In this issue:
You remember the old American Express catch phrase at the end of their commercials: “American Express, don’t leave home without it.” Well, this morning as I arrived at the office I realized I had left home without my Bible and the documents I intended to be working on today (and hence, the seed of this article).
There is any number of things we should not leave home without, including:
1. Faith in Christ. Each day as Christians go to school or work it is vital that their faith be solidly in place: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Faithless teachers challenge the faith of our children by teaching them such things as organic evolution and the social values (I use that word accommodatively) of humanism. Unbelieving classmates will often disagree with Biblical standards of purity and decency and tempt young Christians to compromise their faith and “have some fun.” Immoral co-workers will test your allegiance to Christ by their vulgar language and lack of godly values. The normal tasks of the day put trials before every child of God. Faith must be maintained as we live in a faithless world. Without faith we will not please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith: “Don’t leave home without it.”
2. Responsibility and integrity. You will be exposed every day to people and situations that test your commitment to truth, honesty and dependability. At work, the Christian should serve his employer “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” (Eph. 6:6-8) Trustworthiness, dependability, and honesty: “Don’t leave home without them.”
3. Love for God and man. The attitudes, decisions and actions of every Christian are to be the result of love for God and others. “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt. 22:37-39). Love “does no harm to a neighbor” – even when that “neighbor” harms it (Rom. 13:10, 8-9; Matt. 5:38-45; 1 Cor. 13). We do not know God nor have His approval if we do not love others: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jno. 4:8). Love: “Don’t leave home without it.”
Humiliation can also be the result in being too eager to bring a case to court, for if the case had no valid claim, then one would be in public disgrace. Compare with Proverbs 17:14. “You’ll hear from my lawyer” or “I’ll sue you” should always be difficult words for a Christian to say…Better to drop the matter before a dispute breaks out (17:14) or settle out of court (Luke 12:58) than run to a lawyer with all the attendant grief and expense” (Alden p. 182). The verse also reminds us that there is a tendency on the part of people to believe that they really have a case, when they do not. How many people go into court really thinking that all the evidence is on their side? It is so easy to convince ourselves (especially when money is on the line) that we are definitely in the right.
It is better to keep personal quarrels private. “Stay in bounds if one must fight, for no success is achieved at the price of one’s integrity or someone’s hurt” (Gaebelein p. 1081). Compare with Matthew 18:15. “One’s motives in spreading a story are seldom as pure as one pretends. To run to the law or to the neighbors is usually to run away from the duty of personal relationships” (Kidner p. 157). At times people try to come to us and tell their side, and this verse should serve as warning. If someone has wronged you, then the person who wronged you still deserves to be approached in private, and other people are not to be brought into the situation until the person refuses to repent, and even then, only select witnesses are to be summoned.
8 Do not go hastily to court; For what will you do in the end, When your neighbor has put you to shame? 9 Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another; 10 Lest he who hears it expose your shame, And your reputation be ruined.
The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Challenges in the Local Church
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:10-18
Local church is a family (1 Tim. 3:14-15). All are children of God & brothers & sisters
I. CHALLENGE OF COMPATIBILITY – Acts 6:1 (Eph. 2:13-22).
A. Great Challenge Before Us: Many Different People Becoming One
in Christ – Rom.12:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:25-2; Jno. 17:20-23; 1 Jno. 4:10-11.
II. CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATION – Acts 6:1. (Two related problems)
A. The Failure to Communicate – 6:1; Matt.
5:23-24 (Jas. 1:19-20).
III. CHALLENGE OF CONVERTEDNESS – Acts 6:3.
A. Satan is in Control When there is Lack of Conversion – Acts 5:1-5,
7-9 (3:19; 26:20).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Journeys of the Apostle Paul - #2
Scripture Reading: Acts 9:10-19
I. HIS APPOINTMENT AS AN APOSTLE (Acts 9, 22, 26).
A. Appointed by Christ –Acts 26:16;
II. HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE HEAVENLY VISION: PAUL BEGINS PREACHING CHRIST – Acts 26:19-20.
A. To the Jews: Jesus is the Christ.
Two separate incidents on opposite sides of the world caught my attention this past week. In Taiwan political opponents got into a punching match when their disagreement spilled out of a governmental committee meeting into the hallway. And, last Thursday in Caracas, Venezuela, two lawmakers traded punches on the parliament floor. Here is a portion of what happened:
“Local television showed the two reeling across the floor of the assembly, grappling with each other and swinging punches.
“Millan, of the pro-government Podemos party, accused Heydra of insulting him.
“Heydra, dabbing a cut lip, told a different story. “He came up to me while I was talking and hit me in a cowardly manner,” he told reporters.” (Reuters, Friday, November 07, 2003 8:01 a.m. ET)
Not surprisingly, the explanation of what happened differs depending on who was asked, and that gets us to a couple of comments from Scripture.
1. Truth is not in the eye of the beholder. While we all come away from an event with our own perspective (consider the differences in “eyewitness accounts” of a traffic accident), that is not the same as altering facts to gain an advantage for oneself or others. That is dishonesty. Truth does not depend upon “whose ox is being gored.” We must be able to discern the truth even when we are the one who must humble ourselves and admit our fault. God’s word is truth, and we must learn to see ourselves the way God sees us so we can improve ourselves in His sight (Jno. 17:17; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:22-25).
2. Disputes among brethren should be resolved in a brotherly way. Can you imagine brethren in Christ coming to blows over a disagreement? It is to their shame that some have done so! Jesus said, “Agree with your adversary quickly” (Matt. 5:25), and that certainly does not mean to blindside them with a sucker punch! “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Christians who cannot or will not resolve their disputes in a peaceful, respectful manner, do not love their brother, and therefore cannot love God – no matter what they claim (1 Jno. 4:20-21). If you have a disagreement with a fellow Christian, reconcile quickly by “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Col. 3:13)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 11/08/2003
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA