THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD
 

Volume VI, Number 41
February 16, 2003

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00
Wednesday:

Bible Classes...........7:00 PM

Web sites:
www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker
www.bibleanswer.com

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

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

In this issue:


The Resurrection of Jesus
Is it True? What Does it Mean for Me?
Joe R. Price

        “So what if Jesus was resurrected from the dead?  What difference does it make?  The resurrection is just a theological debate with no practical meaning.”  Not so!  Such descriptions of the importance of the resurrection of Jesus are utterly false and show a dreadful lack of understanding and faith.  The importance of the resurrection of Jesus cannot be over-emphasized.

        The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most historically verifi­able events of human history.  It is no exaggeration to say that if it is proved that Jesus of Nazareth did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is the greatest hoax ever conceived and perpetrated.  On the other hand, if the evidence supports the authenticity of the event, one ought to acknowledge and yield to the great power of God in Christ Jesus.

        All admits these facts:  (1) Jesus lived and was crucified; (2) He was buried in a sealed tomb, (3) The tomb.  Since space limits a complete treatment of all the evidence that supports the fact of Christ’s resurrection, let us consider just a few, beginning with the nature of the tomb in which He was buried.

        The Scriptures say Jesus was buried in “a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” in a garden where the crucifixion occurred (Jno. 19:41).  It is unreasonable to think the Roman soldiers (who guarded the tomb), the women and the disciples all went to the wrong tomb!  (Even if they did, the real tomb would still be holding the body of Jesus - but the body was not there!).

        Next, consider that the tomb was cut out of solid rock and sealed with a great stone (Matt. 27:60, 66).  This eliminates a number of the skeptic’s speculations, including:  (1) The disciples stole the body.  How?  There was only one entrance, and it was guarded by soldiers and sealed so that any tampering would be obvious.  (2) Jesus had merely swooned, later revived inside the tomb and removed the great stone.  Such a theory unfairly indicts the credibility of the soldiers and centurion who certified Jesus to be dead while still on the cross (Jno. 19:33; Mk. 15:44-45).  Besides, where would Jesus have gotten the strength to roll away a great stone that three healthy women could not move (Mk. 16:3)?  Incredible!  (3) The disciples stole the body.  This was the lie that the chief priests paid the soldiers to tell (Matt. 28:11-15)!  How did fishermen with only two swords defeat a guard of fully armed Roman soldiers (Lk. 22:38)?  Amazing!  The facts about the tomb itself provide abundant evidence to believe Jesus was raised from the dead.

        Furthermore, the theories of men do not explain the empty tomb:

    (1) The swoon theory is too far-fetched to believe (Jno. 19:33). 

    (2) To suggest the enemies of Jesus stole the body is directly opposed to their stated intention (Matt. 27:62-64). 

    (3) The accusation that the disciples stole the body leaves unanswered how they could have done so (Matt. 27:66) and why they were depressed about the whereabouts of the body (Lk. 24:21-24).  This theory charges the apostles with being liars and deceivers of the worst sort (Acts 2:32)! 

    (4) To suggest that the women went to the wrong tomb is unreasonable (cf. Matt. 27:61) -- simply go to the right tomb and show the dead body! 

    (5) The theory that the disciples wanted to see Jesus so badly that they simply thought they saw Him alive (known as the hallucination theory) calls into question the integrity of over five hundred people (1 Cor. 15:5-8).  Talk about mass delusion!

        To deny the resurrection of Jesus one must also address the problem of the body of Jesus.  What happened to it?  The tomb was empty!  If not, the enemies could easily prove the announcement of His resurrection a lie by producing the dead body.  Every explanation offered to deny the resurrection of Jesus fails:

    (1) The disciples could not steal the body and dispose of it successfully.  That was a lie spread by bribery, the difficulty of which has already been noted (Matt. 28:13-15).

    (2) The Jews would not steal the body.  That would defeat their purpose (Matt. 27:62-64).  If they had the corpse of Jesus they could have produced it on Pentecost and ended Christiani­ty before it began (Acts 2)!

    (3) The Romans dared not remove the body.  What possible motive could they have had for removing the body?  To do so would jeopardize their standing before the governor (Matt. 28:11-14).

        So, where was the body of Jesus?  “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  (Matt. 28:5, 6-9)

        What does all this mean for you and me?  What is the practical value of the resur­rection of Jesus?  Well, since its occurrence cannot be successfully denied, it should cause us to believe Jesus is the Son of God (Rom. 1:4).  Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we should obey Him in all things. 

        1 Corin­thi­ans 15:12-19 states the consequences if Christ was not raised from the dead, showing the central (and practical) importance of it in the Christian’s life.  If Christ was not raised, then:  (1) Gospel preaching is vain, v. 14;  (2) Your faith is vain, v. 14, 17;  (3) The apostles are false witnesses (liars), v. 15;  (4) Christians are still lost in their sins, v. 17; (5) Dead Christians have merely perished, v. 18;  (6) And Christians are truly to be pitied, v. 19.

        But, Christ has been raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20)!  Thus declared to be the Son of God, it shows His power over death (Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:21-22) and assures the future judgment of all men by Him (Acts 17:30-31).  Practical?  Yes, indeed.  The One who has power over death will also be our Judge in the last day (2 Cor. 5:10).  What greater motive do we need to obey Jesus now?  Nothing is more important than be forgiven of every sin by the blood of the One who “was delivered up for our offenses, and was raised because of justification” (Rom. 4:25; cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-58)!  Baptism saves us “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).  Do you believe in the resurrection of Christ?  Then “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

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

I Want to be Sure!

Scripture Reading:  Jno. 12:34-41

1.  This sentiment is good when it causes us to investigate our spiritual condition using God’s word, and then obey God in our lives.

2.  It is a crutch when used to delay doing what we know we need to do to be right with God (Jas. 4:17; 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7-8).

I.  “I WANT TO BE SURE…”
  A.  About My Faith - 2 Cor. 13:5 (Rom. 10:17); Col. 2:8.

  -“I want to be sure (have faith) that…”
    1.  Jesus really is the Son of God – Matt. 16:13-17.  (Jno. 5:36-39, 46-47; 20:30-31)
    2.  There really is only one church – Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Eph. 1:21-23; 4:4; 5:23.
    3.  The Bible really is the word of God – 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (Fulfilled prophecy, unity, harmony, etc.)

  B.  About What I Need To Do To Be Saved - Acts 16:30-34; Acts 2:36-41. (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 1:16)
  C.  About My Ability to Remain Faithful.
    1.  Will never be faithful if you do not begin (Acts 22:16).
    2.  Will always be faithful if you do what Bible says is right – 1 Jno. 1:7; 2:3-6.
    3.  You can achieve what others before you have accomplished – Heb. 10:32-35, 36-39.  (1 Cor. 10:12-13; Eph. 6:13; Jas. 4:7)
  D.  About My Eternal Destiny – 1 Jno. 5:11-13; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Ths. 1:8-9 (Phil. 3:19).

II. DANGERS IN “I WANT TO BE SURE” THINKING.

  A.  Delay Can Occur When it Shouldn’t – Acts 22:16; 16:33.
  B.  Rationalization Can Replace Sound, Biblical Reasoning – cf. Acts 24:24-25.
  C.  Missed Opportunities do not Always Come Around Again – Prov. 27:1 (2 Cor. 6:2).
  D.  The Heart Can (Will) Harden - Heb. 3:7-8, 13
(Eph. 4:19; cf. Eccl. 12:1).

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

"I Will Give You Rest"

Scripture Reading:  Matt. 11:25-30

1.  Jesus knew the value of rest – Mk. 6:31.
2.  He offers rest that surpasses any on earth – Matt. 11:28-30.

I.  JESUS GIVES US REST FROM SIN.

  A.  Rest for the Soul – Matt. 11:29; Psa. 38:3-5.
    1.  From God’s just wrath against our sin – Psa. 38:3; Rom. 1:18; 2:5.
    2.  From the weight of sin (its pain & penalties) – Psa. 38:4-5 (32:3-4); Prov.
13:15; (cf. Lk. 12:15-21)
    3.  Rest from sin is available to you & possible for you - Matt. 11:28 (Rev. 3:20); Mk. 16:16; Rom. 6:2-6; Rom. 12:1-2; Jer. 6:16.

II. JESUS GIVES US REST FROM THE WORLD – Jno. 16:33.

  A.  From Enemies of the Faith.  -Cf. Israel – Josh. 1:13; 21:44; Isa. 30:15-16.
  B.  From Evil Men & Their Evil Influences – cf. 1 Cor. 15:33 (Rom. 12:10-13); 1 Pet. 4:4.

III. JESUS GIVES US REST FROM ANXIETIES OF LIFE – Matt. 6:24-34.

  A.  In This Life We Are Easily Distracted & Make Mountains Out of Molehills – Lk. 10:38-42; Acts 16:26-27, 34; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; 2 Cor. 2:12-13; 7:6f.
  B.  We Find Rest by Remembering the Great Things God has Done – 1 Sam. 12:24-25; cf. Psa. 116:7 (13:6).

IV.  JESUS GIVES US REST FROM AN AIMLESS LIFE – (cf. Matt. 12:43).

  A.  Christians Have the Presence of the Lord – 2 Cor. 6:16; cf. Exo. 33:12-16 (18-23); Phil. 3:8-12; Heb. 13:5-6 (Rom. 8:37-39)

V.  THERE IS A REST THAT REMAINS – Heb. 4:1-3, 9-11.

  A.  Eternal Rest of Heaven for the Faithful – Rev. 14:12-13 (Acts 2:26); 2 Ths. 1:7.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

"...What a Day May Bring"
Jarrod Jacobs, Owensboro KY

     Solomon said in the long ago, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). The older one gets, the more he/she realizes the truth in this short statement. Many people we know and love have had their lives irrevocably changed in the matter of minutes. It is no different for those who lost their lives in the disintegration of the space shuttle “Columbia” on February 1, 2003.

     With the space shuttle just moments from landing in Florida, who could have guessed that those crewmembers would die in a great “flash of light” in the sky? Before that instant, all seemed to be going well with the crew and the ship. Nothing of any consequence was reported, and no one sensed any reason for alarm, according to the latest reports. In the days since the space shuttle disintegrated, I have heard one expert at NASA say that there have been 88 safe space shuttle launches and landings since the explosion of “Challenger” in1986. With such a “track record” of safety, why would anyone think anything could be wrong with this flight? Yet, the “unthinkable” happened!

     For all of man’s advancements, and for all of our technology, let us never forget that we cannot control as much as we might like to think! Solomon noted, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all” (Ecc. 9:11).

     We would do well to give glory to God, thanking Him for our lives, and the day in which we have to live. Let us make plans, recognizing it will happen, “if the Lord will” (Jas. 4:15).

     Is your life right with God? Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38)? Are you faithfully serving the Lord each day (I Cor. 15:58)? If not, let me implore you to change and change soon! Let us not get comfortable in this life, for we don’t know what might happen in a course of a day! Lives are changed forever in a heartbeat every day. Therefore, February 1, 2003 was not the first or last time the truth of Proverbs 27:1 has been brought home to all of us; it is just the most recent public occasion! Let us hear and fear.

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Created by Chuck Sibbing.  02/15/2003

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