And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 26 May 25, 2008
In this issue:
Humans have spent their history pondering that question. Countless poems have been penned, songs sung and books written, both extolling its virtue and exploring its complexities. Unfortunately, people often do not accurately define love. The love we are interested in understanding and living by is revealed to us in the Bible.
The Greek language in which the New Testament was first written had several words for love. This can present a problem to speakers of English, who use the one word, love, to describe a wide range of emotions, attitudes and conduct. We may “love” chocolate, but not in the way you “love” your parents. And, while we are to “love” our enemies they do not receive from us the same affection shared between husbands and wives. You see, unless we understand the different kinds of love that are discussed in the New Testament we will be ill-equipped to pursue love in the right way (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22).
1. Eros. This word (from which is derived the English word erotic) is not used in the New Testament. The Greeks used this word to describe the physical expressions of sensuality and sexuality between the sexes. This word came to be connected with lust rather than love by the time the New Testament was written.
2. Storge. This word is not found in the New Testament, either. It was used in secular Greek as a word for family love.
3. Phileo. This word represents the expression of warm, tender affection, of cherishing. Barclay noted that this word “describes a warm, intimate, tender relationship of body, mind and spirit” (Flesh and Spirit, 64). This word describes the kindness of loving one’s fellow man (Acts 28:2); of the cherishing love of a wife toward her husband and a mother toward her children (Titus 2:4); and of the brotherly love Christians should have for each other (Rom. 12:10; 1 Ths. 4:9-10; Heb. 13:1). We must be “lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4).
4. Agape. This love has been defined as “unconquerable benevolence” and “undefeatable goodwill” (Barclay, 65). It always seeks the highest good of its object. It is not affected by the way others treat it: it continues to act in the best interests of others.
While the world defines love on a purely physical plane (emotional, physical, erotic, etc.), the Bible elevates love to the essential motive of life (1 Cor. 13:1-3; Matt. 22:37-39). This love is an act of one’s will. For instance, one does not love his enemy with warm affection (phileo), but Christ says we must love (agapao) our enemy by doing him good (Matt. 5:44). Regardless of how others treat us, we must show them agape.
This love is the active expression of goodwill; the very essence and expression of God and of knowing God (1 Jno. 4:7-10). God has shown His love to all of us in the death of Jesus for our sins (Rom. 5:8). God’s love for us is the compelling reason for us to love Him and to love one another (1 Jno. 4:11). “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jno. 4:19).
-Building Bible Character, 27-28
• Did Christ Build The Watchtower Society, And If So, How? The Bible clearly says Jesus built His church, and adds those being saved to it (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47). His church is never called the Watchtower Society, and Christians were never called Jehovah’s Witnesses. Teaching about the church of Christ is conspicuously absent from Watchtower literature. In contrast, the New Testament stresses the importance of the church. Jesus died for it, purchasing it with His blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). Jesus built the church and He is its Savior (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 5:23). The church is the house of God, the temple of God, the body of Christ, the kingdom of God, and the bride of Christ (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:19-22; Col. 1:18; Matt. 16:19; Eph. 5:25-27). The church is part of God’s eternal plan to make known His wisdom of saving sinners in Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:10-11). None of this is emphasized by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
• Is The Gospel For All, Or Only For The Elect (The 144,000)? In truth, the Witnesses believe that very little of the New Testament is for all men today. Most of it, they believe, addresses the 144,000 (the only ones they believe will live in heaven eternally with God). However, Jesus said to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). He said to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).
• Who Are The 144,000? The number 144,000 is used figuratively by the Holy Spirit through the apostle John. It depicts all of the redeemed as known by God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and identified as His people (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-5). Generally, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe they are part of the 144,000, but of the “great multitude” they say will live forever on a paradisiacal earth. To them, it is prideful presumption to think they will go to heaven; only the 144,000 are there. The Bible teaches that all the redeemed are the 144,000, the elect of God (Eph. 1:4-7; Col. 3:12). This number figuratively describes all of God’s people, whom He knows and protects. In Revelation 7:1-10, the 144,000 are on the earth, not in heaven, while the great multitude is standing before the throne of God and the Lamb.
• Does The Soul Survive Death? The Witnesses believe man is a soul, but does not possess a soul. Soul is a comprehensive word that may speak of physical life as well as the spirit of man that is made in the image of God (Gen. 2:7; 1 Th. 5:23; Heb. 4:12). Jesus made a distinction between man’s body and his soul in Matthew 10:28. Witnesses believe death ends our existence, yet Jesus told of Lazarus and a rich man who consciously existed beyond death (Lk. 16:19-23).
• Is Hell Real And Its Punishment Eternal? The Witnesses deny it, yet Jesus repeatedly affirmed that hell is hot and its terrifying punishment eternal. Sinners will be “cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29-30). It is a place of condemnation (Matt. 23:33). The fire of hell is not quenched and its agony will not be eased (Mk. 9:43-48). The punishment of sinners in hell will last just as long as the righteous will experience eternal life (Matt. 25:46).
• Will The Heavens And Earth Be Destroyed? The Bible says they will “pass away” and “melt” with a great noise and fervent heat; all will be “burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10-13). Nothing of this physical world will remain; only a new realm for the righteous (heaven) and for the wicked (hell).
Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the word of truth and deny Jesus Christ is eternal God. They must repent toward God and have faith in Jesus to be saved (Acts 20:21). These questions will help them do so.
Kinds of Faith
· Weak, Rom. 4:19
· Little, Matt. 6:30
· Profitless, Jas. 2:14
· Dead, Jas. 2:17, 20
· Like demons, Jas. 2:19
· Great, Matt. 8:10
· Hidden, Jno. 9:42
· Visible, Matt. 9:2
· Saving, Lk. 7:50; Heb. 10:39
· Full of, Acts 6:5, 8
· Steadfast, Col. 2:5
· Working, 1 Ths. 1:3; Jas. 2:20
· Growing, 2 Ths. 1:3
· Sincere, 1 Tim. 1:5
· Genuine, 2 Tim. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:7
· Sound, Titus 2:2
· Rich, Jas. 2:5
· Mature, Jas. 2:22
· Precious, 2 Pet. 1:1
· Holy, Jude 20
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Examples of Moral Cowardice
· Herod, Mark 6:14-29
· Pilate, Luke 23:1-25
· Peter, Luke 22:54-62
· Believers who would not confess Jesus, John 12:42-43
· The Sanhedrin Council, Acts 4:13-22
· Felix, Acts 24:22-27
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:12-15
1. Memory is a
great blessing from God; yet, we need reminders because our memory fails.
I. DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAY OF YOUR CONVERSION?
A. The Day of
Your Salvation, Acts 22:16; 2:47 (Mk. 16:15-16; Jas. 2:17, 24; Col. 2:12;
Matt. 11:28-30; Acts 8:39; 16:33-34; Rom. 6:4, 17-18.
II. DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAY YOU WERE MARRIED?
A. Your Wedding
Day was the Day God Joined you Together, Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2; Mal. 2:14;
Gen. 2:23-24; Eph. 5:25, 28.
III. DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAY YOUR CHILD WAS BORN?
A. The Birthday
of Your Child, Psa. 127:3; Jgs. 13:8; Eph. 6:4.
IV. DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAY JESUS DIED?
A. God Expects
You to Remember it, 1 Cor. 11:24-25 (Matt. 27:26-31, 45-56; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Conclusion – Remember Jesus (2 Tim. 2:8) and live for righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24-25).
Gasoline and diesel are at all-time highs and climbing higher every day. Prices are rising for food, heating and cooling, clothing – and the list goes on. Price increases are nothing new, but they get our attention when they are rapid and pronounced. Take for example, “in 1910 a gallon of gas cost $ .07, a loaf of bread was $ .03 and a quart of milk was $ .03. The average starting salary for a college graduate in 1910 was $750 per year, or $14.42 per week. What could be bought for $20 today is about the same as you could buy with $1.00 back in 1910.” (Source: U.S. Commerce Department statistics, cited on WikiAnswers.com)
Americans appear willing to pay $4 per gallon for gasoline (albeit, with a lot of complaining). People are adjusting their lifestyles as best they can to keep pace with the growing expenses of our present economy.
The cost of being a disciple of Jesus has never been cheap. It is only offered at full price – there are no discount coupons.
Jesus made discipleship demanding and costly: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Lk. 14:33).
Are you making changes in your life in order to pay the price of being a disciple of Jesus? For instance, self-denial is one of the costs of discipleship that must be paid if you want to be saved (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20). Some will not pay the price; they believe the cost is too high. Jesus said otherwise (Matt. 16:26).
Self-denial includes changing your lifestyle so that sin does not find a place in your heart and life. Have you decided the price is too high? If so, consider the price Jesus paid to save you from your sins (1 Tim. 2:6).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/25/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA