And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 47, 12/26/2010
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
3. Salvation is conditional (Lk. 16:25). In death, both the rich man and Lazarus received according to their lives on earth. The rich man had taken good things without evidence of giving good things to others (including Lazarus). On the other hand, Lazarus had lived with trial and trouble without relief. What happened to them after death is a clear example that “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). How we live now will be recompensed in the next.
4. Death does not end one’s existence (Lk. 16:22-23). Man is composed of body and soul, of flesh and spirit (Matt. 10:28; Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Jno. 4:24). We have an “outward man” (the flesh) and an “inward man” (the spirit): the first is temporal, mortal; the second is immortal and continues beyond the death of its body (Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Jas. 2:26).
While the world advises us to live for the moment because “you only live once,” Jesus is teaching us that this life is not all there is with which to be concerned. We are more than flesh and bones, and our lives should reflect our understanding of this truth.
a. There is consciousness after death. Sight, speech, feelings, desire and reasoning abilities are all present in the scene before us. This passage shows the falsehood of the Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine of annihilation and the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of soul sleep.
b. Human beings do not become angels or ghosts after death. Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom when he died – he did not become one (Lk. 16:22). Angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). Neither do we see Lazarus hovering over the earth like a ghost, haunting and intervening in the affairs of men. He was not allowed to return to the earth (Lk. 16:29-31). Humans remain human when we die – we do not become angels or ghosts.
c. We do not go directly to our final, eternal reward when we die. God has appointed a day of judgment when all the dead ones will come forth and stand before Christ to be judged for the things done in the body (Heb. 9:27; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jno. 5:28-29; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:12-15).
The day of judgment will be the time (1) When each person will “give account for himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). Neither Lazarus nor the rich man has done this yet. (2) When the true and righteous judgment of God will be vindicated (Rom. 2:2, 5; Acts 17:30-31). The books (divine truth) will be opened and the dead will be “judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12). There will be no mistakes; each person will receive a just sentence. (3) When “every knee shall bow” and “every tongue shall confess to God” (Rom. 14:11). The rich man, like many others, did not confess God during life. But on the Day of Judgment all will bow to the sovereignty of the Almighty.
5. Second chance doctrines are false (16:26). There is no crossing over the “great gulf” that is securely placed between Abraham’s bosom and the flame of unquenchable anguish. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory that says one will be punished for and purified of venial sins is a false doctrine. The unjust are kept under “punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet. 2:9). Mormonism’s vicarious work for the dead (including baptism and marriage) is equally false. One can neither believe nor obey for another person (Mk. 16:15-16). The concept of reincarnation, in which souls migrate from being to being, is also false: “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
6. God’s present truth is sufficient to persuade us to prepare for death (16:27-31). Some are waiting for what they call a sign from heaven before they will believe God. The rich man wanted his brothers to get a sign from beyond the grave about the torment to come. But, heaven has already given us its message about life, death and eternity: God has spoken to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). The gospel of Christ is powerful to persuade and save sinners (Rom. 1:16). The “word of this salvation” has been sent to the whole world (Acts 13:23; Mk. 16:15). The New Testament is inspired by God and thoroughly equips us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The resurrection of Jesus Christ confirms the validity of His gospel, yet sadly, most are still not persuaded (even though Jesus arose from the dead, Lk. 16:31; Acts 2:32-33; Rom. 10:16-17).
7. The comfort of being saved (Lk. 16:22, 25). At death, Lazarus was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. “Abraham’s bosom” indicates a place of close intimacy, of warm embrace and restful security (Jno. 1:18; 13:23; see Isa. 40:11, in the kingdom the Lord carries His lambs in His bosom). The grief of hunger and the pain of disease were replaced with the comfort of blessed safety and rest. Christians will have tribulations in life, but rest awaits those who put their faith in Jesus Christ and obey Him (Jno. 16:33; Rev. 14:13).
8. The terribleness of being lost (Lk. 16:23-24). The rich man was fully conscious and completely aware of his circumstance, of his pain and horror, and of why he was “in torments.” The torment experienced by the rich man in death is a warning to all who are presently living for themselves and serving “mammon” to repent and obey God (Lk. 16:13). The wages of sin is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). Torment and anguish without relief is the prospect for those who are lost in sin. Now is the time to repent and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 5:8-9).
From, The Parables of Jesus, Guardian of Truth
As 2010 draws to a close God’s people know “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). Both the brevity of life and the uncertainty of the future compel Christians to always live for heaven by doing the will of God (Jas. 4:13-17; Phil. 3:12-14). Let us live for heaven in 2011…
1) By following God’s pattern. In this “post-modern” world the idea of definite, absolute truth is rejected. Nevertheless, God’s word is the “pattern of sound words” we must hold fast; it is apostolic teaching (2 Tim. 1:13; Acts 2:42). The NT of Christ is as relevant today as when it was first revealed 2,000 years ago. God’s truth makes demands on us. God’s word of grace teaches us to live “soberly, righteously and godly” (Titus 2:11-12).
2) By praying regularly. The prayers of righteous people are powerful and effective (Jas. 5:16). Prayers express our faith that God rules and blesses us according to His will for our lives (Jas. 1:5-8; 4:15; Matt. 7:11). Where prayer exists there is faith on the earth, so always pray and do not lose heart (Lk. 18:8, 1).
3) By patiently waiting on the Lord. Crisis may come in 2011 to your life, your nation or the world. But, Christians trust the living God and know all His purposes will be accomplished (Rom. 11:33-36). Faithful ones wait (“to look for, hope, expect, to linger for”, BDB) on the Lord (Isa. 40:31). Endure your present trials and trust in God’s reward (1 Pet. 1:3-9).
We believe and are persuaded that God will guard and preserve our souls to the day of eternity (2 Tim. 1:12). Live for heaven in 2011!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Luke 9:57-62
Successfully building Bible character takes total commitment to faithfully
follow Christ, Lk 9:62 (Psa 78:8-9); Eccl 5:4; Prov 20:25; Rev 3:14-16; 2
I. WE MUST HAVE AND STRENGTHEN OUR SELF-CONTROL.
A. Needed because we can be
Deceived, Heb 3:12-13; 1 Cor 15:33-34; Gal 6:7-8; Jas 1:14-15.
II. HAVE SELF-CONTROL IN ALL THINGS, 1 Cor 9:24-25.
A. Self-control over your
Emotions, Eph 4:26; Prov 14:29; 29:11.
1. Self-control is measured by
our ability to conform ourselves with complete devotion to the will of
Christ, Col 3:17.
The moon became like blood
lunar eclipse on the night of the winter solstice was the first such event
since 1638; the next one occurs in 2094.
The lunar eclipse is used a number of times in the Bible as a figure of judgment. When the Bible mentions the moon being darkened and/or turning to blood, an actual, physical occurrence is not in view. It is a metaphor for divine judgment against a nation. In other words, the power and prominence of a kingdom was about to be eclipsed (removed) as God applied His judgment upon it.
Thus, in Isaiah 13:10 the moon would be darkened and cease giving light on the day of the Lord’s judgment against Babylon. In Ezekiel 32:7 (a lamentation against Pharaoh, king of Egypt) God would cause the moon to cease shining over Egypt; his renown would (and did) end. In Joel 2:31 the fall of Jerusalem is depicted as the moon turning into blood; a prophecy echoed by Jesus in Matthew 24:29. Peter used Joel’s passage to announce that events on Pentecost were fulfilling the prophecy of “the last days” – when the moon would turn into blood (Acts 2:20). God’s judgment upon kings and evil men persecuting the saints in Revelation was a time when “the moon became like blood” (Rev. 6:12-17).
The literal moon kept shining when each of these divine judgments occurred. Metaphorically, the moon ceased to shine over those nations due to God’s judgment (which removed them from power and in some cases, from existence).
The next time you see a lunar eclipse, remember that God’s judgment eclipses (removes) nations that reject Him. God will judge each of us on the last day when the actual moon is destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). Are you ready for that day to come? Obey Jesus now.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/26/2010
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA