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THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 52 March 4, 2001

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


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Link of the Week:  "Contradictions, Inconsistencies and Errors in the Book of Mormon"


 In this issue:


SAVING FACE OR LOSING SOUL??
Robert Wayne LaCoste

Because no man likes to admit being wrong, no form of self defense is more popular than that of defending oneself in wrong doing. From Bible history, as well as our own observations, we learn that men will go to almost any extreme to avoid the admission of being wrong. Few urges are stronger than to defend self in almost anything we may have done or said. What I have done, what I am doing, what I believe or what I am, must be defended; or so we think! No wonder God tells us, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes." (Prov.21:2)

Accordingly then, what one has already accepted may well have more influence and be more authoritative on what he WILL DO than the truth of the scriptures itself. REMEMBER THIS: To some people, it's more important to save face than to save their soul in eternity. Man's pride is a powerful foe at times. No wonder Solomon also wrote, "A man's pride shall bring him low." (Prov.29:23)

In some ways, most people have identified themselves with certain religious positions and therefore, feel compelled to defend it to the death! But worse, much of what they have accepted and defend are the results of circumstances, family influence, or personal preference, and NOT because of genuine conviction resulting from Bible teaching!! Thus, they are faced with the dilemma of admitting wrong or twisting the Bible in an effort to have it fit what they have accepted. It is the choice of multitudes to be of the disposition, "I have a right to be what I am....even if it is wrong." HOW SAD! Pride would change the Bible to suit the life; humility changes the life to conform to the Bible!

PLEASE, PLEASE, recognize and overcome the urge to defend yourself before examining openly, objectively and sincerely God's Word!!


MAKING DISTINCTIONS AMONG US
(James 2:1-13)

Joe R. Price

Discrimination is alive and well. It is a lamenta-ble condition wherever it is found. Sadly, the Lord's church is not free from prejudicial hearts and discriminato-ry actions toward others -- and yes, it may even occur against fellow Chris-tians.

Discrimination is called "respect of persons" or showing "partiality" in the Bible. God has none when speaking of His desire for man's salvation and of His righteous judgment of mankind (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:4-11). Just as God is holy, we too must cast off every expression of respect of persons in the body of Christ (1 Pet. 1:15-17). In Christ "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all" (Col. 3:11). Prejudicial hearts, producing critical and distinguishing actions toward others, is not the heart of Christ.

In James 2:1-13, the inspired writer meets this issue head on. Some brethren were discriminating against people who were coming into their assemblies. So, James sets forth the case that we cannot hold "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality (respect of persons, asv)" (2:1). He illustrated his point: A rich man enters your assembly and you heap upon him honor, but a poor man enters in among you and you assign him to a position of reproach (2:2-3). How is this living the faith of Christ?! The Holy Spirit's assessment of such conduct is given in verse 4: "have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?" Here is the danger of treating others in a discrimina-tory way: One makes distinctions where none exist, and thereby becomes a judge with evil thoughts (see Jas. 4:11-12). This is "sin" (v. 9).

Respect of persons must be overcome in our treatment of sinners, too. Jesus warned us of the pitfall of only loving those who love us (Matt. 5:43-48). We must work hard to hold and show "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ" to those who need it the most (Jas. 2:1). Is this not one reason why Jesus ate with sinners (Matt. 9:10)? He was showing God's mercy to them as He taught and saved them (Matt. 9:12-13; Lk. 15:1-7). The Pharisees could not tolerate the thought of Jesus communing with publicans and sinners (9:11). Who was making distinctions where there were none (were not the Pharisees sin-ners, too)? Who were the judges with evil thoughts? It still remains true that those who show no mercy shall receive none (Jas. 2:13; Matt. 5:7).

The principle which overcomes ill thoughts and ill treatment of others is applied by the Holy Spirit as James writes: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (2:8). As we do this, we fulfill the law of our King. Such expressions of our faith glorifies the Lord of glory (2:1).


For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS

 

THE DAY OF SALVATION (Acts 3)

Scripture Reading:  Acts 3:22-26

 

Intro.

Acts 3 is a snapshot of a day in the life of the apostles in Jerusalem: A day of healing, salvation and controversy.

I. A DAY OF HEALING - 3:1-11.
  A. The Man Did Not Expect What He Received - 3:1-7 (v. 5).
  B. The Man Praised God For His Healing - 3:8-9.
  C. The People Were Amazed & Gathered - 3:10-11.
    -The man was seeking alms & found healing....what are you seeking? (Matt. 6:33)

II. A DAY OF GOSPEL PREACHING - 3:12-21.
  A. Introduction - 3:12. Healing was from God.
  B. Peter's Sermon - 3:13-18.
  C. Gospel Invitation Of Salvation - 3:19-21; cf. Isa. 49:5-6; Heb. 9:10; Col. 2:16-17.
    -The crowd was seeking answers & found they were guilty of sin...and that redemption was possible. Are you seeking for the answer to your sins?

