"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:
Love is the active expression of goodwill; the very essence and expression of God and of knowing God (1 Jno. 4:7-10). God has shown us His love in the death of His Son (Rom. 5:8). God’s love for us is the compelling reason for us to love Him as well as to “love one another” (1 Jno. 4:11). “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jno. 4:19).
Love (agape) stands first in the description of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). This love has been defined as “unconquerable benevolence” and “undefeatable goodwill” (Barclay). While the world defines love on a purely physical plane (emotional, erotic, etc.), the word of God elevates love to the essential motive of life (1 Cor. 13:1-3). In the “heavenly places” with Christ we experience the love of God and learn how to love (Eph. 3:10-11; 1:3; 2:6).
Christ dwells by faith in the heart of the person who is bearing the fruit of the Spirit. That person is “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17). The nature of love is unselfish – looking outward toward others; sacrificial – offering up itself to accomplish the welfare of others, and deliberate – a conscious determination of the will. You do not “fall” into this kind of love; you determine in your mind to live it toward others.
Love is active in its expression of goodwill. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him” (1 Jno. 3:16-18).
Love is all-involving in its response to the will of God. “‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:30). We love Jesus when we obey Him (Jno. 14:15; 1 Jno. 2:5). “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14).
Love is the adhesive that binds together the godly qualities and conduct of the Christian. “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:14, 12-13).
Love is the apex of achievement in being like God in our lives. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8). “God is love” (1 Jno. 4:8).
Bear the fruit of the Spirit and live in God’s love. By doing so we will love as we are loved: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:17-19).
“We treasure security, even though we know that security in this life carries no guarantees – possessions can be destroyed, beauty fades, relationships can be broken, death is inevitable. Real security, then, must be found beyond this life. Only when our security rests on God and his unchanging nature can we face the challenges that life is sure to bring our way.
“Esther’s beauty and character won Ahasuerus’s heart, and he made her his queen. Even in her favored position, however, she would risk her life by attempting to see the king when he had not requested her presence. There was no guarantee that the king would even see her. Although she was queen, she was still not secure. But, cautiously and courageously, Esther decided to risk her life by approaching the king on behalf of her people.
“She made her plans carefully. The Jews were asked to fast and pray with her before she went to the king. Then on the chosen day she went before him, and he did ask her to come forward and speak. But instead of issuing her request directly, she invited him and Haman to a banquet. He was astute enough to realize she had something on her mind, yet she conveyed the importance of the matter by insisting on a second banquet.
“In the meantime, God was working behind the scenes. He caused Ahasuerus to read the historical records of the kingdom late one night, and the king discovered that Mordecai had once saved his life. Ahasuerus lost no time in honoring Mordecai for that act. During the second banquet, Esther told the king of Haman’s plot against the Jews, and Haman was doomed. There is grim justice in Haman’s death on the gallows he had built for Mordecai, and it seems fitting that the day on which the Jews were to be slaughtered became the day their enemies died. Esther’s risk confirmed that God was the source of her security.
“How much of your security lies in your possessions, position, or reputation? God has not placed you in your present position for your own benefit. He put you there to serve him. As in Esther’s case, this may involve risking your security. Are you willing to let God be your ultimate security?
“Strengths and accomplishments:
* Her beauty and character won
the heart of Persia’s king
“Lessons from her life:
* Serving God often demands that
we risk our own security
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:23-27
1. Jesus was the object of
wonder, astonishment & admiration: Power (Matt. 9:32-33); Knowledge (Jno.
7:15); His teaching (Mk. 12:17).
I. JESUS MARVELED:
Great Faith – Matt. 8:8-10, 5-8, 13 (11-12; Jno. 12:42-43); Acts 6:7 (Jas.
2:20); Acts 10:43; 1 Jno. 5:4-5.
II. THE APOSTLES MARVELED.
Jesus’ Power – Matt. 8:23-27; 16:16; Jno. 1:1-3; Col. 1:14-18.
III. WE NEED NOT MARVEL:
Satan’s Effort to Deceive Us & Destroy Us – 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2:11; 1 Cor.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 9:1-9
1. Lying is one of the most
prevalent moral problems we face.
I. WHAT IS LYING?
Idea: Falsehood & Deception – cf. Matt. 28:13, 15.
II. WHY DO PEOPLE LIE? (Motives)
A. Out of
Fear – Matt. 26:69-74 (26:35); Lk. 12:4-5.
III. THE OUTCOME OF ALL LIARS.
Warns us not to Lie – 1 Pet. 3:10-11
The death toll continues to climb from the devastating tsunami that struck southern and southeastern Asia December 26th. We extend our sympathy to all who have lost family and friends in this disaster.
There are important lessons of eternal truth that we should call to mind at such times, including these:
1. The awesome power of this world and the God who created it. When God destroyed this world by a flood it was not only one “fountain of the great deep” that opened up, but all of them (Gen. 7:11). Can you begin to imagine the deadly force that resulted? All power – and praise – belongs to Him whose command created the heavens, the earth and the seas (Psa. 147:1-4, 5-6).
2. Those who suffer and die in such events are not worse people than others because they do. No, “time and chance” happens to us all (Eccl. 9:11). One man in India reportedly lamented, “What did we do to deserve this?” The truth is that these were not “worse sinners” than all other human beings because of this tragic event (read Lk. 13:1-3). Death and suffering occur because sin entered this world (1 Cor. 15:21-22; Gen. 3:19).
3. Now is the time to prepare to meet God. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. Life is a fragile gift from God, not to be disregarded (Jas. 4:13-15). The end of the world will come suddenly, like the tsunami (1 Ths. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:10). Will we be ready?
We ought to live holy and godly lives, always ready for the coming of the day of God (2 Pet. 3:11-12). Are you ready?
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA