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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 8 - April 29, 2001

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


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Link of the Week:  An Overview of the Teachings of Christ (2 John 9)


 In this issue:


THE BIBLE
Henry Van Dyke

Born in the east and clothed in oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet, and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. It comes into the palace to tell the monarch he is a servant of the Most High, and into the cottage to assure the peasant he is a son of God. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight and wise men ponder them as parables of life. It has a word for the time of peril, a word of comfort for the time of calamity, and a word of light for the hour of darkness. Its oracles are repeated in the assembly of the people, and its counsels whispered in the ear of the lonely. The wicked and the proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother's voice. The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad by it, and the fire on the earth has lit the reading of its well-worn page. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams so that love, friendship, sympathy and devotion, memory and hope put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech, breathing of frankincense and myrrh. No man is poor or desolate who has its treasure for his own. When the landscape darkens and the trembling pilgrim comes to the valley named of the shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of Scripture in his hand, he says to his friends and comrade: "Good bye, we shall meet again," and comforted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness into light.


THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY

Cecil Willis

The New Testament writer, James, said, "But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing" (Jas. 1:25). There are several important lessons to be learned from this passage.

(1) IT IS A "LAW." This body of truth which is the source of all pure religion is here called a "law." There are some who would have us to believe that the Old Testament had law, but no grace; and that the New Testament has grace, but no law. They therefore teach that we should preach "the Man" but not "the Plan," else we become legalists.

However, a law is simply a "rule of action." If there is no prescribed rule of action (i.e., no law), then it would be impossible to sin, since sin is the transgression of the law (1 Jno. 3:4). The body of truth that guides us is elsewhere called the "law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:2 1), the "law of the Spirit of life" (Rom. 8:1,2), and here it is called "the law of liberty" (Jas.. 1: 25; 2:12). It is true, however, that we are not under the law of Moses (Rom. 6:14), but this does not mean that, we are under no law at all.

(2) IT IS "THE PERFECT LAW." It is the only "perfect law." The law of Moses had some imperfections, the Hebrew writer says (Heb. 8:7, 8). The law of Moses could not take away sins (Heb. 9:15; 10:1-4). But the gospel is "the perfect law." There will be no other law like it given forever (Matt. 24:35).
"Perfect" means "completeness," "fullness," or "wholeness." In this gospel "all truth" for all time was revealed (Jno. 16:13). Jude taught that the faith was "once for all" revealed (Jude 3). Thus this "perfect law" cannot be amended, improved, or transcended by man. Any tampering at all by man, whether to add to it or to take from it, will destroy its perfection. It must be left just as it is to maintain its perfection.

(3) IT IS "THE LAW OF LIBERTY." The law of Moses constituted an unbearable yoke (Acts 15:10). When the gospel was inaugurated, the "yoke of bondage" was removed. Jesus taught, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jno. 8:32). Paul taught the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death" (Rom. 8:2). The power of the gospel to liberate one from the tyranny of sin is another mark of its perfection. The gospel is God's only power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

The fact that the gospel is "the law of liberty" does not mean that one is free so that he does not have to obey the gospel. Some teach that since the gospel is a liberating gospel, one does not necessarily have to obey that gospel; he does not have to believe and be baptized, we are told. But the only way we really can honor "the Man" is to obey "the Plan." When one is baptized "in the name of" Jesus Christ, he shows his faith in the saving power of Christ. It is only when one has obeyed that this "perfect law" becomes to him "the law of liberty" (Rom. 6:17).

-Truth Magazine, Vol. XVI, No. 3; November 18, 1971


For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS

 

WATCH IT, NOW!

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 20:29-34

Intro.

We must be careful what we watch as we walk by faith - 2 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 5:15.

I. WE SHOULD WATCH:
  A. Christ - Heb. 12:1-2 (cf. Lk. 4:20); Gal. 3:1.
  B. Apostles - Phil. 4:9 (2 Ths. 3:7, 9; 1 Cor. 11:1).
  C. Faithful Christians for examples of godliness - Heb. 12:1; Phil. 3:17.

II. WE SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR (AVOID):
  A. Those who cause divisions & teach false doctrine - Rom. 16:17.
  B. Those who walk disorderly - 2 Ths. 3:6, 14

III. WE SHOULD KEEP OUR EYES FROM LOOKING UPON:
  A. The darkness of sin - 1 Jno. 2:11; Mk. 7:22 (9:47); cf. Josh. 7:20-21.
  B. Lustful sights - 1 Jno. 2:16; Job 31:1.
  C. Adultery - 2 Pet. 2:14.
  D. Alcohol - Prov. 23:31.
  E. Irreverent things - Rom. 3:18.

