Volume VI, Number 50
In this issue:
In closing his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote what many would say are “judgmental”, “harsh” and “insensitive” words. They would likely suggest that Paul should have learned how to get along with people and not upset them so – especially when trying to persuade them with the gospel of Christ. What did the inspired apostle of Christ say? In 1 Corinthians 16:22, he wrote:
“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.”
Paul was clear, concise in his description of the spiritual condition of those who do not love the Lord. In truth, he shows real love for lost ones by making plain the danger one is in who does not love the Lord: “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed” (Prov. 27:5). Let’s look at some of the ways one can fail to love the Lord so we can properly love Him and avoid the curse of eternal death (2 Ths. 1:8-10).
1. We do not love the Lord if we do not keep His commandments. “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (Jno. 14:15). The commands of the Lord are contained in the New Testament. They comprise the gospel that was preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:36-41). Keeping the Lord’s commands means we let His word guide us in all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4). It means we will obey His word in our lives (Lk. 6:46). To do otherwise is to be cursed (1 Cor. 16:22).
2. We do not love the Lord if we turn away from His gospel (read Gal. 1:6-9). If we preach “any other gospel” than what the apostles of Christ preached, or if we receive “any other gospel” than what the NT saints received, we are cursed before God (vss. 8-9). There are many false gospels in the world, but only one that has the power to save you from your sins (Rom. 1:16). If you love the Lord, then accept no counterfeit. Only the genuine will save, and only by following it will you avoid the curse of hell.
3. We do not love the Lord if our love is insincere. “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Eph. 6:24). Please note that sincerity is not enough to be approved before God (sincere people are still lost without the gospel, Acts 26:9; 10:1, 22; 11:14). But, sincerity is essential for one’s love of Christ to be genuine. So then, as we express our love for the Lord we must obey Him with singleness of heart and not with the pretense of hypocrisy (to be seen by men). Otherwise, we store up for ourselves “wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5).
If you do not love the Lord you will be lost. You truly love the Lord when you sincerely obey His commandments and remain faithful to His gospel. By so doing you live in His grace now and will do so throughout eternity (Eph. 6:24; Rom. 5:1-2; Titus 2:11-14). Love Jesus now!
I was asked recently to comment on the statement, “I am a sinner saved by grace; I am a saint saved by grace.”
The grace of God is the marvelous favor of His mercy and salvation which He bestows upon sinners; it is God’s “unmerited favor” toward the lost.
God’s grace is available to all. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” (Titus 2:11-12). Any doctrine which says God’s grace is only within the reach of certain sinners is not the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
God’s grace is extended to every sinner by means of the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the world: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith…” (Rom. 3:23-25). Any doctrine which teaches that the death of Jesus was only for a select group of individuals is not the “gospel of the grace of God” (1 Tim. 2:6; 4:10; Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:14-15).
So, to say the sinner is saved by grace is to say that God has shown mercy and love to one who was dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1-7).
The sinner is saved by grace only when he responds to God’s grace through obedient faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation is the gift of God, but the gift is not obtained unless the sinner, through faith, complies with the will of a gracious God. Much like an undeserved gift, one must do something to receive it or it remains unclaimed. For example: I have received a notice that there is a certified letter at the post office for me to pick up. But unless I go to the post office and sign for it, I will not receive the letter. In the same way, God has notified sinners (through the gospel of Christ) that He will save us from our sins. But, unless we respond in the way God says we must, we will continue to be lost – we will not receive the grace that God offers us.
So, the gospel teaches sinners about God’s grace and how to receive it: one must believe Jesus is the Christ, confess his faith, repent of his sins and be baptized for the remission of his sins (Jno. 8:24; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 17:30; Mk. 16:16). The gift of salvation is not earned; it is received according to the terms of the Giver. When sinners do what God commands they remain “unprofitable servants”, having only done what it was their duty to do (Lk. 17:10).
Once saved by grace through faith, God’s grace teaches saints to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” and to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). Although Christians stand in grace (having access to it by faith), if we refuse to live by faith we forfeit God’s favor (Rom. 5:2). “What shall we say then, shall we continue to sin that grace may abound?” Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2) God has prepared “good works” for Christians to walk in (Eph. 2:10). The gospel teaches us what those good works are.
The Christian who turns away from the gospel of Christ and back to the pollution of the world has “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). There is no confidence of salvation for such a person.
Sinners are saved by grace through faith. Saints are saved by grace by continuing to live by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). This is “the true grace of God” in which we stand (1 Pet. 5:12; Rom. 5:1-5).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 138
Why is it that we do not have special Easter services? Don’t we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Don’t you want to honor Him for that great event?
I. WHAT EASTER IS TO MANY PEOPLE.
A. To “Christendom”,
Easter is the Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
II. THE HISTORY OF EASTER AS A RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY.
Represents the Convergence of Three Particular Events: Jewish Passover,
“Christian Passover” & Pagan Spring festival.
III. THE PROBLEM WITH THE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY CALLED “EASTER” IS ONE OF BIBLE AUTHORITY (Matt. 21:25).
A. Easter is
a Man-made Religious Holiday – cf. Gal. 4:9-11; Heb. 8:5; Col. 3:17;
2:20-23; Matt. 15:8-9; Gal. 1:6-10.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Becoming Better Exhorters
Scripture Reading: 1 Ths. 2:1-12
Exhort (parakaleo) – “To call to a person…to call on, entreat…to
admonish, to urge” (Vine, 217); to console, encourage, strengthen,
I. WHAT WE MUST USE TO EXHORT.
A. Source of
Our Exhortations: The Gospel – 1 Ths. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Cor. 14:3.
II. PURPOSE OF EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER.
Instruction – Acts 13:15; 15:31.
III. RIGHT & WRONG WAYS TO EXHORT – 1 Ths. 2:1-12.
IV. TRAITS OF THE EXHORTER - Acts 11:22-24.
His Brethren – 11:22 (Phil. 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 11:28-29; Heb. 10:24).
V. ACCEPTING EXHORTATION.
A. Assess if
it is Truth–Acts 2:40-41; 17:11.
Antiquities, Cash and Lasting Treasures
Friday’s news tells us that “two cultural advisers to the Bush administration have resigned in protest over the failure of U.S. forces to prevent wholesale looting of priceless treasures from Baghdad’s antiquities museum.” (Reuters, 4.18.2003) “Baghdad’s museums, galleries and libraries are empty shells, destroyed in a wave of looting that erupted as U.S.-led forces ended Saddam Hussein’s rule.” (Ibid.) Whether treasure-hunters, deliberate destroyers or professional thieves, the damage has been huge.
In another story, U.S. troops reported discovering a stash of cash worth millions of dollars behind a false wall in one of Hussein’s former palaces.
These and similar reports from Iraq underscore what people value and treasure in life. There is no question that rare and historical artifacts are valuable to mankind – some are beyond any price tag. It is regrettable and a true loss to humanity that many of the antiquities from ancient Mesopotamia have been plundered. On the other hand, stashed cash left unclaimed is useless to the one who hid it.
These events remind us of an ancient book that will not be destroyed by the recklessness of men. Throughout the ages men have tried to ruin it. Yet, it has (and will) endured wars, plagues and famines. Throughout centuries of disregard and neglect, as men have rushed to discover and horde earthly treasures (which perish with the using), this book has remained an invaluable, incorruptible treasure (1 Pet. 1:23-25).
The Bible, the inspired word of God, is worth more than all the antiquities of the world. It is more precious than mountains of gold, silver and fine jewels (Psa. 19:10; 119:72). Its value is assessed in spiritual and eternal terms: its power to save lost souls, its ability to protect the saved from sin, its comforting promise of hope to the faithful.
The Bible teaches us to seek and find the treasure that will not tarnish nor decay (Matt. 6:19-21; 13:44). The Lord leads us in the paths of righteousness by His words of truth (Psa. 119:138, 144). In keeping His words there is great reward (Psa. 19:11). Although written long ago, it remains relevant, living and powerful (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:23-25; Rom. 1:16). Lay up treasures in heaven. Obey His word.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 04/19/2003
Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ,