THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 29 - October 14, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
Discrimination is alive and well. This is a lamentable condition wherever it is found. Sadly, the church of our Lord is not free from prejudicial hearts and discriminatory actions toward others -- and yes, it even occurs against fellow Christians.
Discrimination is called "respect of persons" in the Bible. God has none when speaking of His desire for man's salvation (Acts 10:34-35) and of His righteous judgment of mankind (Rom. 2:4-11). Like as He who called us is holy, we too must cast off every expression of respect of persons in the body of Christ. In Christ "there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:11). Prejudicial hearts producing discriminatory actions is not the heart of Christ.
In James 2:1-13, the inspired writer meets this issue head on. Incredibly, some brethren were discriminating against people who were coming into their assemblies! So, James sets forth the case that we cannot hold "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons" (2:1). He illustrated his point: A rich man enters your assembly and you heap upon him honor, but a poor man enters into your midst, and you relegate him to a position of reproach (2:2-3). How is this living the faith of Christ?! The Holy Spirit's assessment of such conduct is given in verse 4: "do ye not make distinctions among yourselves (in your own mind, footnote, ASV), and become judges with evil thoughts?" Here is the danger of treating others in a discriminatory way: One makes distinctions where, in reality, none exist, and thereby becomes a judge with evil thoughts. This is "sin" (v. 9).
Respect of persons must be overcome in our treatment of sinners, too. Jesus warned us of the pitfall of only loving those who love us (Matt. 5:43-48). We must work hard to show "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jas. 2:1) to those who need it the most! I am convinced this is one reason why Jesus ate with sinners (Matt. 9:10). He was showing God's mercy to them (Matt. 9:12-13). The Pharisees, however, could not tolerate the thought of Jesus communing with publicans and sinners (9:11). Who made distinctions where there were none (were not the Pharisees sinners, too)? Who were judges with evil thoughts? It still remains true that those who show no mercy shall receive none (Jas. 2:13; Matt. 5:7).
The principle which overcomes ill thoughts and ill treatment of others is applied by James: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (2:8). As we do this, we fulfill the royal law. Such an expression of our faith glorifies the Lord of glory (2:1).
What Did Jesus Teach?
Joe R. Price
When Moses rehearsed the law God had delivered to Israel through him, he told of a prophet whom God would raise up to speak to the people (Deut. 18:15-18). While all of the Old Testament prophets could fit the context of that prediction, its ultimate fulfillment is found in The Prophet, Jesus Christ (Jno. 1:21; 12:49; Acts 3:22-23). Among other things, His gospel is described as the "new covenant" (Heb. 9:15).
The prophets spoke of this new covenant. Jeremiah said it would be different from the covenant God made at Mt. Sinai -- it would be written upon the hearts of men and would provide the means of forgiveness of sins (Jer. 31:31-34). Ezekiel called it a "covenant of peace" (Ezek. 37:26). Isaiah and Jeremiah described it as an "everlasting covenant" (Isa. 55:3; Jer. 32:40). The approaching covenant would "not be according to the covenant that I made with their fathers" -- it would be "new."
When Jesus came "preaching the gospel of the kingdom" throughout all of Galilee (Matt. 4:23), do you suppose He came preaching the Law of Moses (the old covenant)? Is it consistent with the aforementioned prophecies to believe that the Savior was merely calling the Jews back to faithful obedience to the covenant made at Sinai? In other words, did Jesus come preaching the old covenant or the new covenant? Obviously, He preached the new covenant, His gospel (Jno. 1:17). Yet, brethren are accepting the notion that Jesus was teaching the Law of Moses to the Jews during His earthly ministry.
Of course Jesus urged those who lived under Moses to obey Moses (Matt. 8:4; 23:1-3). But, ever since the days of Jeremiah (which included the days Christ was on the earth) the Law of Moses was "becoming obsolete," "growing old" and was "ready to vanish away" (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:13). The Jews (and Gentiles, too) needed to learn how to live so as to enter the eternal kingdom, and this is what Jesus taught while He walked the earth (Lk. 13:22-24). Jesus came to light the way of salvation with gospel truth (Jno. 1:14, 17; 8:12; 14:6; Matt. 7:21-24). Moses spoke of Jesus, not the other way around (Jno. 5:45-47).
Brethren should abandon their futile effort to make Jesus' personal teaching non-binding upon people today. Such a belief is not in harmony with the gospel of Christ. All men are to hear and heed His word, including those He taught while He was yet with His apostles (Matt. 17:5; Jno. 16:12-13; 14:26 Heb. 1:1-2). Those who reject His words fall under condemnation (Acts 3:22-23).
The old covenant pointed forward to the new covenant of Christ (Gal. 3:24-25). By giving a knowledge of sin the law of Moses also taught man of his need for forgiveness (something the law could not accomplish, Rom. 3:20-26). While the Law of Moses taught that the shedding of blood was necessary for the remission of sins, the animal blood it provided sinners could never accomplish that remission (Heb. 9:22; 10:1-4). Sinaitic Law could never provide justification from sins. Man's justification comes through faith in Jesus Christ and not through the Law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:21-30; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-14). If Jesus came preaching the way of salvation (and He did, Jno. 1:14, 17; 14:6), He was not preaching the Law of Moses! He was preaching the gospel of the kingdom.
It is the gospel, the new covenant of Christ, which provides redemption and an eternal inheritance (Heb.9:15-17). That is what Jesus taught while He walked among men!
Was Jesus Teaching the Law of Moses?
Joe R. Price
As noted in "What Did Jesus Teach?" (page 2), some brethren advocate that during His personal ministry Jesus was basically teaching Jews how to properly obey the Law of Moses. As Samuel Dawson stated it,
"...the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus [was] an urgent attempt to get the Jewish nation to turn back to God through faithful obedience to the Mosaic Law in order to avoid imminent national destruction" (GOSPEL THEMES PRESS Fall 1992 Catalog, p. 2).
This erroneous view of Jesus' teaching is a stepping stone to the justification of unlawful remarriages. It is advocated that since Jesus was only teaching the Law of Moses to Jewish people, we cannot apply what He taught to all divorce and remarriage situations today (since we do not live under Mosaic Law). Specifically, we are told that it is wrong to universally apply Matthew 5:32 and 19:3-12 to all marriages, divorces and remarriages. When we demonstrate that Jesus did not teach what the Law of Moses taught on divorce and remarriage, we have shown the error of this doctrine.
Jesus did not teach what Moses taught on divorce and remarriage:
|1. Fornicator put away by DEATH penalty (Deut. 22:22).||1. Fornicator put away by DIVORCE - Not marry another (Matt. 5:32; 19:9).|
|2. Man PERMITTED to put away wife for conduct short of fornication (Deut. 24:1).||2. Man NOT PERMITTED to put away wife for conduct short of fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:6).|
|3. Woman put away (for cause other than fornication) NOT said to be in adultery if marries another (Deut. 24:2).||3. Woman put away for cause other than fornication is IN ADULTERY if she marries another (Matt. 5:32).|
|4. Man she marries NOT said to be in adultery (Deut. 24:2-3).||4. Man she marries IS said to be in adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9).|
|5. First husband BARRED from ever taking her back if she remarries (Deut. 24:4).||5. First husband NOT BARRED from ever taking her back if she remarries (repentance, 1 Cor. 7:11).|
Jesus did not teach what Moses taught on divorce and remarriage. His gospel regulates all marriages today (Matt. 19:3-12).
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
WHAT DO YOU LUST AFTER?
Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:19-26
1. Lust identifies a strong desire which is ready to express itself in bodily activity (Rom. 1:24; Matt. 5:28).
2. Gal. 5:17 - Lust may be good or bad, depending upon the object of the strong desire.
I. ALL EVIL LUSTS MUST BE PUT TO DEATH - Col. 3:5.
A. The Lusts Of Sin Must Not Be Allowed To Rule In Our Bodies - Rom. 6:12-14 (Tit. 2:12; Jas. 1:14; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 Pet. 1:14-15; 4:2).
B. Young People Are Warned Against Youthful Lusts - 2 Tim. 2:22.
C. Desire For Anything Which Chokes Out God's Word In Our Life Is An Evil Lust - Mk. 4:19.
II. SOME THINGS WE OUGHT TO LUST AFTER.
A. Salvation In Christ - Matt. 13:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Matt. 6:33; Col. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:13-16.
B. Worship - cf. Lk. 22:14-16; Psa. 84:1-4, 10; Heb. 10:24-25.
C. A Place Of Service In The Church - 1 Tim. 3:1; Mk. 14:8, 6; Matt. 10:42.
D. Association With Our Brethren - 1 Ths. 2:17; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 15:33; 1 Pet. 4:8.
E. Death - Phil. 1:23; 1 Ths. 5:4-9; Lk. 12:19-20; Heb. 9:27; Phil. 1:23.
1. Gal. 5:16-17 - Walk by the Spirit of God - Lust for spiritual things and bear the fruit of the Spirit (5:22).
2. Put to death all evil desires (Col. 3:5).
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
BARNABAS: SON OF CONSOLATION
Scripture Reading: Acts 11:19-26
1. Acts 4:36: "Son of consolation" [PARAKLESIS] (encouragement, NKJV).
2. Important ideas in "consolation" include:
a. Exhortation (encouragement) - Heb. 6:18.
b. Comfort - Alleviation of grief; Cheering & supporting influence - 2 Cor. 1:6-7.
c. Persuasive discourse - Acts 13:15.
I. BARNABAS WAS SPIRITUALLY MATURE (Gal. 6:1).
A. He Was Full Of The Holy Spirit - Acts 11:24; cf. Eph. 5:18. (Gal. 5:16-25; Acts 6:3)
B. He Was Full Of Faith - Acts 11:24; Heb. 11:6 (11:24); Rom. 15:1-3; 1 Ths. 5:14.
II. BARNABAS SET MANY GODLY EXAMPLES.
A. Example In Giving - Acts 4:36-37; 2Cor. 9:6-8; Acts 11:22, 26; Acts 13-14 (1 Cor. 9:6).
B. An Example In Trustworthiness - Acts 11:22-23, 30; 13:2; 15:2 (Acts 14:14; Phil. 2:21-22).
C. Example In Promoting Unity Among Brethren - Acts 9:26-28; 11:19-23; 15:1-2, 36.
D. Example Of Repentance - Gal. 2:13;1 Cor. 9:6.
III. BARNABAS TAUGHT OTHERS.
A. He Exhorted People With The Word Of God - Acts 13:5-12; 15:35.
B. He Used The Word Of God To Exhort:
1. Grounded new saints - Acts 11:22; 13:43.
2. With boldness - Acts 13:46.
3. With persistence - Acts 13:50-51.
4. Defense of the truth - 15:1-2.
Encouragement, comfort & persuasion are the hallmarks of consolation.
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