Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Meek Inherit the Earth
Joe R. Price
The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe the earth will be destroyed “with fervent heat” as is taught in 2 Peter 3:4-13. They teach an eternal paradise on earth: “Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the earth will remain forever and that all people, living and dead, who will fit in with Jehovah’s purpose for a beautified, inhabited earth may live on it forever.” (“What do They Believe?”, www.watchtower.org/library/jt/article_03.htm) They believe “The entire earth will be transformed into a paradise home for mankind” (“Does God Really Care About Us?,” Part 10).
When God destroyed the earth with a flood He made a covenant with man that “while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). This statement inherently suggests there will be a time when the earth does not remain; that time is described in 2 Peter 3:7-13. The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire – a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (3:7). The physical elements will melt, the earth and its works will be burned up (consumed, 3:10) and all physical things will be dissolved, including the heavens and the earth (3:11-12). The new habitation of righteousness will be the eternal, heavenly home (3:13; 1 Pet. 1:4).
A favorite passage misapplied to support the false doctrine of a paradise earth is Psalm 37:11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (cf. Matt. 5:5). In view of 2 Peter 3:4-13, what does this passage mean?
God promised the nation of Israel abundant blessings in the land of promise (Canaan) “if you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them” (Lev. 26:3-6). These blessings of the land included fruitful rains, bountiful harvest and safety from enemies and danger. God told Israel, “I will give peace in the land” (Lev. 26:6). Psalm 37 gives comforting assurance to Israel of God’s presence and blessings in spite of evildoers. See Psalm 37:3, 29, 34, where the point is made that those who trusted in God would inherit His promised blessings. Verse 11 speaks of such blessings.
God has not promised Christians an eternal earthly land; He has promised a heavenly one (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:13-16; 1 Pet. 1:4). It is our responsibility to live for heaven by faithfully obeying Him (Heb. 4:1-11). God will bless us now with what we need for this life and eternally reward us with a heavenly land if we believe and obey Him (Matt. 5:3-12; 6:25-34; 7:13-14, 21-23).
Like Israel in the Old Testament, we are to continually trust and obey God: “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psa. 37:39-40). Israel inherited the earth (the land); Christians inherit heaven (1 Pet. 1:4; Col. 1:5).
We often hear people say, “I don’t want to be around those people. They’re nothing but hypocrites.” In their efforts to defend their own unfaithfulness and disobedience, they make failed attempts at justifying their disobedience by using the excuse, “there are hypocrites in the church.” You know, they are probably right. If there were only one hypocrite in the church, that would be one hypocrite too many.
But, even if there are hypocrites in the church, does that justify those who are unfaithful to the Lord? How many hypocrites does it take to justify disobedience? Without a doubt, the sin of hypocrisy was a problem in the early church, as it is today. Because of Peter’s hypocrisy, Paul withstood him to the face (Galatians 2: 11-14). Jesus denounced the scribes and Pharisees because of their hypocrisy (Matthew 23; Luke 12:1). The apostles condemned hypocrisy (1 Timothy. 4:1, 2; James 3:17). Oh, how much better the world and the Lord’s church would be if there were no hypocrites!
But, let’s go back to the statement, “I don’t want to be around those hypocrites in the church.” I wonder if the person who makes this statement applies the same reasoning in other areas of his life? Does he fear going to the grocery store, or a family gathering, because there might be hypocrites present? If he’s considering joining a labor union, a health club, or a Sam’s Club, does he do a “hypocrite check” before becoming a member? If he goes on a plane, train, or boat trip, does he refuse to board until he receives assurance that there are no hypocrites on board? Well?
Not only does the Bible condemn hypocrisy, it also condemns disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). It matters little whether one sins by being a hypocrite or disobedient, the end result is the same; he is condemned by God and he will be lost! Furthermore, if the one who “fears” another’s hypocrisy dies during the time of his own disobedience, he will spend eternity in the Devil’s hell, “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched,” with every past, present, and future hypocrite (Mark 9:44-48; Revelation 21:8)!
And last, the one who says, “I don’t want to be around those hypocrites in the church,” is himself a hypocrite for the reasons shown above. Think about it!
Our brother J. R. Peters recently related to me a poignantly, provoking soul stirring story. Some time ago, he was talking to a friend who had left the Lord. Quietly, without pressure, he encouraged his friend to return to his “first love.” Brother Peters could tell he was making progress. “So,” he said, “I thought I had time, and that it wouldn’t be long before he repented and was restored.”
But, then, suddenly, his dear friend died. “Larry,” he said, “you need to tell people about this. We never know how long we may have. I thought I had time.” The rich fool in Luke 12 thought he had time, too, but the Lord said, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee.”
Is there an erring brother you need to approach? Is there a lost soul you need to talk to? Or, are you the one to whom someone is speaking? Are you one of those who needs to repent and return to the Lord? If so, do it now! Indeed, “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Do not let your endless wail in the pit of an eternal hell be, “I thought I had time.”
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:42-44
1. Christians continue to be deceived by the false
doctrine that MMLJ are not part of the New Covenant.
I. JESUS SPOKE OF SALVATION BEFORE THE CROSS.
A. LOM Identified Sin but could not Save from Sin, Rom.
3:20 (He. 10:1, 4).
II. OT PROPHETS POINTED TO JESUS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
A. Jesus Taught this before & after the Cross, Lk.
III. JESUS PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM BEFORE THE CROSS.
A. Jesus was Sent to Preach the Kingdom of God, Not LOM,
Lk. 4:42-44 (Jno. 17:4).
IV. REMEMBERING THE WORDS JESUS SPOKE BEFORE THE CROSS, Jno.14:26. (Jno. 2:19-22; Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 7:10-11)
V. WHY THE FUSS? INVALIDATE WHAT JESUS TAUGHT ABOUT MDR, Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9.
A. Moses & Jesus did not Teach the Same Thing, Matt.
VI. CONSEQUENCES OF THE DOCTRINE.
(Why I Do Not Attend Sunday Night and Wednesday Night Services)
Check the Appropriate Blanks:
_____BECAUSE I HAD COMPANY (Would company keep you from going to work on Monday?)
_____BECAUSE THERE WAS A GOOD TELEVISION PROGRAM I DIDN’T WANT TO MISS (Is that putting first things first, Matt. 6:33?)
_____BECAUSE I FEEL THAT ONCE A WEEK IS ENOUGH TO ATTEND SERVICES (Would you recommend that we close the doors on Sunday and Wednesday nights and have no services at all?)
_____BECAUSE I WAS TIRED (Would you have been too tired if there had been a $1,000 reward for going?)
_____BECAUSE I WAS LAZY (Be honest)
_____BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THE PREACHER (You do not attend to worship the preacher)
_____BECAUSE I LOVE PLEASURE MORE THAN THE LORD (Heb. 11:24-25)
_____BECAUSE I AM NOT INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT GOD AND HIS WILL (Why do you come on Sunday mornings?)
_____BECAUSE THE BIGGEST CROWD IS PRESENT ON SUNDAY MORNING (You helped make it smaller the other times)
_____BECAUSE I JUST DON’T WANT TO GO (Are your affections set on things above? Col. 3:1, 2)
Our meeting times are listed on page one. These are times we worship God, are fed the bread of life and encourage each other. We dishonor our Lord when we refuse to attend every worship service. Let us make every effort to please God (Heb. 10:24-25).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA