In this issue:
In Romans 1:18-32 the inspired apostle Paul describes the progression of sin among the Gentiles which put them under the wrath of God. Sin always does that, you know. Sin always places one under God’s wrath and it will certainly “increase to more ungodliness” until and unless one repents of it (Rom. 2:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:16; Luke 13:1-5). The Gentile world as depicted in Romans 1 is a sobering reminder to us all of the furious and soul destroying nature of sin.
The evidence that universally exists of God’s eternal power and deity removes every vestige of excuse for those who ignore God and indulge in their sin (Rom. 1:20). Not only has God revealed Himself in His creation; He has also revealed Himself through His word of truth (Rom. 1:16-19). Yet, people often refuse the evidence of God’s power and presence, choosing instead to sin against the will of the Almighty. The destructive power of sin takes over in the sinner’s life because he has chosen not to acknowledge and obey God (Rom. 1:21). Look closely at the progression of the Gentiles’ sin and see that things have not changed to this present hour (Rom.1:18-32). The progression of sin will always happen when one refuses to honor God and obey His will. Look at what we mean:
People choose to disregard God and to live in unrighteousness. As a
result, sin begins to occupy the prominent place in one’s life (Rom.
When sin is ignored in one’s life it inevitably drowns one in the depths of its wickedness and spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). Sin never turns a person toward God. We, being sinners, cannot provide a remedy for our sin (Rom. 3:23; Jer. 10:23; Acts 4:12). Only Jesus Christ can save us from “the wrath to come” (1 Ths. 1:10; Rom. 3:21-26). Salvation in Christ is obtained when one believes, repents and obeys His gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; Matt. 7:21-23; Acts 17:30; Gal. 3:26-27; Heb. 5:9).
God calls on you to repent if sin is causing you to progress farther away from Him. Choose to obey God instead of living a life that is worthy of death. Do not let sin destroy your soul!
he words of the publican who humbled himself before God as he recognized his sin resounds in the hearts of every likeminded sinner who has approached the throne of grace seeking divine mercy (Lk. 18:9-14). He was a man who needed mercy. But, so did the Pharisee of Jesus’ parable. What, then, set them apart? The publican knew that he needed God’s mercy; the Pharisee could only see his righteousness (?) in contrast to others. They were sinners; he was righteous. He was blinded to his personal sin and his own need for mercy, and his self-righteousness kept him from being merciful toward others. When we are unimpressed with our own need for mercy we have very little of it to give to others.
Mercy is the outward manifestation of pity or compassion. It assumes need on the part of the one who receives it as well as the resources adequate to meet that need on the part of him who shows it.
God has shown compassion toward sinful man. We need His mercy, for as sinners we stand condemned before Him (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). And God, who is rich in mercy, has abundantly supplied salvation to sinners in His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:5-7). God’s great love and richness of mercy brings us to humble gratitude, reverence and faith in Him for His grace by which he brings us back to life out of our spiritual death! Only when one comprehends the weight of his own sins will he begin to obey God in faith to receive His merciful salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).
Are you aware of your sins before God? Or, are you only concerned about somebody else’s sins being greater and more monumental than yours? Beware of self-righteousness: It keeps one from obtaining the mercy of God (Lk. 18:9, 14).
Christ not only calls upon us to recognize our personal need for God’s mercy, He also calls upon us to show mercy to others (Matt. 5:7). It ought to be apparent by now that being merciful grows out of one’s humble gratitude for having received mercy. We will not show mercy unless we are humble enough to truly admit that we need mercy, too. It is vitally important to remember that unless we show mercy to others we will not receive mercy from God (Matt. 5:7; 18:21-35).
For instance, being merciful prompts us to work patiently with the sinner to help him overcome his sin (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26). We must not be quick to condemn and cast aside the sinner. Instead, we must have sufficient humility before God and compassion for sinners in order to try to restore those overtaken in sin (Matt. 9:36-38). God has dealt mercifully with us. We must deal mercifully with each other. Humble, compassionate and merciful Christians undertake the task of teaching the lost, of urging him to repent and obey the gospel, and of fully forgiving him when he repents (Lk. 17:3-4). No other kind of Christian will succeed in saving souls. And, no other kind of heart will be worthy to receive mercy from God.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 26:1-9
1. Peace with God must exist for peace among God’s people to be approved &
I. DEFINING PEACE.
Nature of Peace (difference between “cease fire” & peace).
II. PURSUING PEACE IN OUR LIVES.
Pursue Peace With God – Col. 1:19-22.
III. THE BOND OF PEACE AMONG BRETHREN – Matt. 5:9.
is Preserved by having Right Hearts & Basis – Eph. 4:1-6; Col. 3:15-16.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Elders in Every Church
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 34:23-31
promised & delivered “one shepherd” to feed His sheep: Christ (Jno. 10:11,
14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).
I. EACH CHURCH NEEDS TO BE ORGANIZED AS THE LORD WOULD HAVE IT. The authority for elders is established by…
Commanded – Titus 1:5.
II. EACH CHURCH NEEDS SHEPHERDS –Eph. 4:11 (cf. Jno. 10:1-6, 11-15).
Lead Us – Heb. 13:7, 17 (cf. Acts 11:30; 15:4, 6, 22-23; 21:18-26; Jas.
5:14); 1 Pet. 5:3.
III. EACH CHURCH NEEDS MEN WHO ARE QUALIFIED & WILLING TO DO THE WORK – Acts 14:21-23.
Must be Qualified & Willing to Serve – 1 Tim. 3:1, 2-7, 11; Titus 1:5-9;
1. Need for
elders exists & should be met with faith in the Lord’s will and ways.
Better Safe than Sorry
During the past week several airline flights from Europe to the United States were cancelled due to security concerns. The safety of passengers as well as the population at large convinced governments to err on the side of caution.
When it comes to the Bible and spiritual concerns the same caution is not always practiced. Many people take an approach toward the Bible that says, “If it doesn’t say not to (believe or do something) then we are free to do what we decide is best for us.” It appears to be of no great concern that God has already said what He wants in His inspired word, and that people have no business adding to His revealed will (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19).
“The Bible doesn’t say not to baptize babies;” or “the Bible doesn’t say not to use instrumental music to worship God;” or “the Bible doesn’t say not to have a church fellowship hall;” and so it goes. True, the Bible doesn’t say not to do these things in so many words. But, the Bible does say who is to be baptized: believing, repentant sinners who have confessed their faith that Jesus is the Son of God (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:36-37); the Bible does say we are to sing (use vocal music) in our worship of God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); the Bible does say the work of the local church is spiritual in nature (Acts 6:1-6; 1:27-30; 1 Ths. 1:8; 1 Cor. 11:22, 34).
What God says is enough and will satisfy the person of faith. “Speak, for your servant hears” will be the response of all who desire God’s will above their own (1 Sam. 3:10). It is rebellion to add to God’s stated will: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22). Rest assured, we do not err when we obey what God says. The error is to go beyond what God says to do what we desire (see 1 Sam. 15 and Saul’s sin).
When God is silent we must be silent. Some say, “it’s no big deal as long as you’re sincere.” But, there is no doubt we are safe accepting what the Bible actually says. (Lev.10:1-2; Gal.1:6-9)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 01/06/2004
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA