And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
September 21-26, 2014
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
“The Truth that Shall Make You Free”
Sunday Class: Truth Misunderstood in Bible Times
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
"Departing from the Living God"
Steven J. Wallace
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).
The pathway of Christ is filled with warning signs and remedies. The heart that departs is “evil” and its apostasy stems from “unbelief.” All kinds of evil can flow out of the heart (Matt. 15:19). Unbelief is not necessarily something that man would readily classify as being evil, but it is. Anything that leads us away from God is evil. It is true that unbelief is often propped up by ignorance and pride; but envy, loving what is wicked, and being stubbornly unreasonable are more specific components of skepticism (envy, Acts 13:45; Mk. 15:10; loving unrighteousness, 2 Thess. 2:12; Jude 4; unreasonable, 2 Thess. 3:2). It is a lie to believe that faith is unreasonable. Paul spoke words of truth and reason (Acts 26:25). Atheism and its various forms of unbelief present the most unreasonable platform ever. Look only at what it proposes and applauds!
When the evidence for the truth is clearly presented, it is sinful to not believe it. Jesus rebuked the apostles for their unbelief for not heeding those who had seen Him after He had risen (Mk. 16:14). “…he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36). “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Heb. 11:6).
The evil of departure is seen in considering what one actually departs from when he leaves God.
• He departs from his duties to worship God. God is worthy of worship, for He is worthy of all honor. “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11; cf. Ps. 18:3).
• He departs from his duties to his brethren. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Actions to the brethren are to the Lord (Mt. 25:40; Acts 9:1, 4).
• He departs from the words of life. When Jesus taught some things that offended some, many departed and followed Him no more (Jn. 6:66). Jesus asked the twelve if they also wanted to leave, to which Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68). Leaving Jesus results in leaving the words of life. What a sad loss!
• He departs from a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3). What hope for the soul does one have who walks away from God? To what guide can he trust in? To what can he look forward? To whom can he solicit strength in trial, and to whom can he thank when delivered? Leaving the living God is leaving a living well of truth and hope. "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).
The solution is daily exhortation (Heb. 3:13). The Christian’s faith must be cared for daily. Where sin hardens the heart slowly, daily exhortation provides a remedy. “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14).
(Anchored, June 16, 2014)
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:22-33
1. We must understand who we are!
I. WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
Definition (ekklesia): “to call out of”, Acts 7:38; 19:39 (32, 41).
II. ORIGINS: WHEN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST BEGAN.
A. Built by
Jesus on Pentecost in Acts 2. Matt. 16:18; Jno. 12:31-33 (Eph. 5:25); Matt.
28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:41, 47.
III. OBSTACLES FACED BY THE CHURCH.
Threat of Modernism (Rejecting Bible authority), Jgs. 21:25. Gal. 1:6-9;
2:4-5; Jude 3-4; Rev. 2:14-16; 2 Jno. 10-11.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:1-11
1. Depraved mind does what is "not fitting" and is “filled with
all unrighteousness”, Rom. 1:28-29.
I. FULL OF ENVY, Rom. 1:29.
Embittered Resentment, Gal. 5:21.
II. THE COMPANIONS OF ENVY, Rom. 1:29.
Deprives Others of Life, Exo. 20: 13; Rom. 13:9. Root cause: Hate, 1 Jno.
3:10-15. Remedy: 1 Jno. 4:20.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Men hitting women. Such violence is deplorable, yet a reality in a world where selfish impulses take precedence over self-control, patience and kindness. The video of Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée (now wife) with one punch gave graphic confirmation of what was already known: He physically assaulted and abused her. (Space prevents us, except by implication, from going into the emotional abuse that accompanies such violence.) As The Boston Globe staff writer Chad Finn noted, men must be willing to be educated on how to view and treat women ("CBS’s James Brown on the mark regarding Ray Rice", bostonglobe.com). Here is some of what God teaches on this subject. Men (husbands), are we willing to learn?
1) Do no harm. "Love does no harm to a neighbor" (Rom. 13:10). Spousal abuse displaces a number of things that are the very opposite of love (see 1 Cor. 13:4-7). If you are doing anything that harms your wife, you are not loving her; you are sinning against her.
2) Do not be bitter toward your wife. "Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them" (Col. 3:19). Bitterness is a selfish attitude. Lashing out toward your wife is bitterness on vivid, sinful display.
3) Be understanding and honor your wife. "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the wicker vessel..." (1 Pet. 3:7). Men, women are different than we are! Husbands must be willing to learn about their wives and show them honor; not ridicule, belittling and battery.
4) Treat your wife as your own flesh. "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it..." (Eph. 5:28-29). Spousal abuse is often followed by extreme remorse and vows of "never again", all too often to see the same abuse repeated. You are "one flesh" in marriage. Abusing your wife (physically or emotionally) is an act of hatred against her, yourself and God who joined you together.
Husbands and wives must respect each other, not only in public, but also privately. This begins by respecting God.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/15/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA