And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 09 March 01, 2009
In this issue:
Just as four men, each viewing the same event, will recall and highlight some of the same events as well as include things unique to each one’s point of view and purpose for recalling the event, so also it is with the first four books of the New Testament. Consider Luke’s opening remarks concerning his purpose and method of writing as well as that of the “eyewitnesses” (the apostles):
“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Luke 1:1-4)
The first three books of the New Testament are known as the synoptic gospels. The term “synoptic” means “presenting or taking the same or common view” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Matthew, Mark and Luke are synoptic gospels since they contain the same general view or approach to the life of Christ. The gospel of John is no less important than these three; it simply views the life of Christ from a different point of view. By these four accounts we may know for certain what we have been taught about Christ is sound and that our faith is sure.
Matthew, Mark and Luke present the life of Jesus Christ from the same general approach or point of view. These first three books of the New Testament harmonize to give us a good understanding of the words and works of Jesus. The gospel of John presents the life of Christ from a different point of view. John selects certain events from the life of Jesus as evidence that He the Christ, the son of God. The first four books of the New Testament contain the good news of Jesus Christ, and are inspired by God for our learning and our faith.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:32-39
Hebrews 11 defines and illustrates faith that pleases God, Heb. 11:6.
I. BY FAITH YOU IDENTIFY THE DIVINE DESIGN OF THE UNIVERSE, Heb. 11:3.
A. Faith Understands With the Mind, Heb. 3:4; Rom. 1:20.
B. Faith Understands the World was Framed by the Word of God, 11:3; Psa. 33:6-9. (Jno. 1:3; Col. 1:16); Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, et al.
II. BY FAITH YOU ACT ON GOD’S PROMISES, Heb. 11:8-22.
A. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob Trusted God’s Promises; Gen. 12:1-3 (Isaac, 26:4; Jacob, 28:14).
B. A Pleasing Faith Obeys, Trusts and Hopes, 11:8-9, 17, 11, 10, 13-16.
III. BY FAITH YOU ESTEEM CHRIST ABOVE ALL, Heb. 11:23-26.
A. Faith is not afraid of Men, 11:23; He. 13:6; cf. Jno. 12:42-43; Acts 5:29
B. Faith is not controlled by Earthly Advantages, Heb. 11:24-26.
C. Faith is Deliberate, 11:24-26 (14:27-33).
IV. FAITH OVERCOMES TREMENDOUS ODDS, Heb. 11:29-38.
A. The Victory of Faith, 11:29-34.
B. The Victory of Faith comes through the Trials of Faith, 11:35-38; 1 Pet. 1:3-9.
C. They call us to Greater Faith, 12:1-2.
Why is that the Law?
In August 2007 The Times of London compiled a list of the world’s strangest laws (TimesOnline, “The World’s Strangest Laws”, Alex Wade, 17Aug07). According to this report, some of them are:
“In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.
“In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.
“In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be jailed.
“In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.
“In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.”
I wonder; why did these ordinances become law in the first place? While I suspect some of them have been on the books for a very, very long time, it is intriguing to see what has concerned people to the point they enacted such laws.
God has ordained and given His laws for man’s good. Divine mandates are not capricious edicts intended to burden humanity. God’s law expresses divine wisdom and love for the purpose of bringing about mankind’s highest moral good and finally, the salvation of the soul.
Moses said to Israel, “And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.” (Deut. 6:24)
The apostle Paul wrote, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).
We must not argue, complain and fight against the commands of God. They are for our good – whether we see the good at the moment or not. This is where faith comes in; trusting God that His way is best, and humbling yielding to His revealed word. It’s called “fearing God” (Matt. 10:28; Eccl. 12:13; Acts 10:34-35).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/17/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA