THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume VI, Number 21 - September 08, 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:
The question asked in the title can be answered in a number of scriptural ways which we will notice in a moment. It can also be answered in ways that reflect spiritual immaturity at best, or at worst, an unscriptural view of worshipping God in song. If one were to reply, “because we’ve always done it”, it would be evident their singing is built on traditional practice rather than what the Scriptures say. Worshipping God in song is right, not because we have always done it, but because the Lord has taught that singing is part of acceptable worship of Him (Jno. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 2:12).
So, why do you sing? Following are some Bible reasons for singing unto the Lord. All of them should be a part of our answer for why we sing. Let us work on improving our singing: not merely how we “sound”, but especially how our heart sounds to the Lord (why we sing, Eph. 5:19). “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King” (Psa. 149:2).
1. For our salvation:
“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of
our salvation” (Psa. 95:1; cf. 71:23).
As we worship God in song we must remember our aim: to praise and honor the Lord, not seek the praise and glory of men. The Lord sees our heart and knows whether we are offering Him the praise of our heart or a performance for men (Eph. 5:19). One is acceptable to Him; one is not.
“For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding” (Psa. 47:7).
It was the evening of April 14th. The President was running late. Though besieged by last minute callers, it was partly his fault (he had delayed dinner reading humorous articles to a few friends). As he finally prepared to leave, he saw an old friend, George Ashmun, with whom he had served in Congress nearly twenty years before. Accompanied by the Speaker of the House and Judge Daly, George could not be refused. Lincoln spent a few minutes with them. Again, an appeal was made for him to come to the carriage. They were already late. Hastily, the President “scribbled on a card for Ashmun and Judge Daly: ‘Allow Mr. Ashmun & friend to come in at 9 A.M. tomorrow. A. Lincoln April 14, 1865’” (Luthin, Lincoln, 633).
It was rainy and overcast at 9 A.M. the next day. The appointment would never be kept. Lincoln was dead.
How many of us innocently make similar plans and appointments, never considering that we might not keep them? The rich man in Luke 12:15-21 gave no thought that he might die. He designed and declared his future which he fully expected to enjoy “for many years.” However, the Lord said, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee,” this night, you shall die! Then, what?
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that’” (Jas. 4:13-15).
No, it is not wrong to make plans for the future. The Lord and the apostles did so (1 Cor. 16:5-8; 2 Cor. 1:15, 16). However, as Paul said, we must make appointments with the sure and certain knowledge that they will be kept “if the Lord permit.” One day, our future appointments will be canceled, not merely postponed. A holiday which we are looking forward to with great anticipation will be kept without us. A meeting will be set, but we will not attend. Another meeting will be set, but I will not preach it.
Forty seven years later,
at almost the same hour Lincoln was shot, the world’s greatest luxury liner
steamed toward New York with its elite cargo of the sophisticated
debutante’s of the day. Ahead, on the placid, mirror finished ocean surface,
there floated an iceberg.
Once again, appointments of April 14th would never be kept. Dreams and schemes would vanish as the vapor of that cold night. April 15th would find their souls in eternity. And you? What are your plans for tomorrow? (http://biblework.com/)
Just before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed for the disciples of that day and for us. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21). Our faith is based on the word of the apostles, which they gave as directed by the Lord (Rom. 10:17; 1 Thess. 2:13), so, that payer includes all of us.
Yet, in this country today there are over 400 denominations, each one claiming to follow Christ, but distinct and different from all the others. Many seem to feel that situation is fine, but please note that Jesus prayed for the exact opposite. Instead of saying, as many do today, “Each can follow the faith of his choice and join the church of his choice,” Jesus prayed for unity. The whole system of denominationalism is based on division, which directly opposes the Lord’s prayer.
To be one in Christ we must submit to the same authority — that of Jesus Christ. He said, “All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). This is the One who said, “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). This is the same Lord who “added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Now, really, if we submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, what church will we be in? He never offered a choice of ways to reach heaven. He said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life: No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). We cannot do it “our way” and expect to reach heaven! We must do it “His way” by submitting to Him and His will.
Still some seem to feel that being religious is enough, that it doesn’t matter in what church we worship. But Jesus addressed this very point: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). To refuse to do the will of the Lord is to refuse salvation, for Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Heb. 5:9). No one can be a member of any denomination by the authority of Christ, for He never authorized any denomination. With regard to “other faiths,” the Lord still says, “Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17).
Proclaimer, August, 2002
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Autumn Birth Means Longer Life?
I found the following news item interesting (maybe because I was born in October!):
BERLIN (Reuters) - People born in
the autumn live longer than those born in the spring and are less likely to
fall chronically ill when they are older, an Austrian scientist said
Using census data
for more than one million people in Austria, Denmark and Australia,
scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in the
northern German town of Rostock found the month of birth was related to life
expectancy over the age of 50.
Seasonal differences in what mothers ate during pregnancy, and infections occurring at different times of the year could both have an impact on the health of a new-born baby and could influence its life expectancy in older age. (Reuters, Friday, September 06, 2002)
These scientists concluded Austrians born in the autumn (Oct.-Dec.) live about seven months longer than those born in spring (Apr.-June).
Unlike the findings of this study, every one of us have a say in determining when we will be born so as to never die. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jno. 11:25-26) We will experience physical death whether we were born in the spring, summer, fall or winter. But, if we will put our faith in Jesus Christ we will never die (spiritually). An eternal life is prepared for and will be received by all who are “born again” into the kingdom of God (Jno. 3:3-5).
We ask what Jesus asked of Martha: Do you believe this? If you do, put your faith in Christ by obeying His will today: Confess your faith in Him as the Christ, repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 17:30; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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