THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 2 - March 18, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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Link of the Week: WHY I LEFT THE METHODIST CHURCH, by Joe Price
In this issue:
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
A king ruling over an insurmountable kingdom was predicted in the Old Testament: Psalms 2:6-7; 110:1-3; 132:11; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14. An angel announced to Mary that the child to whom she would give birth would be the king of that kingdom (Luke 1:30-33). Jesus is King today (Acts 17:7).
And yet, there are many who do not believe the kingdom of Christ was established during NT times, and that it exists today. They look for a kingdom that is yet to come. Who is right? "What saith the scripture?" (Galatians 4:30)
· Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom - Matthew 4:23 (Luke 9:11); 13:10-11; 18-29
· Jesus announced the approach of the kingdom - Matthew 4:17; 12:28.
· Jesus identified His kingdom as His church - Matthew 16:16-19.
· Jesus identified the nature of the kingdom - John 18:36 (Spiritual, Luke 17:20-21; Superior, Daniel 2:44; Eternal, Luke 1:33).
· Jesus prophesied the establishment of the kingdom - Luke 12:32; Mark 9:1 (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-4 (47).
· Apostles proclaimed the present existence of the kingdom - Acts 20:25; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9 (1 Thessalonians 2:11).
· The kingdom is composed of those who have received remission of sins - Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10.
· Our salvation depends on entering the kingdom - Luke 16:16; John 3:3-5.
· Our daily goal must be to put the kingdom first in our lives - Matthew 6:33; Luke 9:62.
The kingdom of Christ exists today. The kingdom of Christ is the church of Christ. It is mighty and its glory is secure. We must live in Christ's kingdom now in order to enter the eternal kingdom (heaven) later (2 Peter 1:10-11). Obey the gospel call and enter the kingdom of God! (Acts 2:37-41, 47; Colossians 1:13)
DO ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?
Joe R. Price
Question: Can you tell me where in the Bible it says anything about dogs and cats having souls and going to heaven when they die?
I know from personal experience the feeling of loss which is experienced when a beloved pet dies. Pets bring us years of companionship, joy, and happiness we fondly treasure and warmly remember after they are gone.
I say this to direct you to God's word on the subject. The Bible never, in any place, teaches that our pets go to heaven. I know it is a common idea and emotionally comforting, made even more popular by movies, etc. ("All Dogs Go To Heaven," etc.). But, such are the wishful thinking of men and not the teaching of the word of God. Please allow me to elaborate for a moment.
When God created mankind He gave us dominion over the animal world (Gen. 1:26-31). He made humanity different from and superior to the animals. The difference? Humans are made in the image of God (1:26-27). That is, we not only have physical bodies we also have an unseen part, the spirit, which is in God's image (please remember, "God is spirit" - Jno. 4:24). Like the animals, we have bodies of flesh. Unlike the animals, we are also "living souls" having been given our spirit by God (Gen. 2:7; Zech. 12:1). At our death, our body will return to the dust (decay) and the spirit will (return) to God who gave it to us (Eccl. 11:7). We have an "inward man" (the immortal spirit) which continues beyond the death of the body (2 Cor. 4:16-5:1). This is never said about animals in the Bible.
Man is immortal and morally accountable to our Creator, whereas animals only exist in this physical world. God did not equip them to live in any other realm than this world. Man is composed of flesh and spirit; animals are made of flesh only. Animals act upon instinct and conditioning; human beings apply intelligent reasoning, morality and conscience to life's choices. Jesus died for sinners (Jno. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-6). Whereas animals do not sin and therefore do not need saving from sins. But, each one of us do sin and need a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 Tim. 4:10).
None of this means that God hates animals or that He does not understand the emotional attachments we form with them. Indeed, just the opposite can be said. God created the animals and gave them to us for our enjoyment and benefit. As pets, as food, as means of transportation and beasts of burden, animals have served man for thousands of years in exactly the way God intended. And, since we are made in the image of God (with emotion, the ability to reason and enjoy the pleasures around us), it is reasonable to conclude that God gave us the ability to reap great joy and blessings from the animals -- including our pets. We can and should thank God for this blessing.
The sadness which comes when a pet dies is real and I would not try to discount it. But, the death of a beloved pet can also teach us valuable lessons as certainly as we can learn from the death of human beings (Eccl. 7:1-2). It can teach us about the value of life. It can teach us to be thankful for the blessings we have received from God. It can teach us to never take life for granted and to enjoy its good blessings every day, while also remembering there is a part of each of us which goes beyond this life (Eccl. 2:24-26; 12:13-14). It can teach us about the certainty of death (Heb. 9:27). And, since we have immortal souls, it can teach us about preparing to meet our God after death (Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:3-11). Animals will not stand before God in judgment to give account of their lives on earth and to receive a corresponding judgment, but every human being will (Rev. 20:11-15). From death, even the death of a pet, we learn to prepare for our own.
I hope when the death of your family pet happens that you can remember the happy times you had from having been blessed by its presence. And, I hope you will remember that this, too, is as God intended it to be.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
IS THERE GOING TO BE A RAPTURE?
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Popularity of the "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins testifies that premillennialism is alive and thriving.
I. DEFINING PREMILLENNIALISM.
1. "Kingdom offer rejected-Withdrawn-Church age."
2. Rapture, tribulation, Antichrist, Armageddon, 1,000 reign, eternity.
II. DEFINING THE "RAPTURE" ACCORDING TO
A. The Beginning Of The End.
B. Some Of Their Proof Texts: 1 Ths. 4:15-17 (caught up, v. 17); Matt. 24:40-41 (21, 24).
III. REFUTING THE RAPTURE DOCTRINE.
A. Their Time Frame is wrong - Matt. 24:34 (37-42) . "This generation."
B. Their Place is wrong - Lk. 17:34-37 (Matt. 24:28) - Roman armies at Jerusalem.
C. Their Events are wrong - 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:52; Matt. 24:27; Jno. 5:28-29.
D. What The Bible Teaches.
IV. AFFIRMING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KINGDOM &
A. A Fundamental Misunderstanding Of The Kingdom: In Prophecy, Its Nature & Its Establishment. - Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-10; Dan. 2:44.
1. In prophecy - Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-10; Dan. 2:44.
2. Its nature - Jno. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-21.
3. Its establishment - Dan. 2:44; Mk. 1:15; 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 33, 36; Col. 1:13. (the church)
B. At His Coming The Kingdom Will Be Delivered To The Father (Heaven), Not Established On The Earth! - 1 Cor. 15:23-26 (Psa. 110:1), 52-54.
C. You Need To Be In The Kingdom Now! - Col. 1:13 (Acts 2:47)
Premillennialism is a false system of doctrine built upon error about Israel & the Messianic kingdom. Gives people false hope. - 2 Pet. 3:10-14
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
"WHY DIDN'T JESUS HEAL EVERYONE?"
Scripture Reading: John 5:1-15
Q: "In the Gospels, Jesus performs many miracles and heals a lot of people.
My question is: Why didn't Jesus heal everyone?"
A: Not a single NT account of someone asking Jesus for healing who was not healed!
I. "WHY DIDN'T JESUS HEAL EVERYONE?" NOT BECAUSE
A. Jesus Couldn't (lacked the power to) Heal Them - Lk. 5:17; Acts 10:38; Col. 2:9 (Jno. 5:19; 8:26-28, 38).
B. Jesus Wouldn't (a bad attitude) Heal Them - Matt. 8:5-7; 14:14; Mk. 14:7 (Gal. 6:10).
C. In Truth, His Many Miracles Of Healing Prove Both His Power To Heal & His Heart To Heal.
II. JESUS DID NOT HEAL EVERYONE BECAUSE
A. Universal Healing Of The Flesh Was Not The Work The Father Gave Him To Do--Jno. 5:30; 6:38.
B. His Miracles Served As Signs For A Greater Work - Jno. 9:1-4; 3:2.
1. Show that He is the Christ, the son of God - Jno. 5:36; 10:25; 11:25 (Messiah, Acts 2:22).
2. To bring people to faith in Him - Jno. 10:37-38.
3. To reveal His glory - Jno. 2:11; cf. Matt. 15:30-31.
4. To prove His authority:
a. Over sin (to forgive it) - Mk. 2:4-12.
b. Over Satan - Matt. 12:22-29; 8:16 (with a word).
5. To Show God's Mercy & Compassion - Matt. 14:14.
C. His Miracles Were Sufficient To Fulfill Their Divine Purposes - Jno. 17:4; 20:30-31.
III. LESSON: JESUS CAME TO HEAL THE SOUL OF ALL WHO WILL BELIEVE
- Matt. 8:16-17 (Isa. 53:4) - 1 Pet. 2:21-25.
A. Learn From His Miracles That He Can Save Our Souls From Sin! - Lk. 4:18; Jno. 12:37-40.
B. He Said & Did All Things "That You May Be Saved"! - Jno. 5:34, 13-15; Matt. 11:28)
C. His Miracles Teach The Christian To Trust His Grace In Our Lives - 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Lk. 17:15-19.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Man Shot Dead As Bulletproof Magic Fails
Thursday, March 15, 2001
ACCRA (Reuters) - A Ghanaian man was shot dead by a fellow villager while testing a magic spell designed to make him bulletproof, the official Ghana News Agency reported.
Aleobiga Aberima, 23, and around 15 other men from Lambu village, northeast Ghana, had asked a jujuman, or witchdoctor, to make them invincible to bullets.
After smearing his body with a concoction of herbs every day for two weeks, Aberima volunteered to be shot to check if the spell had worked.
One of the others fetched a rifle and shot Aberima who died instantly from a single bullet.
Angry Lambu residents seized the jujuman and beat him severely until a village elder rescued him, the Wednesday report added.
Tribal clashes are common in Ghana's far north, where people often resort to witchcraft in the hope of becoming invulnerable to bullets, swords and arrows. Copyright ©2001 Reuters Limited.
Joe R. Price
Rebellion against God is like witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). Witchcraft relies on false knowledge and false power to "protect" those who trust in it. The practice of witchcraft is on the rise in our country. The above example of the utter powerlessness of such things ought to cause sober-thinking people to abandon all such superstitions. Witchcraft is powerless to protect you against bullets and against sin!
But before you say "I would never practice witchcraft!" please remember king Saul (1 Sam. 15:3-23). God said Saul's disobedience was rebellion, and rebellion is "as the sin of witchcraft" (v. 23). Like witchcraft, there is no power in disobeying the word of the Almighty God. Neither good intentions nor the influence of the people around Saul justified his disobedience to God. Like witchcraft, disobedience relies upon the ingenuity, influence and imagination of men. Do not be deceived into trusting your soul to such spiritual impotent (Acts 17:22-31; Col. 2:9, 18-23). Only those who believe and obey Christ in all things are protected against spiritual death (Matt. 7:21-27; Heb. 5:8-9). Are you obeying Christ, or the superstitions and imaginations of men? Is your soul "bullet-proof"? Only if you will "obey from the heart" the gospel of Christ and put on "the whole armor of God" in your daily life (Rom. 6:17-18; Eph. 6:10-17).
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