THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume VI, Number 22 - September 15, 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:
Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew
11:28-30). Heaven’s invitation is extended to all mankind – “Whosoever
will…” (Revelation 22:17). In the Four Gospels, Jesus said “Follow me” some
eighteen times. Yet, many do not comprehend the demands of discipleship:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” Jesus calls us, not to a life of
sinful sloth, but to a life of sacrificial service (Matthew 16:24-26).
Jesus calls those who are successful. Peter, Andrew, James and John were prosperous fishermen; yet, when Jesus called them, they left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:18-22). In like measure, Paul gave up position, prominence, and power (Philippians 3:4-8). Sadly, some value too highly the tokens of earthly success, and are thus unwilling to follow the Savior (Luke 18:18-27).
The rich are called to a higher purpose: good works and humble servitude (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Peter and his companions gave up everything for the cause of Christ: possessions, prosperity, peace, and ultimately, life itself. Yet, the return on their spiritual investment was beyond measure (Matthew 19:27-30; Mark 10:28-31).
Jesus calls those who are scoundrels. After having called Matthew/Levi, Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:9-13). To what end? For the purpose of endorsement or acceptance? No. Jesus called sinners to repentance, i.e., a change of heart followed by a change of life (Luke 5:27-32).
Sinners are called to a higher purpose: sanctification and service (Isaiah 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Whatever time we have spent in the service of sin is enough – it is irredeemably wasted and lost. Disciples of Christ must cease from sin, and devote what remains of life to accomplishing the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-6).
Jesus calls those who are simplistic. Those who follow him must understand the nature of discipleship (Luke 9:57-62). They must count the cost, and be willing to pay the price (Luke 14:25-33). Spiritual service is not a life of ease, but involves deprivation (1 Corinthians 4:10-16), tribulation (Acts 14:21-22), affliction (1 Thessalonians 3:2-4), and persecution (2 Timothy 3:10-12).
Jesus calls those who are sin-sick. After having thrice denied the Lord, Peter was discouraged to the point of quitting, along with the other disciples (John 21:3). Yet, the resurrected Savior met them on the shore of Galilee, demonstrating once again his majestic power (John 21:4-14). Jesus restored Peter to his apostleship, by repeatedly saying, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
Afterwards, a most interesting discussion ensued. Jesus prophesied of Peter’s martyrdom, and then solemnly said, “Follow me!” Yet, Simon bar Jonah distractedly asked, “What about John?” Rebuking him, Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” In other words, Peter was told to mind his own business, to focus on his own service, to avoid foolish questions, and senseless speculation. Nothing must distract us from following Christ! (John 21:18-22; Titus 3:9)
Are you willing to accept the call of Jesus Christ? Just as it was necessary for Jesus to die, we also must die to sin (John 12:23-26). If you are not a Christian, resolve to follow him! Be buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11
Empty, fruitless, nothing of lasting value (detrimental).
I. MAKING THIS WORLD & ITS ACTIVITIES THE GOAL OF YOUR LIFE – Eccl. 1:2.
II. VAIN WORSHIP – Matt. 15:7-9 (Jno. 4:23f)
III. VAIN LABOR – 1 Cor. 15:58.
IV. VAIN PREACHING – 1 Ths. 2:1-2.
V. VAIN REPETITIONS IN PRAYER – Mt. 6:7.
VI. FIGHTING AGAINST THE PURPOSES OF GOD – Acts 4:24-28 (Isa. 40:13-14; 55:6-11); Acts 5:39.
VII. THE DEATH OF CHRIST IS VAIN IF THE OT SAVES – Gal. 2:21; 3:20-21.
VIII. IF REVERT TO SIN, GOD’S GRACE & YOUR FAITH ARE VAIN - 2 Cor. 6:1 (5:10).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Old Testament Today
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 8:6-13
Failure to distinguish between OT & NT causes religious error, confusion & misunderstanding.
I. OT: FROM CREATION TO CHRIST.
Patriarchal Age: Adam to Sinai (Ro. 5:14)
promise: Fulfilled in Israel (Exo. 19:4-6)
B. Jewish Age: Sinai to Pentecost.
Written Law of Moses separated Jews & Gentiles – Deut. 5:1-3; Eph. 2:14
II. NT: FROM CHRIST TO ETERNITY – Acts 2:16-21; Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:20.
Age: Pentecost Forward - Matt. 28:18-20 (Universal in scope & authority).
III. WHAT THE OT WAS / IS FOR:
Nature: Temporary Law Until Christ Came, Gal. 3:19 (16).
IV. WHAT THE OT IS NOT FOR TODAY:
for the Sinner’s Salvation / Justification – Rom. 3:20-26; Gal. 2:21;
A Drought on the Land
Reuters’ reporter Randy Fabi wrote on Friday:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With nearly half the country reeling from a blistering drought, this summer is the hottest since the depression-stricken "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s, U.S. government weather experts said on Friday.
The summer’s scorching temperatures have sparked raging forest fires in the West, wilted crops in the Midwest and parched pastures in the Plains.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average temperature for the contiguous United States from June through August was 73.9 degrees, the third hottest summer since records began in 1895. Summer officially ends on Sept. 22.
The only summers warmer were 1936 and 1934, when vast numbers of farmers were driven from their land by drought. (Friday, Sept. 13, 2002 2:21 p.m. EDT)
The prophet Amos warned Israel of God’s impending judgment against her sins: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” (Amos 4:12). In the course of announcing God’s judgments, the prophet declared: “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12). The Lord would cause the prophetic word to cease in Israel (“a famine of hearing the words of the Lord”) for at least two reasons: (1) Israel’s obstinate rejection of His word. Israel repeatedly refused God’s word and now, justice would roll down upon them (Amos 5:24). When men refuse God’s truth He will not strive with man forever (Gen. 6:3). We have God’s word today -- we had best listen to it! (2) The prophets were leading Israel astray with false messages (Micah 3:5-7). Saying “peace” when al was not well, they would now seek God’s answers in vain (5, 7). We must speak God’s word plainly and completely, lest we search in vain for His help – and are ultimately confronted with “a famine of hearing the words of the Lord”!
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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