And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 42 October 25, 2009
In this issue:
Sin produced hardship while promising liberty; “the way of the transgressor is hard” (Prov 13:15; 2 Pet 2:19). The lasting consequences and difficulties of sin upon a person’s life are readily seen, from the criminal who must pay the penalty for his crimes to the adulterer who must end an unscriptural remarriage to be right with God.
Jesus said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). So, what does the person do who is in a sinful remarriage?
Some say one may remain with the person he is married to when he obeys the gospel. This teaching gives baptism the power of legitimizing sinful remarriages. This false doctrine fails to teach the works of repentance (which mandate ceasing every sin, Lk 3:8-14; Acts 26:20; Rev 9:20-21). “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:1-2)
When the adulterer in an unscriptural remarriage repents he cannot continue in his sinful relationship. He (or she) must end the unlawful marriage and either “remain unmarried or be reconciled” to the person to whom God joined him (1 Cor 7:10-11; Matt 19:6).
Those in such a situation have been heard to say that to remain single for the rest of their life because of their previous adultery is a punishment from God. This fails to honor the lifelong nature of the marriage they freely entered when they first said, “I do” (Rom 7:2-3). Furthermore, it overlooks the consequences that sin brings upon the sinner.
than viewing as a punishment the making of oneself a eunuch for the kingdom
of heaven’s sake (Matt 19:12), one should view it as a sacrifice for Jesus.
To deny self and take up one’s cross to follow Jesus may take great
sacrifice. To do so will yield an eternal weight of glory (Lk 9:23; 2 Cor
It is hard to repent. Not surprisingly, repentance does not get a great deal of attention from religionists who are more concerned with numbers or with scratching itching ears than with the conversion of souls. After all, when you start talking about repentance you have to bring up the “s” word – sin. That turns off many folks. Sin is being stricken from our vocabulary in this age of self-absorption and personal satisfaction. Nevertheless, Jesus spoke of sin and of repentance, saying that “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3, 5). It is fundamental to the gospel that sinners who do not repent will remain lost in their sin. So, it is to our benefit to know what repentance is as well as why it can be so difficult.
Repent is the English word used to translate the Greek word metanoeo, derived from meta (“with”, a preposition of accompaniment, Strong) and noieo (“to exercise the mind, observe, consider, perceive, think, understand”, Thayer). To repent means to change one’s mind, hence, to think differently. This change of thinking results in changed conduct. For instance, with John preached repentance he also taught his audience to “bear the fruits worthy of repentance” (Lk 3:8, 10-14). The effect of a sinner changing his mind to think differently about his sin will prompt the cessation of his sin as well as obedience to the will of God.
Why is it so difficult to repent? Here are some reasons we learn from God’s word:
1) Repentance is difficult because it requires humility of heart. Pride hinders repentance because it renders the heart hard and desensitized to the guilt of sin (cf. Heb 3:13). Pride hinders acknowledging our sins to ourselves, to those we sin against and to God. Pride prevents us from accepting that we have sinned against God – even when God’s word clearly reveals our sin (Rom 3:23). It was pride that prevented many from repenting when they heard John preach the word of God. He warned them of their pride which said “We have Abraham as our father” (Lk 3:8; cf. Jno 8:33). They were confident in spite of refusing to repent. Until the heart is humble before God one will not repent of his sins.
When king David arrogantly tried to hide his sins it led to even more sin (2 Sam 11; Psa 32:3-4). Repentance involves a change of heart from pride to humility – a change that willingly confesses the presence of sin in one’s life. David obtained God’s forgiveness when his mind changed from pride to humility – when he repented (Psa 32:5). We can learn from David not to stubbornly and proudly “be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding” (Psa 32:9). We must humble ourselves in order to truly repent.
2) Repentance is difficult because it requires a radical change in our thinking and behavior. The unrepentant are content to continue committing sin. Consequently, they do not repent “of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Rev 9:21). The light of the gospel exposes sinful conduct and calls us to change the way we think about sin in general and our sin in specific. Only when we change how we think about our values, our desires and our goals will we truly bear the fruit of changed conduct. When we change our heart’s attitudes and thoughts we will begin to put away sin and no longer let it rule over our emotions, our attitudes and our actions (Rom 6:6-14).
In 1 Peter 4:1-3, the Holy Spirit teaches us to live “for the will of God” by having the “same mind” as Christ, who suffered in the flesh to do the will of God. Only with the mind of Christ will we refuse the “lusts of men” with its “lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries”. The difficulty in repentance is not only in ceasing such sinful activities, but especially in changing the mind so we no longer desire the sinful conduct.
3) Repentance is difficult because it requires sacrifice. Repentance means we must give up our sin. Most believe that is too great a price to pay, and so they pay for their transgressions with their souls (Matt 16:26). The unloving must give up their selfishness, the greedy must give up their lack of contentment, and the violent must give up their intimidation of the innocent (Lk 3:10-14). Whatever sin is ruling us, whatever sinful lust is driving us, it must be completely abandoned in order to do the will of God. Otherwise, we will not repent and we will remain lost in sin.
God commands all people to repent because He will judge us (Acts 17:30-31). God wants you to be saved. Therefore, “repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin” (Ezek 18:30).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Leviticus 10:1-7
God’s word says we must have positive authority for what we believe and do, 1 Ths 5:21. We must have a “thou shalt” / “thus saith the Lord”, Col 3:17.
I. BIBLE SILENCE DOES NOT GIVE DIVINE CONSENT. Deut 29:29.
A. Do Not
Go Beyond What is Written, 1 Cor 4:6 (2 Jno 9); 1 Cor 4:6; 2 Jno 9.
II. WHEN MEN JUSTIFY THEMSELVES BY “SILENCE” IT USUALLY MEANS MAN WANTS TO ADD SOMETHING TO WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY SAID.
and Abihu, Lev 10:1-3.
III. WE MUST POSSESS POSITIVE AUTHORITY FROM GOD IN ORDER TO ACT WITH HIS APPROVAL, Col 3:17.
does the Scripture say? Isa 8:20
IV. SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FORBID US PLEADING “GOD DIDN’T SAY NOT TO”.
in Worship (Eph 5:19).
Have the Obama's Found a Church?
The first family recently attended St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington for the third time, fueling speculation the Obama’s have finally found a church to attend while living in the White House. It is located a short walk from the White House across Lafayette Square. Their first two visits were the day after the President’s Inauguration and the other was Easter. (“Have the Obama’s found a church?”, The Baltimore Sun, 12Oct09)
Some people choose a church because it is close to where they live. Like the Obama’s, it is easier for them to go to a nearby church than spend the time, effort and money to go to a church that is farther away. Yet, the Bible teaches we must worship “in spirit and truth” with true disciples of Christ (Acts 20:7; Jno 4:24). Convenience is not the deciding factor when choosing to worship God according to truth. We must make whatever sacrifice is needed to worship with faithful Christians (1 Cor 1:1-7; 2 Jno 9-11).
Some people choose a church because of what it teaches. The Episcopal Church is very liberal in its theology and social agenda. Whether or not the Episcopal Church’s pro-homosexual, pro-abortion and pro-feminism stance factors into the first family’s decision to attend the Episcopal Church is for them to say. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin, abortion is the murder of innocent life, and feminism rejects the headship ordained by God (1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 13:9; 1 Cor 11:3). It is the apostles’ doctrine in which we must continue (Acts 2:42). The Episcopal Church and the other denominations have abandoned the doctrine of Christ for a social agenda that minimizes sin and soothes sinners in their sin.
The church of Christ is not divided into many denominations from which we can “take our pick”. Christ built one church (one body), it follows “one faith” and He saves it (Eph 1:21-23; 4:4-5; 5:23). The Obama’s may have “found a church” but it is not the church of Christ that is revealed in the New Testament (Matt 16:18).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/25/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA