And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 11 March 22, 2009
In this issue:
Only the willfully ignorant refuse to acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth lived on the earth; the evidence is undeniable. Still, one can accept the fact of His life yet not believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:13-14).
Why should a person believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Let us see two basic reasons offered in the Scriptures: What Jesus said and did. His miracles validated His claim to be God’s Son (see Mk. 2:1-12).
Jesus encouraged people to use His works to test His claims: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (Jno. 10:37-38). When tried, Jesus stands the test.
A narrative of what Jesus “began both to do and teach” was decidedly adequate for Theophilus to “know the certainty of those things” which he had been instructed” (Acts 1:1; Lk. 1:1-4). The testimony of the apostles – “those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word” (Lk. 1:2) – presents what Jesus taught and did as the basis for faith: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name’ (Jno. 20:30-31).
This is how “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Rom. 10:17). The Bible presents the words we need to hear and the deeds we need to know about Jesus in order to believe He is the Christ, the Son of God.
The teachings of Jesus have been faithfully recorded for our learning so that we may believe and obtain life in His name. Inspired Scriptures inform us of the “miracles, wonders and signs” Jesus did among His disciples as well as in the midst of unbelievers (Acts 2:22). Today as then, the miraculous powers of Jesus persuade the honest of heart to believe His word and obey it. Like Peter, those who hear and believe are persuaded to say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jno. 6:68).
Those who “believe in His name” (because of His words and works) “have the right to become children of God” (Jno. 1:12). Faith alone will not save you (Jas. 2:14, 24). But, when you obey the “implanted word” it will save your soul (Jas. 1:21-22). The words and works of Jesus compel us to believe and obey Him. He is the Christ, the Son of God.
Faith has been described as taking God at His word and doing whatever He says (cf. Heb. 11:1, 6). A person who lives by faith is faithful to God (2 Cor. 5:7). He is reliable and dependable toward the things of God. He is trustworthy to the cause of Christ. He can be counted on to obey the word of God. On the other hand, unfaithfulness to God shows a lack of faith in God. The fruit of the Spirit includes “faith” (KJV) or “faithfulness” (NKJV, ASV) (Gal. 5:22).
1) Faithfulness in little things. Our faithfulness is seen by how we handle “little” things. Jesus said “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Lk. 16:10). Jesus used our care for material things to illustrate how we will care for spiritual things.
2) Faithful servants. Oh, how faithfulness is needed in the church of Christ. Faithfulness is a matter of loyalty to Christ. The “faithful and wise servant” is loyal to his lord, honestly fulfilling his duties as a servant even when his master is not personally present to oversee his work (Matt. 24:45-47).
God sees and knows what we say and do. If we are unfaithful (unreliable, negligent and disloyal) servants, we will receive eternal punishment when we face our Master (Matt. 24:48-51). Let us be faithful to God by fulfilling the tasks He gives us in His house, the church (1 Cor. 4:2; Rom. 12:3-8; cf. Gaius, 3 Jno. 5-8).
3) Faithfulness in families. Consider what a difference it would make in the world if faithfulness were in every home. What if every husband and every wife were loyal to each other; if each could totally trust the other to be faithful to the interests and welfare of their marriage? Broken homes would be eliminated. What God has joined together would stay together. Millions of parents and children would not face the emotional, financial and spiritual devastation of divorce. The positive impact on society would be tremendous. The effects of unfaithfulness on the family are profound, including infidelity, child and spousal abuse, selfishness, poverty, neglect and chaos (1 Pet. 3:1-2, 5-7; Eph. 5:22-33).
4) Faithfulness at work. Faithfulness on the job is required of the Christian; he works with “all good fidelity” (Titus 2:9-10). Here, the Christian’s faithfulness is contrasted with insubordination, abusive confrontation and stealing from his master. When a Christian is trustworthy at work he beautifies the gospel (v. 10). When he is unfaithful, he tarnishes his name and blackens the name of Christ.
5) Faithful when tempted to sin. We need faithfulness to resist temptations. Withstanding temptation is accomplished through faith (1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1:6-9; 1 Jno. 5:4).
Being faithful calls for all our energy to be directed toward heaven (Col. 3:1-3). Faithfulness helps us be deliberate and diligent in fulfilling our duties to the Lord (Heb. 6:11-12). Obedience to Christ increases our faith and assures us the victory of faith, eternal life (Lk. 17:5-10; Rev. 17:14; Heb. 10:36-39).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:13-19
is head of the church, Eph. 1:20-23.
I. IT HAD BEEN PREDICTED, Psa. 118:21-24.
be (was) Rejected by Men, 118:22 (Acts 4:11-12); Matt. 21:33-45.
II. HE WAS APPOINTED BY GOD, Heb. 1:2; Eph. 1:20-22.
with Glory and Honor, Heb. 2:5-9.
III. HE HAS AUTHORITY IN ALL THINGS, Col. 1:18 (1 Cor. 11:3).
Authority over all Men, Matt. 28:18.
IV. AS HEAD OF HIS CHURCH, JESUS CHRIST…
Commissioned His Apostles, Jno. 20:21; Matt. 28:19-20.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:35-38
Forgive: “to send forth, send away”.
Order to Forgive we must have an Abiding Faith in and Submission to God.
III. BECAUSE FORGIVENESS IS GOOD FOR US, Lk. 6:37-38.
A. Spiritual Blessings: Thinking and Acting Like God, cf. Acts 20:35; Matt. 18:32-35; Eph. 4:31-32; Jas. 2:13; Lk. 6:36-37.
IV. SO THAT WE ALSO MAY BE FORGIVEN, Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Mk. 11:25; Lk. 11:4; 6:35-37; 17:3-4.
Too Big to Fail?
During this era of financial “bail outs” (courtesy of the US taxpayers) we have been told that some companies are “too big to fail”, notably, American International Group Inc. (AIG). This is said to impress upon us the unimaginable consequences of its failure. I have no doubt there would be significant financial repercussions should AIG fail (most of which I’m sure I don’t understand). But, we can all understand this from God’s word: whenever man thinks anything he does has to be propped up or bailed out because it is “too big to fail” then he had better get ready for a great fall! “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). We must remain humble before God!
Governments are not too big to fail. God has raised up and brought down mighty kingdoms; none of them were “too big to fail”. From Egypt to Babylon to Rome and a host of others, God’s overriding rule in the kingdoms of men has been constantly displayed. It is only those blinded by pride who refuse to see the rule of God in the kingdoms of men (Dan. 4:25, 30-37). Neither America nor its institutions are “too big to fail”.
Men are not too big to fail. The builders of the tower and city of Babel thought their project was “too big to fail” until God confused their languages, leaving their emblem of greatness unfinished (Gen. 11:1-9). Remember that Goliath was big, but not too big to fail (1 Sam. 17:43-49). Faith is the victory (1 Jno. 5:4)!
Churches are not too big to fail. The Jerusalem church that once boasted thousands upon thousands of souls is no more. Churches of Christ thrive only when each soul of each generation holds fast the faith and teaches others (2 Tim. 2:2). Complacent conceit brings eternal failure (Rev. 3:1-3, 15-19).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/23/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA