And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 48 October 26, 2008
In this issue:
God commanded Israel to keep the Passover when he was about to deliver them from Egyptian bondage (Exo. 12:1-14). God commanded Israel to keep this service when the nation would pass into the land of promise (Exo. 12:25). And, they were to teach their children about it. “And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. (Exo. 12:26-27)
Do you know why you do what you do religiously? The Lord expects Christians to “always be ready to give a defense (answer, KJV) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). The answer given is a “defense”, a God-approved declaration of your hope and your faith.
What answers do you give to the follow questions? Are your answers from the Bible, or from the wisdom, will and traditions of men?
1) What do you mean by water baptism; is it necessary for salvation? Many people incorrectly answer this question because they have been taught that water baptism is an attempt to earn salvation. That is incorrect, since no one can earn their salvation (Lk. 17:10; Eph. 2:8-9). Yet, Jesus commanded it and gives salvation to all who obey him (Mk. 16:16; Heb. 5:8-9). So, if you answer that water baptism is necessary for salvation because Jesus commanded it, you are correct. Jesus was very plain when he said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). This answer ought to be enough for the person who believes the words of Jesus Christ and wants to be saved. (See also, Acts 2:38-41; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21)
2) What do you mean by only singing; why don’t you use instruments, too? If you answer because the word of Christ commands Christians to sing in worship, you will be right (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Just as Israel could not add a calf to the Passover sacrifice in addition to the lamb and God be pleased with the addition, Christians cannot add another kind of music to our worship that Christ has not approved (see Col. 3:17).
3) What do you mean by faithfully attending all the worship services arranged for the local church? If you answer that our assemblies are times for us to worship and praise God and to grow in our personal faith, you would be right. These are among the reasons the Lord expects us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:26). Casually missing worship services is not what Jesus wants of us.
4) What do you mean by the church of Christ? Many people believe the church of Christ is a denomination like all the other churches in the community. However, if you answer that the church of Christ is the “called out” group of people who have been redeemed by Christ, your answer agrees with the Scriptures. The New Testament teaches that Christ built his church – the church of Christ – upon the truth that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16-18). Jesus did not build a denomination; he built a body of saved people – the church that belongs to Christ. That is why his church is called “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Heb. 12:28). Read that statement carefully. The church of Christ is composed of those who are registered (enrolled) in heaven. The church of Christ is the body of Christ, the fullness of Christ and those who are saved in Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23). Jesus did not die to build division among believers (which is what denominations do). Jesus died to build one body of saved people: the church of Christ.
When a believer in Christ repents and is baptized in water for the remission of sins, the Lord adds him or her to his church (Acts 2:37-41, 47). Have you been added to the church of Christ (the church that belongs to Christ) by obeying the Bible plan of salvation?
Whatever you do religiously must have the approval of heaven (Matt. 21:23-25). Heaven’s will for your life and heaven’s approval for what you believe and practice is revealed in the inspired Scriptures, not in the creeds of men and not in your personal preferences (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
What do you mean by the service you offer God? Be sure God approves! (Col. 3:17)
“He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (Jn. 8:47)
He who is of God hears God’s word (ibid.).
· Those who do not hear are not of God
· Hearing must “Receive” that which is heard. “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it [hold it fast, NASB] and bear fruit with patience” (Lk. 8:15)
He who is of God hears the apostles
· “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:6)
· “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (Matt. 10:40)
· “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37)
He who is of God hears the truth
· The “word” is “truth” (Jn. 17:17)
· If the “word” is an irritant then the “truth” is an irritant. If truth irritates us, then Christ irritates us (Jn. 14:6). They are all inseparable.
Are you “of God?” Do you walk with God? Test yourself:
1. Do you regularly meet with
saints (Heb. 10:25)?
DO YOU HEAR GOD?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Paradox: “Contrary to expectation”…
I. CURSE AND BLESSING, Gal. 3:10-14.
The Curse of Sin and Death, Gal. 3:13 (Deut. 21:23); 2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:6,
II. HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION.
Humiliation of Christ, Isa. 53:3-6, 10-12; Phil. 2:5-8.
III. INJUSTICE AND MERCY.
No Crime in Him (Acts 8:33) Jno. 18:29-38 (19:4, 6); Lk. 23:22-25.
IV. HATE AND LOVE.
Hated without a Cause, Jno. 15:22-25; Matt. 27:19.
V. SIN AND RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Sin at Cross, Matt. 27:24-25; Lk. 23:39ff
VI. DEATH AND LIFE.
Horrific Death, Jno. 19:30-35.
VII. DEFEAT AND VICTORY.
Apparent Defeat in His Death, Matt. 26:56; 27:50.
Plant Dignity and Human Folly
The Swiss government granted legal rights and protection earlier this year to animals and plants. Under the law passed in April, 2008, “dog owners will be required to complete a canine treatment course, anglers must take classes on humane fishing and goldfish may no longer be flushed down the toilet.” (Citizenlink.org, 4-29-08)
Now, the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology has authored a report explaining “The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants”. They say: “living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive.” Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim “absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that “individual plants have an inherent worth.” This means that “we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily.” (“The Silent Scream of the Asparagus,” Wesley J. Smith, The Weekly Standard, May 5, 2008)
Did you get that? Plants are moral beings that cannot be indiscriminately destroyed due to their moral worth. In other words, it is immoral to kill a plant just for the sake of killing it. You can’t pull up that weed just because you don’t like it. My question is, if you don’t have a green thumb and your plants die, are you a murderer?
In the meantime, innocent unborn human life as well as aged afflicted human life is treated with no dignity, but rather contempt. There are millions of abortions worldwide every year, including partial-birth abortions in America (which Barack Obama supports). Assisted suicide is now being voted on in the state of Washington and is already the law in Oregon.
Human life is a gift from God. We alone are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Animal and vegetable life is under the rule of man; not on a moral equivalence with man (Gen. 1:29; 9:1-3; Psa. 8:3-8).
People who reject creation and refuse to retain God in their knowledge invariably spiral into a moral abyss and the darkness of human foolishness (Rom. 1:21-32).
It is not murder to kill a dandelion. But it is murder to kill the unborn. Fewer and fewer are able to tell the difference!
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/26/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA