"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:
The following question was posted on the Bible Answers guest book this week: “exactly what does the word do?”
The word of God is a mighty force. Since it is the word of God and not man, we would expect it to be powerful, and it is (Heb. 4:12). The word of God “effectively works in you who believe” (1 Ths. 2:13). Here are some of the things God’s word is capable of doing:
It reveals the mind and
purposes of God, 1 Cor. 2:10-13; Eph. 3:3-5
Many more things could be added to this list. It is important to realize that the word of God can and will do all of these things, but only if we choose to let it do so. We must implant the word of God in our hearts and obey it in our lives (Jas. 1:21; Matt. 7:21). It is a living and powerful word that can bring to life a person who is dead in sin (Heb. 4:12; Rom. 6:17-18). But that will only happen when that sinner believes and obeys the word. God wants you to be saved, but He does not force you. He has given you a word you can read, understand, obey and be saved (Matt. 28:19-20). Why not believe and obey God’s word now, so its work can be accomplished in your life?
“I was wondering what the Bible said about visiting or paying respect to the dead?”
The Bible says a number of interesting and relevant things about paying respect to the dead. Of course, such respect is directly related to the life that the person had lived. (2 Chrn. 16:14; 21:19)
The burial of a corpse was itself a mark of respect, since unburied bodies was viewed as disgraceful (Jer. 16:4). When the dead bodies of Saul and his sons were hanged on the wall of Beth Shan, valiant men retrieved and buried them, and then, out of respect and remorse, fasted seven days (1 Sam. 31).
The respectful burial and remembrance of the dead is traced to ancient times. When Sarah (Abraham’s wife) died, he mourned for her and purchased a burial site, where he and subsequent generations were also buried (Gen. 23; 25:9-10; 49:29-33). When Jacob died his body was embalmed (after the custom of the Egyptians) and his death was mourned a total of seventy days (Gen. 50:1-3). A great funeral procession took his body from Egypt to the tomb of his fathers (Gen. 50:4-14). All of this indicates genuine respect and regard for Jacob. The embalmed remains of Joseph were respectfully kept for hundreds of years and then dramatically carried from Egypt during Israel’s exodus and wilderness wandering into the land of promise, and there finally laid to rest (Gen. 50:24-26; Exo. 13:19; Josh. 24:32; Heb. 11:22). These are just some of the recorded examples of burial and respect for the dead in the Old Testament (Nu. 20:29; Deut. 34:8).
The New Testament also records the showing of respect for the dead. Jesus mentioned the practice of maintaining the tombs of the dead, as well as decorating them in memory of the deceased (Matt. 23:27-32). Although Jesus rebuked the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees (who adorned the graves of the prophets and the monuments of the righteous while rejecting the very word of God those prophets spoke), He did not criticize the customs themselves. To show respect for the dead with monuments, headstones, flowers and other such grave site adornments are customs that are not condemned in the word of God.
After the death of Lazarus, his sisters are seen mourning his passing while others comforted them (Jno. 11:28-31). When Jesus observed Mary’s grief, He groaned in his spirit, and wept (Jno. 11:32-35). The woman who found Christ’s tomb empty had gone there to pay their respect for the dead by intending to complete the process by which the body was made ready for interment (Lk. 23:53-24:1). Widows are seen near the dead body of Dorcas as they showed her handiwork to Peter and remembered her good life of faith (Acts 9:36-39).
And of course, Christians pay respect to Jesus every week as they remember His sacrificial death on the cross for human redemption (1 Cor. 11:23-29). There is no greater memorial than the Lord’s Supper, which Christians eat until He comes again.
It is a good and right to pay our respect to the dead. The Bible says:
“Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart” (Eccl. 7:2).
A number of lessons can be learned whenever we “go to the house of mourning” and pay our respect to the dead. We will close by noting some of these lessons
1. It is a time to remember that we will also die. None of us are strong enough to overcome death; none are swift enough to evade this intruder (Eccl. 8:8). It is “appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
2. It is a time to be thankful for those who have departed. We are thankful for the love of departed parents, the sacrifice of patriots and the faith of God’s people who have now gone to their reward. Though they are dead, men and women of faith continue to speak, and we should listen to their messages (Heb. 11:4).
3. It is a time to resolve to have a righteous influence on others while we live. We pay respect to the dead because their life has touched ours. We are better because they lived. As we reflect on and remember the lives of those who are now dead, we are moved to in turn touch the lives of others in good ways (Matt. 5:13-16; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
4. Now is the time to get right with
God. Life is brief and uncertain, but death is sure (Jas. 4:13-17).
So, now is the time to obey God and prepare to meet Him (Amos 4:12; 2 Cor.
6:2; Acts 10:34-35; 17:30-31). Pay respect to the dead; and get ready to
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
God, Our Father
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:12-17
1. A father is to be respected &
loved: He nurtures & teaches his children; he provides & protects them;
they depend on him (Matt. 6:9; 7:9-10; Prov. 4:1).
I. GOD, OUR FATHER, CHOSE US IN CHRIST.
A. Adoption, Eph. 1:4-5, Gal.
4:4-7; Rom. 8:12-15; 2 Cor. 6:16-18 (Deut. 32:5-6).
II. GOD, OUR FATHER, LOVES US: OBEY HIM (1 Jno. 3:1-3; Jno. 14:15).
A. Provides & Protects, Deut.
1:30-31; Matt. 6:31-32; 7:7-11 (6:33); 1 Chrn. 29:10, 13-14.
III. GOD, OUR FATHER, DISCIPLINES US: ACCEPT HIS DISCIPLINE.
A. Correction, Prov. 3:11-12;
Deut. 8:5; Heb. 12:5-11; 5:7-8.
IV. GOD, OUR FATHER, HAS COMPASSION FOR US: FEAR HIM (Psa. 103:11-14; Mal. 3:16-18).
A. Mercy for the Moment, 1
Tim. 1:2; Lk. 15:20; Matt. 6:14-15.
Conclusion: Isa. 64:8; 1 Pet. 1:17
The Vote You
This is not an endorsement of a candidate. It is a moral and spiritual call that is based on the Bible truth that God rules in the kingdoms of men and He gives rule and power to whomever He chooses for His purposes (Dan. 4:17). The governments of men are under the authority of heaven, and God’s purposes will be accomplished on this earth (Matt. 6:10; Jno. 19:10-11; Rom. 13:1).
We are granted a privilege and responsibility in our country that many do not have; the vote. On November 2 the ballots will be cast; indeed, the dye will be cast. What direction will we go as a nation? What should guide us as we decide who will get our vote for president, vice-president, and many other elected offices? Here are a few suggestions.
Will the person who gets your vote use his authority to honor God and man (1 Tim. 2:1-2)? Those who do not are more likely to serve themselves instead of the principles of righteousness and justice. Let us pray (and vote) for candidates of integrity and honor who respect and value the life of all people, including our unborn.
Will the person who gets your vote protect the innocent and punish evil-doers? Romans 13:1-6 says rulers are God’s servants to do this very thing. May the Lord put and keep in place such authorities.
Will the person who gets your vote rule with wisdom or folly (Eccl. 10:5-7)? Wise rulers bless their subjects, but foolish leaders are a scourge upon the land. Look for wisdom guided by humility and truth. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34); and, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psa. 33:12).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA