And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 25, 07/25/2010
In this issue:
The Transjordanic tribes of Israel promised to go to war with their brethren against the Canaanites to secure their land inheritance (Num 32:16-19). Having thus committed themselves, Moses gave a solemn warning the eastern tribes if they failed to do so: “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23). Not only would their sin be apparent for all to see, the Lord would hold them accountable for it.
We cannot hide our sins. We may think we are clever when it comes to hiding our sins; we are not. Someone always knows about our sins: God knows; those we sin against know; those we sin with know; and we know. “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later” (1 Tim 5:24).
It is foolish and futile to try to hide our sins. “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works” (Psa 33:13-15). God knows where we are and all we do.
We are held accountable for our sins. God holds us responsible when we sin against Him. “Your sin will find you out” means the consequence of sin will be brought to bear upon you. You will have to answer for your sins. You will not escape sin’s outcome (read Rom 2:1-6). We cannot sin and everything be OK; sin brings pain, sorrow and eternal death. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal 6:7-8).
These things are sure. Moses said “be sure” your sin will find you out. There is no doubt; God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl 12:14). The remedy for your sin is repentance, not denial or covering it up (Acts 17:30-31).
No small amount of controversy and division has resulted from mishandling 1 Corinthians 7. We can understand the passage by keeping it in its immediate context (the Corinthian concerns about marriage) as well as its broader context (the subject of marriage).
The Christians in Corinth had written Paul about marriage, and chapter 7 is his reply as one who had the Spirit of God and was counted trustworthy (7:40, 25).
Marriage prevents fornication (1 Cor 7:2-7). Marriage protects the purity of man and woman. The marriage bed is undefiled (Heb 13:4). With marriage comes the mutual responsibility to address these God-given desires; failure to do so is sin (1 Cor 7:3-5).
To the unmarried and widows (1 Cor 7:8-9). These people are not restrained by marriage vows and the lifelong marriage obligation God establishes in marriage (see Rom 7:2-3). They have either never entered a God-approved marriage, they have put away their spouse for the cause of fornication (and are thus free to remarry, Matt 19:9), or their spouse has died. While Paul’s preference was that all men had self-control to refrain from marriage (due to the present distress he later discussed, 7:7, 26), he understood some could not do so (7:9). Marriage is available to them.
To the married (1 Cor 7:10-11). Paul charged the married, “A wife is not to depart from her husband…and that the husband leave not his wife” (ASV). His charge accords with the command of Jesus: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt 19:6). The word translated “depart” (chorizo) in 1 Cor 7:10 is also used in Matthew 19:6 (“put asunder” or “separate”). Scripturally married people are under obligation to maintain their union. The sin of ending one’s marriage is not to be compounded by then marrying another person. One who sunders (chorizo) his/her marriage must “remain unmarried, or else be reconciled” (7:11). While Jesus gave an exception allowing for remarriage in Matthew 19:9, that exception is not in view here. The one who puts away his wife for a cause other than fornication puts asunder what God joined together; he violates Matthew 19:6, 9. He cannot remarry without increasing his sin.
To the rest (1 Cor 7:12-16). Having addressed all the married, Paul now addresses a subset of married people: Christians who are married to unbelievers. While the Lord had not dealt specifically with this consideration, the inspired apostle now would. Paul says these marriages are legitimate before the Lord, therefore, if the unbeliever is content to live with the faithful Christian, do not end the marriage (7:12-13). The Christian brings a godly influence into the home which should not be underestimated (7:14). Since the Christian has never been enslaved to his/her spouse, if the unbeliever is not content to live with a Christian, “let him depart” (7:15). Christians are not to “become slaves to men” by yielding to their will rather than the will of God (7:23; Acts 5:29). So, while a believer is not to end his/her marriage with an unbeliever, it may be that the unbeliever departs. We are bondservants of Christ and He has called us to peace (7:15-16).
