THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 21 - August 19, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
What is New Testament Christianity?
Joe R. Price
Very simply, it is applying the New Testament to every aspect of one's beliefs, practices and worship. It is turning to the inspired pages of the New Testament for instruction and guidance in everything one believes and does in his life. A Christian is one who is "of or pertaining to Christ." Where else should we turn to learn about Christ (so we can be "of" Christ), than the Bible (and particularly to the New Testament, which is a record of Jesus' life and teachings)?
To become a Christian just like the people who lived in the days of the New Testament one must believe and do the same things they did in order to be saved. That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Briefly consid-er what people of the first century did when they wanted to obtain salvation in Jesus Christ.
First, one had to believe that Jesus is the Christ -- that He came to earth from heaven, and is the Messiah sent to save men from their sins (Jno. 8:24; Rom. 10:10).
But, they also had to willingly confess their belief in Jesus as the Christ if they were to be saved (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Tim. 6:12).
People in the New Testament who believ-ed Jesus to be the Christ and confessed their faith were also instructed to repent of their sins (Lk. 13:3,5; Acts 2:37-38; 17:30). Repentance is a change of mind, caused by godly sorrow over one's sins, which results in changed behavior. It is deciding not to make sin the habit of one's life any longer (Matt. 21:28-29; 2 Cor. 7:10).
When a first century person believed, confessed his belief and repented of his sins, he was told to be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:37-38; 22:16). Baptism washed away his sins by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3). It placed him into Christ (Gal. 3:27). It saved him just as Jesus promised it would (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). It placed him into the body or church of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18). Being saved from his sins, he was now a Christian!
Christians in the New Testament were taught of their responsibility to grow spiritually (Acts 2:42). Spiritual growth occurs through regular worship of God, study of the word of God and obedience to God's word in one's life (2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; Heb. 5:12-14).
We at the Mt. Baker church of Christ are endeavoring to be Christians in exactly the same way. We seek to teach and practice New Testament Christianity, unspoiled by the doc-trines and dogma of men. If all would determine to lay down their human creeds and man-made doctrines and go only to the gospel of Christ for guidance and instruction, we believe the unity Jesus earnestly prayed for can become a reality (Jno. 17:20-21).
Won't you become a Christian in the same way people did in New Testa-ment times? You can, and we stand ready to assist you in doing so.
Understanding 1 Corinthians 7
Joe R. Price
It is important how we study the Bible. A proper understanding and application of 1 Corinthians 7 will result as we rely, not on the wisdom of men, but on the wisdom of God revealed to us in His word. The interpretative methods we have consistently applied in ascertaining truth and rejecting error will help us accomplish this task (2 Tim. 2:15). Allowing the Bible to interpret itself is a time-honored and entirely scriptural approach to understanding truth. We are determined to not deviate from this course. "What saith the Scripture" must continue to be our appeal (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 4:30).
The Propriety Of Marriage: 1 Corinthians 7:1-7
Beginning in verse 1 the apostle addresses several subjects submitted to him in writing by the Corinthian Christians. Chapter 7 deals with a variety of their concerns about marriage. In verses 1-7 the suitability of marriage is set forth by the apostle Paul. Some have used the statement of verse 2 ("let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband") to establish the right of all second marriages to exist (and third, fourth, etc.). As with any other Bible topic, we must always be careful not to accept a position which makes one scripture contradict another. Should we embrace those who, in their misunderstanding of the Bible misapply this passage, thereby encouraging unlawful marriages to occur? If not, what criteria prevents such acceptance?
For instance, could 1 Corinthians 7:2 be used by those who practice polygamy in cultures which allow such relationships? Furthermore, should faithful brethren in those cultures accept into their fellowship those who preach and practice such a concept? Or, would brethren be scripturally obligated, as a result of using standard interpretive methods of study, to which reject polygamy and decline from their fellowship those who defend and practice it? (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:21-22) The answer should be apparent. Our application of the text must be consistent whether we are discussing polygamy or other forms of adultery, such as unlawful remarriages (Matt. 19:9).
To The Unmarried: 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
The expediency of remaining single is now set forth by Paul. Some assert that celibacy is the only state in which one can properly serve God. Why do we reject this teaching (1 Tim. 4:3)? Is it not because God's word teaches that marriage is proper (Heb. 13:4)? Certainly it is. For instance, Paul had the right to have a wife, but did not use his right (1 Cor. 9:5; 7:6-7). Now, if we cannot accept into fellowship those who demand celibacy, why not? Is it not because such a teaching opposes revealed truth? Yes, it is. All who are free to marry in the sight of God may exercise their freedom to do so.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 97
Psa. 97:10; 50:21 - Those who love the Lord hate evil, but evil men forget God & think He is like them WRONG! - Prov. 3:5-6
I. GOD CANNOT LIE - Num. 23:19.
A. His Word Is True - Psa. 19:9; Isa. 55:8-11 (Heb. 4:12); Jer. 23:26-29; 1 Pet.1:22-23.
-How will you respond to God's word?
· Re. Your salvation - Matt. 11:28; 2 Cor. 6:2.
· Re. Holy living - Rom. 12:1-2.
B. His Promises Are Sure - Titus 1:2 (Num. 23:19); 1 Cor. 1:9; Col. 1:5; 1 Ths. 5:23-24; Heb. 6:17-19; cf. Zech. 8:16-17.
II. GOD CANNOT BE TEMPTED BY EVIL - Jas. 1:13.
A. God Is Holy - Exo. 15:11; Hab. 1:13; Psa. 99:9.
B. Since God Cannot Be Tempted By Evil, He Does Not Tempt Anyone - Jas. 1:13; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Jas. 1:12-16; 1 Pet. 5:8
III. GOD CANNOT FELLOWSHIP WITH SIN & ERROR - 1 Jno. 1:5; 2
A. Because God Is Light (no darkness) - 1 Jno. 1:5-7.
B. God Will Only Walk With Those Who Walk With Him - Amos 3:3; Lev. 26:23-24; 1 Jno. 2:3-6; 2 Jno. 9; Jno. 8:31-32.
1. Although God is all-powerful, there are things God cannot do! (God cannot lie, be tempted with evil, have fellowship with sin.)
2. Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17 - God's character cannot change (true, holy, righteous).
3. Honor the unchangeable God by shunning evil & obeying Him! - Psa. 50:21-23
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
SEARCHING FOR A PREACHER
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Put a recently received "preacher search" to the test of scripture. (1 Jno. 4:1; 1 Ths. 4:21-22)
I. UNSCRIPTURAL AND DENOMINATIONAL THINKING AND LANGUAGE.
A. The Language Of Ashdod: Unscriptural Terms & The Concepts Behind Them (Neh. 13:23-25; 1 Pet. 4:11).
1. "Sister Congregations" - cf. Acts 9:31; 2 Cor. 8:1; Gal. 1:2; Rev. 1:11 (Acts 14:23; 1 Pet. 5:2).
2. "Preacher Search Team" - Acts 20:28; 1Pet.5:2.
B. The Professional Preacher Syndrome.
1. Looking to fill a "full time preaching position" - Acts 13:1-2; 18:1-5; 1 Tim. 6:20-21.
2. Resume (for consideration) - Phil. 2:19-23; Rev. 2:2 (2 Jno. 10).
3. Formal preaching education required - Acts 4:13; 18:24-25, 26-28.
4. Prior experience in established congregation "required" ("developed communication skills & proven leadership ability") - Acts 9:20; Gal. 1:16-18; 1 Tim. 4:12, 15.
5. Must be married - cf. 1 Cor. 9:5 (7:7).
II. THE GOSPEL PREACHER AND PREACHING.
A. His Work (one of service / ministry) - 2 Tim. 4:5 (2:24).
1. Divinely appointed / charged - 2 Tim. 4:1.
2. Preach the word - 2 Tim. 4:2-5; Titus 2:15; 1 Tim. 6:20; 4:13.
B. His Character - 2 Tim. 2:24-25.
1. Faith & a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:18-19), godliness (1 Tim. 4:7), see 1 Tim. 4:12-15.
2. Attitudes - 2 Tim. 2:24-25.
C. His Conduct - 1 Tim. 4:16, 12.
D. His Ability - 2 Tim. 2:15 (1 Tim. 4:13); 1 Tim. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Fla. Sharks Spotted Heading South
ANCLOTE KEY, Fla. (AP) - A large gathering of sharks that had congregated in the waters off central Florida's west coast have moved out of the area.
Hundreds of sharks, some up to 10 feet long, were first spotted Monday three miles offshore, prompting officials to issue an alert to swimmers.
Most were blacktips, a common species often blamed for nipping surfers and swimmers, but not regarded as a man-eater. Bull sharks, hammerheads and nurse sharks were also sighted by sheriff's marine patrols in the shallow Gulf of Mexico waters off Pasco County, northwest of Tampa.
By Wednesday, the brief invasion was over. They were spotted heading south by a crew from Mote Marine Laboratory.
"The thing that really caught my attention was that there were several species,'' marine biologist Bill Alevizon said. "Species tend to move alone.''
Blacktips are known to move from the Gulf of Mexico back into the Atlantic Ocean about this time of year, said Mote spokeswoman Teri Behling. Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Joe R. Price
I wonder if anyone in Florida is saying, "We don't need people watching out those sharks - they are not a danger to anyone!"? Do you think the Floridians are thankful they have some "shark-watchers" in the Gulf of Mexico who are caring for their safety? Me too.
We can learn a lesson from this if we will. There are spiritual sharks in the water who will attack and consume souls. When godly men sound out reasoned, scriptural warnings of dangerous doctrines and sinful practices we should pause, hear the warning, and take the necessary precautions to keep from being devoured by sin and error - and be thankful for the warning (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 2:1-2).
The Lord has set watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem for our spiritual strength and safety (Isa. 62:6; Eph. 4:11-16). Rather than scold and denounce them for warning us of danger, let us heed the warnings they give from God's word - and thank God for His watchmen!
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