot at the moon before rifles were invented: Arrows? Sling-sots? Religious traditions, rooted in man's wisdom, will change to fit man's ever-changing interests, demands and advances. (Why shoot at the moon with arrows when you can use rifles?!) But, the real question is, "why shoot at the moon in the first place?" Did the Almighty command it? Does He expect it? Does He approve it? These are the questions we must ever keep before us in our religious undertakings (Col. 3:17; Matt. 28:18).
We must remember that religious traditions may appear acceptable to God from our point of view, because they are acceptable to us. But, we must look at things the way God looks at them. We do this by using eyes of faith which always trust and obey God's word (2 Cor. 5:7; Prov. 14:12; Jer. 10:23).
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