THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume VI, Number 05 - April 28, 2002
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
We hear and say "have a good day" just about every day. From the mother sending her children off to school to the grocery store checkout counter, it anticipates and offers a future blessing upon others.
Of all the days on which we could hope to have a "good day" there can be none more important than the last day. We should take notice that there will indeed be a "last day" - this world will not endure forever. "Heaven and earth will pass away" - of that we can be assured (Matt. 24:35).
Jesus spoke of the "last day": This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jno. 6:39-40)
The last day will be a day of resurrection. Jesus will raise all men from the dead on the last day (Jno. 5:28-29). The person who lives by faith will be raised unto "everlasting life" (Jno. 6:40). So, if you want to have a "good day" on the last day, believe in Jesus and do the will of the Father - just as Jesus did (Jno. 6:38; 5:29-30).
The last day will be a day of judgment. If you do not belong to Christ "at the last day" you will be lost (Jno. 6:39). We will all stand before the Lord in judgment, and according to what we have sown we shall reap (Gal. 6:7-8).
The last day will be a day of glory. Although this world is full of corruption and sin, the last day will be "good" because it will signal an eternity of glory for the sons of God (Rom. 8:18-25; 2 Ths. 1:10; Col. 3:4). The Christian is a son of God (Gal. 3:26-29). Are you?
The last day will be a day of wrath. The last day will not be "good" for those who do not know God and disobey the gospel of His Son (2 Ths. 1:8-9). Obey Jesus now to escape the day of wrath!
We hope you have a good day on the last day. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it possible for you. Now, it is up to you.
You aren't able to enter into the worship. Just when you focus on the song and begin to feel some spiritual responsiveness, 18-month-old Missy bangs her head on the back of the pew, and her cries rise in crescendo above the singing. Or you have just begun to grasp his line of reasoning as the preacher expounds on a difficult verse, when 3-year-old Johnny tugs at your sleeve and insists in loud whispers that he had to go to the restroom. The ways in which children can distract your attention and break your concentration are endless.
Sometimes you feel there is no purpose in being at the church services while trying to cope with children. You feel you are getting nothing out of services and the kids are probably distracting others, so why take them? Why not stay home so that you, the children, and others will all be happier? Your feelings are perfectly understandable. You do have a problem. But don't be discouraged. In reality you have a great opportunity. If you act wisely, you have the power to accomplish wonderful objectives.
1. You can implant in your children the habit of attending services, thereby opening the way for them to learn about God as they grow. This may very well mean all the difference between their becoming faithful Christians or going the destructive way of the world.
2. Though you may not be learning much from the sermons, you are learning thoroughly practical lessons in patience, self-control, self-denial, perseverance, discipline, and obedience to God. These lessons are the kind best learned under the pressures of hindrances and obstacles.
3. You are teaching others. By faithful attendance and courage, you are setting a wonderful example to the whole congregation. Such an example is a priceless asset to any church. It is more powerful in influencing the lives of others than many sermons. A church cannot have too many young mothers and fathers of this kind. We need you all! We want you all!
So, young parents, don't be discouraged. Keep coming. Bring the children. Most of us have been through the same experiences and we understand your difficulties. We respect your concern for others. We admire your fortitude in coming. We want your fellowship in worship. We need your help in teaching the church. So keep bringing the little ones to services.
-Reason for Hope, South Livingston church of Christ (Nov. 4, 2001) www.reasonforhope.org
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
LIVING BY FAITH
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
1. Basically, we only follow one of two courses in life - Matt. 7:13-14; 12:30.
2. 2 Cor. 5:1-9 - We either live by appearance (sight) or by faith (trusting dependence).
3. Three steps, when combined, amount to walking by faith.
I. HEAR WHAT GOD HAS SAID - 1 Sam. 3:10; Mk. 12:37.
A. What God Says is Right - Lk. 8:8, 18 (Psa. 19:8); Mk. 4:23-24.
B. Hearing What God Says Will Give Us Understanding - Jno. 8:43; 1 Cor. 1:25.
C. God Speaks to Us in the Gospel of His Son - Heb. 1:1-2; Jno. 12:48; Eph. 3:3-4.
II. BELIEVE WHAT GOD HAS SAID - Acts 8:35-37.
A. Trust God's Word - Mk. 5:22-24, 35-36.
B. Trust God's Power - Matt. 9:27-30.
III. OBEY WHAT GOD HAS SAID - Matt. 4:4.
A. Faith Saves When Faith Obeys - Jas. 2:14, 17, 20, 24; Heb. 11:4ff; Gal. 5:6-7
IV. TAKE THESE STEPS AND YOU WILL BE WALKING BY FAITH! (Eph. 2:10 -- 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; 1 Jno. 1:7)
A. Walk by Faith (cf. Epistle of James: Practical Christianity):
1. In trials & temptations of faith - 1:2-16
2. Pure, moral living - 1:19-27.
3. Fairness toward men - 2:1-13.
4. Speech - 3:1-12.
5. Self-restraint - 4:1-10.
6. Treatment of brethren - 4:11-12.
7. Remember the will of God - 4:13-17.
8. Patience - 5:7-11.
9. Prayer - 5:13-19.
10. Converting sinners - 5:19-20.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
BIBLE QUESTION BOX - April, 2002
Scripture Reading: Psalm 130
#1: When does a child become accountable? Is there a specific age? How do we determine when our child is ready to be a Christian?
A. Being Accountable for One's Sins Necessarily Implies Some Things.
B. There is No Specific Age Stated in the Bible - Each Case Must Be Considered Individually. (cf. Lk. 2:52)
C. How Do We Determine When Our Child Is Ready To Become A Christian? - Heb. 12:9-11 (cf. Prov. 2:1-5).
-When a child:
a. Is capable of understanding the moral difference between good & evil & knows he has sinned against God's will.
b. Is capable of belief in Jesus as the Son of God, can confess his faith in Him, repent of his sin & be baptized (Jno. 8:24; Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9-10) - Held morally accountable by God.
#2: How should we treat the homeless, such as the ones who hold up signs for money at the corner of the Mall & Guide Meridian? Should we help them? If so, how (food, money, shelter.)? If not, why? How should a Christian react to one who is homeless & begs for money?
A. Principles to be Applied - Mk. 14:5-7; Deut. 15:11; Gal. 6:10 (cf. Acts 3:1-6); Matt. 6:1-4 (cf. Lk. 10:29-37); 2 Ths. 3:10.
B. The Time, Occasion & Means of One's Charity toward the Poor is one of Personal Judgment Based on These Principles.
#3: Reading our Bible should be important to us. If we miss a day, what should we do?
- Psa. 119:11-16; Hosea 4:6; Phil. 1:9-11.
1. Psa. 130:5 - We hope in (rely upon & are assured by) God's word.
2. God's answers deal with "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Saving Animals, Saving Souls
Joe R. Price
The U. S. Coast Guard, three animal experts and $50,000 were called into action this week in an effort to save a stranded 2 year old mixed breed terrier from an abandoned tanker in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The dog has been on the ship for three weeks since fire crippled it. The crew was rescued April 2. At this writing the outcome of the rescue effort is unknown.
The comparisons between this and rescuing lost sinners are too striking to avoid and too pertinent to miss. Here are some for your consideration, meditation and action.
1. How near or far will you go to try to save a lost soul: Across the street; across the country; around the world? The Coast Guard has said it will do everything possible, short of endangering lives, to save the dog. The call of the gospel goes out to the whole world, beginning with our own backyard. People will travel thousands of miles at great expense to save one dog. Will we be inconvenienced to try to save one soul? (Jas. 5:19-20; Acts 20:18-20)
2. Will we help support others so they can preach the gospel to the lost? The laborer is worthy of his hire. If this is true of sailors and animal-rights advocates, how much more those who try to rescue souls (Lk. 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:14). I know more than one gospel preacher right now who is in need of adequate financial support. Can the church where you are a member help one of them, or some other faithful preacher (2 Cor. 11:8)? If so, contact me and I will put you in touch with them.
3. We must properly value the human soul. "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26) Some place greater value upon the life of an animal than upon the one creature made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). The lives of animals are indeed valuable to us; the souls of men are more valuable: "but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh" (Jude 23).
4. The world is adrift on the sea of sin in danger of sinking and dying an eternal death. Who will go, with the gospel in hand, to try to save the lost? (2 Tim. 2:2) Will you?
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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