THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 50 · February 18, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
THE "SONS OF GOD" IN GENESIS 6
Who were the "sons of God," taking as their wives the "daughters of men" in Genesis 6:1-8? What can we possibly learn from this Bible text?
The context of Genesis 6 leads us to the conclusion that the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6:2 were the descendants of Seth, the son of Adam (Gen. 4:25).
In Genesis 4 we are introduced to two families: (1) Cain and his descendants, and (2) Seth and his descendants. Cain's descendants followed the pattern set by their father Cain and continued to live farther and farther away from God (Gen. 4:16-24). In contrast, Seth and his family "began to call on the name of the Lord" (Gen. 4:26). Genesis 5 records this family tree all the way to Noah (Gen. 5:32).
Genesis 6:1-8 tells us how the world became so wicked and vile that God determined to destroy sinful man (which he did with the flood). This occurred because those whose ancestors had previously "called upon the name of the Lord" began to compromise and cohabit with the "daughters of men" (that is, the men and their families who did not call upon the name of the Lord). They abandoned their spiritual heritage and "took wives for themselves of all whom they chose" (Gen. 6:2). When men began to be driven by their own lustful desires rather than the word and will of God they were influenced by the evil they grew to love. The result was a world full of violent attackers, robbers and tyrants (Gen. 6:4 says "giants" which is translated from a word which means "to fall upon" or attack) rather than one filled with people who "called upon the name of the Lord." These men made a name for themselves among other men, but not in eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:4). It was Noah, a just man who walked with God who caught God's attention and obtained God's favor (Gen. 6:8-9).
The divine reaction to the wickedness of men was one of grief, sorry and ultimately judgment (Gen. 6:3, 5-7). He determined to destroy the earth and accomplished their punishment with the great flood (Gen. 6:13, 17; 7:1ff).
There is no compelling reason from the immediate context or the rest of the Bible to convince us that the "sons of God" in Genesis 6:2 were heavenly creatures instead of human beings. Such is the stuff of human fancy and fiction. There is no basis for this view in the inspired text. The "angels who sinned" in 2 Peter 2:4 cannot be the "sons of God" of Genesis 6:2 because those angels were "cast down to hell and delivered into chains (pits, ASV) of darkness." They were not sent to the earth (see also, Jude 6).
So, the "sons of God" in Genesis 6:2 were men who did not remain holy and separated from the sin that was around them. Instead, they married women who influenced them to forsake righteous living. The result was mankind's ruin and destruction.
There are clear lessons for us to learn from this sad period in human history:
1) "Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33).
2) The person one chooses to marry will influence him or her for good or evil, so wisely choose a mate who will help you live in God's favor (Prov. 18:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).
3) God expects us to live holy lives, separated from sin. "as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
4) God will punish sin, so we must be careful to live in truth and holiness (Rom. 1:18; 2:1-11).
GREET WITH A HOLY KISS
It was common for the apostle Paul to end most of his letters with the request for brethren to "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (2 Corinthians 13:12; Romans 16:16; et. al.). While I am positive the brethren of the first century knew exactly what Paul was getting at, we of the 21st century in a Western civilization can have difficulty understanding and applying the passage. There are some Christians who feel it necessary to literally kiss one another on the cheek when they meet, even though most of the western world does not practice such a greeting. Is this what Paul meant?
If you notice the passages carefully (4 New Testament statements in all), you will observe that Paul is not saying to greet each other with a kiss, but rather to, "Greet one another with a holy kiss." There is a great difference in the two statements.
The act of greeting a friend or loved one with a kiss did not originate with the first century Christians. It has been an acceptable display of affection by many for centuries (Genesis 29:13; 33:4; 50:1). It is still a common form of greeting in many parts of the world, especially Europe, and could very easily compare to our shaking hands or giving each other a hug as proper forms of salutation.
So what was Paul getting at?
I believe he was commanding Christians to be real and sincere, and pure and holy, when they greeted each other with a kiss. It wasn't to be something they practiced with malice or even lust in their heart, but rather they were to be pure in all motives when they interacted with one another. To greet with a holy kiss was to greet without any artificial display of affection while harboring ill-will and hatred inside. Likewise, by greeting with a holy kiss they were to remain free from lust as they displayed fondness for one another. At all times and in all ways, they were to remain real and without sin in their affection.
I don't believe Paul was commanding us to kiss one another, nor do I know of any spiritual benefit in greeting Christians with a kiss. If anything it can lend itself to suspicion and irritability to us as Americans. (This is not to say we must see the benefit of God's commands before doing them, Luke 5:5). I do, however, see the benefit and command to greet each other with holy affection. I see the necessity of demonstrating love and purity toward brethren at all times, while avoiding hypocrisy and lust. This is more like the teachings of Christ (Matthew 5).
In parts of the world where greeting with a kiss and washing feet are customary, I believe we are required to do so with holiness and humility (1 Timothy 5:10). But outside of such environments, when we extend hospitality, whether it be a handshake or a hug, let it be with holiness and godly sincerity. Anything less than this is to kiss like Judas (Luke 22:48).
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
THE NATURE OF CHRISTIANITY
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:1-6
1. Christian: An adherent of Christ.
2. Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16. Not...
a. Wearing a name - Titus 1:16
b. Joining a club - 1 Cor. 1:12-13
c. Self-dictated conduct - Col. 2:20-23
d. System of archaic "rules" - 1 Jno. 5:3
I. CHRISTIANITY IS:
A. Adherence To Jesus In All Things - Lk. 6:46; Jno. 8:31-32; Col. 3:17; Matt. 11:29.
B. Expression Of One's Love For & Fear Of God - Jno. 14:15,21,23; Lk. 12:4-5; 1 Jno. 5:3-4; Titus 2:11-12. -Christianity is & must be the expression of the heart's relationship with God, by obeying Christ in all areas of life!
II. CHRISTIANITY IS NOT:
A. Man's Religion - Jer. 10:23; Mk. 7:6-9; Col. 2:8. -Adhere to the revealed religion of Christ - 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
B. Part-Time Religion - Mk. 4:16-19; Matt. 16:24; Matt. 6:33; Matt. 10:22. -Give your all to the Master! - Rom. 12:1-2.
C. To Be Hypocritical - 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 7:21-25. -To be a Christian we must see sin for its sinfulness & that we were once its slaves... but that now we have been released from it! - Jno. 8:34, 36; Acts 2:37; Rom. 6:1-2, 16-18.
III. CHRISTIANITY PRODUCES:
A. A New Heart Which Exercises Self-control - Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Cor. 9:23-27.
B. A Body Of Spiritual Principles, Values, Goals - Jno. 17:17; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Matt. 6:19-21, 33.
C. Therefore, A Life Of Faith, Hope & Love - Rom. 5:1-2; 8:31-39; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:4.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
THE URGENCY OF CHRISTIANITY
Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:12-22
1. Jesus lived an urgent life - Jno. 9:4-5.
2. Urgency of following Him is based upon:
a. What is gained - Heaven (Matt. 7:21).
b. What is escaped - Hell (Rom .6:23).
c. The uncertainty of life (Jas. 4:13-15).
I. IMMEDIATELY THEY FOLLOWED JESUS - Matt. 4:18-22.
A. We Must Be Eager To Follow Jesus -
1. When controversy swirls - Jude 3.
2. When family objects - Matt. 10:37.
3. When hardships occur - Matt. 10:38.
4. Will we stand or limp? - 1 Kgs. 18:21.
B. Be Assured That We Are Not Following Man, But The Son Of God - Lk. 5:5-8; Jno. 20:30-31; Lk. 5:5.
C. Eliminate Excuses For Not Following Jesus - Lk. 14:15-24; Acts 16:30-34
II. SOME WILL IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE THE WORD & THEN IMMEDIATELY STUMBLE
- Mk. 4:16-17.
A. Why Does This Happen?
B. Diligently Pursue Spiritual Growth - Heb. 6:1-3; Col. 2:6-7; Jas. 1:23-25; 2 Pet. 1:5-10.
III. IMMEDIATELY SATAN COMES - Mk. 4:15 (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 2:11).
A. His Objective: Keep The Word Of God From Us - v. 15; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
B. Satan Never Rests - Job 1:6-7.
C. We Must Diligently (Immediately) Resist Him - Jas. 4:7-10; Prv. 4:23; 3:7 (Matt. 10:28).
Acts 22:16 - "And now, why do you delay?"
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
(News of the Weird)
A 45-year-old woman who was killed as she walked onto I-55 near Sherman, Ill., in October was revealed to have been a member of a Jehovah's Witnesses breakaway group that believes they should test their faith (much like snake handlers do) by standing in the middle of traffic. A few days before her fatal demonstration of faith, she had been pulled to safety from the same highway as she attempted to proselytize to drivers zooming by.
-[Springfield State Journal-Register, 10-27-00
Joe R. Price
Zeal without knowledge. Curious, and in some ways commendable. Yet finally, zeal without knowledge will not save one soul (Rom. 10:1-2). Sadly, this woman was seriously misled, and in her misplaced zeal met an unfortunate death.
Zeal is a good thing when wisely directed. Please consider these scriptural pointers on zeal:
- God-approved zeal harmonizes with the divine will (Num. 25:7-12; Rom. 10:2).
- God-approved zeal is directed toward Him, not oneself (Num. 25:13). Zeal is not selfish or self-serving. It serves the Lord, not self (Rom. 12:11).
- God-approved zeal is directed toward "good things" (Gal. 4:18). And, it is God's word that teaches us what is "good" in His sight (Heb. 13:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- God-approved zeal grows out of sorrow for and repentance of one's sin (2 Cor. 7:11).
- God-approved zeal does not harm the cause of Christ or His church (Phil. 3:6).
- God does not approve of zeal for the traditions of men (Gal. 1:14; cf. Mk. 7:1-13).
- God-approved zeal does not tolerate religious error and moral corruption (Jno. 2:13-17).
- God-approved zeal strengthens and influences fellow-Christians to good works (2 Cor. 9:2).
- God-approved zeal works and prays for the spiritual well-being of others (Col. 4:13).
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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