And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD

Vol 13, Num 13, 05/02/2010

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
 
Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


Elders
Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
John Hague
Dan Head



 

In this issue:


On Death Beds
Joe R. Price

Being at the bed side of one nearing death can be a most comforting time or one of great despair and regret. The sorrow of loss at such a moment goes without say; the passing of a loved one from this corporeal existence to the realms of eternity means we will never again share life “under the sun”; we weep over our loss.

Yet, there is a striking difference to be seen at the death bed of a faithful Christian when set in contrast with the last moments of life for the lost soul. For the beloved saint, the death bed marks the end of life’s trials, struggles and pains. Oh yes, it also marks the end of sharing the good blessings of life with loved ones – family, friends and brethren – and this grieves the heart. But for Christians, that moment of certain separation marks a commencement of unending rest and reward with the Lord (2 Cor 4:16-5:4). Our sorrow is not “without hope”; instead, it is comforted and transformed into rejoicing in the anticipated glory of the faithful (1 Ths 4:13-18).

In sad and sorrowful contrast is the scene of death’s approach to the bed of one unprepared to meet God. For such a person, death’s approach brings the hopelessness of dying without Christ, for those outside of Christ “have no hope” (1 Ths. 4:13). Though heaven is desired by the dying, the sure hope of heaven that is heard “in the word of the truth of the gospel” is not theirs because they have not lived by faith in God’s grace (Col 1:5-6). Dying without hope does not mean hope was unavailable, but because of the sinful choices made during life; “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). The unbelieving and disobedient will not enter heaven; tragically, they will be lost in their sins (2 Ths 1:8-9). Those who choose not to believe and obey the gospel lose their souls forever. The grace of a loving God is available now, but that grace is obtained through faith, not by death bed pleas that do not conform to the gospel (Eph 2:5-9; Rom 5:1-2; 6:1-4).

We should be preparing for our own death. Prepare for your death by surrendering yourself to Christ and fully obeying His gospel. Believe, confess your faith, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; Rom 10:9-10). Be saved from your sins “by grace, through faith” (Eph 2:8). Do it now without delay, for death comes to us all (Heb 9:27). Will you be ready? Make this the day of your salvation so that when death comes to you it will be a time of joyful hope, not sorrowful regret.

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How to Study the Bible (2)
Joe R. Price

Continuing with our analysis of Bible study, it is right that we give attention to our motives prior to presenting methods to use when we study the word of God. Why we study the Bible is important. Is it to attain knowledge? If so, what will I do with what I learn? Is it to win an argument or to win a soul? Is it to make ourselves feel better about ourselves or to improve our standing with God? Is it to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord” or to grow in prestige before men (2 Pet 3:18; Matt 23:5)? Amassing knowledge tends toward pride, while believing and obeying what we learn from God’s word results from an open heart that hears and obeys God (1 Cor 8:1-2; Lk 8:8, 15; Acts 17:11-12). We must take heed “how” we hear the word of God (Lk 8:18).

Please give careful thought to your motives for studying the Bible.

1. Do I study the Bible to “win an argument”? There is a vast difference between “contending for the faith” and being contentious. One grows out of an abiding respect for revealed truth while the other promotes self (Jude 3; 1 Cor 3:1-4). The power of truth is such that if a good and honest heart begins to study it to “win an argument” and then discovers the truth, that person will repent of his sin and obey the truth. On the other hand, our study will be in vain when we study the Bible to vindicate ourselves. We will not understand the Bible if we are not thoroughly committed to listening to (and following) God’s word. Jesus said, “Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word” (Jno 8:43).

2. Do I study the Bible with a “debater mentality”? The “debater mentality” of which we speak approaches the Bible looking for “sides” to line up and arguments to win. It hinders thorough and effective Bible study because it has already decided what to look for instead of letting the word of God speak the “whole counsel of God” on the topic under consideration. It inserts human will and wisdom into the divine text. Please listen carefully: This is not an indictment of debate. Honest and earnest debate from the Scriptures will root out sin and error while unfurling the banner of truth for us all to follow (Acts 15:6-7, 22; 17:2-4). What we must cautiously avoid is turning our Bible study into trying to win an argument instead of understanding the text and winning a soul (our own and others). Indeed, when we accurately understand the text we will have a winning argument against error without relying on the wisdom and traditions of men (Matt 15:1-9).

3. Do I study the Bible to receive the word of God with meekness? When we study the Bible with pure motives our heart is prepared to “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). On the other hand, Bible study that amounts to defending a person, a party or ourselves utterly fails to grasp a fundamental element of successful Bible study: The goal is to know the truth so we may implant it in our hearts, obey God and be saved from our sins (Jno 8:31-32; Jas 1:21-25). Pride prevents successful Bible study.

