THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 44 - January 27, 2002
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
What are we interested in having taught from our pulpits and in our classes? Many of the churches of men have long since abandoned preaching a "thus saith the Lord" to their members. The "positive mental attitude" approach of the modern Denominationalist has won the day among the preachers of men. Sadly, it is having its impact upon gospel preachers, too. We must ever realize that man must live by "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). And, we must continue to preach the living word today as it was by the apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 1:22-25).
We need gospel preaching. It is the power of God to save the soul (Rom. 1:16). Through a knowledge of the gospel we have "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3). Why should gospel preachers desire to preach anything else (2 Tim. 4:2-5; 1 Cor. 2:2)? What makes a "good sermon" anyway? Is it cute illustrations or the entertaining manner of its presentation? Or, is it good because it contains a scriptural message anchored in sound Biblical support and reasoning (Acts 26:24-25)? Gospel preachers are not entertainers. We are not after dinner speakers (1 Cor. 2:1-5; 1 Ths. 2:3-8). Preachers (and everyone else) need to remember the difference!
We need gospel learning. Unless the gospel is preached we cannot learn it. When the gospel is preached, we must be diligent to learn it and live it. Like Cornelius and his guests, we should long "to hear all the things commanded" by God -- not the quips and flattery of men (Acts 10:33).
We should want to increase in our learning of God's word (2 Pet. 3:18). Some want only the milk of the word. Milk is good and necessary, but a diet consisting only of milk (first principles of the gospel) will not help us mature. We also need the meat of the word that we may discern good and evil and thus press on unto perfection. (Heb. 5:12-6:3)
We need gospel living. Learning the gospel will not help us unless we live it. Jesus taught us this (Matt. 7:21; Lk. 8:15). Early Christians were exhorted to "continue in the faith" (Acts 14:22). We need the same exhortation.
Without gospel preaching, gospel learning and gospel living will be impossible (Rom. 10:13-17).
Key To Understanding God's Purpose For Life
Steven J. Wallace
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'. . .And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. . . .Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. . . .And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' . . .And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. . .the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman. . ." (Gen. 1:28, 2:7, 8, 15, 18, 21, 22).
Genesis and its creation model gives meaning to life. God created Adam and Eve with purpose. Their mission was to "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. . ." (Gen. 1:29). Man was also commissioned to keep and tend to that paradisiacal garden which God had planted for him to live in. Eve's purpose and therefore woman's foundational reason for living since creation was to be a "helper" for the man. God created Adam and Eve to live, reproduce, work and worship. Indeed, God's purpose for life gives life purpose! Man violates his fundamental purpose when he is lazy and ceases to work, when he ceases to worship and lead his family as a man of God (cf. Eph. 5:23-6:4; Is. 38:19; 1 Tim. 2:8; etc.). He also violates his purpose in creation when he ceases to live by choosing death over life. Woman also violates her purpose in creation when she harms rather than helps man in his spiritual and physical work (i.e., Jezebel 1 Kin. 21:25). Perhaps Paul says it best when he appeals to the God of creation saying, "God who made the world and everything in it. . .And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth. . .so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being. . ." (Acts 17:24, 26-28).
Creation gives life purpose! Because God created us, our individual purpose in life is to seek Him and find Him. But if we displace the creation foundation with an evolutionary foundation, then life is expendable and without purpose. It really does make a difference of who or what is in our ancestry. If Adam is in our ancestry, then that means that God sets the rules and there are absolutes. However, if ape is in our ancestry, then man sets the rules and morality is relative; abortion is simply a choice being neither right nor wrong, euthanasia is simply one's right or prerogative. If ape is in our ancestry, then why not buy into the philosophy of "survival of the fittest" and destroy those who are least likely to survive, the unborn, the very young, the aged, the sick, the lame. As someone once said, "You kill spare cats, why not cut up unwanted children?" If ape is our ancestor, our existence is merely a product of chance and random processes over long ages of time. Human life should not be viewed any more special than the life of cats, dogs, birds, pigs, etc., for they too are simply products of chance. Even viruses should be viewed more equally, perhaps as a distant cousin if ape is in our ancestry. If there is no God, then all that anyone does is merely one's opinion and choice. The opinion that condemns would be considered no greater than the opinion that commits, but then again, that would just be considered my opinion! But if Adam is in your ancestry and Jehovah is Creator, then life is designed and given by God and should therefore be respected (cf. Gen. 9:4-7). Human life, unlike animal, bears the image of God. The choices that we make are based upon what God has said, rather than what man thinks. Where evolution is about vast amounts of death and enormous amounts of time trickled in with chance; creation is all about life and design! What viewpoint gives your life meaning? "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all" (Eccl. 12:13).
Merrick Ave., Sunnyside, WA 98944
For the complete outline of this sermon, please visit BIBLE ANSWERS
THE PERSON WHO IS USEFUL TO GOD
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:7-16
1. DESIRE, DRIVE & DETERMINATION: All necessary to live faithful lives - 1
Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:10.
2. 2 Tim. 2:19-21 - Purify yourself & you will be useful for the Master (prepared to do His work).
I. THE KIND OF PERSON WHO IS USEFUL TO GOD.
A. One Who Has Godly Priorities & Objectives - cf. Rev. 2:5 Matt. 6:33).
B. One Who Will Pay Any Price To Do The Will Of God In His Life - Lk. 14:27-28, 33; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; Jas. 4:7-8.
C. One Who Loves The Word Of God - cf. 2 Ths. 2:10-12; Jer. 15:16; 1 Pet. 2:2.
D. One Who Has A Servant Heart - Matt. 20:25-28; Jno. 13:12-17.
E. One Who Has A Love For Lost Souls - Matt. 7:12; 22:39.
F. One Who Does Not Trust In Himself - 2 Cor. 1:9-10; Psa. 42:5-6, 9-11; Rom.7:18 (Eccl. 7:20; cf. Lk.17:10); Heb.4:16
G. One Who Has Learned Self-discipline - l Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 1:27 (cf. Jas. 4:17).
God uses faithful men & women - (Heb. 11). Will He use you?
For the complete outline of this sermon, please visit BIBLE ANSWERS
OVERCOMING WORLDLINESS: Gambling
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-12
The problems of gambling are real: Economic, emotional, societal, spiritual. (1 Ths. 5:21-22)
I. CLEARLY DEFINE GAMBLING.
A. What Gambling Is & Is Not.
B. Vocabulary Of Gambling - 1 Jno. 3:4; 1 Tim. 6:10.
II. GOD-GIVEN PRINCIPLES FOR OBTAINING MATERIAL GOODS.
A. Through Labor - Eph. 4:28; 2 Ths. 3:l2; Luke 10:7. (Law of labor)
B. Through Buying & Selling - Matt. 13:44; Matt. 25:27 (investment). (Law of exchange)
C. Through Giving & Receiving - Eph. 4:28; Acts 2:45 - Voluntary gift. (Law of love)
D. Gambling Violates All Of These! - 1 Tim. 6:9; 2 Ths. 3:10; Acts 20:35.
III. SINFUL PROBLEMS OF GAMBLING.
A. The Essential Motive For Gambling Is Covetousness (Greed) - Eph. 5:5; 1 Tim. 6:10.
B. It Violates The Principle Of Honest Labor & Robs Man Of The Incentive To Fulfill This God-given Role In Life - Gen. 3:19; 1 Ths. 4:11-12; 2 Ths. 3:10; Lk. 16:10-13.
C. Gambling Is A Selfish Endeavor Opposed To Loving Others - Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Prov. 16:8.
D. Gambling Is Accompanied By Other Evils - Matt. 7:16; Jas. 3:11-12; Prov. 15:16.
E. Gambling Harms Society - Prov. 14:34.
F. Gambling Does Not Promote Godliness - Phil. 4:8; l Ths. 5:22; Matt. 5:16; Titus 2:7; Jas. 4:4; 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
G. Gambling Is Deceptive - 1 Cor. 15:33; Prov. 22:16; 2 Pet. 2:19.
H. Gambling Is Not Harmless Regardless Of The Amount Wagered Or Who Gets What You Lose (Rom. 3:8).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Don't Punch The Parrot!
Joe R. Price
Charlie was a good friend, but the man just couldn't take it any more. Charlie's unending shrieking and constant screeching was driving him crazy. The man, frustrated that his girlfriend had left him, now took matters into his own hands. He punched Charlie. But the problem was not solved. Now, Charlie was dead. In one day the man had lost his girlfriend and his pet parrot!
Reuters reported Thursday the man was fined $925 in a Berlin, Germany court for killing the African gray parrot he had owned for 11 years.
It is ridiculous, but it reminds us of the value of self-control. If the man had used some he wouldn't be out $925, and Charlie would still be alive.
We have more valuable reasons to use self-control than that. We must exercise control over our emotions and will because we seek an eternal inheritance (1 Cor. 9:24-25). Those who belong to Christ and walk by the Spirit bear the fruit of self-control, thus showing they have "crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:22-24, 16).
Furthermore, a Christian who cannot control his anger is a poor example to others. His influence is diminished every time he loses control of his temper. His sin harms himself, and others (Eph. 4:31; Matt. 5:16).
The next time you think you are about to lose control, remember Charlie. He didn't deserve to die. And afterward, the man was sorry for what he had done. Losing your temper is that way, too. The object of your wrath rarely deserves it, and after you "cool off" you usually know how wrong it was.
Get control of yourself. If you don't, Christ assures you the "fine" you will pay will be eternal (Mk. 9:42-50).
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