"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
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"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Learning takes a good amount of effort on our part. But, before learning occurs, we must want to learn. Without first possessing the desire to learn, true learning will not occur. In the absence of yearning for the knowledge of God and His truth, one simply will not apply himself to the task of learning it. Jesus spoke of this yearning as the “will to do His will” that a person must have in order to “know” His teaching (Jno. 7:17).
The real work begins when one is driven to learn by an insatiable desire to be right with God. God will not force us to learn His will; we must “be taught by God” (Jno. 6:45; cf. Isa. 54:13). We are under command to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Shall we obey? To do so we must want to understand His will.
In spiritual matters we must be driven by a constant craving to learn more of God’s will for our lives so that we can live what we learn. Consider these verses that direct us to learn and obey God’s word:
“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” (Psa. 25:4-5)
“Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” (Psa. 119:73)
“If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” (Jno. 7:17)
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”(2 Tim. 2:15)
Knowledge alone does us little good. In fact, it can lead to the arrogant treatment of others (1 Cor. 8:1). When Paul counseled Timothy to handle God’s word correctly in order to be approved before God, he assumed Timothy would put into practice what he had learned from God’s word. Later, Paul urged Timothy to “continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of” (2 Tim. 3:14).
Likewise, we must not be content with merely learning God’s truth. We must be equally committed to obeying what we have learned. Paul reminded Timothy of a compelling reason to commit himself to learning and diligently obeying God’s word: to avoid being ashamed before God. What a tragic scene it will be to stand before God having wasted our opportunities to learn His word and obey Him (cf. Matt. 25:24-30).
Learning is hard work. It takes
time and devotion. When it comes to learning and obeying God’s truth, we
cannot afford to take a shortcut. Committed learning and diligent obedience
produces approved workmen who are freed from sin (Jno. 6:44-45; 2 Tim. 2:15;
One of the disturbing attributes of hypocrisy is its inability to properly assess its own spiritual condition. Quick to condemn sin in others, it comforts itself in its self-defined assurance that it would never participate in such defilements. This blinding effect of sin contributes to the eternal loss of souls (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
When Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees He took considerable time to point out the hypocritical nature of their sins (Matt. 23:29-36). These religious leaders took solace in condemning the heinous crimes of their predecessors. This had the effect of portraying them before the people as righteous. After all, who could fail to see the atrocity of their father’s actions? (Surely they would not have contributed to the death of the prophets had they been present!) No doubt, they perceived themselves as ones who would have died with the prophets in opposing the sins of their fathers. However, their present rejection of Jesus (and His apostles and prophets) showed them to be carrying on the sins of their fathers (Matt. 23:32-35; Acts 7:51-53). They would not escape God’s wrath just because they perceived themselves to be innocent. The blindness of hypocrisy prevented them from seeing themselves as sinners.
This continues to be an effective tactic used by Satan to disarm us and ruin our souls. As we see the decadence and error around us we righteously proclaim our indignation. “We would never do that!” is our confident affirmation. But, another person’s sin is not my salvation. What am I doing for God? Am I putting Christ first in every aspect of my life (Matt. 6:33)? Am I learning more of God’s word on a regular basis so that I can avoid sin, live righteously and “give an answer” to those who need to hear the truth (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15)? Am I diligent to worship with the people of God (Heb. 10:24-25)? Have I learned to combine godliness and contentment toward the things of this life (1 Tim. 6:6-10)? The warning given to the Jews who freely condemned the Gentiles still applies today: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” (Rom. 2:1).
Overcoming blindness to our own sin
requires great faith in God. It demands that we honestly examine ourselves
(2 Cor. 13:5). It calls for humility to willingly admit error and call upon
God for forgiveness (Acts 8:20-24; Lk. 18:13-14). We are responsible for
our own attitudes and actions. We must never forget that pointing out the
failings of another person neither relieves us of our sins nor grants us
immunity from God’s righteous judgment (Rom. 2:3; cf. Matt. 7:1-5).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Work Out Your Own Salvation
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12-18
I. WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION – Phil. 2:12.
A. This Does Not Mean:
II. HOW DO WE WORK OUT OUR OWN SALVATION?
A. Continue to Obey – 2:12 (1:27); Rom. 6:17 (Acts
2:37-38); 1 Ths. 2:13 (Acts 17:11-12; Jas. 1:21-22); 1 Ths. 1:9 (Acts
III. WHY SHOULD WE WORK OUT OUR OWN SALVATION?
A. To Be Blameless & Harmless Children of God –
Phil. 2:15; Matt. 5:14-15.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Kingdom of Christ
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-33
· OT predicted king ruling over insurmountable kingdom: Psa. 2:6-7; 110:1-3; 132:11; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; Lk. 1:30-33.
· Presence of Christ’s kingdom is real & forever changes the life of its citizens (Heb. 12:28).
1. Jesus announced the approach of the kingdom – Matt. 4:17; Lk. 10:9; Matt. 12:28 (Isa. 11:2; 42:1).
2. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom – Matt. 4:23 (Lk. 9:11); Matt. 5-7; 13:10-11, 18-19.
3. Jesus identified His kingdom – Matt. 16:16-19, 18, 28; Eph. 1:20-23 (Dan. 7:13-14).
4. Jesus identified the nature of His kingdom – Jno. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; Dan. 2:44; Lk. 1:33.
5. Jesus prophesied the establishment of the kingdom – Mk. 9:1; Lk. 12:32; 24:49; Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-4 (47).
6. Kingdom was proclaimed as present by apostles & prophets - Acts 8:12; 20:25 (24); 1 Ths. 2:12; Rev. 1:9.
7. Remission of sins is obtained in the kingdom – Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10.
8. Salvation depends on entering the kingdom – Lk. 16:16 (13:23-24); Jno. 3:3-5; Acts 13:32-39; Col. 1:13; Acts 2:47.
9. Our daily purpose & priority must be the kingdom of God – Matt. 6:33; Lk. 9:62.
Conclusion Heb. 12:28; 2 Pet. 1:10-11
The Price of
Did you hear about the $1,000 omelet a Manhattan hotel restaurant has on its menu? It’s made with 6 eggs, a lobster and 10 ounces of sevruga caviar ($65 an ounce, wholesale). There is also a “budget” version of the omelet available that sells for $100. (AP News, 5/17/04) (No one had ordered the high-priced meal as of the news report.)
Which leads us to a Bible lesson. The mercy that God offers sinners through the Messiah is described as a refreshing, fulfilling feast that is freely offered:
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David. 4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people.” (Isa. 55:1-4)
No $1,000 omelets here! God’s great love purposed and accomplished our redemption while we were His enemies and dead in our sins (Rom. 5:6-11; Eph. 2:1-7). Sinners do not “pay” for their salvation – we do not “earn” eternal life (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9).
But, sinners do have to “come to the feast” in order to “eat” (be saved). Man’s faith is necessary to please God (be saved, Heb. 11:6). And, it must be an obedient faith at that (Jas. 2:14-24; Heb. 5:8-9). God does not demand that we “pay for the meal” – but He will only serve (save) those who “come” to eat as He has commanded: Believe and confess Jesus as the Christ, repent of sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38). The “sure mercies of David” are freely available today and confirmed by the fact that Jesus is the leader and commander of His people (Isa. 55:4; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:5). Will you sit down at the table and “eat what is good” (Isa. 55:2)?
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA