"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
To be saved.......................Mark 16:16; 1
A distressing trend has emerged among churches of Christ. More and more congregations are removing “Christ” from their mode of identification. We understand the church is not a denomination. We also understand the New Testament identifies churches based on such things as location (1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2) and composition (1 Ths. 1:1) as well as on its relation to Christ (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28). Our concern is that this present trend hastens the obscurity of God’s people instead of promoting our identity with Christ and our relationship to Him.
The expression, “church of Christ” is descriptive of possession as it identifies a church that belongs to Christ. The phrase “churches of Christ” refers to a plurality of congregations (Rom. 16:16). It is entirely scriptural to refer to a single congregation of saints as a “church of Christ” – something brethren have done in America and around the globe since the first century to this present hour. Identification is made more difficult, if not impossible, without the ability to recognize and distinguish. For example, without accurate names we cannot properly identify individuals. Names distinguish among people so they can be recognized. Similarly, the distinction between a New Testament church and the denominations of men is sustained and served when as that congregation of saints is identified as a church of Christ instead of merely as “the church meets here.” (Fine, but which church, Christ’s or men’s?)
We now hear of congregations that simply identify themselves as the “______ Church.” Why are churches removing their declared affinity with Christ by erasing His name from how they identify themselves? Why is “Christ” being removed from how churches present themselves to others and are thus recognized by others? To what end is the name of Christ being removed from the identification of churches of Christ? Are we to simply infer that because it is a “Church” then it must belong to Christ?
What scriptural reasons exist for this erasure of the name of Christ from how a church identifies itself? Does it matter at all how a church identifies itself? Or, is it all just a matter of expediency anyway? (1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 3:17)
While we wait for the Scripture that shows the Lord’s approval for such erasure, please consider some of the Scriptural ramifications of removing the name of Christ from how a church identifies itself.
Is it a church of Christ (“a church that belongs to Jesus Christ”) when…
· It does not wear His name? (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2)
· It does not refer to itself as His church? (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23)
· It does not associate itself with and glory in His name? (Acts 11:26; Eph. 3:21; 1 Pet. 4:16)
· It does not distinguish itself from the churches of men? (2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 28:22)
· It tries to be non-confrontational by not identifying itself as a “church of Christ”? (Rom. 16:16; Lk. 12:49-53; Mk. 8:38)
· It is more concerned with marketing itself to the world than with being identified with Christ? (Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Ths. 1:6-9; 2 Ti. 4:2-4)
Churches of Christ must continue to identify themselves with Jesus Christ in their doctrine, practice and name, lest the light that reveals the truth of their relationship with Christ is extinguished (2 Cor. 4:1-4).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Water Baptism: Baptisms of the Bible (Part 2)
Scripture Reading: Acts 19:1-7
Eph. 4:5: One baptism. Yet, Bible speaks of a number of different baptisms. (Heb. 6:1-2)
I. BAPTISMS IN THE BIBLE.
A. Israel was Baptized
into Moses in the Cloud & Sea, 1 Cor. 10:1-2 (Exo. 13: 21-22; Psa. 105:39;
II. GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISM IS THE “ONE BAPTISM” OF EPHESIANS 4:5. (Water)
(subjects): All Who Desire Salvation, Mk. 16:15; Acts 2:21 (2:37-38, 41;
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box (Sept 2004)
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:5-17
#1 – Will you please explain works being burned, yet he himself will be saved in 1 Cor. 3:15?
1. 1 Cor.
3:5-15 does not condone a lukewarm lifestyle.
#2a – Was Christ’s body different after his resurrection or was it the same physical body he had before death and then changed when he was taken up into heaven?
resurrection, Lk. 23:52-55; 24:1-3.
#2b – Will our bodies be identical to that of Christ’s now in heaven?
1. What we
know – 1 Jno. 3:2; Col. 3:4; Phil. 3:21 (2 Ths. 1:10).
Conclusion – 1 Ths. 4:13-18; Jno. 5:28-29
A Great and
At this writing, hurricane Frances is beating down on the Bahamas with 115 mph winds. Florida is directly in her path, and our prayers are with all the hundreds of thousands who have been or will be impacted by this devastating storm. The damage will undoubtedly be severe. We pray the loss of life will be minimal.
The wind belongs to God (Psa. 135:7; 147:18). There was once a wind that tore into the mountains with such force that the rocks broke in pieces (1 Kgs. 19:11). On an earlier occasion the Lord God caused a strong east wind to blow and with it held back the Red Sea and dried the land so that Israel gained deliverance from slavery (Exo. 14:21). In judgment, God blew His wind upon the Red Sea and it covered Egyptian army (Gen. 15:10). With His wind He rained quail upon Israel in the wilderness (Num. 11:31; Psa. 78:26-27). God is depicted as riding on the wind to deliver righteous David from his enemies (2 Sam. 22:11-12; Psa. 18:10). He spoke to Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). He brings a burning wind against the wicked (Psa. 11:6). In His sovereignty, He “makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind” (Psa. 104:3).
Considering the wind will cause belief and trust in God, as it did for the ancient mariners:
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psa. 107:23-31)
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA