And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 25 May 18, 2008
In this issue:
"...buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses..." (Colossians 2:12-13)
Sinners are lost and dead in sin. The sinner who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). When he does so he is baptized into three things that are explained in Romans 6:3-4:
1) Baptized into Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:3). Salvation “is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:10). Therefore, all who are outside of Christ are lost in sin. You must be “baptized into Christ” to “put on Christ” (come into a saved relationship with Christ, Gal. 3:27). Have you put on Christ by being baptized into Him?
2) Baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3). Redemption and forgiveness of sins is through the blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7). Your sins remain until the blood is applied to them. The blood of Christ is applied when the believing, repentant sinner is baptized (Acts 22:16; 2:38). Have you been baptized into the death of Jesus in order to be saved by the blood of Jesus?
3) Baptized into death (Rom. 6:4). When baptized, the sinner dies to sin. The old man of sin is put to death as his sins are washed away by the blood of Christ: “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with” (Rom. 6:6). Being baptized is not a license to continue sinning; it is the beginning of your “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Have you died to your past sins and been raised to live with Christ? (Rom. 6:6-11)
Whose power saves the sinner when he is baptized?
1) Not the sinner’s power. He has obeyed the command of Jesus and has not earned anything (Lk. 17:10).
2) Not the water’s power. Baptism saves “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21). Water has no inherent power to save; thus, it takes more than just getting wet to be scripturally baptized.
3) The power of God saves the sinner (Rom. 1:16). Water baptism is an action of faith “in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:12-13). God’s grace saves when man’s faith obeys.
Do you have faith that the power of God will raise you from your death in sin and give you new life when you are baptized into Christ? If so, then repent and be baptized today. While you wait you remain lost in your sins.
Questions can be an effective way of teaching the truth. Jesus often asked questions to focus the issue, convict sinners, and expose error (Matt. 21:24; 22:42-45; Jno. 8:43). When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your doorstep, they often ask a question to begin their conversation with you about their teachings. It is wise and helpful for you to have your own list of questions to ask Jehovah’s Witnesses. They need to answer your Bible questions. Watch to see whether they give you a Bible answer or a Watchtower answer; whether they “rightly divide” the word of truth or twist it to their own destruction (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:16). Here are a few questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses to answer:
• Why Do You Call Yourselves Jehovah’s Witnesses Instead Of Christians? The Israelites were God’s witnesses to the world that there is no God besides Him (Isa. 43:10-15, 1). Witnesses was not a name God gave Israel; it was a description of what they did; Israel bore testimony of the only true God. However, the disciples of Jesus Christ were given “a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall name,” and that name is “Christian” (Is. 62:2; Acts 11:26).
• What Have You Witnessed? Jesus said a witness testifies concerning what he has seen and knows (Jno. 3:11). Have they seen God? No, John 1:18. Have they received a new revelation from God? No, Hebrews 1:1-2. They are not witnesses of Jehovah.
• Is Jesus Truly “God With Us” (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23)? The Bible clearly says Jesus is fully God as well as fully human: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe it. They assert that Jesus is a created being less than Jehovah. They say Jesus is “a god,” not “the God.” John 1:1-3 forever establishes that Jesus is God. The Witnesses have corrupted the passage in their New World Translation. In John 8:58, Jesus identifies Himself as eternal God, the “I AM” of Exodus 3:13-15 — Yahweh (Jehovah), “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…this is my name forever” (v. 15). Those who diminish the deity of Jesus do not honor the Father who sent him (Jno. 5:23; 1 Jno. 2:23).
• What Must I Do To Be Saved? Although the Witnesses baptize people, they do not believe it is for the remission of sins. They believe in salvation by faith only. For example, “What, then does Christian baptism signify? It is not a washing away of ones sins, because cleansing from sin comes only through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7). Rather, it is a public demonstration, testifying that one has made a solemn dedication to Jehovah God and is presenting himself to do His will” (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, pp. 183-184). In contrast to this error, the Bible says that water baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), to “wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16), and to “be saved” (Mk. 16:16).
(Continued next week)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:14-19
1. Tragic failing
we must overcome is the ability to see fault and areas that need improvement
in others while blinded to our own faults, Matt. 7:1-5.
I. “I’M THE EXCEPTION.” (Attitude of release from our spiritual obligations and responsibilities without fear of punishment)
A. Such an
Attitude Ignores Personal Responsibility before God, Gal. 6:5; 2 Cor. 5:10.
II. THE “EXCEPTION DEFENSE” USED…
Attendance of Worship Services, Heb. 10:24-25 (Jno. 4:23-24).
III. EXCUSES FOR NOT MEETING OUR PERSONAL OBLIGATION TO OBEY GOD.
A. “I didn’t
know”, Acts 17:30-31.
Pride and selfishness can keep us from doing what we know is right, Jas. 4:17.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:5-7
God was manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3:16.
I. IN HIM DWELLS ALL THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY, Col. 2:9.
A. All Treasures
of Wisdom and Knowledge are in Christ, Col. 2:1-3.
II. GOD BECAME MAN WITHOUT GIVING UP GODHOOD, Phil. 2:5-11.
A. Christ Emptied Himself of the Form of God and Took the Form of a Servant (Man).
III. CHRIST BOTH REVEALED THE FATHER AND BECAME THE SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS.
A. Son Reveals
the Father to Us, Heb. 1:1-3.
IV. THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH, Heb. 5:7-9.
A. His Life as
Man Equipped Christ to be a Perfect Sacrifice for Sin, Heb. 4:14-16; 2:9-10.
V. HOW THIS AFFECTS ME AND YOU.
A. Without this
Belief we will Die in our Sins, Jno. 8:23-24 (20:31).
* “Vatican: It’s OK for Catholics to Believe in Aliens” (FoxNews.com, May 13, 2008)
Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory and top astronomer at the Vatican, wrote an article recently entitled “The Extraterrestrial is My Brother.” In it, Funes offered his opinion on the possibility of intelligent life on other planets.
The Vatican has come a long way since 1633 when it ordered Galileo imprisoned (later commuted to house arrest) stating his view that the earth revolves around the stationary sun was “formally heretical” and banned his writings. Although Funes says there is no proof, this Vatican astronomer says the Big Bang theory is the most reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe. He says alien life forms do not contradict faith in God.
The truth has not changed, even though men do. God created the heavens and the earth in six days, man and woman were uniquely created in His image, and after that God rested from his work (Gen. 1-2). Catholic speculations notwithstanding, human beings have no “brethren” in outer space.
* “Man Dressed as Darth Vader Spared Jail for Attack on Found of Britain’s Jedi Church” (FoxNews.com, May 13, 2008)
That’s right, the Jedi church. “In the 2001 United Kingdom census, 390,000 (0.7% of the population) listed Jedi as their religion.” Amazing. Oh yeah, Darth Vader was wearing a garbage bag for a cape (and full of most of a 2½ gallon box of wine) when he assaulted the founders of the Jedi church. He was given a suspended sentence (seeing that his senses had already been suspended!).
We are reminded that people will put their faith in something, even if it is fictional movie characters and their make-believe faith. Then again, Jesus warned against make-believe faith, didn’t he? (Read Matthew 7:21-23; 15:7-14; Eph. 4:5 to learn more.)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/19/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA