"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Invites you to our
Steven j. wallace
(Sunnyside & Yakima, WA)
March 26–31, 2006
Monday-Friday: 7:00 PM
9:30 AM: 2 Timothy 2:15
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Some brethren have elevated themselves and have become content with a position as a "judge" of sermons, of doctrine and of the Scripture as being "positive" or "negative." I have always been leery of those who think they have the authority to judge the Word as something "negative." I sometimes ask churches when I hold a meeting if there is anything negative about "convince," "rebuke," "exhort." Usually someone will think that "convince" and "rebuke" are more "negative" and "exhorting" is more "positive."
Regardless, Paul told preachers to preach "the word" which includes the "whole counsel" and to do so in season or out of season with longsuffering (2 Tim. 5:2; Acts 20:20, 26, 27). It is "out of season" to preach what men like to judge as "negative." Such will always be the case when brethren get bold enough to judge God's word as "negative." (I always thought that if a person could show me how to escape hell that such was a pretty positive thing!)
begin making themselves judges of the law they have sinned by making
themselves above the law rather than keeping their place "under" the law.
James tells us,
And again he
If I understand
James' point, we cannot be partial in God's law. We cannot set aside part of
God's law and choose to obey another part, or we make ourselves judges
rather than doers. If we violate any part, if we reject any part, if
we despise any part, we then despise it all for it all condemns us (Jas.
2:4, 10). The next time you are asked to judge God's word as "negative"
think about this admonishment:
Jesus stated nearly 2000 years ago, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). To the simple, unbiased and unprejudiced mind, Jesus’ statement is very clear and easy to understand. It is as easy to understand a doctor’s statement, “He who eats his food and digests it will live; but he who does not eat will die.” All of us would easily understand that unless we eat and digest, we will die! However, for those who have allied themselves with human creeds and have been depraved with worldly wisdom, Jesus’ simple statement becomes confusing and contradicting. Although the Bible ALWAYS places water baptism (in Jesus’ name) before salvation, men have sought ways to undermine His authority and confuse the simplicity of our Lord’s teaching.
Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Yet we find many who in one sentence, articulate allegiance with Jesus, but in another breath deny his word. One clear example of this is found in the various teaching regarding salvation.
Several are speaking about the salvation of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. We do not deny the thief’s salvation; however, we do deny the false teaching that has been circulated regarding him. Some reason as such: Jesus was baptizing people before his death (John 3:22-26); he saved the thief on the cross without baptizing him; therefore, baptism is not essential for salvation. If this reasoning holds water, why not reason as such: Jesus went about saving people before he died and shed his blood (Luke 5:20, 21); he saved the thief before he died; therefore, his death and shed blood are not essential to salvation? Any honest person can see the point and the absurdity of such reasoning.
We must recognize that the thief died under the Old Testament law and that Jesus’ New Testament would only come into effect after he died. “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead. . .” (Heb. 9:16, 17). The thief died under the Old Testament but we live under the New Testament today. Here is the point. To safeguard against flawed reasoning we must consider everything the Bible says on a given subject.
The Bible’s teaching on salvation is:
· Hear the gospel (Romans 10:14-17)
· Believe the gospel (John 3:16; Romans 10:11)
· Repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30).
· Confess Christ: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Note: the thief on the cross could neither believe nor confess this verse!
· Be Baptized: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. . .” (Mark 16:16; cf. Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).· Remain faithful to the Lord (Rev. 2:10).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA