"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:
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! ‘I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ (Luke 15:17-19)
What poignant and powerful words! Every one – because we have violated God’s will – is a sinner (1 Jno. 3:4; Rom. 3:23). As such, we have either been forgiven in Christ, or our sin remains a barrier that separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The gospel of Christ reveals the remedy for our sins and the conditions upon which God’s grace and mercy will be received (Rom. 1:16; 5:8-10; 6:15-18; Mk. 16:15-16).
But, every sinner must be convinced that he needs a Savior before he will obey the gospel and be saved from his sins (1 Tim. 4:10). Yes, Jesus died for all men. His sacrificial death is sufficient to redeem the sinner from spiritual death. But the sinner must also want to be saved. He must come to the Savior to find rest (Matt. 10:28-30). Like the prodigal, the sinner must go to the Father.
The words of the prodigal son teach us the attitude of heart the sinner needs in order to be forgiven of sins. When these attitudes are coupled with obedience to God’s plan of salvation, His terms of pardon, one is assured of having God’s forgiveness. We cannot go to the Father and receive His forgiveness without both the proper attitudes and the proper actions.
Like the prodigal, the sinner must be convicted of his sins. He must be convinced he is a sinner. The wasteful son “came to himself,” implying he came to full recognition that his conduct had been reprehensible (Lk. 15:17). Finally, he felt the full weight of his sin (cf. Psa. 51:3). Only when the sinner is overwhelmed with the burden of sin will he go to the Father seeking forgiveness on the Father’s terms (instead of his own). Acts 2:37 represents such a group of sinners. Being convinced by the gospel that they had murdered their Messiah, they cried out in an anguished appeal, “What shall we do?” The inspired apostle told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins (v. 38). The reaction the sinner has today toward his sins must be the same. To be convicted of one’s sin is a sobering and humbling moment for the person who wants to live with God’s approval rather than die in the darkness of sin. For that person, it is a crucial step on the path to the Father.
Like the prodigal, the sinner must know who his sin is against (Lk. 15:18). Ultimately, all sin is against God (Psa. 51:4). Although the prodigal’s father had not personally seen his wasteful conduct, the son realized that his actions were “before” him (or, “in his sight”, ASV). We would do well to always remember that God sees all our actions and knows all of our thoughts (Heb. 4:13). To obtain forgiveness from God, the sinner (like the prodigal son) must willingly admit and acknowledge that his sin is against the God of heaven. Without such godly sorrow there can be no repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Only the contrite heart will make the journey back to the Father; only the contrite heart will find a merciful reception (Psa. 51:17; Isa. 66:2).
The prodigal approached his father in utter humility (Lk. 15:19). Truly, it is only the humble of heart that will come to God confessing sin and pleading for mercy. The tax collector of Luke 18:13 aptly shows this principle in his life. If one has a problem with admitting his sin he also has a problem with pride. Remember, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6).
When we sin against God we must determine, along with the prodigal son, to “go to (our) Father.” Like the prodigal’s father, our heavenly Father is longsuffering, merciful and forgiving (Lk. 15:22-24; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rom. 2:4). Our heavenly Father teaches us how to come to Him in order to be forgiven of our sins. The gospel of Christ teaches sinners what to do to be saved: hear the gospel, believe in Jesus as the Christ, confess my faith in Christ, repent of my sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, and then live a faithful life in service to Christ (Jno. 6:45; 8:24; Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rev. 2:10). Christians who sin are called on to repent and pray in order to be forgiven (Acts 8:22-24; 1 Jno. 1:9). For the sake of your soul’s salvation, come to yourself and go to the Father. He will forgive you.
“…for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:24)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Reasons to Repent
Scripture Reading: Acts 26:15-20
1. The gospel is a call to
repentance unto life – Acts 26:17-20 (11:18).
· WHY SHOULD I REPENT?
of understanding my sin – Lk. 13:1-5; Rom. 3:23; 1 Jno. 3:4; Psa.
51:4; Isa. 59:1-2.
9:2-3 – No self-righteousness there.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Romans 14 and the Scope of Fellowship
Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-8
1. Rom. 14 was written to help
Christians keep unity among themselves in the area of liberty (i.e., matters
which are indifferent before God).
I. UNDERSTANDING ROMANS 14.
Outlining the Chapter.
II. DISPUTES OVER CONSCIENTIOUS SCRUPLES WERE DIVIDING BRETHREN.
Strong Brother – 14:3, 10.
III. DEFINING TERMS.
IV. REMEDY: RECEIVE EACH OTHER IN YOUR DIFFERENT SCRUPLES OF CONSCIENCE.
V. AN APPEAL FOR UNITY IN MATTERS OF PERSONAL CONSCIENCE & LIBERTY – 15:1-7.
VI. MAKING THE RIGHT APPLICATIONS OF ROMANS 14 TODAY.
The campaigning is hitting a fever pitch as candidates for office, from the White House to City Hall, vie for votes. One way candidates shape and influence public opinion is by taking polls and then announcing the results.
I don’t know about you, but I am pretty tired of hearing all the poll numbers for the presidential race. Every day we are treated to more and more analysis, speculation and “expert opinions.”
We can get that way toward the word of God and the Christian life, too. Instead of doing our own study of the Bible, we may rely on the study and teaching of others to decide what we will believe and do. Or, we may survey the landscape, try to get a feel for what others are saying and doing to help us make up our minds.
Personal faith comes from personal contact with the word of God (Rom. 10:17). While we are glad to have teachers who instruct us (this is God’s method of transmitting His word around the world, Matt. 28:19-20), we must always be diligent in our own study “to find out whether these things (are) so” (Acts 17:11).
Avoid the “it can’t be wrong if everybody is for it!” way of thinking. Yes, it can be wrong. The way that may seem right can lead to death (Prov. 14:12).
Avoid the “I want to be on the popular side” way of thinking. The person with the most votes wins. But, the majority is not always right. It was the majority that died in the wilderness of Sinai. It was the majority that crucified Jesus. It will be the majority that is eternally lost (Matt. 7:13-14). Truth makes a thing right. Jesus is “the Truth” (Jno. 14:6).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA