And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
The Jehovah's Witnesses deny the eternal nature of Jesus, asserting Jesus was created and that He is not our Creator:
“Jesus the Christ, a created individual, is the second greatest personage of the universe.” (Make Sure Of All Things, p. 207)
“He (Jesus, jrp) was formed countless millenniums ago as the first and the only direct creation by his Father, Jehovah, and because of his proved faultless integrity, was appointed by Jehovah as his vindicator and the chief agent of life toward mankind.” (Ibid)
Thus, their New World Translation of the Bible corrupts John 1:1, making Jesus a little god: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”
They are in gross error and unbelief. "Jehovah" describes the self-existing, eternal nature of deity. It is the name ascribed to God (Elohim) by God Himself. Jehovah is not exclusively the Father; the Son and the Holy Spirit are also eternal deity.
The eternal nature of Jesus was announced in prophecy. The "Ruler in Israel" who would be born in Bethlehem is described as one "Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). This is the passage used to tell Herod where the king would be born (Matt. 2:1-6). It is applied to Jesus. He is "from everlasting" - eternal deity.
Jesus claimed to be self-existing deity by describing Himself as "I AM". The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob identified Himself as "I AM THAT I AM" at the burning bush (Exo. 3:13-14). The "Lord God" (Jehovah Elohim) is "I AM" (Exo. 3:14-15). Jesus claimed to be eternal, self-existing deity in John 8:58. He claimed to be Lord God (Jehovah Elohim). In fact, Jesus said "you will die in your sins...if you do not believe that I am He" (Jno. 8:24). Jehovah's Witnesses remain dead in their sins as long as they do not believe Jesus is eternal God.
Jesus is "the First and the Last". So He said in Revelation 1:17, using a description taken from Isaiah 44:6 where Jehovah said, "I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God." If Jesus is true, then Jesus is Jehovah (self-existing deity). If not, then Jesus is not "good" and He cannot be of "faultless integrity" as the Witnesses state (see above).
Jesus is to be honored just as the Father is honored. "...that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him" (Jno. 5:23). Jehovah's Witnesses deny the eternal deity of the Son. They do not honor the Son or the Father. By denying the Son they do not "have the Father either" (1 Jno. 2:23).
Most of the denominations view water baptism as an act of Christian devotion, either to dedicate an infant or to declare one’s allegiance to Christ after being saved. Yet, over and over the New Testament teaches the purpose of water baptism is connected with saving sinners. Water baptism is for those who are lost in sin and who want to be saved.
Let us allow the word of Christ to explain why repentant believers must be baptized in water.
1. Water baptism is essential for the new birth into the kingdom of God: "Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (Jno. 3:5). The apostle Paul would later refer to this cleansing from sin as "the washing of water by the word" in Ephesians 5:26. If you wish to be born again you must be baptized in water.
2. Water baptism is essential to be saved from your sins: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:16). The apostle Peter would later affirm that baptism "now saves us" (1 Pet. 3:21). There is no salvation from your sins before and without water baptism.
3. Water baptism is essential to enter a relationship with God: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). The inspired apostle Paul would later explain that sinners who are "baptized into Christ Jesus" are "baptized into His death", and that "as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). You must be baptized in order to be saved by the death of Jesus and be in a relationship with Him.
4. Water baptism is essential in order to call on the name of the Lord: "And now, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). The man who was baptized that day later wrote, "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). In order to call on the name of the Lord for salvation you must arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.
5. Water baptism is essential in order to remove sin from your life: "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). Paul would explain that the sinner is "buried with Him in baptism" at which time "the body of the sins of the flesh" are cut off (Col. 2:11-12). God will cut away your sins when you are buried with Christ in baptism.
6. Water baptism is essential in order to love Jesus: "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48). But Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (Jno. 14:15). Therefore, by refusing water baptism (to be born again, to be saved from sin, to have a relationship with God and to call on the name of the Lord) one is not loving Jesus the way He wants to be loved.
Do you love Jesus? Will you obey Him by being baptized in water to be saved? Jesus will save you when you obey Him (Heb. 5:9). If you have not yet been baptized in water for these Bible reasons, we urge you to do so now. Your salvation depends on it. God is ready to save you. We are ready to help you.
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1. Return of Jesus promised by Jesus (Jno. 14:3), angels (Acts 1:9-11) and
apostles (1 Ths. 4:16).
I. THE EVENTS OF CHRIST’S RETURN.
Resurrection of all the Dead: The Last Enemy will be Subdued, Jno. 5:28-29
(last day, Jno. 6:39-40, 54); 11:23-27; 1 Cor. 15:22-26, 35-49.
II. WILL JESUS COME TO EARTH OR TAKE US TO HEAVEN, OR BOTH?
Promised to Take Us to Heaven, Jno. 14:1-6.
III. COMFORT / ASSURANCE, 1 Ths. 4:13-18.
A. Our Hope
is Secure, 4:13-15.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 4:1-7
1. When people refuse to retain God in their knowledge, their values
inevitably move to the lowest common denominators of lust and selfish
pursuits. This is what we see in the Gentile world in Romans 1:18-32.
I. DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, Rom. 1:30.
are to Honor their Parents by Obeying Them, Exo. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-2; Heb.
12:9; Lev. 19:3; Prov. 6:20-21; Deut. 11:26-28.
II. ATTRIBUTES OF DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN, Rom. 1:31.
Undiscerning: Without Spiritual Understanding, Col. 1:9-10; Phil. 1:9-10; 1
Cor. 2:14; Prov. 4:1-7.
III. HITTING ROCK BOTTOM: REALIZING THE NATURE OF SIN AND JUDGMENT, YET CONTINUING TO PRACTICE IT AND SUPPORT OTHERS IN IT, Rom. 1:32 (18).
A. Although the Guilt of Sin does not Penetrate the Hard Heart, Man is Still a Moral Creature, Rom. 1:21, 19.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Border wars are not new. An aggressor probes and pushes, looking for weaknesses to exploit. The defender pushes back, protecting the homeland. Whether such battles are instigated by rebels, expansionists, terrorists or tyrants, human suffering mounts. This past week there was news of battles from along the Syria-Turkey border where the town of Kobani is under attack by the Islamic State. Elsewhere, Indian villages were shelled along the Pakistani-Indian disputed borderland of Kashmir, leaving about 20 dead. Rebels fight in Yemen, central Africa and beyond. And so it goes in a world without God.
God has ordained civil government and given them authority to protect the innocent and punish evil doers (Rom. 13:1-4). Evil people often ignore this divine mandate and lead their nations into ruin through faithlessness, moral corruption and the oppression of the weak. God is an avenger in all such matters (Rom. 12:19). He rules the nations and we are confident knowing He continues to providentially execute His justice among the nations (cf. Dan. 4:15-35; Isa. 10:5-12; Jer. 18:7-11; 50:8-16).
There is another kind of border war we fight every day; the war against the devil for our souls. He is always pushing and probing, looking for weaknesses to exploit and to conquer. Christians must see the enemy with clear eyes. Satan's objective is to devour and destroy us. Our weapons are "mighty in God" and we must rely on them (2 Cor. 10:3-5). We must put on the whole armor of God and fight against the devil and his cohorts in the full strength of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-17). If not, we will die. Do not yield to temptation. "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13). God vindicates His people.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/13/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA