Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
David prayed for deliverance from hateful hearts and lying lips. “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men, Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars. They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men, Who have purposed to trip up my feet. The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set snares for me” (Psa. 140:1-5).
Such men are afoot today. Some are more subtle than others. They mask their hatred, their bitterness and animosity, with words that appear harmless. They “speak peace to their neighbors but, mischief is in their hearts” (Psa. 28:3). Though both are deadly, I would rather face a rattlesnake than a copperhead. The rattlesnake sounds a warning-”don’t tread on me.” The copperhead lies silent and, as a quite literal “snake in the grass,” he strikes when least expected. So of the tongues of men.
Perhaps more churches and brethren have been divided by such men than by all the false doctrines the devil has ever introduced. It is sad to see otherwise good and godly brethren rent asunder by lying lips that hide and harbor a hateful heart. Truly, “A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Prov. 16:28). God calls them fools. “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” (Prov. 10:18).
“He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him” (Prov. 26:24-27).
Our goal should be to never become such an individual. We should ask the Lord to help us not to adopt such an ungodly spirit. We must guard ourselves against anger, envy, jealousy, and bitter resentment of others, no matter what they have done to us. Such an attitude can only lead to our eternal destruction in hell.(http://www.biblework.com)
Every conscientious worker gives an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage. The Christian worker does his work “heartily, as unto the Lord and not to men” out of sincerity and goodwill (Col. 3:23; Eph. 6:5-7). The worker who is lazy and negligent will not receive commendation from his employer, and what is worse, he sins against God and will lose his soul unless he repents (Eph. 6:8; 1 Ths. 4:11-12; 2 Ths. 3:10).
Every Christian is a worker for the Lord. The desire to “work the works of God” is accomplished by a devoted life of faith in Jesus Christ (Jno. 6:28-29). The sinner who is saved in Christ is created “for good works” of God’s making that “we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). If we are lazy and negligent in our spiritual responsibilities we will not be rewarded with heaven, but cast “into the outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat. 25:15, 24-30).
Similarly, gospel preachers are workers in the cause of Christ. Of himself and Apollos the apostle Paul said, “For we are God’s fellow-workers” (1 Cor. 3:9; cf. 2 Cor. 6:1).
The Holy Spirit directed Paul to instruct Timothy on doing the work of an evangelist in both 1 & 2 Timothy. In 2 Timothy 2:14-19 there is specific instruction on how the gospel preacher (and in principle, every Christian) can be an approved workman before God. We must give earnest and devoted attention to this, or we run the grave risk of God’s disapproval. Even if we please every person around us but we disappoint our God, we have failed as His workmen (Gal. 1:10; 2 Cor. 5:9; 2 Tim. 4:2-4). Here we begin a study of the Spirit’s teaching on being approved workmen.
The duty of a workman. “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Tim. 2:14). A duty of every faithful gospel preacher is to “remind” brethren of the truth (see the preceding verses, 2:1-13). There is no question that we need to be constantly reminded of God’s will for our lives (1 Ths. 4:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2). Of course, just like a workman who does not know his tools is unproductive and may pose a danger to fellow-workers, even so a preacher who does not know the Bible will not be able to remind brethren of it. Such a failure will have eternal ramifications. Fellow preacher, give yourself to diligent Bible study so you can “instruct the brethren” in “the words of faith and of the good doctrine you have carefully followed” (1 Tim. 4:14-16, 6). That is your charge as a workman of God (2 Tim. 4:1-2).
The duty of the workman of God is to “charge” brethren “not to strive about words to no profit,” for such leads “to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Tim. 2:14). This passage shows a clear contrast between words that profit the soul and words that destroy souls. The ability to distinguish between the two will mean the difference between helping brethren learn the word of God and thereby obtain “godly edification which is of faith,” and generating ungodly “disputes” (1 Tim. 1:3-4). We must be able to tell the difference between the battle that must be fought and the battle that is merely “obsessed with disputes and arguments over words” (1 Tim. 6:3-4). (Undoubtedly, quarreling over “fables and endless genealogies” was on the apostle’s mind here, 1 Tim. 1:4.)
Consider this application of the principle: We must be able to differentiate between “the faith once revealed” (for which we must earnestly contend) and personal scruples in matters of liberty we must not be contentious over (see 1 Cor. 8; Rom. 14:1-5). While the one (the faith) is bound on us all, the other (liberties) contains choices divinely allowed. If we fail to distinguish the two, invariably catastrophic “disputes” over “words” occur. None are helped; all are hurt.
Christians must be workmen, not quibblers. Preachers can help or hinder this objective by the teaching they impart and the battles for truth they wage.
(More next week…)
Two immature people (Half baked)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box (February 2004)
Scripture Reading: Acts 13:22-39
#1: Is there any authority for women to participate in worship service?
“authority” we mean Bible authority (Matt. 28:18-20; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11;
1 Cor. 4:6).
Question: May women lead in worship services?
men: Authorized women to lead in worship services.
Women are not the leaders in worship.
#2: Matt. 1:21, why was it important that Joseph and Mary name him Jesus? Why couldn’t they name him what they wanted (why was “Jesus” as a name so important)? Same question about the name “John” (Lk. 1:13, 63).
1. Names often
carried relevant meaning: Isaac (laughter, Gen. 17:16-18; 21:3, 6); Moses
Concl. Jesus delivered up for our sins, Rom. 4:25.
What God has
There is no doubt there is presently an effort by some activist judges (an secularists in general) to redefine marriage in America. Since February 12 there have been over 3,000 “same-sex marriage” licenses issued in San Francisco. Other jurisdictions across America have also joined this overt violation of law (not to mention morality and decency). Now, President Bush has announced his support for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage by “defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife.”
Notwithstanding all the definitions man may offer, it is God who established marriage for humanity and in doing so He clearly designated marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:19-25). Any change in this God-ordained arrangement violates the Divine pattern and purpose of marriage, destroys its purity and undermines the stability of society (Heb. 13:4; Psa. 127:1; Prov. 13:34). The Bible forthrightly teaches that homosexuality is sinful in all of its forms, including an ongoing, committed union – be it called a “civil union” or “same-sex marriage” (Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Acts 17:30).
This is enough of a reason for those who honor God to oppose “same-sex marriage.” There are other reasons. Not only would this arrangement redefine marriage, it would also redefine the family. Wherein does “same-sex marriage” honor motherhood and fatherhood? It fails miserably to honor either. Due to rampant divorce, “single parent families” have already started to dramatically replace the family structure of a father, a mother and children. [Currently in America, only 45% of children ages 13-18 live with both their biological father and mother (The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts, Fagan et al., 3).] Now, that same family structure is being replaced with “Heather has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate” (the title of children’s books that acclimate 4-8 year olds to homosexual family life. In Heather the preschool teacher assures her class that “each family is special” and that “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.”) Such redefinition of family also redefines love (not to mention society itself, 1 Cor. 13:1-7; 1 Jno. 4:8; Matt. 22:37-38).
Rosie O’Donnell said that President Bush’s comments about a constitutional amendment were “vile and hateful” (but of course, her comments were not “vile and hateful”). In truth, what is vile and hateful is the attack now underway against the home as God designed it (Eph. 5:22-6:4). God does not join together two women or two men in marriage, but a man and a woman (Matt. 19:4-6). Men and women and government officials calling it “marriage” does not make it so.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA