THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 35 - November 25, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Larry Ray Hafley
Skepticism scoffs at faith and lays the ills of the world at the feet of religion. The scoffing, scorning skeptic says that most of the world's wars are created by "religious" people contending for their god. Do away with the false concept of a divine being, rid people's minds of such ignorance, superstition, and blind devotion, and the world will be a safer, less volatile place.
For once, I agree, at least in part, with the skeptics! No, of course, we cannot deny the Creator of heaven and earth. However, false religion and false rituals, in the name of false gods, have created havoc and heartache. What about "the Crusades"? Weren't they fought by "Christians," by the authority of Christ? No, for Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (Jn. 18:36). Did the religion of Christ create the cruelty of the Crusades? No, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal" (2 Cor. 10:3, 4).
False priests, preachers, and prophets may have started wars and created human misery, but to condemn all religion because of impostures is parallel to the man who refuses all medical treatment because a "quack" doctor made him feel worse. A crooked lawyer must not be used to define the usefulness of worthy counsel.
True faith is not the problem. It is the solution, the only solution. The frightening belligerence of barbaric, religious men does not discredit God and godliness. Rather, it shows the need for truth and righteousness. A denial of God and his word does not solve the problems of this world. If God were eliminated from all faith and all Bibles were burned, there is not a single sordid, sinful thing that would be abolished. The darkness would only deepen. (And, if it did, why would it matter? If there be no God, there are no rules. So, why gripe and grumble? Why is it wrong to kill and to pillage and plunder if there be no God? If there is no God, I may kill you with as little concern as I would swat a mosquito.)
What these present, perilous times reveal is that we need more, not less, of "the words of truth and soberness." Yes, false religion has brought us mayhem, murder and massacre. But, beneath the blood stained banner of the Prince of Peace, it is his pure religion that alone can give us hope for our hearts and rest unto our souls.
Joe R. Price
By the start of the third decade of the 16th century, William Tyndale had already been on the run for five years. The king of England, Henry VIII, had declared him a felon. Fleeing Roman Catholic authorities in London (never to return to England), he went first to Cologne, France, and then Worms, Germany. What crime had this "evil" man committed? Of what rebellious act of treason was he guilty? He dared to translate and then print the New Testament in the English language!
In England in the 1520's (indeed, throughout Europe during the middle ages), unless you were literate in Hebrew, Greek or Latin, reading the Bible for yourself was impossible. You had to rely upon what the Roman Catholic clergy said the Bible contained. You would not have been able to study the Bible for yourself to discern the truth for yourself - much less be free to practice what you learned therein. Rome ruled with an iron hand.
The Catholic Church did not want nor permit a wide transmission of the Bible and its contents. When Tyndale's NT was published in Worms, 6,000 copies were shipped back to England. Medieval historian William Manchester reports,
"To the bishop of London this was an intolerable, metastasizing heresy. He bought up all that were for sale and publicly burned them at St. Paul's Cross. But the archbishop of Canterbury was dissatisfied; his spies told him that many remained in private hands. Protestant peers with country houses were loaning them out, like public libraries. Assembling his bishops, the archbishop declared that tracking them down was essential -- each was placing souls in jeopardy -- and so, on his instructions, dioceses organized posses, searching the homes of known literates, and offered rewards to informers -- sending out the alarm to keep Christ's revealed word from those who worshiped him." (A World Lit Only By Fire, 204-205)
Tyndale was eventually arrested and imprisoned for sixteen months in the castle of Vilvorde, near Brussels. In 1536, after being tried and convicted for heresy he was publicly executed, being tied to a stake, strangled to death, and then his corpse burned.
As we consider Tyndale's struggle and sacrifice to provide the common Englishman with readable, discernable scriptures, we are made to thank God for the daily ease and convenience with which we can open the Bible and study it for ourselves. We are made to cherish the privilege that is ours to pour over the divine text, understand it, reflection upon it, think over it so as to bring our hearts and lives into harmony with it, as well as also teach it to others (Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:2).
If you have been neglecting to read, learn and live God's word, please remember the good fortune you have: education and access -- the abundant opportunity to read and know God's word. To not drinking deeply from its well is to squander a precious blessing (cf. Jas. 4:17).
The next time you pick up your Bible and read it, remember the sacrifices of countless others who have made that simple act possible. But above all, remember the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life on the cross and was then resurrected from the dead so that you know the truth, abide in His word and thus be freed from your sin (Jno. 8:31-36; 1:1-3, 14-18).
For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
ARE YOU TRULY SAVED?
Scripture Reading: Acts 18:24-19:5
1. Some are deceived about their salvation - 1 Cor. 3:18 (Matt. 7:21-23).
2. Some are not deceived, but are not fully convinced or persuaded they are saved.
3. Examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith - 2 Cor. 13:5.
4. Does the NT judge that you have been "faithful to the Lord?" - Acts 16:15
I. DID YOU TRULY BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST? - Acts 18:24-28
A. Without Proper Knowledge Of Who Jesus Is & What He Has Done For You, You Do Not Yet Have Saving Faith - 18:25-26, 28 (Mk. 16:15-16; Jno. 8:23-24, 58; Rom. 10:9-10.
B. If You Think You Became A Christian When You Were An Infant, You Did Not Truly Believe - Rom. 10:17 (cf. Heb. 8:11); Matt. 18:3.
II. DID YOU TRULY REPENT? - Acts 19:18-20
A. Did You Separate Yourself From Sin & Its Influences? - Rom. 6:1-4; Rev. 9:20-21; Acts 26:20.
B. Did You Make The Sacrifices Repentance Requires? -19:19; Lk. 9:23; Matt. 6:33; Gal. 2:20
III. WERE YOU TRULY BAPTIZED? - Acts 19:1-5
A. Were You Baptized Possessing The Right Faith? - 19:2, 4 (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:41).
B. Were You Baptized For The Right Reasons? - 19:3-4 (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
C. Were You Baptized By The Right Authority? - 19:3-5; Matt. 28:18-19
D. Were You Baptized In The Right Manner? - Acts 8:38 (Col. 2:12)
Conclusion - Prov. 14:12; 28:26
For the complete text of this sermon with chronology chart, visit BIBLE ANSWERS
CHRIST'S WORDS ON THE CROSS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:27-44
I. "Father, Forgive Them..." - Luke 23:34.
A. It Is Right To Have A Forgiving Spirit - Eph. 4:31-32. (Gal. 5:26, 15; Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15)
B. Forgiveness Only Received When Sinner Responds In God's Way - Acts 2:36-40; 3:17-19.
II. "Assuredly I Say To You, Today You Will Be With Me In
Paradise" - Luke 23:43.
A. It Is Right To Seek To Be Remembered By Jesus - Matt. 27:44; Lk. 23:39-42. (1 Tim. 1:12-16; Matt. 7:21-22)
III. "Woman, Behold Thy Son!...Behold Thy Mother" - Jno
A. It Is Right To Remember & Care For Our Loved Ones - 1 Tim. 5:4, 8, 16; Eph. 6:2-3.
IV. "My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Matt.
A. It Is Right To Accept God's Will, Even When We Undergo Trials For Obeying It. - Psa. 22:22-24; Rom. 11:33-36
V. "I Thirst" - John 19:28.
A. It Is Right To Admit Your Need & Let Others Help - Phil. 4:13; 2 Tim.1:16; Acts 6:1-6.
VI. "It Is Finished" - John 19:30.
A. It Is Right To Finish The Work God Gives Us To Do - cf. Jno. 17:4 (4:34); 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:9.
VII. "Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit" -
A. It Is Right To Commit Ourselves To God's Safe Keeping - 1 Pet. 4:19 (2:23); 2 Tim. 4:6-7; Matt. 6:33-34.
Conclusion - The examples Jesus set with these words are always the right things for us to do!
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Coat Hanger in Throat Gets Man in Trouble
Tuesday, November 20, 2001 2:40 p.m. EST
WICHITA, Kan. (Reuters) - A Kansas man who got a coat hanger stuck in his throat while trying to dislodge a balloon of cocaine he had swallowed faced possible criminal charges after doctors trying to remove the hanger discovered the drugs, police said Tuesday.
According to police, the man decided to stick the hooked end of a coat hanger into his throat in an effort to retrieve a small balloon he said he accidentally swallowed while at a party.
"He just bent it and forced it down his throat," said police spokeswoman Janet Johnson.
The hooked end of the hanger became lodged in the man's throat and he was rushed to a Wichita-area hospital where doctors initially were baffled by the bizarre circumstances, police said.
But in operating on the man to remove the hanger, police said surgeons found the drug-filled balloon.
The man was expected to remain hospitalized for more than a week but was expected to recover.
Police said they were recommending to prosecutors that the 33-year-old man be charged with felony possession of cocaine. Copyright (c) 2001 Reuters Limited
Joe R. Price
Please consider a few Biblical truths which apply to this fellow's predicament. By this may we learn to abstain from all evil (1 Ths. 5:22).
"Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted." (Psa. 107:17) If we refuse to go down the road of sin we will avoid many troubles!
"Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard." (Prov. 13:15) Not only does sin often cause immediate pain and trouble, it inevitably produces lasting sorrow (Rom. 6:23).
"My dishonor is continually before me, And the shame of my face has covered me" (Psa. 44:15). Do you suppose this man was proud of what he had done? We must be ashamed of our sin before we will repent and have redemption in Christ (Psa. 44:23-26).
"So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels." (Psa. 81:12) An evil heart led him into trouble and a stubborn heart got him into even more trouble! Truly, pride goes before a fall! (Prov. 16:18).
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