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THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume V, Number 7 - April 22, 2001

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


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Link of the Week:  Can We Understand Christ's Marriage Law?


 In this issue:


THE BIBLE
T. W. Brents

One the subject of the Christian religion, the Bible is the only infallible authority in the universe. Good, wise, and great men have met in councils, assemblies, presbyteries, conferences, and associations, and have formulated creeds, confessions of faith, and disciplines, which have been adopted by religious bodies, but, like all things of human origin, they are imperfect. That they are often wrong is seen in the fact that it is necessary to change, alter, or amend them. Translations of the Bible may need revisions, but the Bible, as it came from the inspiring Spirit of God, needs no alteration. Being perfect, it is not susceptible of improvement. Perfection cannot be improved. Science is progressive. Improvements are frequently made. New discoveries are often developed. But Christianity was perfect when it came from its author, and cannot be improved. Man may grow in a knowledge of the divine will, so as to more perfectly teach and practice it, but to improve it would be to improve perfection itself. This cannot be done, and it is unwise to attempt it. -Gospel Sermons, August 1, 1891


THE VIRTUOUS WIFE

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.   11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.   12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.  13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.  14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.  15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.  16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.  17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.  18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.  19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.  20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.  21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.  22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.  23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.  24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.  25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.  26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.  27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.  28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."  30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.


YOUNG MAN, MARRY A MODEL

Mo Hafley

Yes, that's right, if you want to have a happy marriage marry a model. Now before you jump to conclusions because of this title let me tell you quickly that I am not talking about the Hollywood covergirl model. I am talking about the instructions given to the youthful king Lemuel by his mother in Proverbs 31:10-31.

When in my youth I remember reading these 21 verses and thinking every girl should read this because it is about girls and for girls. Then as I grew a little older, still in my teens, a favorite Bible class teacher had us memorize this passage. Then I began to realize that this scripture wasn't just for women. I saw in these verses characteristics that I needed to look for in a young lady. Before this the only qualifications a girl had to have was that she be popular and pretty. 1 don't have to tell you what a lasting relationship you can build on popular and pretty. Statistics prove that you are playing with dynamite when those are the only characteristics you look for. In this chapter, Proverbs 31, I saw the real worth of this one whose "price is far above rubies."

He shows us her energy. She is up and going before the dawn. She doesn't love sleep. She takes care of her husband and her children and all her domestic duties then she is free to take care of the business outside her home. In her business she is not slothful. She not only can give instructions as to how something is to be done she is willing to do it herself. Her work is not drudgery but a joy. It is more fun to work with someone who whistles while they work. More work gets done too.

Also, there is wisdom in her work. She is organized. Her God is directing her hands. Her hands are constantly caring for and sharing with others less fortunate than herself. She knows too well it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). She is selfLESS.

Her husband and her children remember to praise her. Many times today mom is forgotten. We become spoiled because she is always there, always doing. I remember hearing that "Man may work from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done." Not much has changed has it? She is usually the first one up and unless there's a ball game on she's the last to sleep. how nice a "thank you sweetheart" would be ever so often.

Don't try to reward her with a tombstone or with sweet sounding words as she is laid to rest. Young man, marry a model, and be one yourself.


DEDICATED OR DERELICT?

Steven F. Deaton

The church of Christ is an organization, or organism (body), made up of many individual members (cf. 1 Cor. 12:27). Each member has a responsibility or duty based upon his or her ability and the opportunities presented by God (cf. Matt. 25:14-30). As with any organization, each member is either dedicated or derelict in his duties. To be dedicated does not mean a Christian is perfect, without failings, but simply committed to the Cause and given to growth. To be derelict does not mean one is out-and-out "wicked."

Signs of Dedication

When a Christian's life is analyzed, signs of dedication will be detected. For instance, the "sheep" were ones who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick, etc. (Mall. 25:35-36). Their dedication was manifest in action. So it should be today.

It seems to us there are some "fundamental" signs of dedication; ones that are basic to serving the Lord. The following things are not meant to be a complete list, but just a few things; you may think of more.

1. Prayer: Time and again, the New Testament admonishes us to pray to God in heaven (1 Thes. 5:17). It is essential to the life of a child of God in many respects. In prayer we give thanks and glory to God (Phil. 1:3-7; 4:6-7; Heb. 13:15); we seek help in a time of need (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:7-8); and we petition for the forgiveness of our sins (1 Jn. 1:9-10; cf. Acts 8:22-24). Without a healthy "prayer-Iife," one cannot be truly dedicated to Christ.

2. Study: It is the duty of every Christian to "understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17). In order to do this, we must read and meditate upon the revealed mind of God, the Word (1 Cor. 2:7-13). When the word of Christ dwells in us richly, we will be able to resist the devil steadfast in the faith (Co.3:16; 1Pet.5:8-9). Without a healthy spiritual diet of the milk and meat of the word, one cannot be dedicated to the Lord.

3. Attendance: Hebrews 10 points out that we are NOT to forsake the assembling of the saints (vv. 24-25). Attending services requires very little of most Christians. Generally, all one need do is get in the car, drive a few miles, and sit in a pew for an hour or two at a time. Attendance helps to build up the one attending and others who are there. Since attendance is a simple and basic part of the life of one dedicated to Christ, we realize one cannot be dedicated without it.

When a saint is dedicated to the Savior, ft will be manifest in his life in prayer, study, and attendance. All three of these will be on a consistent basis, not hit-and-miss.

Signs of Dereliction

Again, an examination of one's life will reveal dereliction, not just dedication. The "goats" failed in their duty, and the Lord knew it (Matt. 25:41-43). So it is today; Jesus knows when His disciples are derelict in their duties.

We want to note a few signs of dereliction. We will turn two of the previous points around and make note of one other. As with the above, the following is not a complete list, but a few simple indications that one is derelict.

1. Lack of attendance: We addressed attendance above, noting it is commanded (Heb. 10:24-25). Some complain that nowhere in the Bible does ft say anything about Wednesday night services. This is true. However, ft does say that we are to obey those who rule over us (Heb. 13:17). Those who rule over us are the elders and they have determined to have a mid-week service for our benefit. Thus, it is just asincumbent upon us to attend on Wednesday as on Sunday. To come up with excuses and try to reason your way out of attending Wednesday, or Sunday night, reveals a lack of dedication and results in dereliction. However, there is something "worse." Those who show up for worship services and then leave before class time. Such Christians are derelict in their duty and a shame to the body of Christ.

2. Failing to prepare for Bible class: Most Bible classes have material from which members study in order to prepare themselves for an intelligent discussion. We understand that from time to time one is unprepared for class. However, there are some who repeatedly fail to prepare for class. They neither read nor answer questions. They had plenty of time for TV, movies, and magazines. They made time for recreational activities like softball, horseback riding, or hunting. Yet, these same people cannot find time to read and write (brief answers or fill-in-the-blanks) about spiritual matters. To be like this is to be derelict in one's duty to God, because they are not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

3. Sleeping in services: We know from time to time there are those who work long shifts, have unexpected things come up, or other circumstances which cause them to be tired on Sundays or Wednesdays. However, when a Christian consistently sleeps in nearly every service, if not every service, there is a problem. The message sent is, I don't care enough to pay attention," or "I will gladly spend my time working/playing at home and use services to catch up on my sleep." The Spirit addressed those who "sleep" in a spiritual sense and warned us not to be counted among them (1 Thes. 5:6-7). One who sleeps physically in services is most certainly asleep spiritually, and manifest dereliction in duty.

When a Christian is derelict in his duty, it is evident in his life. He will have little regard, interest, or energy for spiritual matters, while being devoted to secular and/or carnal pursuits.

Conclusion

When you examine your life, are you dedicated or derelict in your duties to the Lamb Who gave His life for you? Considering what the Lord has done for us and the blessings that await the faithful, He does not ask much of us. Be determined to be dedicated not derelict, because even if others don't notice, the Lord will (Matt. 25:31-46).


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

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