“Let him depart” does not give the right to remarry. That subject has already been discussed in verses 10-11 to the married, which included believers married to unbelievers. Those who use 1 Cor 7:15 for the right to remarry after desertion do so in violation of Matt 19:6 and 1 Cor 7:10-11.
A foundation principle (7:17-24). Christians walk with God and can do so in every non-sinful condition and non-sinful relationship in which we were called by the gospel. Whether circumcised or not, whether slave or free, whether married or single, one can “remain with God in that state in which he was called” (7:24, NKJV). This does not give permission to remain in a sinful marriage relationship (such as the adultery of an unscriptural remarriage, Matt 19:9). We have been bought at a price and must not become slaves of men (7:23).
The present distress (7:25-40). The present state of trial persuaded Paul that if one possessed the self-control to remain single he should do so (7:8, 17, 20, 24, 26-27). Given this context of distress, he wanted to spare them from the added trial and distraction marriage would present (7:28, 32, 35). One with a marriage obligation should not end it. But, given the present distress, if one was not bound to a spouse he should not seek a wife (7:27). Yet, since God-approved marriages are not sinful, the option to marry is available to those free to do so (7:28). The marriage bond is for life, and after ended by death the liberty of marriage in the Lord is granted to the widow, though widows are not commanded to marry again (7:39-40).
1 Corinthian 7 assures us of the blessedness of marriage while looking practically at its responsibilities and constraints. Properly handling the text will prevent sin, promote godly homes and yield an abiding allegiance to Christ.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-13)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-6
1. Review: Matt
I. REVELATION AND CONFIRMATION OF HIS DIVINE NATURE, 17:1-2.
A. A Glimpse
of His Divine Glory, 17:2.
II. MOSES AND ELIJAH APPEARED AND TALKED WITH JESUS, 17:3.
A. Talked of His Decease, Lk 9:31 (Jno 17: 4); Matt 16:21-22; Jno 1:45; Lk 24:25-27.
III. THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS ENDORSED BY THE FATHER, 17:4-9.
Proposal, 17:4 (Lk 9:33; Mk 9:6).
IV. ELIJAH HAD COME ALREADY, Matt 17:10-13 (11:14).
Confused about Prophecy of Elijah Coming, 17:10; Mal 4:4-6; Lk 1:16-17
1. The power
and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a “cunningly devised fable”.
Crutches and Canes
The advertisements of a South African church have been banned by a government agency that addresses advertising complaints. The Solid Rock Church of Miracles can no longer show crutches and canes in its advertisements (“Church’s ad with crutches banned in South Africa”, AP). The AP story also notes a common phenomenon: “Revivalist and healing churches have flourished in impoverished communities of southern Africa.” Those who are looking for relief often set their hope on those who promise liberty, but whose false and misleading doctrines lead to increased bondage (2 Pet 2:19).
The age of miracles has ended. The New Testament miracles accompanied the preaching of the gospel in order to confirm the gospel’s authenticity (Mk 16:17-20). The apostolic teaching was thoroughly validated by the power of God and is trustworthy in all respects (Heb 2:2-4; 1 Cor 2:4-5).
What new revelation does the Solid Rock Church of Miracles preach that needs miracles to attest it is from God? This is a very relevant question since the Scriptures say the first century apostles and prophets of Christ were guided into “all truth” (Jno 16:13). And, the truth into which they were guided is “incorruptible”, fully equipping us for every good work (1 Pet 1:22; 2 Tim 3:16-17). So, if the Solid Rock Church of Miracles church has new revelation, it contradicts the New Testament and its assurances of “all truth” already in existence. Any claims of miracles are false, deceiving the innocent.
Miracles served their purposes and ended with the completion of the New Testament (1 Cor 13:8-10). Deceptive signs deceive souls (2 Ths 2:9-12). We trust the New Testament as God’s complete and final revelation. The gospel gives hope for healing the soul, not for the healing of the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-10).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 07/25/2010
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA