And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 08, 03/28/2010
In this issue:
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Commandments have been given a bad name by men and women who do not “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jno 9). Obeying commands is disparaged as works that forfeit grace and exalt man. Strange though, since the Lord Jesus said “he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” enters the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21). The truth is, obeying God does not forfeit grace but accesses it through faith (Rom 5:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Titus 3:5).
Then again, some say that carefully obeying the commands of God displays self-righteousness; it is Pharisaical. Certainly all who honor Christ Jesus reject self-righteousness. It is entirely possible for one to be keeping commandments from a self-righteous spirit. All such have God’s disapproval (Lk 18:9-14). Yet, Jesus did say “if you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jno 14:15). He would later say, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jno 15:12). If one is careful to obey this commandment and love his brother the way Jesus loves him is he to be charged with being self-righteous?
In truth, the faithful heart will carefully obey the commands of God, not because it earns salvation or because it exhibits self-righteousness. It is one’s love for Christ and surrender of self to Him that prompts obedient faith (see Lk 17:10).
Timothy was to warn some Christians in Ephesus that “they teach no other doctrine” than the word of God (1 Tim 1:3-4). Only the gospel would provide “godly edification” while “other doctrine” would generate disputes. Then the apostle states the purpose of the command to “teach no other doctrine”:
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 obey the “sound doctrine” which is the “glorious gospel” of God (1 Tim 1:10-11). We must be dedicated to obeying sound doctrine because it comes from God. Who in his right mind would say that man should not obey the commands of the Almighty? Yet, as we’ve already seen, some say as much with their false teachings about obedience and commandments. Let us be sure we are not among that number.
Jesus said the first and great commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37-38). Paul builds his case that obeying the command to “teach no other doctrine” is the full expression of love (1 Tim 1:3-5).
The purpose of the commandment is…
1) Love from a pure heart. Love from an impure heart is feigned and false. Judas kissed Jesus but it was not the “holy kiss” of loving brethren (Matt 26:49; Rom 16:16). God’s commands accomplish the purpose of teaching us to have pure hearts in our obedience. There is no conflict between obedience and purity of heart: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” (1 Pet 1:22). Never believe the lie that your obedience of God’s word somehow reflects an impure heart! Instead, your heart is purified when you submit in humble obedience to the commands of God.
2) Love from a good conscience. The conscience is a gift from God that reminds us to act in harmony with what we have been taught is correct (whether morally, ethically or religiously). The desire to maintain a good conscience is a decisive reason to be baptized for salvation (1 Pet 3:21). One cannot long refuse to obey the plan of salvation and keep a good conscience. Disobedience leads to the searing of the conscience and the loss of its beneficial effect (1 Tim 4:1-2). Learning and carefully obeying the word of God molds our conscience according to truth. Then, our conscience is a powerful ally against sin. Love that obeys God reflects the intent to have a good conscience “in the sight of God” (2 Cor 4:2).
3) Love from sincere faith. Faith must be genuine. Hypocritical faith is powerless and vain. So, we must hear the word of God and trust it, teaching “no other doctrine”, but sincerely obeying the commands of God’s word (Rom 10:17). Loving Christ means we obey Him – not to be seen by men – but to be seen by God (Heb 6:10-12).
The commandments of God are for our good (cf. Deut 10:12-13). Rather than fight against them we must carefully follow them, knowing the Lord gives grace to the humble (Jas 4:6). Keeping the commands of God are not a burden, but a joyful expression of faith and the love of God (1 Jno 5:3-4).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
"If Anyone Desires"
Scripture Reading: Luke 9:21-26
1. Jesus and his apostles were preaching the gospel of the kingdom in
Galilee, Lk 8:1; 9:2, 6, 11.
I. IF ANYONE DESIRES TO COME AFTER ME… Lk 9:23
A. Let Him Deny Himself. (Offer
yourself to God, Rom 12:1-2.)
II. WHOEVER DESIRES TO SAVE HIS LIFE, Lk 9:24.
A. Living for Yourself will not Save
your Life, 9:23; Prov 14:12.
Conclusion. Matt 7:21-23: This comes into focus when put in the context of self-denial.
Reuters reported this week that pre-human remains were found in Siberia. Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox wrote, “Genetic material pulled from a pinky finger bone found in a Siberian cave shows a new and unknown type of pre-human lived alongside modern humans and Neanderthals, scientists reported on Wednesday.” (Possible new human ancestor found in Siberia, Yahoo!News, March 24, 2010)
Hum. If a “pre-human” lived along side “modern humans” does that mean the “pre-human” is really a “modern human”, or that the “modern humans” were actually “pre-human”? Pshaw!
The report gets more convoluted when the DNA analysis is discussed: “It really just looked like something we had never seen before," Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told a telephone briefing. “It was a sequence that looked something like humans but really quite different.” (Ibid.)
So, if the DNA is something “we had never seen before” and “really quite different” from humans, why should they (or we) conclude it is “pre-human” living alongside “modern humans”? Because evolutionists have already settled on their timeline for the evolution of human beings and they must somehow fit their new finding into it.
The word of God is clear: Humans were created on the sixth day of creation (Gen 1:27-28; 2:7, 21-22). No “pre-humans”, “common ancestors” or “missing links” before, during or after creation.
Sounds like these scientists validate the warning against “contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim 6:20-21).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/10/2010
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA