And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 12 February 17, 2008
In this issue:
The practice of only singing in worship without playing music is perplexing to some and upsetting to others. All can agree it is proper to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” – it is the addition of playing that disrupts unity (Eph. 5:19). Why do some so strenuously defend using instrumental music in worship?
1) Some confuse an aid with an addition. Some try to parallel using instrumental music to using song books or a sound system. This is comparing apples and oranges. Song books are tools that aid us in obeying the Lord’s instruction to “sing”. When used, singing results. However, an instrument does not sing, nor is it an aid to vocal music. Instrumental music is not vocal music at all; it is another kind of music. When used, one plays and sings. In Ephesians 5:19, “singing” is not “playing”. To add “play” is to go beyond what is written, which violates the revealed will of God (1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18; 2 Jno. 9).
2) Some believe the silence of God’s word gives them permission to act. The assumption is made that in the absence of a positive statement allowing instrumental music in worship, one can add it to what the word of God actually says. The Scriptures say to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Ths. 5:21). Using instrumental music in worship is not found in the New Testament; it fails the test of what is good in worship.
3) Some view the need to be restrained by what the text actually says as “legalism.” Of course, it is not legalism to do what the Bible says to do. Carefully following the doctrine delivered to us by the apostles of Christ is repeatedly commended in Scripture (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 3:10). Failure to be content with the word Christ rebuked and rejected (1 Tim. 6:3-5). Charging legalism does not approve of additions to the Scriptures.
We must not defend a type of worship that is not contained in the word of Christ. We must energetically contend for the faith that has been delivered to the saints, namely, that singing is the music Christ commands and commends of us (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; Jas. 5:13). Only worship that is “in spirit and in truth” pleases God; all else is self-imposed religion based upon the commandments and traditions of men (Jno. 4:23-24; Col. 2:20-23; Matt. 15:7-9).
The apostle Paul used an allegory in Galatians 4:21-31 to show the error of demanding people obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved (v. 21). Simply put, to do so forfeits the eternal blessings of Christ.
In the allegory, Hagar, Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac typify the old and new covenants: “For these are the two covenants” (Gal. 4:23-24). The comparison is extended to affirm this truth: the old covenant has been cast out and is no longer binding upon men. Those who fail to distinguish between the Law of Moses and the gospel of Christ make a serious blunder. And, those who bind Moses’ law in order to be saved do so without God’s approval. The allegory shows:
1) The two covenants cannot be in force at the same time. They do not coexist. The bondwoman Hagar gave birth to Ishmael and symbolizes the Mt. Sinai covenant (Gal. 4:24). The freewoman Sarah gave birth to Isaac “through promise” and symbolizes the gospel of Christ (Gal. 4:23; Heb. 8:13).
Hagar and Sarah did not live together in peace, and neither did their offspring, Ishmael and Isaac. As a result, Hagar and her son Ishmael were cast out (Gen. 16:1-6; 21:8-14). This typifies the inability of the old and new covenants to peacefully coexist. Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, law-binding Jews persecuted Christians (Gal. 4:29). The answer was not to give in to the law-binding Jew; it was to “cast it out” along with its offspring (Gal. 4:30).
2) The old covenant produces bondage, but the new covenant provides freedom. Just like Hagar and Ishmael were in bondage, the Law of Moses kept those under it in the bondage of sin (Gal. 4:25; Rom. 3:20-23). There was bondage under the old law; it could not redeem men from the curse of sin and death (Gal. 3:10-11, 21-23; Heb. 10:4). However, the new covenant of Christ gives freedom from sin (Gal. 4:26; 5:1). Christ redeems sinners “from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13). The old law could never do this.
So, those who teach people must live under the Law of Moses are teaching people to remain in the bondage of sin! Redemption from sins is only obtained in Christ through the new covenant of His blood (Heb. 9:11-14).
3) The old covenant does not provide an inheritance of the promises of God, but Christians inherit an eternal inheritance under the new covenant. God’s promised blessing to Abraham and his Seed was not given under nor obtained through the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:15-19). The old law promised death to sinners, not an eternal inheritance (Gal. 3:10, 13, 18). In the gospel, Christ gives the inheritance of eternal life to the children of God (Gal. 3:19-25). Christians are “heirs of the promise” because they are in Christ and follow His covenant – not because they follow the old covenant (Gal. 3:24-29).
4) “Cast out the bondwoman and her son!” (Gal. 4:30) The old covenant cannot save sinners; the gospel of Christ saves the lost (Rom. 1:16). So, cast out the law of bondage and stand fast in the liberty from sin by which Christ has made you free (Gal. 4:30-5:1).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 3
1. Why do God’s
people suffer? Some wrong answers…Job 4:7; 22:4-5; Jno. 9:1-3 (Lk. 13:1-5).
I. SUFFERING IS A TIME OF EDUCATION, Heb. 12:3-8, 11 (Heb. 5:7-8).
* Opportunity to
turn to God, to repent, grow spiritually & refine ourselves (Examples: Amos
4:6-12; Hag. 2:17).
II. SUFFERING SERVES TO REFINE US, 1 Pet. 1:6-7 (Job 23:10-12; Psa. 66:10-12).
* Produces Trust,
III. THE CHRISTIAN’S SUFFERING CAN BE A TESTIMONY TO OTHERS…
* Of God’s
righteous judgment, 2 Ths. 1:4-5.
IV. SUFFERING FOR CHRIST SHOULD BE HUMBLY RECEIVED, 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:16.
* With rejoicing,
1 Pet. 4:12-14; Mt. 5:10-12
Conclusion Jas. 1:12; Heb. 12:11; Rev. 14:13; 21:4.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1. Men have made
false distinctions between the gospel of Christ and the doctrine of Christ.
I. THE GOSPEL THAT WAS PREACHED, 1 Cor. 15:1-4 (Gal. 1:6-9).
A. The Gospel is
a Word that is Preached, 15:1-2; 1 Ths. 2:13 (4).
II. SOME SINFUL EFFECTS THAT HAPPEN WHEN FALSE DISTINCTIONS ARE MADE BETWEEN GOSPEL AND DOCTRINE.
A. The Reality
and Necessity of True Doctrine is Rejected, 1 Tim. 4:6, 16; 2 Tim. 4:2-4.
1. No difference in
the Bible between “gospel” and “doctrine.”
The Power that Keeps on Working
A satellite with its toxic contents is about to fall from the sky. The U.S. military is making preparations to shoot it down first. The satellite was launched in December 2006, but never deployed properly and has been slowly descending ever since.
Man-made satellites must have periodic course adjustments to remain in orbit. Some are allowed to fall out of orbit and burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.
This reminds me that the moon has no booster rockets to keep it in orbit around the earth. Neither does the earth have jets to keep it in orbit around the sun. What tremendous power it takes to keep these huge satellites rotating on their axes and revolving around their larger neighbors!
The Bible attributes this power to God, and specifically to the Son of God: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16-17) Both the power of creation and the power to hold all things together (“consist”) belongs to the Son, who is “upholding all things by His power” (Heb. 1:3).
Men have discovered great sources of power which have been used for good and for evil. But the word of Christ is so powerful it created the universe and sustains its precision. Most importantly, it is the same word that has power to save your soul (Rom. 1:16; 1 Pet. 1:22-25). Believe in and use God’s power to be saved by obeying the gospel now (Mk. 16:15-16).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/18/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA