And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 10 February 03, 2008
In this issue:
Tradition is that which is handed over, handed down or delivered. A tradition is often handed down from one generation to another (1 Pet. 1:18). But, traditions are not always generational. Traditions can also be contemporary. Paul urged his brethren to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Ths. 2:15). Paul delivered tradition to his contemporaries, who in turn handed it down to subsequent generations.
Tradition is delivered through teaching, and can be transmitted orally, in written form or by way of example (2 Ths. 2:15; 3:6-9).
God’s tradition is his revealed and inspired word of truth. God has handed down his word from heaven to humanity through His Son Jesus Christ and his inspired apostles and prophets (Jno. 12:48-50; Heb. 1:2; Gal. 1:11-12).
God’s tradition is the final standard of authority for all things doctrinal and moral. Those who “stand fast and hold” divine traditions, please God (2 Ths. 2:15; Matt. 28:18-20; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). We go to the inspired scriptures to mandate doctrine, approve morality and direct daily living. To appeal to any other authoritative source for “life and godliness” is to choose an unreliable tradition that will not save us (2 Pet. 1:3-4).
Men’s traditions may be harmless, or they may destroy the soul eternally. Jesus rebuked the sin of the Pharisees and scribes in Mark 7:1-13 “for laying aside the commandment of God” to “hold the tradition of men” (v. 8). Human traditions do not constitute the commands of God. Yet today as then, many people believe men’s traditions are the same as God’s tradition, and use it as their defense for everything from the way they worship to the way they live.
For example, the Roman Catholic Church asserts that along with Scripture, Church tradition carries binding authority. The Catholic Church rejects the teaching that Scripture alone is the exclusive and complete source of divine authority. Thus, for centuries it has bound the heavy burden of Church Tradition upon men.
Many are comforted by religious traditions. By them, they feel connected with the past. But only God’s tradition – the New Testament of Christ – connects us with God and his acceptance of us in His Son. Be sure you are standing in God’s tradition, His truth.
There is no question that God fully forgives sins through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Acts 2:38; 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9). One need not live in the spiritual death of sin. God forgives our sins when we, by faith, obey His gospel (Mk. 16:16; Acts 13:38-39; 15:7-9).
However, this is not the same thing as saying one will never have to live with the consequences of his own sins. Sometimes, one must do so for the rest of his life. For example, the murderer can be forgiven of his murder (cf. Acts 2:37-38). But, he may be convicted to life in prison or even executed for his crime. Although forgiven by God through his obedience to the gospel of Christ, that person must nevertheless face the consequences of his sin and accept his punishment. Adam and Eve had to live with a number of consequences due to their sin (Gen. 3:16-19). Eve experienced pain in childbirth. Adam toiled by the sweat of his brow, combating thorn and thistle in order to survive. Both of them experienced the consequence of physical death because they sinned against God.
Sometimes, we must live with the consequences of other people’s sins. Please notice, we did not say one must bear the guilt of another person’s sins (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 5:12). However, there are times when we must live with the consequences of other’s sins. We live with the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin. Because they sinned, we face physical death (Gen. 3:19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). The persecuted Christian must live with the effects of the sinner’s persecution (2 Cor. 11:24-25). Sinners who do not care about God’s will often cause Christians to live with hardships (cf. 1 Pet. 2:18-23). Whatever our cross may be, we must be willing to deny ourselves, take it up and bear it as we follow Jesus (Lk. 9:23).
Years ago I received a telephone message from a Christian in California (we’ll call him Bill) requesting the prayers of the brethren for himself and his wife (we’ll call her Jane). He said they had been baptized into Christ about one month earlier. The reason for Bill’s prayer request was that he had just tested positive for the HIV virus. His wife was about to be tested.
Bill did not say how he contracted the virus. Perhaps it was due to his sin (such as homosexual contact, illicit heterosexual contact, or illicit drug use via contaminated needles, Rom. 1:24-27). Perhaps, through no fault of his own, he contracted the virus through a blood transfusion from a person who was infected. I do not know. The fact remains that Bill, and perhaps his wife, was infected.
Their situation shows the relevancy of the principles we outlined earlier in this article. They are not just theoretical considerations. Here were two Christians who faced living with the consequences of sin. Were they forgiven of all their sins when they obeyed the gospel? Yes, most definitely. Yet, that did not remove the HIV virus from his blood. They must now live with the consequences of that deadly disease.
We should admire the way they chose to deal with it. The prayers of faithful brethren are effective (Jas. 5:16). They chose to put their faith and trust in the Lord (1 Pet. 5:6-7; Phil. 4:4-7, 13). I never heard back from them. But, I pray that by the Lord’s help and grace, Bill and Jane overcame their trial (Rom.8:31-39).
How would we react toward Bill and Jane if they were members of this church? Wouldn’t they deserve our full support in their ordeal? Would we understand that even when sin is forgiven its lingering pain may have to be confronted for the rest of their lives? Would we help to bear their burden (Gal. 6:2)? Would we esteem them better than ourselves (Phil. 2:1-4)? Would we show them the mercy and compassion of Christ (Matt. 5:7)? We could do nothing less and be faithful Christians (Rom. 12:9-16).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:5-9
Jesus is both the Son of Man & the Son of God, Matt. 16:13-16 (Col. 2:9; Heb. 1-2). His humanity helps save us.
I. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN
JESUS WAS ALONE…Matt. 14:23; Jno. 16:32; 8:29.
II. JESUS WAS TEMPTED…Lk.
4:1-2, 13; 22:28; Heb. 4:15.
III. JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED…1
Pet. 3:18; 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:19-21.
IV. JESUS WAS A SERVANT TO
V. JESUS PARTOOK OF HUMANITY…Phil.
VI. JESUS WAS SEPARATED FROM
GOD… Matt. 27:45-46; Isa. 53:8), Heb. 2:9-10.
VII. JESUS ENDURED THE CROSS…Heb.
12:2; Matt. 27:27-50.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 14:1-6
Skeptics and unbelievers turn to science & the natural world to disprove the
miracles of the Bible.
I. SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE, Psa. 19:1, 7-11.
A. Science is the Human
Knowledge of the World & how it Operates.
II. WHEN THE MIRACLES OF THE BIBLE ARE REJECTED FOR NATURAL EXPLANATIONS, INESCAPABLE CONCLUSIONS RESULT.
A. A Denial and Rejection of
God, Rom. 1:18-21, 28 (Gen. 1; Psa. 33:6-9); Exo. 7:20.
1. Man’s knowledge must be
directed by divine revelation & tempered by true faith, Acts 26:24-25
A lie is “the willful perversion of truth, not only by speech, but my any means whatever whereby a false impression is conveyed to the mind” (Pulpit Commentary, on Prov. 6:17). Solomon classified lying as an “abomination to Jehovah” (Prov. 12:22), one of the seven deadly sins (Prov. 6:16-19). Lying is contrary to the very nature of God (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18), hence, those who engage in lying place themselves in opposition to God and in league with the devil (cf. Jno. 8:44).
In spite of the fact that Christians are commanded to “put away lying” (Eph. 4:25), “seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:9), it is not uncommon for people who claim to be Christians to commit this sin. There are many ways in which it may be done, as indicted by the words we use to describe it. “Lie is the straightforward word, imputing dishonesty; prevaricate implies evasion of the truth, as by quibbling, dodging, etc.; equivocate, the use of words having more than one sense in the hope that a sense not intended will be accepted; palter, a playing fast and loose not only in statements but in dealings; fib, a telling of an untruth that is trivial in matter or in significance” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).
The sin of lying is committed for a number of reasons. Guard yourself against:
1) Lies of vanity…told to administer to one’s own vanity, for self-esteem.
2) Lies of flattery…told to administer to the vanity of others, usually to advance one’s own interests.
3) Lies of convenience…told to save oneself from social embarrassment, to shirk a responsibility, to justify neglect.
4) Lies of fear…told through lack of moral courage, afraid to accept the consequences of telling the truth.
5) Lies of malignity…told to willfully injure the feelings or reputation of others; by slander and false insinuations.
6) Lies of wantonness…told because of a perverse fondness of telling “whoppers.” Prefer a lie instead of truth.
7) Practical lies…not spoken, but acted lies.
The sin of lying…all lying…has serious consequences. Consider the following: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). (Edited for length)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/04/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA