And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then, it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed, and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”
When you say things in anger, they leave a scar, just like the nails left holes in the fence. If you put a knife in a man and draw it out, it will not matter how many times you say, “I’m sorry,” the wound is still there. A verbal wound is just as bad as a physical wound.
From The Knollwood Reminder, March 2014
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12).
The apostles are a gift to us by Christ. Their work is crucial in calling the nations to His salvation: "Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1:5-6; cf. Eph. 4:7-8).
The word "apostle" (apostolos) means "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders" (Thayer). Jesus chose His apostles "out of the world" in order to send them "into all the world" to preach His gospel (Jno. 15:19; Mk. 16:15). They accepted this work with devotion and sacrifice, as Peter observed, "See, we have left all and followed You" (Lk. 18:28).
These messengers of Christ to the world had to meet specific qualifications in order to be apostles. Just anyone could not be an apostle. Nor did the church select the apostles, Jesus Christ did. Apostles were men who 1) Accompanied Jesus during all of his ministry, from John's baptism to the ascension, and 2) Personally saw the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21-25). Paul was an exception to being with Jesus on earth, who described himself as "one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 26:16).
As they preached the gospel the apostles had the particular work of giving eyewitness testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They were baptized with the Holy Spirit to empower them to accomplish this work: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Their work included the miraculous confirmation of the revelation from God which they spoke (and wrote) by divine inspiration (Mk. 16:17-20; Heb. 2:3-4).
The apostles fulfilled their mission. We have the living word they left us as the age-lasting testimony of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (1 Pet. 1:21-25). In this way they continue their work among God's people.
Their service, steadfastness and sacrifice stand as a monument to faith and serve to encourage and warn us to be faithful to Christ. Listen as their lives are described:
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. (1 Cor. 4:9-14)
May we imitate their faith (1 Cor. 11:1)!
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-8
1. Unity in Christ is a blessing that is scriptural, reasonable and
I. UNITY DEMANDS HUMILITY, Phil. 2:3.
Unity is Destroyed by Evil Motives.
II. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE LOOK OUT FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES, Phil. 2:4 (3).
This does not Endorse being Busybodies, 1 Pet. 4:15; Prov. 16:28; 17:9.
III. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, Phil. 2:5.
Christ's Work in Redemption Shows the Mind (Heart) it takes to have Unity.
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-8
1. One way to rationalize clear disobedience to Christ is to assert one is
“spiritual” while acknowledging one is not “religious”.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SPIRITUAL?
World’s Definition of “Spiritual”. (Humanistic view)
II. THE FRUIT BORNE BY SPIRITUAL PEOPLE, Gal. 5:16-26.
Spiritual Person Sets His Mind on Things in Heaven, Col. 3:1-4.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Marriage at First Sight"
A new reality show aired this week, "Marriage at First Sight". But, "reality" is a misnomer - rarely do Americans get married, sight unseen. Yet, that is what happens on this program. (Even arranged marriages in places like India generally allow for a pre-marriage meeting between the bride and bridegroom.) What is real about "Marriage at First Sight" (in which couples meet for the first time at their wedding ceremony) is the real mockery it makes of marriage.
You see, there is an "opt-out" clause. After five weeks of getting to know each other and watching to see how their marriage is going, the "arranged" couple can opt for divorce: "And those who wish to get unhitched can have their divorce financed by the show within six months" ('Married At First Sight' Reality Show Legally Weds Strangers, huffingtonpost.com). To say the least, this is not an encouraging way to instill respect for the permanency of marriage.
The producers of the show say they used "scientific matchmaking" to arrange these marriages, with a goal of helping viewers "think long and hard about what really makes for a long-term relationship, what really makes for a good marriage" (Ibid). While such introspection is no doubt needed, one thing is clear to us, this program will not strengthen society's view of marriage. In fact, it mirrors the diluted attitudes that exist in America toward marriage. Does it not engender the view that marriage is disposable? Does it not foster the notion that "till death we do part" has opt-out clauses, like "till we fall out of love" (or in this case, "if we never fall in love")? In our judgment, this TV show is voyeuristic and serves to decay respect for marriage (Heb. 13:4).
Marriages succeed when husbands and wives commit themselves to God and to each other (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is not a trial run, it is a lifelong relationship that works when those in it work together (Matt. 19:4-6).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/13/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA