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THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume VI, Number 09 - May 26, 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:


Top

And Such Were Some of You

Joe R. Price

"9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

With these words the apostle of Christ makes it very plain that those who live in sin will not be saved in heaven. Every Christian I have ever discussed this subject with believes it to be so.

Although this common understanding exists, a great disagreement remains over what constitutes being "washed, sanctified and justified" from sin. "No, it cannot be!" you may reply. "Every Christian knows that when a person is baptized his sins are washed away!" Indeed, the scriptures teach it to be so, and we confidently affirm it (Acts 22:16). But, the facts bear out that in practice there are Christians who teach sinners they can remain in certain sinful conditions after being baptized, and that God accepts them in their continued sin. While no Christian directly says "you may continue to commit sin with God's approval," the evidence and outcome of their doctrine and practice says exactly that. This ought not to be.

For instance, some brethren maintain that when an adulterer, remarried without scriptural authority, is baptized into Christ, he may continue in that sinful remarriage against the stated will of Christ (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3). Adulterers (who do not inherit the kingdom of heaven, see 1 Cor. 6:9 above) are thus being taught that when they are baptized their marriage is no longer adulterous, but now sanctioned by God. "You have been washed, sanctified and justified and can remain in your present marriage" the adulterer is told upon being baptized. So, with the siren song of "peace, peace" when there is no peace, the sinner is comforted in his continued practice of sin (Jer. 6:14).

The very nature of repentance demands that the sinner stops practicing his sin in order to be washed, sanctified and justified. When the adulterer repents he will cease committing his sin of adultery. This is true of one who commits adultery against his spouse in an approved marriage. It is also true of one who, in an unauthorized remarriage, commits adultery (Matt. 19:9). This is the demand repentance places upon every sinner and the fruit it bears.

10  So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?" 11  He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." 12  Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" 13  And he said to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." 14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages." (Lk. 3:10-14)

When the selfish person repents of his selfishness he cannot continue in it. Instead, he is to bear the fruit of his change of heart (repentance), and show kind compassion toward others (Lk. 3:10-11). With a repentant heart comes a change in the way one lives.

When the greedy tax collector repents of his avarice he cannot continue to exhibit it in the way he conducted his job. His relationship with his fellow-citizens will have to change, from oppressive extortionist to that of an honest and fair assessor and recipient of taxes due (Lk. 3:12-13). With a repentant heart comes a change in the way one lives.

When the cruel soldier repents of his violent treatment of others he will stop his tyrannical domination of the innocent (Lk. 3:14). With a repentant heart comes a change in the way one lives.

The same must be true of the adulterer who is committing adultery in a remarriage that is sinful in God's sight (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3). When the adulterer repents of his adultery he will stop his adulterous relationship just as surely as the cruel soldier ceases his rule of oppression and the tax collector his reign of extortion.

The apostle Paul said of the Corinthians: "and such were some of you." Some of them had been adulterers. What happened to change their spiritual condition? They heard the gospel, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8). Their repentance is necessarily implied, though not directed stated. If their conversion to Christ meant they ceased their practice of idolatry, stopped their practice of stealing, abandoned their covetous conduct, ended their drunken behavior, renounced their reviling mischief, and terminated their extortion (1 Cor. 6:9-10), it also meant they forfeited their acts of fornication (homosexual and heterosexual) and ceased their practice of adultery (1 Cor. 6:9).

Repentance and baptism do not change idolatry into holy worship. Conversion does not change stealing into legitimate enterprise. Neither does becoming a Christian change an adulterous remarriage into a marriage approved by God (Heb. 13:4).

Those who live in sin will not live in heaven. We must help sinners repent of and repudiate their sin, not comfort them in it. "And such were some of you." The sinful remarriage is not sanctified in Christ, the sinner who repents of and ceases his sin is!


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Top

WHAT IS A LIE?

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 26:69-75

Intro.
1. It is our duty to speak the truth - Eph. 4:25 (Zech. 8:16-17)
   a. From pure motives (8:16-17)
   b. God hates a lying tongue - Prov. 6:16-17
2. Lying is part of the old man of sin - Col. 3:9
3. Liars will lose their souls - Rev. 21:8; 22:15
4. Dishonesty takes the form of words &/or deeds.

I. A LIE IS:
1. "An intentional violation of the truth." (Easton's Dictionary) -Dishonesty-
2. Deceit (with the tongue) - cf. Psa. 5:6; 101:7; Prov. 12:22 (19:9)
3. Proceeds from a dishonest heart - Mk. 7:21-22

II. "If the words you use are "technically" true but designed to imply an untruth, is it still a lie?"
1. Yes. Lie: "To create a false or misleading impression." (Merriam-Webster)
2. 1 Tim. 1:10 - Perjurers ("false swearer").
3. cf. Abraham and Sarah - Gen. 20:1-2, 3, 11-13. The implication was clear - and false.
4. cf. Isa. 28:15 - When we hide ourselves under falsehood, disguised as truth, we are being dishonest and following the course of Satan - cf. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

III. "What if it is for a good cause?"
1. "A good cause?" - Rom. 3:8 -cf. Abraham and Sarah - Gen. 20:11-13
2. Self-defined righteousness! (Jer. 10:23)
3. If a cause (or situation) is based on a lie, how then can it be seen as "good"? (Only from the standpoint of human wisdom, not God's wisdom.)

IV. "Is there a difference if the person the lie is told to is a Christian or a sinner?"
-No such distinction is made in scriptures between what is a lie and what is not - cf. 1 Pet. 3:10; Matt. 5:37 (cf. Jno. 8:44)


V. "What if the lie is to make an unfair system or situation work out right for you, is it then justified?"
1. Again, Abraham & Sarah are an example of this (Gen. 20)
   a. "Shall we do evil that good may come?" (Rom. 3:8; 6:1-2)
   b. Col. 3:17 - Whatsoever you do..all in the name of the Lord
2. Such a view will put one into a position of justifying sin (cf. the "white lie").
3. Accept the consequences that come from speaking truthfully - 1 Pet. 4:14-16 (cf. Matt. 26:61-65; Jno. 18:36-37).

Conclusion
-The truthful lip will be established forever - Prov. 12:19


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Top

BIBLE QUESTION BOX - May, 2002

Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 3:13-26

Intro.
1. Prov. 3:13-26 - Value of wisdom.
2. No greater wisdom that from above, found in God's word of truth.

Question # 1: Genesis 6:2-5:
A) Who were the sons of God & daughters of men? Why are they who came from God specifically called 'sons' and from men called 'daughters'?
1. "Sons of God" - Descendants of Seth, the son of Adam - Gen. 4:25-26
2. Gen. 4-5 introduces us to two families:
   a. Cain & his descendants (4:16-24) - Who, by following the example of their father Cain, continued to live farther & farther away from God.
   b. Seth & his descendants (4:25-5:32) - Who "began to call on the name of the Lord" - 5:26.
3. Gen. 6:1-2 - How the world became so wicked & vile that God determined to destroy sinful man with a flood.
   a. 6:1 - Men began to multiply & the earth was being filled up.
   b. Sons of God - Descendants of those who had "called on the name of the Lord" (4:26) began to compromise with sin & cohabit with the "daughters of men" (men & their families who did not call upon the name of the Lord).
   c. 6:2 - Sons of God abandoned their spiritual heritage & "took wives for themselves of all whom they chose".

B) What were the giants in v. 4?
1. 6:3, 5 - When men began to be driven by their own lustful desires rather than the word and will of God they were influenced by the evil they grew to love.
2. 6:4 - The result was a world full of violent attackers, robbers and tyrants rather than one filled with people who "called upon the name of the Lord."
3. "Giants" is translated from a word which means "to fall upon" or attack.

C) Who were the 'men of old' in v. 4b? Do we know of any specific examples / individuals?
1. 6:4 - These men made a name for themselves among other men, but not in eyes of the Lord (notorious men of evil reputation).
2. Example: Lamech - Gen. 4:19, 23-24

--Misinterpretations of "sons of God" & "daughters of men"--
1. Sons of God - Not angels or heavenly creatures who cohabited with women to produce a superhuman race. (Such is the stuff of X-Files!)
2. Angels who sinned in 2 Pet. 2:4 cannot be these "sons of God" (Gen. 6:2) since those angels have been "cast down to hell and delivered into chains (pits, ASV) of darkness".

--Sons of God-
Men who did not remain holy and separated from the sinful world around them. Instead, they married women who influenced them to forsake righteous living. The result: Man's ruin and destruction due to sin.

--Clear lessons for us to learn from this sad period in human history--
1) "Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33).
2) The person one chooses to marry will influence him or her for good or evil, so wisely choose a mate who will help you live in God's favor (Prov. 18:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).
3) God expects us to live holy lives, separated from sin: "as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
4) God will punish sin, so we must be careful to live in truth and holiness (Rom. 1:18; 2:1-11).

Question # 2:
Why were the tax collectors on the N.T. used as examples of sinners? (ex. Lk. 19:1-10)  Why were they unpopular with the people, & likened to sinners? (ex. Lk. 7:34)  What was it about them that brought them this stereotype?

1. Were notorious for extorting from the people, making themselves rich by oppressing others -Lk. 3:12-13

"The Roman Government did not collect its own taxes. Instead of doing so, it divided the empire into districts, and sold the privilege of collecting the taxes in these districts to certain capitalists and men of rank. The capitalists employed agents to do the actual collecting. These agents were usually natives of the districts in which they lived, and those in Palestine were called publicans. Their masters urged and encouraged them to make the most fraudulent and vexatious exactions. They systematically overcharged the people and often brought false accusation to obtain money by blackmail. These publicans were justly regarded by the Jews as apostates and traitors, and were classed with the lowest and most abandoned characters. The system was bad, but its practitioners were worse. The Greeks regarded the word "publican" as synonymous with "plunderer." Suidas pictures the life of a publican as "unrestrained plunder, unblushing greed, unreasonable pettifogging, shameless business." (McGarvey, The Fourfold Gospel, 76)

2. So, the people regarded them with contempt - as the lowest of sinners - Lk. 7:34
3. This stereotype was not always accurate - Lk. 19:7-10
4. The Lord is able & anxious to save all who will come to Him in repentance (Lk. 15:1-7).


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

Top (Current events in the light of Scripture)
Ski to Sea 2002

Joe R. Price

Every Memorial Day weekend Whatcom County hosts the Ski to Sea race from the heights of Mt. Baker ("ski") to the shores of Bellingham Bay ("sea"). It is more than a race - it is an "event," with parades and celebrations all around. Four hundred teams compete in seven (7) legs along the 70+ mile course: cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, bicycle, canoe, mountain bike and sea kayak.

We can learn some things from Ski to Sea. First, there is the lesson of spiritual training. To attempt such a race without properly preparing would be futile. We must discipline ourselves to run the race set before us: the race from earth to heaven. "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:25-27).

There is also the lesson of teamwork. Ski to Sea requires teamwork. The value of a team is understood in the context of a "congregation" of saints. Just as a Ski to Sea team must be united in mind and purpose, Christians in a local church ought to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). In the congregation each one has an important role (Rom. 12:5-8). And, in the unity of the "team" there is strength: the encouragement, support and comfort of fellowship (cf. Eccl. 4:9-12; 1 Cor. 12:25-27; 14:26).

Ski to Sea tests mind, body and spirit. Christianity does, too (1 Ths. 5:23). Run the race with endurance, finish your course and obtain an imperishable crown (Heb. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA

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