THE
SPIRITíS
SWORD
 

Volume VII, Number 05
June 08, 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 Old Testament
Jeff S. Smith

The Old Testament is one of the most impressive documents in the history of mankind. Composed by dozens of authors in a long series of generations, it is a collection of law, history, poetry and prophecy which boasts total internal harmony and obvious divine inspiration.

The Old Testament contains the most thrilling accounts of human courage and faith, divine compassion and power and a crimson thread foreshadowing the eventual arrival of man's spiritual deliverer. Its characters are larger than life, but humanly flawed nonetheless. Noah is both a mariner and a drinker. David is both a giant-slayer and an adulterer. Samson is both a he-man and a philanderer. The Old Testament does not mythologize its characters by whitewashing the freckles and outright warts on their records. For this reason, these stalwarts of faith become examples to believers of any age, that salvation is possible.

It was the Old Testament that the first century disciples appealed to when preaching about Jesus to the Jews. In the Scriptures was contained a blueprint of God's foreordination of his Messiah that only the committed skeptic could ignore. Micah predicts his unlikely birthplace (5:2), Isaiah his unlikely siring (7:14), Zechariah his betrayal (11:13). Somehow a false impression of the Messiah's mission had developed among the Jews by the first century and even the apostles were confused about his ascension to David's throne. Yet Isaiah was very clear in predicting his execution at human hands (53:1-12) and David was aware on some level that the Christ's resurrection from the dead would occasion his coronation (Psalm 16) over a kingdom for all races (Isa. 2:2).

The Old Testament was the owner's manual for Jewish life from the time of Moses until Jesus had been raised. The 10 commandments and related laws gave Israel its political and moral structure. The recollections of Moses told Israel where she had come from while the work of the prophets told her where she and the world were headed. The timeless wisdom of Solomon was preserved for instruction in daily living. The book of Psalms provided a hymnal and diary of the author's laments and exultations.

The Old Testament, for all its grandeur, was never intended to be a permanent written authority for mankind. Its scope was mostly limited to the nation that received it, but the Old Testament always pointed to the composition of a new and better covenant someday (Jer. 31:23-34). The Old Testament excelled at emphasizing the awfulness of sin (Rom. 7:7), but was unable through the blood of sacrificed bulls and goats to do anything about taking sin away (Heb. 10:1-4).

Jesus the Christ lived his entire life under the authority of the Old Testament and did so sinlessly (1 Peter 2:22). While he often forsook the traditions of the elders and rabbis of his age, Jesus never violated a single tenet of the law of Moses (Matt. 12:1-8, 15:1-20). His objective, however, was to fulfill that law and to inaugurate his own, one with a provision for grace not found in the Old Testament.

He said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). By living perfectly and dying sacrificially, Jesus fulfilled the law and prophets and brought down the veil of history upon their authority (Matt. 27:51). In his twin commentaries, Paul wrote that "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" was "abolished" when it was "nailed to the cross" (Eph. 2:15, Col. 2:14). Even the 10 commandments were described as a "ministry of death" which was passing away to be replaced by a "ministry of righteousness" (2 Cor. 3:7-11).

Peter also had a close encounter with the transition from the authority of the Old Testament to the new. He had lived his entire life under the strict dietary and racial restrictions of the Mosaic code that prohibited the ingestion of many animals and interaction with Gentiles. Before messengers from a penitent centurion arrived on his doorstep, God sent him a vision that cleansed both the edible animals and the Gentile callers (Acts 10:1-23). The old law could not remain in effect if these restrictions were being lifted. As the gospel proceeded into Gentile hearts, the Jewish pillars of the church recognized that beloved emblems of Moses like circumcision and the Sabbath were not bound upon the disciples of Christ (Acts 15:1-29 and Col. 2:16-23).

The New Testament of Jesus Christ had taken effect after the cross and a period of transition had commenced. Although Jewish unbelievers continued to uphold Moses, it was recognized by God as a defunct code. "In that he says, 'A new covenant,' he has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). Legislative, judicial and executive authority had been invested in the Savior (Matt. 28:18-20, James 4:12, John 12:48).

The foreshadows of the mount of transfiguration were now reality. There, Moses, representing the Law, Elijah representing the Prophets, and Jesus, representing his covenant, had appeared together. The voice of God then thundered, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Hear him!" and when the apostles looked up, "they saw no one but Jesus only" (Matt. 17:1-8).

The Old Testament remains a repository of inspiration and wisdom, for "the things written before were written for our instruction" (Rom. 15:4) and warning (1 Cor. 10:1-13). Its authority however has been eclipsed by that of the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).

-The Woodmont Beacon, February 16, 2003

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

A Message from Torment

Scripture Reading:  Luke 16:19-31

I. SALVATION IS NOT UNIVERSAL.
  A. One was Saved & One was Lost - 16:23; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Lk. 13:23-24;Matt. 7:13-14.
  B. Salvation is Conditional - 16:25; cf. Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:9 (Gal.6:7; Matt. 7:21-23).

II. DEATH IS NOT THE END.
  A. Man is more than Flesh - 16:22-23; Gen. 1:26; 2:7; 2 Cor. 4:16.
  B. Death is a Separation of Flesh & Spirit - 16:22; Gen. 2:17; Jas. 2:26; Eccl. 12:7.
  C. There is Consciousness After Death - 16:23f; Lk. 20:37 (Exo. 3:6).
  D. We do Not Become Angels or Ghosts at Death - 16:22, 31.
  E. We do Not Go Directly to the Final Reward - 16:22; Phil. 1:23 (Eph.1:21).

III. "SECOND CHANCE" DOCTRINES ARE FALSE - 16:26; Heb. 9:27 (2 Cor. 6:2).
  A. Catholic Purgatory - cf. 2 Pet. 2:9.
  B. Mormonism's Work for Dead.
  C. Reincarnation - 16:27, 31; Heb. 9:27.

IV. FOOLISHNESS OF TRUSTING IN RICHES - 16:19, 25, 14; Lk. 9:25; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Job 1:21 (Matt. 6:19-21).

V. GOD'S PRESENT TRUTH PERSUADES US TO BE READY FOR DEATH - 16:27-31.
  A. No Messages from the Dead!
  B. The Gospel is the Only Means of Persuasion for Sinners - Rom. 1:16; Acts 13:26; Heb. 2:2-3.

VI. THE TERRIBLENESS OF BEING LOST - 16:23-24; Mk. 9:43-48; 2 Ths. 1:8-9.

VII. COMFORT OF SALVATION - 16:22, 25; 2 Ths. 2:16-17; Heb. 4:9-11.

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

Getting to Know Some Bible Words

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 118:19-29

Intro.
Look at some Bible words that are not commonly used today.

I. HALLELUJAH (Alleluia) - Rev. 19:1-6.
  A. Definition: Praise ye Jehovah.
  B. Why Jehovah Should be Praised - Psa. 135.
    1. His nature - 135:1-5.
    2. His works - 135:6-14.
    3. He is the true God - 135:15-18.
  C. Give Thanks to Jehovah! - Psa. 106:1; Rev. 19:5 (Psa. 148)

II. HOSANNA - Matt. 21:6-11.
  A. Definition: Save, we pray. Heb. orig.
  B. A Cry for Help - Matt. 21:9; Psa. 118:21-26; Acts 4:11-12.
  C. Utterance of Praise - Matt. 21:5, 9; Zech. 9:9.

III. SABAOTH - Rom. 9:29; Jas. 5:4.
  A. Definition: Armies, hosts.
  B. The Lord of Sabaoth is Sovereign - Isa. 6:3-5 (Gen. 14:19, 22); Psa. 99:1-2.
  C. The Lord of Sabaoth Will Save.
    1. Strength & salvation in His hand - Isa. 31:4-5 (2 Kgs. 19:15-19, 35).
    2. Honor the power of Christ! Matt. 28:18
    3. Victory in the Lord of hosts! Rev. 17:14

IV. MARAN-ATHA - 1 Cor. 16:22.
  A. Definition: O Lord, come.
   -A statement which also embodies the consummation of the Christian's desire.
  B. The Lord Jesus Has Come - 1 Cor. 16:22.
  C. The Lord Jesus Will Come - Phil. 4:5; Jas. 5:8-9 (1 Pet. 4:5); 2 Ths. 1:8-10.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Need a Bishop?

The Church of England recently ran a classified ad in two of its church papers for the post of Bishop of Hereford in western England.  The position has a salary of 33,000 pounds ($53,500), a rent-free home, and the possible perks include a chauffeur, gardener, office staff and eventually a seat in the House of Lords.  The prime minister of England will make the final selection.  Applications (nominations) are now being taken.

It is nothing new to see church and state wed across the pond in England.  It serves as a reminder that the kingdom of Christ is ďnot of this worldĒ (Jno. 18:36).  The binding of church and state throughout the centuries served the pleasure of kings and aristocrats, but not the pleasure of God.

It is a shame and a sham to see the carnal tactics of politics and statecraft in the Lordís church.  When brethren campaign for the eldership, politic to hire (or fire) a preacher, and promote their own personal agendas in a congregation, they might as well run an ad in the classifieds!

Greatness in the Lordís church is defined by humble service, not self-promotion (Matt. 18:1-4; 20:25-28).  Churches need bishops who will oversee the spiritual welfare of the saints, not look out for their own self-interests.  God looks for shepherds who will feed the flock instead of fattening themselves on the sheep (Acts 20:28-30; 1 Pet. 5:2-3; Ezek. 34:1-10).  Being an elder is not a political office; it is a place of service (Heb. 13:17).

While it is good to desire the office of a bishop, such a desire must be the response of an earnest and eager yearning to do Godís work; not to possess a position of power and prestige (1 Pet. 3:1; 1 Pet. 5:2-3).  May Godís people ever be spared from self-serving, power-driven bishops who feed themselves instead of the flock of God!

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Created by Chuck Sibbing.  06/07/2003

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