To be continued

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

I Will... (Psalm 101)

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 101:1-4

1. Psalm 101: The king’s vow to rule his house and his kingdom with mercy and justice. 2 Sam 8:15; Prov 20:28; Jer 23:5-6
2. The king’s faith is seen in a series of “I will” statements. In these declarations we see God’s attitude and actions both toward the faithful and the wicked.

I. I WILL SING PRAISES, 101:1.

  A. Importance of Worship in Our Lives, Isa 56:7; Psa 84:4.
  B. The Content and the Character of Our Singing is Crucial, 101:1; Heb 13:15; 1 Cor 14:15; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16.

II. I WILL BEHAVE WISELY, 101:2.

  A. Be Wise in what is Good, Rom 16:19.
    -As a parent, Eph 6:4; a spouse, Eph 5:33; as elders, Prov 27:23; my influence, Col 4:5; my adversaries, Matt 10:16-22.

III. I WILL SET NOTHING WICKED BEFORE MY EYES, 101:3-4.

  A. Protect Ourselves Against Lust and its Sins, Job 31:1-4, 5-12; Psa 119:37; Ep 5:3-4; Prov 23:31-34; Psa 19:14.

IV. I WILL NOT ENDURE SLANDER AND PRIDE, 101:5, 7-8.

  A. Slander Proceeds from Pride & Hatred, 101:5; Jas 4:11; Prov 10:18; Psa 101:7, 15:3.

V. I WILL BLESS THE FAITHFUL, 101:6.

  A. We Must Stand with and Encourage those who are Faithful to the Lord. 101:6; Heb 12:12-13.
  B. Faithful Servants Dwell with the King, 101:6; Matt 25:34-40.

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

"I Will Build My Church" (Matt 16:13-20)

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 16:13-20

Matthew 16:13-20: Assessment of Christ’s work, affirmation of faith, announcement of His nature and future achievement, and a commandment given to the apostles.

I. JESUS ASKED QUESTIONS, 16:13-16.

  A. “Who Do Men Say that I, the Son of Man, Am?” 16:13-14, Jno 14:8-11.
  B. “But who do You Say that I Am?” 16:15-16; Psa 2:2, 6-7 (2 Sam 7:14); Heb 1:5 (2-3); cf. Matt 10:32; 1 Tim 6:12-13; Jno 5:18-23.

II. HOW TO KNOW WHO JESUS IS, 16:17.

  A. The Revelation of Who Jesus Is Comes from God, not Man, Jno 5:36-39; Acts 2:22.
  B. We Must Assess the Evidence, cf. Jno 20:24-31; Acts 17:2-4.

III. WHAT JESUS WOULD DO: BUILD HIS CHURCH, 16:18.

  A. Building the Church, Heb 12:22-23; Isa 28:16; Psa 118:21-24; Acts 2:24-29.
  B. The Church: Those Called Out of the World into Kingdom, 1 Pet 2:9-10; Col 1:13.
  C. The Importance and Value of the Church of Christ, Acts 20:28 (Eph 3:10-11).

IV. WHAT THE APOSTLES WOULD DO: PRONOUNCE THE RIGHT OF ENTRY INTO THE CHURCH, 16:19.

  A. Keys: Accessibility into the Kingdom (Church), cf. Isa 22:22; Acts 2:22, 40-41, 47; 5:20, 42; Jno 20:21-23.

V. WHAT JESUS PROHIBITED THE APOSTLES FROM DOING, 16:20.

  A. Apostles were not to tell others He was Jesus the Christ (Mk 16:15), Matt 17:9

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Where are the Good Samaritans?
Joe R. Price

A man who stopped a fight between another man and a woman died on the New York City sidewalk after being stabbed. At least seven people passed by. Some stopped to look, and one even lifted the 31-year-old man’s body momentarily before walking away. He was motionless for nearly an hour before emergency help arrived, but by then it was too late; he was dead. (AP: “Homeless good Samaritan left to die on NYC street”, FoxNews.com)

One cannot hear of this tragedy without remembering the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). Have we forgotten how to be a neighbor? Have we forgotten how to love our neighbor as ourselves? Would we have walked by, or would we have been a neighbor to the fallen? (Lk 10:36)

1) Loving our neighbor requires compassion (Luke 10:33). Pity ought to drive us to show mercy when we see others distressed. The Samaritan saw the wounded man in need and acted out of compassion. Even a cup of cold water given in mercy does not go unnoticed by the Lord (Matt 10:42).

2) Loving our neighbor requires contact (Luke 10:34-35). Love means getting involved, and some simply will not do it. Maybe it is due to fear, maybe due to inconvenience, maybe due to selfishness. But, love requires involvement (1 Jno 3:17-18). Like the Samaritan, we will get involved when we love our neighbor as ourselves.

3) Loving our neighbor requires cost (Luke 10:35). Loving our neighbor as ourselves requires making sacrifices. Whether it is their time, our energy or our money – love gives without thought of return. Do we walk by because it costs too much to stop and be a neighbor?

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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
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: ssword@bibleanswer.com