III. A DAY OF DECISION - 3:22-24.
  A. A Prophet To Be Heard - 3:22. In all things - Heb. 1:1-2; Col. 3:17.
  B. The Disobedient Lost Forever - 3:23; 2 Thess. 1:8-9.
  C. The Prophetic Message Fulfilled In Jesus Christ - 3:24.
  D. The Jewish People Were Situated To Believe, Obey & Be Blessed - 3:25-26; 4:1-4.
    -God is seeking sinners who will hear & obey Jesus so He may bless them with salvation ...Will He find you?


For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS  

 

THE PULPIT

Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 4:1-5

 

Intro.

1. Have always been various expectations or demands of preachers - Isa. 30:10; Jer. 5:31; Matt. 15:12.
2. Goal of gospel preaching is the conviction & conversion of souls - Jno. 16:8; 2 Tim. 4:2.
3. It is God's work, & we must not cheapen, disable & invalidate it by turning it into the work & wisdom of man!

I. THE PULPIT IS NOT:
  A. A Soapbox To Promote A Personal Agenda - 2 Cor. 10:12, 17-18; Gal. 6:12-15
  B. A Stage To Entertain The Audience - 1 Cor. 2:1-5 (cf. Acts 8:9-11); 2 Tim. 4:3-4.
  C. A Podium For Academia (Human Wisdom) - 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 2:1, 4; Col. 2:8, 18.
    -When this kind of preaching is accepted, then gradually....
      a. Standard of absolute truth becomes relative.
      b. Sin is minimized, becoming "differing yet honest opinions."
      c. Worldliness invades the churches.
      d. Fellowship with sin & error grows broader.
      e. Distinctive message/meaning of the gospel is lost! - 1 Pet. 2:9-10
  D. A Rifle Range To Take Target Practice (Pot Shots) At Others - 3 Jno. 9-10.

II. THE PULPIT IS:
  A. A Divine Charge - 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Cor. 9:16; Acts 20:20, 25-27.
  B. A Sober Responsibility - (Jas. 3:1) 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 4:5; 1 Tim. 4:16.
  C. A Perpetual Work - 2 Tim. 4:5; 2:2; Phil. 3:1; Mk. 16:15; Rom. 10:14-15; Acts 13:2-3.

Conclusion
1. The pulpit is a blessing, but when misused it becomes a curse - Gal. 1:6-9.
2. Preach to us "right things"! (Isa. 30:10)


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

 

Seattle Mayor:  No More Mardi Gras

By Gene Johnson, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - The mayor declared that the city will not allow future Mardi Gras parties in the aftermath of violent celebrations that claimed one life and injured dozens of others.

"There will be no more Fat Tuesday," Seattle Mayor Paul Schell said Wednesday. "This event as it's now set up has to end."

An estimated 4,000 people jammed the streets of the city's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood late Tuesday and early Wednesday. The celebration soon disintegrated into fistfighting, bottle-throwing and window-smashing by revelers - and the firing of tear gas and rubber projectiles by police. Roving groups attacked people at random. Copyright (c) 2001 The Associated Press

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/xseap/20010301/lo/mardi_gras_riots_1.html

 

BIBLE COMMENTARY
Joe R. Price

"Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday," also known as "Shrove Tuesday." It began as a medieval pre-Lenten festival. Encyclopedia Britannica notes,

"Shrove, derived from "shrive," refers to the confession of sins usual in the European Middle Ages as a preparation for Lent (a 61/2 period of penitential preparation for Easter, jrp). Shrove Tuesday eventually acquired the character of a carnival or festival in European countries, and many customs developed in connection with this day that precedes the beginning of the Lenten fast. Traditionally pancakes were eaten on Shrove Tuesday, because eggs and fat, forbidden during the Lenten fast, were used."

Mardi Gras. Shrove Tuesday. Lent. Easter. Are these Bible terms and Bible-instructed activities? No, they are not. You will not find them there. They carry no value of godliness for the participant. We refuse to participate in them (1 Pet. 4:11). "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Col. 2:23, see 20-22). They are the product of human will and wisdom, not the God we serve.

Indeed, the debauchery of Mardi Gras is repulsive to all who love purity (1 Pet. 4:3; Phil. 4:8). Would to God that not only Mardi Gras, but all religious inventions of man would cease forever!  


 The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA

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