And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 37 September 20, 2009
In this issue:
One of the things we can learn from the Old Testament is that God places righteous demands upon His people. Although we do not live under the old covenant we gain “patience and comfort” through the Old Testament Scriptures, giving us hope as we live by faith (Rom 15:4).
God spoke to Israel of His righteous demands by His prophet Micah, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) Consider each of these as they relate to Christians.
1) Do justly. Fairness and justice are hallmarks of integrity that should distinguish Christians from the world. Note that justice is active, not passive; it is something we do. It will reveal itself in our daily conduct among friends, strangers, neighbors, family and brethren. If we “pass by justice” (overlook, leave undone) on our way to keeping the minute elements of God’s law we are hypocrites (Lk 11:42; Matt 23:23). We must do the one without neglecting the other. Sacrifice without doing “righteousness and justice” is not acceptable to God (Prov 21:3; Micah 6:6-7).
2) Love mercy. While we all love mercy when it is given to us, the test of faith is to show mercy to those who have been unmerciful to us. This is the mercy God requires of us. Indeed, the mercy that God requires and will bless is given without a thought of reciprocity. Mercy comes from a heart that sees the distress of others and responds with compassion (Matt 5:7; Col 3:12). “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psa 41:1).
3) Walk humbly with your God. God does not walk with the proud; He will not abide their presence (Jas 4:6). Only when we humble ourselves before God will we be exalted (1 Pet 5:5). A life lived in humble submission to God is to be preferred over a life of material abundance filled with arrogant greed and selfishness (1 Tim 6:9-10; 17-19). A humble walk with God yields to His word in everything, shaping and molding one’s character into the image of His glory (Col 3:17, 10).
God’s righteous requirements are our responsibility. What He requires, we must do. Will you?
You have probably heard the one about the man who was going to represent himself in court – he had a fool for an attorney! The Bible teaches this principle when it says “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Prov 12:15). The person who is so consumed with himself that he could never possibly be wrong is a fool. He will not consider the possibility that his way might not be the best. And, if you try to change his mind he will gladly correct your “wrong” impression. Such a person is obstinate and rebellious against the will of God. Never mind that the God of the Universe has revealed His truth, this person is right because “he says so”. Truly, he is a fool.
The person who allows pride to dominate his heart is foolish. Pride opposes God and truth (1 Jno 2:16). Pride is not the source of wisdom, but of shame, contention and destruction (Prov 11:2; 13:10; 16:18).
However, the proverb also says “he who heeds counsel is wise”, while another one says “in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov 12:15; 24:6). The value of wise and godly counsel cannot be overestimated.
Whom we turn to for counsel makes all the difference in the world. People in the world give worldly counsel, while people of faith will turn us to the will of God (Psa 1:1-2; 1 Cor 15:33). We must seek out counselors who will help us follow God’s path of righteousness. Choose wise counselors, including the following:
1) The word of God (Psa 119:97-100, 104, 130). By turning to God’s word for counsel we are going to the wisdom of the Wise One. The psalmist emphatically states that God’s word made him wiser than his enemies, his teachers and the aged. In contrast to man’s failure to understand the value of wisdom, Job declared that “God understands its way, and He knows its place” (Job 28:13, 23). There is no greater source of wise counsel than God’s word!
2) Godly parents (Prov 1:8-9; 4:1-2). Some children think their parents do not know anything. But, since parents have already experienced much more of life than their children, the wise child listens to their counsel. To disregard the advice of your parents is the way of foolishness.
3) A true friend (Prov 17:17; 27:6). This is one who, because of your close friendship, holds your best interests supreme. His or her advice may hurt you, but it will help you because it is “faithful”. It is wise to seek out friends who will give us advice that is for our spiritual good.
4) People with experience (2 Kgs 12:4-13). Rehoboam pridefully rejected the wisdom of the old men for the counsel of youthful power. It led to civil war and the division of Israel. We should listen to those who have experienced things we now face; they can teach us important lessons (Tit 2:3-5).
Yes, pride keeps us from seeking wise, God-approved counsel. In contrast, the one who fears God hates pride and chooses advice and counsel that leads him or her in the paths of righteousness (Prov 8:13). God favors the humble, but resists the proud (Jas. 4:6). Therefore, choose humble wisdom instead of arrogant foolishness. “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov 9:9-10).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
Matt 14:13: Extraordinary events occurred that confirmed the Father’s endorsement of the Son and the Son’s loving compassion for the lost.
I. THE COMPASSION OF JESUS.
Concern for the Apostles, Mk 6:30-32, 7; Lk 9:6, 10; Heb 4:9-11.
II. JESUS SUPPLIES FOOD, Jno 6:33-35.
Feast in the Deserted Place, Matt 14:15-21.
III. OBEY THE LORD’S COMMANDS EVEN IF THEY SEEM IMPLAUSIBLE TO US, Matt 14:15-17 (Jno 6:5-6).
Obedience is the Test of Our Faith. (Lk 6:46) Matt 14:15.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:13-16
is prepared for those who are prepared, Heb 11:13-16.
I. WARNINGS AGAINST SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES, Gal 6:7-10; Rom 2:5-11; Lk 13:3, 5; 1 Pet 4:1-6; Matt 5:27-28; 1 Co 6:18; Prov 20:1.
II. MOST ARE NOT READY TO DIE, Matt 25:20-21, 34; Phil 1:21-23; Lk 12:20 (Jas 4:13-17); Psa 52:5-7; 39:4-6.
III. DESIRE, HOPE AND PRIORITIES, Rom 8:24-25, 18-19; Jno 14:1-3; 1 Jno 2:15-17; Matt 6:33; Lk 9:23; Gal 2:20.
IV. GOOD OUTWEIGH SIN? “AIN’T NO HURRY…HAVIN’ FUN!” Matt 6:1-4; Acts 5:1-11; 2 Cor 9:6-7; Eph 5:16; Amos 6:3; 9-10; Matt 24:48-51
V. WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE? Rev 21: 21-26; 22:1-5; 2 Cor 4:16-18; 2 Ti 4:6-8
VI. HEAVEN AND HELL ARE REAL, Rom 2:5; cf. Matt 5:29-30.
VII. EVERYBODY’S ATTITUDE? (Hallelujah) Rev 19:1, 3-4, 6; Matt 7:13-14, 21-23
1. Do you
want to go to heaven now? Are you ready to go to heaven now?
Clyde Comes Home
Did you hear about Clyde? He’s the long-haired Himalayan cat in Australia that was found 2,400 miles from home. The mystery is how did Clyde, who lived with its owner on the island state of Tasmania, make the journey to the Australian outback. “But no one has a clue how Clyde managed the 185-mile (300-kilometer) sea journey across the Bass Strait from Tasmania off mainland Australia's southeast coast, and then about more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) overland to Cloncurry, deep in the arid interior of the Outback.” (“Stray Australian Cat Returns Home After 2,400-Mile Journey”, AP, foxnews.com) Clyde was identified by a microchip that had been imbedded under its skin and returned to his owner, Ashleigh Sullivan, age 19.
Like Clyde, sin takes us far from home, leaving us in a spiritual outback far removed from God and His people (Isa 59:1-2; Col 1:21). Those who love us are brought to despair by our lost condition.
We don’t know how Clyde wandered so far from home, but we know how sin takes us away from God and the life He gives: we are tempted by sin and we yield to its allurement, producing spiritual death (Jas 1:14-16). We must resist temptation and so, resist sin (1 Cor 10:13; 1 Pet 5:8).
A microchip identified Clyde, but it is God’s word that identifies us and our sin so that we can “go home” to God (be saved). The living word of God reveals who we are and who we ought to be and who we can be in Christ (Heb 4:12-13; Jas 1:21-25).
God always knows where you are. Are you lost in sin? Christ will save you when you call on His name (Acts 2:21, 36-42; 22:16). Believe, repent, be baptized and live faithfully to Jesus.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/20/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA