Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Gospel Meeting Sept. 24-29, 2006
The Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Invites you to our
(Camden, South Carolina)
Sept. 24–29, 2006
Learn about New
(From I-5 take Exit # 255
and go East 4.2 miles)
Jesus said, "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Matt. 19:9). Jesus made it clear that "whosoever" puts away one’s mate for a reason other than fornication and then marries another person "committeth adultery." And, “whosoever” marries one who has been put away “doth commit adultery.” That being the case, what is required of this adulterer if he wants to become a Christian? What does repentance demand of this adulterer in his adulterous remarriage in order to be saved? Must he cease his sinful remarriage to repent of his adultery?
Some brethren teach that such a person should not end the remarriage that Jesus called “adultery” in order to repent of this sin. Instead, they reason that “adultery” refers to the "treacherous sundering of one’s marriage covenant rather than to sexual intercourse in a subsequent remarriage” (Jerry F. Bassett, “Rethinking Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage,” 77). In order to repent, they opine, one need not end the remarriage but merely "repent" of the previous divorce. “Indeed, they must repent of their sin in divorcing and remarrying. However, there is nothing in the words of Jesus to be served by then dissolving another marriage. Rather, let them demonstrate their repentance by faithfully maintaining their marriage” (Bassett, 78). Concerning the divorced and remarried who would come to God, I heard another man preach, “Yes, you are supposed to remain in the marriage that you’re in when you’re called as a Christian.”
Among the problems with this false doctrine is the assumption that all marriages are acceptable to God. Jesus said they are not (Matt. 19:9). Paul taught that for a woman to marry another man while her husband is alive makes her an adulteress (Rom. 7:2-3). Adultery is a sexual sin against the marriage bed, not a civil sin committed at a courthouse (Heb. 13:4; Rev. 2:20-22). We are not at all opposed to legitimate remarriage (Matt. 19:9). But this false doctrine encourages people to stay in sinful remarriages!
Jesus told the woman who was taken in the act of adultery to “go and sin no more” (Jno. 8:11). That clearly means she was to cease her adulterous conduct. Such is equally demanded of those in remarriages in which adultery is committed (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). Bearing the fruit of repentance means no longer committing adultery; the sinful relationship must end in order to do the will of God (Acts 26:20; Rev. 9:20-21).
What would be expected of the homosexual who repents of his sin? May he continue in his unholy relationship when he is baptized, or does repentance demand that he reform his life by ceasing his homosexual conduct? We all agree he must stop his sin. (Now that some homosexuals can “marry” will this change brethren’s view of the demands of repentance in such cases?)
Adultery, like homosexuality, is a sexual sin. Just like homosexuality, adultery must cease when repentance occurs. Repentance is a change of one’s mind toward sin that produces a new way of life; one that no longer serves sin (2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 3:19; Rom. 6:1-2). Please notice that repentance does not change what sin is. Instead, when we repent we stop our sin (Col. 3:5-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
The teaching of Jesus on divorce and remarriage applies to all who enter marriage (Matt. 19:4-9). Marriage is to be honored by all (Heb. 13:4). Those in sinful remarriages are not honoring marriage. The gospel calls them to repent. We join in this gospel plea. You can repent and do the Lord’s will and be saved (Matt. 19:10-12).
It was a hot summer day in the San Joaquin Valley. I was eleven and was checking on a bunch of cows that had just been herded into tall grass surrounded by an electric fence. I was standing in the midst of the herd when suddenly the cows’ tails stood straight up in the air, and before I could blink the cows stampeded past me right through the fence. When I got home the folks could hardly slow me down enough to tell what had happened. (I learned later that heel flies had aggravated the herd.) I mention this because some of us human beings seem to exercise about as much self-control as those crazed cows.
This country is being devastated by lives out of control. Wives and husbands trample their spouses to get a new mate. Mothers abandon their children. Fathers forsake families. Whores, whoremongers and sodomites have burst through every godly fence, cast off every moral responsibility and left this country with their trail of AIDS racked bodies and trashed fetuses.
It’s time for men and women to come to their senses. We are not a bunch of cattle. God has created us in His image (Gen. 1:26) with the ability to choose and with willpower. That person who says he is no better than the idiot beast, that he’s made the way he is and cannot change, that person needs to learn better. He can repent just as the Corinthians did. To them Paul wrote: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Those Corinthians had believed, most certainly had repented and been baptized, Acts 18:8. They were forgiven and had started new lives. They were able to make the change, and so can you.
Not only has man the power to exercise his will to initiate change in his life, but he also has the capacity to learn self-control and overcome his weaknesses. Self-control (temperance) is one of the graces in which every Christian can grow, 2 Pet. 1:6.
God assures us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it,” 1 Cor. 10:13. You can overcome.
Let’s make that stronger: we must overcome. We are not irresponsible cows, but beings who will have to give account for our lives: “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ...So then each of us shall give account of himself to God,” Rom. 14:10, 12. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death,” Rev. 21:7, 8.
You are better than a cow. Act like it!
No Prophet of God
Warren Steed Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was arrested on Monday in Nevada after evading the FBI for the past year. Between 6-10,000 members of the FLDS Church live under the rule of Jeffs, regarded as God’s prophet. A temple has been built in west Texas, part of a larger complex called the YFZ Ranch (“Yearn for Zion”) near Eldorado, Texas. Jeffs has been on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for charges of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, plus two counts of rape by accomplice in Utah (each punishable by up to life in prison). The FLDS Church practices polygyny (a form of polygamy that allows a man to have more than one wife). Jeffs reportedly has at least 40 wives and scores of children. (“Top polygamist gives up meekly after threats,” AP, TucsonCitizen.com, 08.30.2006)
Jesus warned against false prophets and said we can know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-20). Some of the fruit of this false prophet includes:
1. Adultery. The Lord ordained marriage of one man and one woman for life (Gen. 2:18-24; Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 7:2-3). The sin of adultery will be eternally punished, not rewarded (Rev. 21:8).
2. Lying. According to news reports, Jeffs initially offered an alias when taken into custody. (See Rev. 21:8 again.)
3. Fugitive from justice. Civil government is to be obeyed, not fled from (Rom. 13:1-7).
Warren Jeffs’ fruit is evil; He is not a prophet of God.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA