THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 27 - September 30, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
Truth is not relative. It does not ebb and flow with the wishes, desires and doctrines of men. Pilate sarcastically retorted, "What is truth?" (Jno. 18:38) Yet, beyond any question, God's "word is truth" (Jno. 17:17).
Does truth contradict truth? No, it cannot, and continue to be truth. The Psalmist said, "The sum of thy word is truth," thereby affirming the harmony of God's word (Psa. 119:160). When every word from God is considered the fullness, correctness and harmony of truth shines forth. Have you ever contemplated and meditated upon the wonderful Did you ever think about this fact? Jesus is "the Word" (Jno. 1:1-3, 14). He is "the Truth" (Jno. 14:6). Therefore, for one to assert that the word of God contradicts itself is to assert that Jesus Christ contradicts Himself! Who can believe it?!
Let me now make a practical application of the principle. The Book of Mormon is offered to us as "another testament of Jesus Christ," and "a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible." In its introduction this bold proclamation of Joseph Smith is given, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and....a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." If the Book of Mormon is truth from Jesus Christ, it will agree with the Bible (which is truth from Jesus). Harmony will manifestly exist between the two books. Yet, disagreement abounds. Compare just a few statements from the Book of Mormon about the nature of the Bible which contradict the Bible:
BOOK OF MORMON
Bible is not all truth (2 Nephi 29:3, 10) All truth has been given (Jno. 16:12-14)
Bible an inadequate guide (2 Nephi 28:29; 29:6) Adequate guide (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3)
Bible corrupted by man (1 Nephi 13:26-29) Incorruptible word of God (1 Peter 1:22-25)
The conclusion is obvious - there is no doubt. The Bible and the Book of Mormon do not agree! The Bible is accepted as the word of God and the Book of Mormon is not "the most correct of any book on earth!" The Book of Mormon is not the word of God. Mormons cannot logically and consistently accept both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as true and accurate. Sadly, most Mormons will defend the Book of Mormon and deny the veracity of the Bible.
Trusting the Promises of Christ
Joe R. Price
In Matthew 6:33-34, Jesus summarizes a lengthy passage on laying up treasure in heaven. Jesus had just assured His disciples and the multitude that (1) Where our treasure is our heart will also be, (6:19-21), (2) No one can serve two masters without compromise occurring (6:22-24), and (3) A servant of God will refuse to be anxious for the cares of this life, knowing that such is an expression of little faith in God's ability to know and provide our needs (6:25-32).
Jesus' summary in Matthew 6:33-34 includes a promise which disciples can lay to heart and by which we can live. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Christ persuades us that when we set as our fundamental priority of life the pursuit of the rule and reign of God and a life of righteous living, our Father will provide our material needs.
Seeking first the kingdom of God implies our conversion to Christ. It consists of becoming a remaining a disciple of the Lord. We must submit our will to the will of God, and that begins with obeying His gospel to be saved from our past sins.
Seeking first the righteousness of God means living by faith and ordering our life in a way which is consist with the gospel. God's grace instructs us to deny worldly lusts and to live "soberly and righteously and godly in this present world" (Tit. 2:11-12). Instruction for righteous living is contained in inspired scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17). As disciples of Jesus we must live in harmony with truth, and make such a life our priority in life.
No one said this would be easy. Jesus said it will require self-denial, sacrifice and commitment. This is where a proper understanding of what it means to not be "anxious" is important (Matt. 6:25ff). The Bible say we are to provide for our own and to work with our hands (1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Ths. 4:11). Why then, does Jesus say "take no thought for" such things as what you will eat, drink or wear (Matt. 6:25, KJV)? Certainly, Jesus did not contradict what the Holy Spirit later revealed. To be "anxious" over such things is to "have a distracting care" (Vine, I, 168). Jesus warns us against being distracted from our task of laying up treasures in heaven and serving God (Matt. 6:19-23). By placing undue stress upon the cares of this world we become distracted or "anxious." We try to serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). Having a greater desire and interest in pursuing earthly goals distracts us from obeying God. Consequently, we are not trusting in God's provisions (Matt. 6:30-32).
How do we overcome the temptation to put other things ahead of obeying Christ?
1) Develop singleness of heart (Matt. 6:22-24). That is, make up your mind to obey Christ, come what may.
2) Trust Christ to keep His promise (Matt. 6:33). He promises to sustain us - not make us rich or give us all the comforts of life. We must learn the difference.
3) Do not let tomorrow's uncertainties distract you from obeying Christ today with all your heart and soul (Matt. 6:34).
What practical applications can we gain from Matthew 6:33? Here are a few which
you can surely add to:
1) Regularly attend worship and enthusiastically participate (Jno. 4:23-24; Heb. 10:24-25)
2) Give purposely and liberally (2 Cor. 9:6-7; 1 Cor. 16:2)
3) Study God's word (2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:15)
4) Be a zealous worker for Christ (1 Cor. 15:58)
5) Make time for God (Eph. 5:16).
May we all increase in faith and not be distracted by the world!
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
"I WANT TO BE SAVED LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS!"
Scripture Reading: Luke 23:32-43
The thief on the cross is often appealed to by many in an attempt to justify salvation by faith only apart from water baptism.
I. DEATH OF JESUS AMONG THIEVES FULFILLED PROPHECY - Isa. 53:12
(Mk. 15:27-28; Lk. 22:37-43).