IV. WE SHOULD SET OUR EYES ON:
  A. The Lord's Salvation - Lk. 2:30; Acts 26:18
  B. Our Own Sin (to repent of it & avoid it) - Matt. 7:5 (2 Cor. 13:5).
  C. Truth - Matt. 13:13-17; Eph. 1:18.
  D. Serving God - Matt. 6:22-24.
  E. The Work Of Saving Souls Which Is Before Us - Jno. 4:35.
  F. Heaven:
    1. For God's mercy - cf. Lk. 18:13.
    2. In prayer and praise - Jno. 17:1.
    3. For eternal home - 2 Cor. 4:18-5:1.


For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS

 

BIBLE QUESTION BOX

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 40:6-14

Question #1:  Does 1 Timothy 4:14 teach that elders can impart the gifts of the spirit?

-No, Timothy received his gift through the laying on of Paul's hands - 2 Tim. 1:6.

1. Only apostles could impart miraculous spiritual gifts via laying on of hands - Acts 8:14-17; 19:6.
2. Timothy's gift was given to him (accompanied) by prophecy - 4:14 (1 Tim. 1:18).
3. In the company of eldership - 4:14; Acts 13:2-3.

Question #2:  John 15:12 says "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" and in Romans 12:18 we read "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Explain these two verses with reference to there being Christians and non-Christians that we cannot stand to associate with, even to the point of not wanting to speak with them."

1. Jno. 15:12 - Christians are under commandment to love one another as Christ has loved us - Jno. 13:34; 15:10-13; 13:34-35 1 Jno. 4:7-11; 5:2.
2. Rom. 12:18 (10-19) - Christians are to possess & present a peaceable spirit toward all and to use our opportunities to teach the gospel to the lost (12:17-21; Lk. 15:1-7).
3. The Lord expects us to overcome hindrances to our togetherness - cf. Col. 3:12-15; cf. Eph. 4:31-32.
4. Pursue peace & holiness - Heb. 12:14-15.

Question #3:  Several characters in the Old Testament told lies. Examples: Abraham lying about Sarah not being his wife; Isaac about Rebekah; old prophet lying to young prophet (1 Kings 13:11-32); etc. Why did God permit or tolerate this?

1. First, God does not sin nor does He endorse sin - these or any others - Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:9-12.
2. Second, God has been & continues to be longsuffering toward sinners (from Adam to the present) - Gen. 2:17 (3:16-24); Acts 14:16-17; 17:30; Psa. 78:37-39.
3. Third, God has provided redemption for all sinners - Rom. 3:25-26


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

(Current events in the light of Scripture)

 

Everett Library Backs Porn Filters

Karl Schweizer, Herald Writer

EVERETT, Wash., April 18 - Parents may block their kids from getting to X-rated Web sites on library computers under a hotly debated Internet plan the Everett library's board of directors approved Tuesday.

The new plan lets parents decide whether their children may use the Internet, and whether that access will be limited by filtering software designed to block out objectionable sites.

It will also force Internet users to have a library card, a point of contention for one homeless activist who came to Tuesday's meeting.

To make it happen, the library will spend up to $50,000 to buy special software and hardware that requires library computer users enter a library card number, plus a personal identification number, before using the Internet. The software would identify users under 18 and give them only the level of access determined by their parents.

The new policy lets parents decide how much their children may see, while leaving librarians out of making value judgments, said library director Mark Nesse.

Under the current system, computer terminals allow unlimited access to the Internet. Anyone may use the terminals, regardless of age or possession of a library card.

The library will mail a notice to parents, and possibly to all users, to let them know about the new policy, Nesse said. If parents don't choose a level of Internet access for their children, their children's library cards will automatically be set to filtered access, Nesse said.

Some at Tuesday's meeting objected to the new plan.

"One of the things that concerns me most about filtering the Internet is the lack of trust it shows in kids," said Cameron Johnson, a reference librarian. "I think kids have some rights. Not all their rights are granted by their parents. They are not chattel."

The new policy would relegate younger users to the status of second-class citizens, Johnson said.

Librarian Scott Condon said the parents who choose limited access could be lulled into a false sense of security if they are unaware of the filtering software's limitations.

The policy now moves to the Everett City Council, which decides today whether to buy the new software. 

-(Edited for length, entire story at http://www.msnbc.com/local/EVHLD/M35818.asp)

 

BIBLE COMMENTARY
Joe R. Price

Three cheers for the Everett library's board of directors! Pornography is a surge upon our society, infesting every dark corner of media and infecting the minds of children and adults with defilement (Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3-13; Rom. 13:12-13).

Librarian Johnson is right, our children are not "chattel." But, they are our responsibility. Even librarian Johnson takes responsible care of the library's furniture. Are not our children of far greater value, deserving far greater care, than bookshelves and tables?

We commend this action and encourage all parents to monitor and protect their children from the pornography plague which is sweeping our society. (Eph. 6:4)


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

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