And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 46 November 22 2009
In this issue:
Obeying the commands of Christ has gotten a bad rap over the centuries. The doctrine of faith only has convinced untold millions that obedience does not have a place in obtaining the salvation of Christ. Even a casual reading of the New Testament shows repeated emphasis on obeying the commands of God and the failure to be saved without it (Matt 7:21-23; Jno 8:31-32; 14:15; Acts 2:37-38; Heb 5:8-9; etc.).
Here are a few things obedience is not:
1) Obeying God is not earning salvation. Sinners cannot earn their salvation (Eph 2:9). Since all of us have sinned, we all need God’s grace to be saved. We are “justified freely by His grace” (Rom 3:23-24). We glory in the grace of God; without it we would be lost (Eph 2:5-8). Yet, it is also clear that although God loves the whole world, not everyone will be saved (Matt 7:13-14). This is because the reception of God’s grace is conditional; it is obtained “through faith” (Eph 2:8). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys (see Hebrews 11 for the obedient nature of saving faith). Obeying God’s conditions of salvation shows the humble heart of the “unprofitable servant” who does his duty (Lk 17:10; Mk 16:16; Acts 22:16).
2) Obeying God is not earning credits against future sin. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek 18:20-24). We should not think that “I am obedient most of the time” so if I sin it will not harm anything. The wages of sin is death, and willful sin brings God’s sure punishment (Rom 6:23; Heb 10:26-31). The one who plans to sin by relying on past obedience is deceived (Heb 3:13).
3) Obeying God is not self-defined service. It is not self-righteousness. We have no right to decide for ourselves what part of Christ’s will to obey or how to obey it. The scribes and Pharisees were guilty of sin by binding their traditions on others as to how they thought the commands of God should be obeyed (Matt 15:1-9; Jno 5:10, 16-18). We cannot say, “I’ll obey God my own way” as an excuse for not following the commands revealed in the word of Christ. Such is “self-imposed religion” that does not honor God (Col 2:20-23).
4) Obeying God is not impossible. Some apparently equate obedience with “sinless perfection”; it is not. It depends upon God’s grace as it trusts God’s word and does what He commands (Heb 11:7).
Obeying Christ is not a bad thing, it is a necessary thing. Without obedience we will not receive His salvation (Heb 5:8-9). With obedience we show our faith in the God of grace who saves us by His mercy (Jas 2:18, 24). He calls on you to purify your soul by obeying the truth of the gospel (1 Pet 1:22-23).
Ever see the child in the grocery store that won’t shut up in spite of mom telling little Johnny his behavior disappoints her? Ever want to walk over and say, “Do you want me to take care of this?” Me too.
Millions of children are being raised as selfish tyrants. They get what they want, do what they want, and will brook no opposition. The amazing thing is that many parents think this is good. Some even seemingly are not embarrassed by a temper-tantrum in the middle of the mall.
What’s wrong with this picture? God is not in it.
Parents who truly love their children and respect God will discipline. God disciplines us out of love. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6; cf. Prov. 3:11, 12). When a child goes without correction, it is as though he is illegitimate: without a father to raise him properly. So, a father may be present in the home but the child still lives as though he is illegitimate because of a lack of discipline.
Let us not be shy about the issue of how to discipline. The Bible repeatedly states that spanking is an acceptable form of correction.
“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24).
“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (Prov. 19:18).
Love compels us to put the belt to the backside. We are not to be anxious that this punishment will destroy the child. Properly applied, it will not do permanent damage nor will it scar his spirit. Rather, it lets the child know the limits and instills a respect for authority.
Too many parents are committing the sin of not disciplining their children. Not only will this bring heartache and sorrow in this world, but it will also lead to eternal destruction in the next. We will lose our soul for not raising our children right as quickly as for not believing and obeying the gospel.
To all parents: teach your children the Bible (Deut. 6:6-9; Eph. 6:4); lay down the house rules, tell them your expectations, hold them to it (Eph. 6:1-4); correct early and often, rebuke and spank and they will respect you (Heb. 12:9). This is simple, but effective--because it is God’s way.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
1. Paul appeals to brethren to live in unity among each other (Phil 2:2).
I. UNITY DEMANDS HUMILITY, Phil 2:3.
Motives Destroy Unity, Phil 1:17 (Jas 3:14); Gal 5:26, 14-15.
II. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE LOOK OUT FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES, Phil 2:4 (3).
A. This is
not an Endorsement for being Busybodies, 1 Pet 4:15; Prov 16:28.
III. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, Phil 2:5.
Christ's Work in Redemption Shows Us the Mind it takes to have Unity, Phil
2:6-8 (Jno 17:5); Eph 5:21; 1 Pet 5:5-7.
1. Unity is not an easy task, but it is possible, Eph 4:1-3.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 15:21-28
1. The Savior came to save all sinners, 1 Tim 4:10 (Mk 16:15; Rom 1:16).
I. THE GENTILE WOMAN.
A. Circumstances, Matt 15:22 (Mk
II. THE DISCIPLES.
A. They Seemed Anxious to Protect
their Distinction and Separation, 2 Cor 6:17-18; Ep 5:11; Gal 6:1; 1 Ths
III. JESUS. (Matt 11:28-30)
A. Hears and Responds to Cries for
Mercy, Heb 2:16-17; 4:14-16.
An 81-year old Australian said he “just went out on the road to have a drive, a nice peaceful drive”, but he was lost. He drove almost 400 miles before asking a policeman for help. He took a wrong turn on a major highway and just kept on driving. He told reporters “he did not need a satellite navigation device as he'd only been lost once.” (“Lost man drives nine hours to get newspaper”, reuters.com).
This reminds us of some important things to do when it comes to our journey toward eternity:
1) Know where you are and where you are going. The truth is we are all on a journey that will bring us face to face with death, judgment and eternity (Heb 9:27). Do you know where you want to go? You’re choices are heaven or hell (Matt 25:46). This man may have told himself he was not lost, but the reality is he was. When someone with knowledge (the policeman) told him where he was he knew he was not going in the right direction. When the Bible tells us we are not going to heaven because of our sin we need to listen. God’s word tells us where we are and where we are headed (Matt 7:13-14, 21-23; Jno 14:6; Mk 16:15-16).
2) Stop if you are going in the wrong direction. It does no good to keep on going in the same direction when you are lost! The Bible says to repent to be saved (Acts 17:30). This change of heart means one will stop his or her sin and start following Christ (Acts 26:20).
3) Ask directions. Jesus is the way to the Father (Jno 14:6). His word is the light that shows the way to heaven (Jno 8:12; 1 Jno 1:7). The Ethiopian asked directions and was saved when he obeyed (Acts 8:30-38). The Bible shows you the way to salvation and eternal life (Rom 1:16-17). Follow it (Heb 5:9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 11/23/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA