And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 03 December 16, 2007
In this issue:
“A woman, born with a rare condition, has refused to be classified as disabled.” So said the news report (www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933, 314781,00.html, FoxNews.com). The Chinese woman reportedly runs faster than any of her friends and holds a steady job as a waitress. She said she is normal, “except of course that I put my shoes on backwards.” The story was prompted by the fact she turned down a disability check.
Would the world be better off with more people like her?
What would your attitude be if your feet were backward? Do you suppose this woman was picked on growing up? Yet, she did not use these as an excuse to give up living a “normal” life.
Paul went through many hardships, but still lived for the Lord. He suffered want, but continued to preach the gospel (Phil. 4:10-13). He was physically afflicted, yet remained faithful recognizing the goodness of his ailment (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
Job serves as another biblical example. He lost his property and children in one day (Job 1). His wife gave him up for dead (Job 2:9). His friends then piled on by accusing him of sin. Still, Job persevered and was blessed in the end (Jas. 5:11).
How many people have used lesser conditions and circumstances as an excuse not to work? The Bible says if anyone will not work, neither should they eat (2 Thes. 3:10). If a man has the ability to work, but does not, he should starve. The Chinese woman with backward feet works at an arguably tough job—dealing with customers, as well as being on her backward feet a lot.
Do we use relatively minor physical problems to get in the way of working for the Lord?
The congregation where I preach has a number of older people. One lady had a stroke years ago and has to have help in and out of the building. She, too, holds down a regular job. Three other older women (I think all in their 70s or 80s) come to services using walkers. One couple, around 90, came in the other day leaning on each other for support. Great examples to us all!
The rest of us need to put aside our insignificant problems and simply serve the Lord. Whether it’s going to Bible classes or worship services, or going to visit someone, talking to our neighbor about the gospel, or any number of other things, we just need to suck it up and do it.
Our outward man may be in bad shape and perishing, but it does not matter as long as our inward man is being renewed day by day. Doing our humble duty will ensure our inner well-being. Get to it. (TruthForTodaysYouth.com)
Ancient Israel should have been familiar with the proverb that warned against removing the landmarks of the fathers: “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28; 23:10). This proverb reinforced the ordinance of the Law of Moses that stated, “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set” (Deut. 19:14).
Landmarks identify the boundary of one’s property. Since land was a prime element of inheritance in Israel, it was crucial that the landmarks be respected. Moving the landmarks was theft another’s property and of what was intended as an inheritance for others (Deut. 19:14). Those who moved landmarks did not respect the property of others nor were they restrained by the boundaries that had been set. So, the law declared, “cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark” (Deut. 27:17).
Before landmarks could be moved they had to first be set in place: the “men of old have set” – the “fathers” set them (Deut. 19:14; Prov. 22:28). Such landmarks were “ancient”, that is, not recently arranged; they had been established and recognized for generations (Prov. 23:10). They were true, legitimate and settled.
God has set the landmarks of revealed truth that define his kingdom and the inheritance of his people. Men remove them at their eternal peril (Gal. 1:6-10; Rev. 22:18-19).
An iconoclast is “a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions” (Merriam-Webster). He believes it is his job to tear down everything that he deems to be “tradition” and therefore, obsolete or otherwise unnecessary. Yet, tradition is not necessarily obsolete. For example, the “traditions” handed down by the apostles of Christ are old, but they are not outdated (2 Ths. 2:15; 1 Pet. 1:23). One should consider that the reason some “landmarks” have endured is precisely because they are true, legitimate and settled. Let me illustrate.
• The ancient landmark of book, chapter and verse preaching has been removed. Pulpits throughout the land are not preaching a steady diet of “thus saith the Lord” these days. Eloquence holds the audience’s attention, while anecdotes, testimonials, human wisdom and pop psychology are the message of hour (or at least, 20 minutes). All the while, God’s people are being destroyed due to their lack of knowledge (Hos. 4:6). God is not pleased with preaching that does not proclaim the whole counsel of God, nor with those who refuse to preach it or support it (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; 3:16-17).
• The ancient landmark of singing (only) in worship is being moved. A few churches of Christ are now using instrumental music in worship. Many more brethren have concluded that using instruments in worship is a matter of indifference. To them, God did not set the landmark of singing. But, he did, and we must not remove it (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
• The ancient landmarks of modest dress, pure language and godly conduct have been removed. The world is defining what is right in the minds and lives of Christians rather than the word of God. Love for the world is rampant among Christians (1 Jno. 2:15-17). “Nobody cares,” “don’t be a stick in the mud,” “everyone else is wearing, saying or doing it” – these are the hands that lift up and remove the God-placed landmarks of purity, modesty and godliness (1 Tim. 2:9-10; Eph. 5:1-7; 1 Pet. 4:1-5).
We will not escape the wrath of God if we remove the landmarks He has set in place.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: John 14:7-11
you have one? Matt. 12:30; 11:28-30
I. TO BE A CHRISTIAN IS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THRU CHRIST, Jno. 14:6; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:26-27 (4:8-9).
Salvation, 1 Cor. 1:21.
II. TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP, CERTAIN THINGS MUST BE PRESENT:
A. A Relationship Requires Contact:
You must have Contact with God, Jno. 14:7-9; Jno. 1:47-48; 1 Jno. 2:12-14
Psa. 23:4; Heb. 13:5-6.
III. THE RESULT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN CHRIST.
A. You will become
more and more like Jesus, Eph. 4:20-24; Phil. 3:7-11.
Concl. The gospel call is to know God, more importantly, to be known by God, Gal. 4:8-9.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 6:17-23
Righteous: “upright, virtuous, keeping the commands of God.”
I. A RIGHTEOUS PERSON IS NEEDED…
A. To Pray, Jas. 5:16
(Phil. 4:13, 19).
If we hunger & thirst for righteousness, we will be filled, Matt. 5:6.
Murder, Steroids and Politics
What do these three things have in common? For one, all three have made headlines this past week. All three say something about the state of this nation, and there are certainly moral lessons to learn from all three.
The random mass murders that are happening at shopping malls, on college campuses and in church buildings indicate a increasing level of violence and a corresponding lack of value being placed on life. This is a warning to all of us. Senseless, sinful violence displays a heart that is hardened toward the welfare of others as it selfishly serves itself. (1 Jno. 3:11-15)
The use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in baseball also shows a selfish disregard for life (the life of the user), for honesty and for noble influence. These substances are against the rules of the game, yet the Mitchell Report that was released this week documents that players from all 30 major league teams have used them. Some of the biggest names in the game are included in the report. The love for money and the lure of fame has cultivated a decade of cheaters – and it has affected the way our young people look at life. The quick fix and getting something for nothing are among the attitudes that are destroying lives, souls and this nation. (Prov. 14:34)
What about the politicians? They want your vote, of course. Values and godliness get lost in the mix. History assures us that as the race for the White House heats up we can rest assured there will be plenty of mudslinging, charges and counter-charges to go around. What has happened to honesty and honorable debate? Sometimes it seems it too gone the way of the dodo bird along with living peaceably with one’s neighbor and setting good examples that others can follow.
As for Christians, let us do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). If we don’t, who will?
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/17/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA