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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 10 - June 02, 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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Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker

BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com


 In this issue:


Top

The Sin of Gossip

Joe R. Price

The tongue is a powerful thing. It can comfort the grieving with kindness and concern, and it can destroy a person’s credibility and good reputation. It can build up brethren and it can destroy churches. "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell" (Jas. 3:5).

We must learn to restrain our tongue by controlling our heart. Jesus said what comes out of the mouth defiles the man because it comes from the heart (Matt. 15:11, 18). One such defilement is gossip.

Gossip is a sin. It does not show love for one’s neighbor, nor does it show evidence of tongue-control (1 Cor. 13:4-7; Matt. 22:39; Jas. 3:8).

The person who gossips is a talebearer. "He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends" (Prov. 17:9). To the gossip – and the person who listens to it - a morsel of information about somebody else is delightfully feasted upon: "The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body" (Prov. 18:8). But, the gossip fails to realize that the food of gossip is poisonous to his soul.

The person who gossips sows strife. "The person who gossips is a slanderer" (Prov. 16:28). One who "sows discord among brethren" is an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 6:16, 19).

The person who gossips is a slanderer. "Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure" (Psa. 101:5).

The person who gossips is a busybody. "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters" (1 Pet. 4:15; see 2 Ths. 3:11). To gossip is to meddle in the lives of others.

Idleness invites gossiping: "And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not" (1 Tim. 5:13). If you are tempted to gossip about others it could be you have too much time on your hands. Use your time productively to bear the fruit of righteousness instead of the fruit of destruction.

The tongue requires constant surveillance: "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (Jas. 3:8) We cannot turn our back on the tongue for a second! Keep constant vigilance over it to use it for a blessing rather than a curse (see Jas. 3:9-12). By keeping a pure heart we help prevent gossip (Phil. 4:8).


Top

I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord

Joe R. Price

Satan tries to isolate the Christian in this sin-filled world. He and his cohorts want you to feel like an "odd-ball" for being a Christian and practicing godly values. He wants you to doubt the gospel and your faith in Christ. This is one of his subtle devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

We sing, "I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, nor to defend His cause..." and "Soldiers of Christ, arise!" But, do our lives bear out the sentiments of our vocal affirmations? Or, when push comes to shove, do we shrink in shame and retreat off the battlefield?

Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:34-38)

Our eternal destiny is at stake in this matter. When one obeys the gospel of Christ he must never feel inferior to the crowd around him which does not care for the things of God. After all, whose approval is most important to us: men’s or God’s? The answer to that question will have a bearing on our willingness to endure the reproaches of men for the sake of heaven’s salvation.

Romans 8:31-39 gives Christians comforting strength to do battle with sin and error: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (v. 31) … "Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?" (v. 33-34) … "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (v. 35) … "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (v. 37). Nothing can separate the faithful Christian from the love of God in Christ Jesus (v. 38-39).

We must stand strong and firm for Christ and His gospel in this world of sin (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10-13). We cannot play with fire and not get burned! Like David standing before Goliath, we must ready ourselves in faith, stand our ground and fight the enemies which defy the living God (1 Sam. 17:31-54).

Heaven will be the reward for those who are not ashamed (Rev. 12:11; 14:12-13). His shame and reproach gladly bear.


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

Top

Do You Also Want to Go Away?

Scripture Reading: John 6:60-71

1. Scripture warns of danger of turning away from Christ: Heb. 3:12-13; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 1 Jno. 2:18-19.

2. Why people turn away from Christ.

I. OFFENDED BY THE TRUTH – Jno.6:60-66

A. The Gospel is Too Stern & Intolerable for Many. (Unbelief - Jno. 6:63-64; 2 Ths. 2:10)

II. FEAR – Matt. 26:31-33, 56 (69-75).

A. Of What Others Will Say or Do if Faithful to Christ – Matt. 10:28, 31, 34-39.

III. LOVE THIS PRESENT WORLD – 2 Tim. 4:10.

A. The Attraction & Affection for Physical Pleasure, Pursuits & Preferences - 1 Jno. 2:15-17 (Mk. 4:18-19; 2 Ths. 2:11-12; Rom. 13:11-14).

IV. HARDENED HEARTS – Acts 28:23-28.

A. Hearts Can Be Hardened by: Unbelief (28:24); sin (Heb. 3:12-13); envy (Acts 13:44-46); false teaching (1 Tim. 4:1-2); false sense of time & security (1 Ths. 5:1-3). -Acts 16:14

V. REFUSAL TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO PUT CHRIST FIRST – Matt. 19:16-22.

A. Problem: Failure to Put Christ First in Everything! - Matt. 19:23-26; Lk. 14:25-27; 9:23.

B. The Ease of Life Which Wealth Brings Tempts Us to Turn Away from the Sacrificial Living of a Disciple – 1 Tim. 6:17-19.

VI. GROW DISCOURAGED – Gal. 6:9.

A. Of Doing Good – 2 Ths. 3:13.

B. Of Fighting the Good Fight of Faith – 1 Tim. 6:12.

C. Remember Jesus & His Reward – Heb. 12:3 (Rev. 2:3); 1 Cor. 15:58.


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

Top

How to Regard Preachers, Self & God’s Rebuke

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-13

We are God’s family, field, building & temple. Preachers are fellow workers & servants of God (3:1-17). All things are for our usefulness in the family of God (3:18-23).

I. HOW TO REGARD PREACHERS - 4:1-5.

A. As Servants & Stewards: Not as Heads of Parties & Originators of Doctrine – 4:1. (1 Cor. 2:7-9; Col. 1:25-26; 2 Tim. 2:24).

B. Faithfulness of Stewards – 4:2; Lk. 16:1-2.

C. The Judgment of Stewards – 4:3-5 (cf. 2 Cor. 10:1, 10).

II. HOW DO WE REGARD OURSELVES? - 4:6-13

A. As Under Authority to the Law of God, not Above it! – 4:6; 2 Jno. 9

B. Arrogance Must be Removed for there to be Harmony - 4:6-7 (1:4-7; 3:5); Mk. 9:33-35; Lk. 17:9-10 (1 Cor. 4:8, 9-13

III. HOW DO WE REGARD THE REBUKE OF GOD’S WORD IN OUR LIVES? - 4:14-21

A. Gospel Rebuke Must Be Properly Given – 4:14-17; Gal. 6:1; Phil. 4:9; Matt. 7:1-5.

B. Gospel Rebuke must be Properly Received – 4:18-21; Jno. 12:48.

-"Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you." (Prov. 9:8)

Conclusion

1. The gospel forbids & prevents following preachers, exalting self or rejecting the rebuke from God’s word against sin in our lives.

2. How we regard these matters shows whether we are serving Christ or serving ourselves.


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

Top (Current events in the light of Scripture)
A Kind Deed

Joe R. Price

Earlier this week an elderly German man was moving when he mistakenly left his briefcase on the train. It contained his life savings of about $46,000. Now, the Munich, Germany police are trying to locate the man who returned the briefcase and its contents. According to German law, his kind deed nets him a finder’s fee of 3 percent of value of the lost property. As of this writing, the reward has not been claimed.

Yes, Virginia, there really are honest people in the world. A good dose of honesty is certainly needed in our world. "Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice" (Proverbs 16:8).

It is too bad a finder’s fee must be used as incentive for honesty. Our sense of fairness and justice ought to be enough, as it evidently was for the man in Munich. Why should I expect payment for returning a lost item to its rightful owner? Am I being kind out of the goodness of my heart, or out of greed and expectation of something in return (cf. Lk. 14:12-14)? Jesus said, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12).

We commend this man’s integrity and applaud his good example. May we always be ones who would do the same.

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

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