A. Thieves Received Just Punishment.
B. At First, Both Thieves Reproached Jesus - Matt. 27:44; Lk. 23:39-41 (repentance), 42-43.
II. THOSE WHO MAKE THIS APPEAL ARE ARGUING FROM THE SILENCE OF THE
-Those Who Deny Baptism & Use This Approach Must Prove Thief Was Not Baptized (1 Ths. 5:21) - Matt. 3:5-6; Jno. 4:1-2.
III. AN ATTEMPT TO DENY CLEAR BIBLE TEACHING - Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21.
IV. THE THIEF LIVED & DIED UNDER THE OT LAW.
A. The OT Law Did Not Command The Gospel Plan Of Salvation - Heb. 7:12; 9:15-17.
B. Thief Lived Under Different Law - One We Cannot Appeal To For Our Salvation - Col. 2:14-15; Rom. 7:4.
V. CHRIST HAD AUTHORITY WHILE ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS - Lk.
A. He Dispensed His Power & Blessings As He Saw Fit! - cf. Matt. 19:21; Heb. 9:16-17
B. Today, Same Requirements Of All - Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 1:16-17; Acts 2:38.
VI. WHAT IS THE PARADISE JESUS PROMISED? - Lk. 23:43
A. Paradise: Place of Comfort & Rest.
B. "Today" - At Death, Jesus Went To Hades - Lk. 23:46; Acts 2:27, 31; Lk. 16:22-25.
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
BIBLE QUESTION BOX
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:41-50
#1 - Genesis 7:19-20: Does this mean the total height of the deluge was "15 cubits," high enough to cover the hills and mountains? Or, does it mean that it was "15 cubits" higher than the mountains?
Answer: It means the flood waters rose 15 cubits higher than the mountain tops. A
cubit was about 18" - cf. Gen. 6:15; 8:4.
#2 - Will a Christian still be saved if they become mentally or physically unable to stay faithful and keep God's commandments?
Answer: God will be the final Judge who will render a completely righteous judgment (Rom. 2:2, 5). We can properly conclude from scripture that a person is not held responsible nor accountable to God to the extent he/he is mentally or physically incapacitated.
Principle: Moral capacity = moral responsibility (& a corresponding accountability); Physical capacity = physical responsibility (& a corresponding accountability).
- Rom. 10:17; 7:8-9; Jas. 4:17; Mk. 2:1-15; 2 Cor. 8:12; 1 Cor. 4:4-5.
#3 - In Hebrews 6:4-6 it talks of believers falling away and never returning to the truth. At what point does one's disobedience deem them as "fallen away?" Is there any criteria for this category? (Even those who are saved from sin, sometimes despite the knowledge of the truth - How does that fit in with Heb. 6:4-6?) Is there a line from which there is no return once it is crossed (i.e., God won't forgive you)?
Answer: Even one sin, when not repented of & instead persisted in, will cause the soul to be lost - (Mk. 10:21-22; 1 Jno. 1:7-9).
1. How far can a Christian "depart, draw away from, refrain" from
"the faith" (gospel) & be counted faithful to Christ? - Acts 8:18-23; 1 Cor.
5:1; Gal. 1:6; 5:3-4.
2. When sin is persisted in (not repented of) one has "fallen away" from the faith - Gal. 5:7; Lk. 8:13
3. To "fall away" from the faith is set in contrast to being "established" in the faith-1 Tim. 4:1-2--Col. 2:6-7.
-Heb. 6:6 - The "point of no return" results from one's hardened, rebellious heart, not God's unwillingness to forgive.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
'Citizen Soldiers' Want To Help
Joe R. Price
The terrorist attacks early this month has caused a series of defensive efforts designed to safeguard our citizenry, including the mobilization of reserve troops. The Associated Press reported:
WASHINGTON -- They're patrolling a port in Boston, guarding a chemical weapons depot in Indiana and flying the skies across America to ward off attack.
With the call-up of more than 15,000 Reserve and National Guard troops in the new anti-terrorism campaign, defense of the homeland has become the No. 1 job of those often called the nation's "citizen soldiers" or "weekend warriors."
And their numbers are sure to expand with President Bush's call Thursday for protection at U.S. commercial airports.
"It seems sort of unnatural," reservist Petty Officer 1st Class Evelyn Dawson said Wednesday as she left husband and home in Albany, Ga., to report for active duty.
"We always felt kind of protected in our country. It seems strange that we have to be afraid."
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, President Bush authorized a partial mobilization of up to 50,000 Reserve and Guard troops, the largest of its kind since the 1990 troop buildup for the Persian Gulf War.
The work of those called up this time will be primarily to defend U.S. soil, Pentagon officials say. Some - officials won't say how many - will go overseas, where Bush has promised to retaliate against Osama bin Laden and his supporters, prime suspects in the terror attacks. (Associated Press, Sep 27, 2001 07:30 a.m. PDT)
Joe R. Price
We are truly grateful for the dedicated, sacrificial service of our nation's "citizen soldiers." They render our nation and our freedom an invaluable service. (Rom. 13:3-5)
Every Christian is a soldier in the great spiritual battle raging in this world. We must put on the armor of God if we are to withstand against Satan's attacks (Eph. 6:10-17). We, like brethren of old, must be set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:7, 17). Contending for the faith is personal, perilous and pertinent for every Christian (Jude 3-4). It requires faith in the Lord and in the strength of His might, His truth and His ways (Eph. 6:10; 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:12). Our enemy is subtle, yet detectable (2 Cor. 11:3; 2:11). Satan can and will be defeated (1 Pet. 5:8-9; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:10). Fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life! (1 Tim. 6:12)
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