ssword.gif (4350 bytes) 

THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume VI, Number 11 - June 09, 2002

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

Editor..................Joe R. Price


Visit our Web Sites:

Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker

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


 In this issue:


Top

Judges with Evil Thoughts

Joe R. Price

There are times when we must make judgments. "Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right" (Lk. 12:57)? By using God’s word as our standard, we can accurately "approve the things that are excellent" so we "may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:10-11).

There is another kind of judging which has no place among the people of God, although such is not always the case. It is characterized, not by objective analysis based upon divine truth, but by prejudice and partiality. James wrote, "have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? ...If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." (Jas. 2:4, 8-9)

Judges with evil thoughts speak evil of their brethren. These unrighteous judges assume impure motives where they are not only disavowed, but where no evidence of such exists. An "agenda" is insinuated and an ulterior motive is assigned. Thus, a good influence is damaged; a good name is harmed. Accordingly, evil judgments work their destruction. Brethren, this ought not to be so!

Judges with evil thoughts do not hold themselves to the standard they apply to others. Rest assured, the word of God does not condone such hypocritical treatment of others. Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matt. 7:1-5).

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? (Jas. 4:11-12)

Brethren, we must not be "judges with evil thoughts."

 


Top

Using God’s Mirror

Joe R. Price

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;

24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)

Most of us used a mirror this morning. In fact, most people use a mirror several times a day. The reasons are obvious. We want to know how we look and we want to look our best. A mirror is a tool we use to improve our appearance. Vanity ought not to place us before the mirror, but good common sense should. For you see, we all need to improve our appearance from time to time!

James says the person who hears God’s word but will not obey it is like a man who looks into a mirror, sees his appearance, but fails to improve himself. He forgets what he saw - it makes no impression on him.

Since we all can make spiritual improvement in our lives, we must not be like this self-deluded man. Consider these comparisons of God’s word, the gospel of Christ, to a mirror:

1. We must know how we look to God (Jas. 1:23). God’s word gives us God’s picture of us. We must see ourselves as God sees us. So, we should examine ourselves with the law of liberty (2 Cor. 13:5). It will show us our sin and teach us what to do about them (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Acts 2:38-42).

2. We should want to improve our spiritual appearance (Jas. 1:24). Nothing is gained by using God’s word to learn of our spiritual condition yet refusing to repent and obey God. One will be blessed by making the necessary improvements revealed by God’s word (Jas. 1:25).

3. God’s word is a reliable mirror (Jas. 1:25). Some mirrors distort images instead of giving off a true reflection. Man-made doctrines are spiritual mirrors of this sort (Matt. 15:1-9; Col. 2:8). Unreliable, they distort truth. But, God’s word is reliable and able to improve our spiritual condition before God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2:15). Let us use God’s mirror to equip ourselves to be blessed and approved before Him.

 


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

Top

Who is a False Teacher?

Scripture Reading: Matthew 15:1-14

1. A spirit of accommodation, of unity in moral & doctrinal diversity is spreading among us - 1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:11; 2 Jno. 9-11.
2. More & more believe a person cannot be identified as a false teacher unless it can be proved the teacher's motives are insincere &/or dishonest.

I. FALSE TEACHERS & FALSE DOCTRINE.
  A. A Growing View among Brethren.
   -Told a person is not a false teacher unless:
    a. Dishonest (intend to deceive).
    b. Insincere.
    c. Ignorant.
    d. Some say "false doctrine" unscriptural term.
  B. Scriptural Definition of False Teacher - 2 Pet. 2:1-2; Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 1:3, 10-11; Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6.
1. An action takes its nature (good or evil, moral or immoral, lie or truth) from its relation to God's revelation, not the attitude of heart with which one acts. -1 Chrn. 13:9-10; 15:13; Acts 23:1; 1 Tim. 1:13.
2. Same holds true for a teaching & its teacher - 2 Tim. 2:16-18.

II. CONSEQUENCES OF IDENTIFYING FALSE TEACHERS ON THIS MAN-MADE BASIS.
  A. We Must Read Hearts to Identify & Oppose False Teachers - Matt. 9:4; 1 Cor. 2:11; Matt. 7:15-20; 1 Jno. 4:1.
  B. The Clarity Of Truth Will Be Called Into Ques-tion More & More. ("Always been differences.") - Rom. 3:4 2 Cor. 11:3-5; Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15.
  C. It Will Become Impossible To Oppose & Close The Door To Any Error - Jude 3.

Wise to "test the spirits" - 1 Jno. 4:1.

 


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

Top

The Good Confession

Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:13-20

1. Matt. 16:13-17 - Peter confessed his faith in Jesus & was blessed for it. Cf. 1 Tim. 6:12-13: The "good confession".
2. What is the good confession? How is it made? When is it made? Why is it made?

I. AN OPEN DECLARATION OF THE CONVICTION OF ONE'S HEART.
  A. Definition: "Acknowledgement, avowal" (I.S.B.E.); cf. Jno. 1:21; 1 Tim. 6:12.
   -Matt. 16:16-17; Jno. 9:22; 12:42; Rom. 10:10.
  B. What Must Be Confessed? (2 basic types)
    1. Confession of sins - Matt. 3:6; Acts 19:18; 1 Jno. 1:9; Jas. 5:16.
    2. Confession of faith - Matt. 10:32; 16:16; Acts 8:36-37; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Tim. 6:12-13.
  C. How Does One Make This Confession Of Faith? - Rom. 10:9; Matt. 10:32; 1 Tim. 6:12.

II. THE CONFESSION OF FAITH IS A CONDITION OF SALVATION - Rom. 10:10.
  A. Confession of Faith Is After One Believes - Matt. 16:15-17 (Jno. 5:36-37; Rom. 10:17).
  B. Confession of Faith is Before Baptism - Mk. 16:16; Acts 8:35-38.
  C. Confession of Faith in Jesus is Necessary for Fellowship with God - 1 Jno. 4:15; 5:5.

III. THE GOOD CONFESSION:
  A. Declaration of Faith - 1 Tim. 6:12-13; Matt. 10:28, 32-33.
  B. Puts One Under Obligation To Obey Christ in All Things (Lk. 6:46); 1 Tim. 6:11-14.
  C. Will Be Seen In One's Obedient Life - 2 Cor. 9:13; Heb. 4:14; 10:23; Tit. 1:16.

-Have you / are you making the good confession?

 


NOTEWORTHY NEWS

Top (Current events in the light of Scripture)
Truth Is Relative, Say Americans

Barna Research Group - February 12, 2002

"In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, one among adults and one among teenagers, people were asked if they believe that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. The perspective was even more lopsided among teenagers, 83% of whom said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% of whom said moral truth is absolute.

"The gap between teen and adult views was not surprising, however, when the adult views are considered by generation. While six out of ten people 36 and older embraced moral relativism, 75% of the adults 18 to 35 did so. Thus, it appears that relativism is gaining ground, largely because relativism appears to have taken root with the generation that preceded today's teens."

("Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings," Barna Research Group of Ventura, California, http://www.barna.org )

Bible Commentary

Joe R. Price

The way some Christians challenge the absolute nature of divine truth reminds me of the brother who once said that while Baptists teach "once saved, always saved," brethren live like they believe it! "You, therefore, who teach another, do you not also teach yourself?" (Rom. 2:21)

Moral relativism has "crept in unnoticed" among the saints of God. It is rationalized on the grounds that "we are too strict" or that "not everything is black and white." Brethren, we neither certify nor clarify moral and spiritual truth. The truth of God is not relative, but established: "Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You." (Psa. 119:38)

Divine truth does not ebb and flow according to the winds of human wisdom or the pull of human desire. "Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4). God’s word is absolute truth (Jno. 17:17). If we reject it, rest assured that by our rejection we condemn our souls (Jno.1 2:48).

 

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

Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: ssword@bibleanswer.com