And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 14, Number 02
In this issue:
The Psalmist said, “turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things” as he petitioned the Lord to “incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetousness” (Psa 119:36-37). We cannot turn our eyes away from gazing upon vain things until we first stretch out our heart toward the word of God. It is no coincidence that in order to put to death the sins of the flesh we must let the word of Christ richly dwell in us (Col 3:5, 16). When we give attention to sin with our eyes we have already considered it in our hearts (Mk 7:21-23). By remembering things we must not “look at” we gain insight into the kind of heart God expects us to have.
1) Do not look upon a woman to lust after her. Jesus emphatically warns that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). (That goes for looking at men, too!) Images of the human body in every state of undress are set before our eyes every day in many ways. From the immodestly dressed woman at work, at the store or down the street, to the TV shows and movies, to advertisements in electronic and printed media, images of the opposite sex lure wandering eyes, inducing sin’s longing gazes of lust. Men – come down off the roof top and do not gaze upon Bathsheba’s beauty (2 Sam 11:2-4). Women – do not let Absalom’s good looks steal your heart and soul (2 Sam 15:6). Turn away your eyes!
Pornography on the internet and cable TV is rampant; a multi-billion dollar a year industry. That does not make it any more respectable. It is an abomination that degrades women, perverts the purity of human sexuality and infects society with lust, covetousness, corruption and crime. Christians are not immune to the lure of its vain and empty temptations. Beware and guard your heart by making a covenant with your eyes not to gaze intently on a woman (Job 31:1; 1 Cor 10:12).
2) Do not look on the wine. “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper” (Prov 23:31-32). Do not even begin the process that produces drunkenness. Do not gaze on the wine as an acceptable thing, for its sting strikes the soul. Drinking alcohol is a sin against God (as is the consumption of other such drugs). Alcohol alters the mind, dull the senses and clouds good judgment (Titus 2:2, 6; 1 Pet 1:13; 4:1-3; 5:8). The devil wants your judgment confused and your inhibitions weakened. Alcohol does that. Do not gaze on it; it causes foolishness and hurts you in this life and throughout eternity (Prov 20:1; 23:33-35).
3) Do not look behind you (Gen 19:17). Remember Lot’s wife. Do not be enticed by the sins of the past with their fleeting pleasures and assumed benefits – all these will perish with Sodom. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your heavenly home (Heb 12:1; 11:13-16). Keep your heart inclined toward God’s word.
Last week marked the start of the fourteenth year of publishing our weekly bulletin, The Spirit’s Sword. This is a good time for us to review its purposes and objectives to see whether it is meeting them. It also gives us a chance to encourage folks to read it and use to help them in their spiritual lives.
1) Emphasis on the word of God. The word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:18). Based on this principle, The Spirit’s Sword endeavors to provide Bible teaching to help us mature in Christ by effectively using God’s word (2 Pet 3:18). The weekly sermons are outlined on page 3 to help you study along and also review what you hear from the pulpit. Be sure to use them!
The Spirit’s Sword emphasizes the Bible by offering Bible study articles, sermon outlines and a daily Bible reading schedule. It is not a social event and newsletter for the church. (It is not the God-given work of the local church to be the social coordinator for the brethren.) This church has the work of building up the saints and spreading the word of God to the lost (Acts 20:32; 1 Ths 1:8). The bulletin helps us do this work. We urge you to use it as a resource for your own personal study as well as help you teach others. Give it away (it’s free!). Or, use it as a study guide when teaching someone else.
In addition to its printed form, The Spirit’s Sword is available online at www.bibleanswer. com/ssword.htm. We encourage you to use this online resource. The Spirit’s Sword is currently e-mailed to over 500 people every week. (These recipients forward it to many others.) Anyone can sign up to get it at the link above. We are gratified others wish to use the bulletin in their own Bible study and teaching, and we are thankful we can supply the material to them.
2) The relevancy of the Bible. The Bible is as current as today’s news. The “Noteworthy News” column on page 4 offers Bible insights into current events. People yearn for the practical application of God’s word in their lives (1 Jno 2:3-6). “Noteworthy News” intends to provide solid Bible lessons drawn from current events. While we must not be of this world, we do live in this world. The Bible guides our path homeward as we navigate through life’s daily events (Jno 17:14-17; Phil 3:17-21).
3) Set for the defense of the gospel. Paul was appointed to this task, and we propose to follow his example (Phil 1:17-18, 7). The Spirit’s Sword will continue to address and expose doctrinal error, not with inflammatory rhetoric, but by the calm and careful analysis of Scripture. We will continue to appeal to our readers to abide in God’s truth and to turn away from every error. God’s word answers the skeptic, the critic, the false teacher and the compromiser (2 Tim 4:2-4; Jude 3). If we fail to exalt divine truth in this paper, then we have miserably failed our mission.
Thank you for reading The Spirit’s Sword. We value our readers and will continue to work hard to earn your trust in The Spirit’s Sword as a reliable Bible study and teaching tool. Above all, let us aim to please Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:9). Together, let us “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” by putting on the whole armor of God and taking up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:10-18). By doing so, we are assured of victory over the devil, sin and death.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Song of Solomon 2:10-14
1. It is good to
strengthen every marriage that God joins together (Matt 19:4-6; Heb 13:4).
I. BE UNTRUE TO ONE ANOTHER (Matt 19:9; Heb 13:4).
A. Honor Your Mate from a
Heart that Treasures Him/her, 1 Pet 3:1-7.
II. BE OVERLY JEALOUS OF EACH OTHER (Jas 3:14-16; 1 Pet 3:8-9).
A. Unfounded Suspicions are Destructive and Sinful, 1 Tim 6:4; SofS 8:6.
III. NAG ONE ANOTHER TO NO END (Jas 3:16; Col 3:19). (Communication breakdown)
A. Self-Seeking Exhibits itself when one Constantly Badgers Spouse, Prov 21:9, 19; Jas 3:17-18; Matt 5:9.
IV. SHOW NO AFFECTION FOR ONE ANOTHER (Gen 26:8).
A. Be Fond of (like) Each Other, Gen 2:23-24; Hos 2:14-15; 1 Cor 7:3-5; Titus 2:4.
V. NEVER AGREE ON HOW TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN (Psa 128:3-4).
A. A Divided House Falls, Matt 12:25 (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21); Psa 13:24; 19:18 (22:6).
Conclusion - Marriage will thrive when it is nurtured.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:3-9
Shall we inherit a blessing, or inherit the wind? 1 Pet 3:8-9; Prov 11:29
VI. NEVER SAY “PLEASE” OR “THANK YOU” (Lk 17:11-19; Eph 5:20).
A. And you will Fail to see
Your Marriage as a Blessing, 1 Pet 3:7; Gen 2:21-23; 1 Sam 25:3, 33, 37;
Ruth 3:11; 4:11-12.
VII. SPEND ALL THE MONEY ON YOURSELF (1 Tim 5:8).
A. Self-Indulgent Greed Destroys Marriage, Prov 15:27; Eph 5:25; Prov 11:24-26; 21:25-26. Eccl 11:1-2 (1 Pet 3:9).
VIII. LET THE HUSBAND BE A TYRANT WITH HIS FAMILY (Eph 5:28-29, 33; Eph 6:4; Col 3:21)
A. Husband who does not
Honor His Wife is laying the Groundwork for Destroying his Marriage, 1 Pet
3:7; Eccl 9:9.
IX. LET THE WIFE FAIL TO LOVE, HONOR AND OBEY HER HUSBAND (Prov 31:30; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5).
A. Worthy Woman Yields to her Head from a Meek & Quiet Spirit, 1 Pet 3:1-6; Prov 31:10-12.
X. KEEP GOD OUT OF YOUR MARRIAGE (Josh 24:14-15).
A. God Joined You Together, Matt 19:6; Phil 4:5-7; Mal 2:14-16.
At least five U.S. Senators have recently announced their retirement from the Senate, meaning they will not run for reelection when their terms expire. This reminds us that we all face the cycles of life. We work, and if we are fortunate, we retire – and then, we die (Psa 90:10; Eccl 3:1-2).
People plan for retirement, anticipate it, and enjoy it. Sometimes however, the retirement that is planned does not come about. Disease, accidents, financial failures and death are among the realities of life that remind us we are subject to time and chance (Eccl 9:11). We plan on retirement, but we should remember that it may or may not be what we envision.
Some Christians may think they can retire from the work of the Lord; they cannot. Yes, our strength, endurance, opportunities and abilities change as we age. But, these do not diminish our responsibility to “do what we can” to serve the Lord. Some of the most encouraging Christians are the elderly. There is no retirement age in the kingdom of Christ.
Whether young or old, we work “while it is day” (Jno 9:4). Aged saints can bear good fruit due to experience and wisdom when coupled with the fear of God. The sober thinking and wise counsel of the righteous aged is a great blessing to the strength and growth of younger Christians (Titus 2:1-5). Aged Christian, God says you can flourish in your old age: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree…they shall still bear fruit in old age: they shall be fresh and flourishing…” (Psa 92:12-15).
Rest is ahead; but not yet (Heb 4:1, 9). “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (Rev 14:13). Until then, do not retire from the Lord’s work.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/14/2011
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA