And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
Psalm 119 magnificently praises the word of God while giving practical counsel of its value and use in one’s life. Psalm 119 has been called the “alphabetic psalm” because of its strict structure of 22 stanzas, one for each of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse in a stanza begins with its own proper letter (for example, if written in English, the first stanza would start with “a”, the second with “b”, and so on). Further still, the author uses the word “law” with eight synonyms in each stanza, with few exceptions: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes (ordinances), commandments, judgments, ways and promises.
The Psalmist’s intent is to meditate with focused attention upon God’s word. Meditate for a moment with the Psalmist on the word of God:
Law. These are the directives that belong to the Lord. Men and women who walk in the law of God are blessed by God (119:1).
Testimonies. God’s word is a witness of God’s character as it attests to His will for mankind. The testimonies of God bring joy to those who keep them (119:2, 14).
Precepts. These are instructions given by God to man to direct his conduct. By meditating on His teachings we may understand them, keep them and be revived in God’s righteousness (119:15, 27, 63, 40). By them we gain understanding to hate every false way (119:104).
Statutes. These are the ordinances or enactments of divine law (119:91). God’s servants delight in them, and God will not forsake those who keep them (119:8, 124, 145).
Commandments. These are God appointments which God enjoins and which man is expected to obey. By looking into God’s commands and keeping them one is kept from sin (119:9-11). His commandments are a delight and not a burden, bringing wisdom to the obedient (119:35, 47-48, 98, 127).
Judgments. God’s word contains His judicial pronouncements or heaven’s verdict of what is right. God’s judgments are righteous and they are declared by the faithful (119:7, 13). By laying God’s judgments before us we may know and choose “the way of truth” (119:30). God’s judgments are upright and contain great mercy and justice (119:137, 149, 156).
Ways. These are God’s prescribed lines of conduct. By walking in His ways a person will not practice iniquity (119:3). We must direct our ways by respecting, declaring and thinking upon God’s ways (119:15, 26, 59).
God’s word is “settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89). It stands firm, enduring even when it is forgotten, ignored and rejected by men (Psa. 119:89-91, 160). It lights the way of the faithful and contains God’s help to all who will live by it (Psa. 119:105, 173).
John Isaac Edwards
Psalm 72, which tells of the reign of the righteous king, points to Acts 2 when Jesus began His reign. Let’s take a look.
He Shall Judge Thy People with Righteousness (v. 2). Isaiah prophesied, “...and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge...” (Isaiah 11:3-4). Again it is written, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness...” (Isaiah 32:1). Paul preached, “...he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained...” (Acts 17:31).
In His Days Shall the Righteous Flourish; and Abundance of Peace (v. 7). Paul wrote the Romans, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall
many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). The Lord said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...” (John 14:27) and “...in me ye might have peace....” (John 16:33). “...we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
He Shall Have Dominion from Sea to Sea, and unto the Ends of the Earth (v. 8). Zechariah prophesied of the coming King, “...and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10). The Lord told His apostles, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18) and “...ye shall be witnesses unto me...unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
All Nations Shall Serve Him (v. 11). In prophesying concerning the Lord’s house, Isaiah said, “...all nations shall flow unto it” (Isaiah 2:2). The Lord commissioned His apostles, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...” (Matthew 28:19).
He Shall Redeem Their Soul (v. 14). Redemption “is in Christ” (Romans 3:24). “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Men Shall Be Blessed in Him (v. 17). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Have you submitted to King Jesus?
-The Terre Haute Speaker (II:38), 22Sept2013
Dennis L. Scroggins
Please consider what is happening in those churches who say they belong to Christ Jesus:
Dressing the Bride of Christ in Tight Blue Jeans and a Halter Top
We see a young girl who does not know the difference between love and lust. She dresses in a way to entice men to notice her.
She squeezes into her tightest pair of blue jeans, and puts on a skimpy halter top. When she goes out into the world she hopes to attract men who will notice her and love her. She attracts the wrong kind of men and the kind of attention that has nothing to do with love. Sadly, she is used and abused by men who have no regard for her or her desires to be loved. She dressed carnally and as a result attracted carnal minded men.
Christians forget that Jesus is the Head of His church and that the local church does not belong to them. They begin to seek better ways to reach out in the community to those that are outside the church. They forget or doubt the power of the gospel, and replace it with innovations and programs they believe will attract the world to the church. They are dressing the Bride of Christ in tight blue jeans and a halter top.
After a few years of attracting the world through carnal means, the local church is now filled with carnal people who claim to belong to Christ, but who have been converted through a carnal gospel and believe the church to be a carnal social club.
Christians wonder why the church is filled with such people, never considering that they have used human wisdom and the traditions of men to draw people into the local church. Matthew 15:7-9
Jesus taught, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32; Jesus adds to His church! Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Scripture Reading:Luke 18:9-14
“innocent, holy, just”.
I. WHAT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IS.
A. “I am Right”! Lk. 18:9; Rom. 1:17; 4:5
II. WHAT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS DOES.
A. It Produces Self-Deception, Lk.
18:9; cf. Isa. 65:2-7; cf. Jas. 1:26.
III. HOW TO OVERCOME SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST IT.
A. Be Conscious of Our Own
Unworthiness, Lk. 18:13; Isa. 64:5-7; Psa. 40:11-12; 34:18; Lk. 23:48; Lk.
17:11-14 (10); Titus 3:4-5, 7.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
Pope Francis recently said in an interview, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” (“A Big Heart Open to God”, Antonio Spadaro, S.J.) He added, “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.” (Ibid)
Some Catholics have interpreted his comments to mean the Catholic Church “should focus less on divisive social issues and should emphasize compassion over condemnation” (“Catholics react to pope remarks on gays, abortion”, news.yahoo.com).
There must be a balance whenever we teach the gospel of Christ; one that identifies and rebukes sin while calling sinners to repentance and the redemption in Christ that yields divine mercy (Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Tim. 4:2). Preaching “the whole counsel of God” remains essential if we are to follow the apostolic example (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:3-5).
Christians are affected by similar suggestions that exposing doctrinal error and moral compromise amounts to emphasizing “small-minded rules” while showing no mercy. Appeals to a “positive approach” while eliminating all things “negative” leave Christians vulnerable to compromise. It is an unbalanced approach to gospel preaching and living that invariably leads to more lenient views toward immorality (like immodesty and the use of alcohol) and doctrinal error (the “grace-fellowship” heresy, divorce and remarriage).
Jesus emphasized the balance of truth and genuine faith when he said: “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matt. 23:23). In the gospel of Christ, mercy and truth meet (Psa. 85:10). It is never “small-minded” to carefully follow God’s rules (2 Tim. 3:10). Careful obedience to the word of God is a mark of love and God-approved faith (1 Jno. 5:3-4; 2:3-6). God’s commands are not small-minded rules. “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/29/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA