THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 24 - September 9, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Thief On The Cross Salvation Today?
Steven J. Wallace
Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Yet we find many who in one sentence, articulate allegiance with Jesus, but in another breath deny his word. One clear example of this is found in the various teaching regarding salvation.
Several are speaking about the salvation of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. We do not deny the thief's salvation; however, we do deny the false teaching that has been circulated regarding him. Some reason as such: Jesus was baptizing people before his death (John 3:22-26); he saved the thief on the cross without baptizing him; therefore, baptism is not essential for salvation. If this reasoning holds water, why not reason as such: Jesus went about saving people before he died and shed his blood (Luke 5:20, 21); he saved the thief before he died; therefore, his death and shed blood are not essential to salvation? Any honest person can see the point and the absurdity of such reasoning.
We must recognize that the thief died under the Old Testament law and that Jesus' New Testament would only come into effect after he died. "For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead. . ." (Heb. 9:16, 17). The thief died under the Old Testament but we live under the New Testament today. Here is the point. To safeguard against flawed reasoning we must consider everything the Bible says on a given subject.
The Bible's teaching on salvation is:
"The churches of Christ salute you" (Rom. 16:16).
Understanding 1 Corinthians 7
Joe R. Price
The simple statement of fact in 1 Corinthians 7:15 is that the Christian has never been reduced to a servile position to the unbeliever. The grammar so indicates (dedoulootai - perfect passive indicative of douloo):
Perfect tense: "The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense
in English, and describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past,
once and for all, not needing to be repeated."
Passive voice: "The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action."
Indicative mood: "The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood." (Online Bible)
Since the negative (ou) is employed, the phrase "not under bondage" effectively means that bondage was NOT completed in the past and is NOT occurring at the present time. Thus, the "you are not now, nor have you ever been under bondage" interpretation is entirely consistent with the grammar of the phrase and not a forced interpretation of it. In 1 Corinthians 7:15, that which was completed in the past and continues to be the case in the present is that Christians are "called" (perfect tense) to peace. The one has never been true while the other has always been true.
The immediate context of 1 Corinthians 7:15 is that of legitimate marriage, one of several non-sinful conditions in which one might be when called by God through the gospel to become a Christian. Other non-sinful conditions used by Paul to illustrate his point are circumcision and slavery (1 Cor. 7:18-24). We know he only refers to non-sinful conditions here because they are conditions in which one may continue to walk (after becoming a Christian), remaining in fellowship with God and keeping the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:17, 19, 20, 24). One cannot continue to live in sin after his conversion with God's blessing (Rom. 6:1-4).
Paul's point is this: "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves (doulos) of men" (1 Cor. 7:23). Verse 15 is a specific application of this principle. We are confident the slavery of 7:23 means something other than physical slavery (for Paul had just said to remain in that form of slavery, 7:21-22). Verse 23 speaks of the bondage of enslavement. Even the slave who served an earthly master had a prior allegiance to Christ. Likewise in marriage, we are not enslaved to men, we are slaves of Christ (1 Cor. 7:15, 22).
So, having told the Christian who is married to an unbeliever to remain in that marriage because it is legitimate, he then counsels the Christian whose unbelieving mate departs because the Christian has a primary allegiance to Christ. Paul's counsel is: Let him go, because you are not enslaved to the unbeliever -- you are enslaved to Christ (7:23). 1 Corinthians 7:15 teaches Christians who are married to unbelievers that their first allegiance is always to Christ and not man.
If Christians continue to make allowance for and have fellowship with brethren who
teach or practice what is not taught in 1 Corinthians 7:15, we can only conclude that
either (1) they do not believe the preceding hermeneutical treatment of the passage is
correct, (2) they hold to another hermeneutical treatment which they accept as correct
(and believe the foregoing to be faulty), or (3) that such a treatment of the text cannot
be correctly accomplished. Whatever the case, more and more brethren are adopting a view
of 1 Corinthians 7:15 which implies that revealed truth cannot be correctly understood and
obeyed. We must continue to deny that proposition whenever it shows itself (Jno. 8:31-32;
Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 3:16-18; Jude 3-4).
(continued next week...)
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1 Cor. 13 - Division & carnal thinking in Corinth grew out of their failure to understand love & to live in love toward each other - cf. Eph. 5:2.
I. LOVE: ITS MOTIVE - 1 Cor. 13:1-3.
A. Love Is An Act Of The Will Which Must Motivate Every Spiritual Deed In Our Life - 13:1-3; cf. Gal. 5:6.
-Without love the miraculous spiritual gifts were worthless!
B. We Must Stop Saying We Love, & Start Showing We Love - 1 Jno. 3:16-18; Eph. 3:17-19.
II. LOVE: ITS CHARACTERISTICS - 1 Cor. 13:4-7
A. Love Is Active (Verbs used here).
1. Longsuffering (long-tempered) Col. 3:12.
2. Kind - Mellow (not caustic, Lk. 5:39) Eph. 4:32.
3. Does not envy (bitter resentment) 1 Pet. 2:1.
4. Does not brag (arrogant speech) 1 Ths. 4:11.
5. Is not puffed up (inflated opinion) Rom. 12:16.
6. Is not rude (mannerly) 2 Cor. 8:21.
7. Is not selfish (does not seek its own) Phil. 2:4.
8. Is not provoked (not irritated) Eph. 4:31.
9. Thinks no evil (does not keep score) Eph. 4:32.
10. Does not rejoice in sin (no pleasure) Eph. 5:11.
11. Rejoices in the truth (absolute truth) Eph. 4:15.
12. Bears all things (endures) Gal. 6:2.
13. Believes all things (not suspicious) 1 Tim. 6:4.
14. Hopes all things (hopes for the best) Phil. 1:15-18.
15. Endures all things (perseveres) Jas. 1:12.
III. LOVE: ITS PERMANENCE - 1 Cor. 13:8-13.
-(Here is the superiority of love over the miraculous spiritual gifts.)
A. Love Never Fails (Ceases) - 13:8.
-The transitory nature of miraculous spiritual gifts vs. the permanency of love - 13:8-12.
-Partial revelation vs. completed revelation (13:10).
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
THE CHRISTIAN'S STEWARDSHIP
Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:45-51
1. Steward (primarily denotes the manager of a household or estate, entrusted with the goods & affairs of another). -cf. Joseph - Gen. 39:1-6
2. We are to see ourselves as stewards for God has so appointed us over His goods.
I. THE MASTER HAS APPOINTED US AS STEWARDS - Matt. 25:14-15; Mk.
A. Our Stewardship in God's House:
1. Apostles - 1 Cor. 4:1; 1 Ths. 2:4.
2. Elders - Tit. 1:7.
3. Gospel preachers - 1 Cor. 9:16-17.
4. Every Christian - 1 Pet. 4:10; Rom. 12:3-8.
B. As Stewards Of God's Blessings We Are:
1. Under His authority - Mk. 13:34; (Matt. 28:18).
2. Given God's work to do - Mk. 13:34 (Jno. 9:4).
3. Expected to use our ability to bless & honor our Master - Matt. 24:15-17 (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
II. THE STEWARD'S RESPONSIBILITY IS TO BE FAITHFUL - 1 Cor.
4:1-3; Lk. 16:10, 12.
A. Our Faithfulness Is Judged By Our Master - 2 Tim. 2:21-22; Matt. 24:45-46; 25:20-21.
B. Can The Lord Depend On Us To Be Faithful?
III. THE STEWARD'S CHARACTER - 1 Cor. 4:2; Matt. 24:45-49.
A. The Good Steward: Dispensing - 1 Pet. 4:10; Eph. 3:1-3, 8.
B. The Wise Steward - Discriminating - Lk. 12: 42-46; Jas. 4:17.
C. An Unjust Steward - Wasting - Lk. 16:1; Eph. 1:17-19; 3:18-19.
IV. THE RECKONING DAY - 1 Cor. 4:5; Matt. 25:19.
A. We Make It Our Aim To Please Our Master - 2 Cor. 5:9; 1 Cor. 4:3-4; Lk. 16:13.
B. Judgment Day Is Coming & An Accounting Will Be Made - 2 Cor.5:10; Rom. 14:12.
-Preparation / readiness is in order - Matt. 24:44-51.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Florida Votes to Ban Shark-Feeding
Friday, September 07, 2001 8:44 a.m. EDT
By RON WORD Associated Press Writer
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - After a summer of highly publicized shark attacks, Florida officials voted to ban all shark-feeding, saying it could be teaching sharks to seek out people.
The target of the ban is "interactive" shark tours that use cut-up fish to lure sharks so scuba-diving tourists can swim with them.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had been considering rules to regulate such shark-feeding dives, but instead voted 6-1 Thursday for a total ban. It could become law after a final vote in November.
Tour operators were outraged and threatened legal action if the ban goes through.
They argued that officials had no evidence to prove the shark-feeding dives weren't safe and said none of their tourists had ever been bitten. But several commissioners expressed fear that by feeding sharks, the sharks could be conditioned to associate humans with food.
"You don't feed any of them. They're wild animals," said Robert Dimond, president of the Marine Safety Group of Deerfield Beach, a proponent of a ban. "We are talking about predators with teeth that can tear off people's arms." Copyright (c) 2001 Associated Press
-Edited for length, complete article at:
Joe R. Price
Our adversary, the devil, is seeking us out (1 Pet. 5:8). Yet still we are tempted to "feed" the temptation to sin by getting as close to it as possible - sort of like swimming with sharks. We should not be deceived by the power or the presence of sin (1 Cor. 15:33).
It is not sufficient to say, "just ignore the sin" if at the same time we are putting ourselves into harm's way! Sin is seductive and insidious, gradually infiltrating our thoughts and deeds, until it ensnares us (1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Tim. 2:16-17; 3:13; Jas. 1:15-16). To avoid sin, we must:
1) Stay out of the water! Do not put yourself into the place of temptation and sin. "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent...do not walk in the path with them, keep your foot from their path" (Prov. 1:10, 15).
2) Be afraid of the danger! When we choose to sin we become its slave and ultimately, its victim (Rom. 6:12-13, 23). The destructive power of sin should cause us to fear and shun it! (2 Cor. 7:11; 1 Tim. 5:20)
3) Don't feed the sharks! Abstain from every appearance of evil (1 Ths. 5:22). Don't be deceived by sin's attraction. Sin is deadly. (Jas. 1:14-16)
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