And takeÖthe sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRITíS
SWORD

Volume 18, Number 05
08/09/2015

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


Elders
Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


 

In this issue:


Identifying Sin
Joe R. Price

Not every sin is specifically named in the Bible. For instance, the list of the "works of the flesh" is not exhaustive (Gel. 5:19-21). Paul noted there are others sins ("and the like") of the same nature, left unnamed, but which also condemn the soul (Gal. 5:21).

This truth upsets the notion that we cannot be so bold as to call something sin unless it is specifically identified as sin in the Scriptures.

Just as both generic and specific authority exist in the Scriptures (by which we establish and apply Bible authority to what we teach and practice), the same can be said of sin. Some sins are specifically identified, while others are generically included and equally prohibited.

For example, "lewdness" embodies a wide range of sins, all of which are connoted by behavior that is sensual and lustful. Therefore, such things as the lustful touching of bodies outside of marriage, though not specifically identified by name, such practices are identified as sin (Mk. 7:22; Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21). This word condemns the sinfulness of modern dancing, although "dancing" per se is not mentioned in the New Testament as sinful. It is lewd or lascivious conduct, and hence qualifies as a "work of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19, 21).

James said, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (Jas. 4:17). What form does such sin take? Is every "good" to be done specifically named in the Scriptures? If so, then every sin of omission is equally specified. If not, then we conclude there are indeed sins not specifically named, yet certainly abhorrent to the Lord.

Some wish to say the moderate consumption of intoxicants is not called sin in the Scriptures, and therefore we cannot do so. But, such is indeed specifically condemned in 1 Peter 4:3 ("banquetings" or "drinking parties"). Others object to identifying miniskirts as sinful. Yet, modest clothing that reflects godliness is commanded in 1 Timothy 2:9-10.

To be able to identify sin by using the Scriptures we must have a love of the truth combined with "knowledge and all discernment" in order to "approve the things that are excellent" and therefore, refuse what fails God's test of righteousness and holiness (Phil. 1:9-11; Heb. 5:13-14). Do not be deceived by sin. See it clearly for what it is and what it does; destroy the soul (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 3:12-13; Jas. 1:16). 

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When Christians Call Sin a Liberty
Joe R. Price

For something to be a liberty for the Christian, the law of Christ must first judge it permissible. "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor. 6:12). Paul did not remove every stipulation concerning sin, thus making everything acceptable. Far from it. Instead, he affirmed that lawful things must be used in helpful ways that glorify God (see 1 Cor. 6:20). A liberty is never an opportunity to serve the flesh, "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13).

The failure to distinguish a liberty one has in Christ from sin against Christ leads brethren to defend error and justify immorality. We must learn God's word and use it to train our senses to "discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).

Social drinking. I just read a Christian recommend a description of drinking alcohol as a liberty (while agreeing that drunkenness is sin). The point was being made not to drink (use your liberty) in such a way as to draw others into addictive behavior (don't be so cavalier in your drinking before others). Such an approach is error. The Scriptures condemn as sin both drunkenness and the drinking that leads to it (1 Pet. 4:3; Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35). It is not a liberty in Christ to drink as long as you do not influence others to harm themselves with that which you do. Scripture does not support this view of drinking intoxicants.

Social dancing. The absence of moral restraint is the sin of lewd and lascivious conduct (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:19; 1 Pet. 4:3). It is self-abandonment, the lack of moral restraint. One need only look at the activities on the dance floor to see the expression of this sin. Yet, some Christians defend their "liberty" to dance, but not because the Scriptures teach it is innocent. They define it as a liberty because they approve of it. But, self-approval does not a liberty make (2 Cor. 10:12).

Immodest clothing. Some brethren believe it is a person's liberty or right to wear mini-skirts, short shorts and other body-revealing clothes. Scripture teaches the exposure of the thigh is a shameful display of one's nakedness (Isa. 47:2-3; Exo. 28:42). Our clothing is to display shamefastness and sobriety, not the absence of shame through the absence (or exaggeration) of clothing (1 Tim. 2:9-10).

Divorce and remarriage without cause. Many brethren refuse to identify the sin of putting away one's mate for causes other than fornication (Matt. 19:9). Is it because they view it to be a liberty to end a marriage without Christ's stated cause? Apparently they do. Yet, the Scriptures say that sundering what God has joined together is sin, not a liberty (Matt. 19:6).

God calls us to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). Holiness is defined and arranged by the word of God, not by the word and wisdom of men (1 Thess. 5:21-22).

Yes, we have liberties in Christ, but they are things that are pure and clean in and of themselves, being acceptable to God and free of condemnation (Rom. 14:14, 16, 18, 20, 22). We dare not approve what God condemns. Let us always "abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good" (Rom. 12:9). 

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

The Christian and Eternal Life

Scripture Reading:  John 6:48-58

1. Jesus came to give life to sinners, Jno. 1:4; 4:13-14; 10:10; 14:6; 17:1-4.
2. Jesus promised us eternal life, 1 Jno. 2:24-25.
3. Eternal life... 1 Jno. 5:11-13.
4. When do we have eternal life: Now, only in the future, or both? Can eternal life be lost? Can it be recovered? How is it secure?

I. ETERNAL LIFE IS A PRESENT REALITY OF THE CHRISTIAN, 1 Jno. 5:11-13; Jno. 20:31.

  A. Possessing Eternal Life is Equated with Abiding in Christ, Jno. 6:53-58, 47.
  B. The Life We have in the Son is Conditional, 1 Jno. 5:12; Jno. 3:36; 5:24; 10:27-28; 6:48-51, 54-57, 63, 68; 12:25-26.

II. ETERNAL LIFE IS ALSO THE CHRISTIANíS HOPE, Titus 1:2; 3:7.

  A. We have not Yet Entered the Immortal Realm, 1 Cor. 15:54 (19); 1 Jno. 3:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:3-5, 9; 2 Cor. 4:17-19.
  B. The Fullness of God's Promise: Immortally Arrayed, Col. 3:4; Mk. 10:29-30; Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:7, 10; 6:22-23; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 6:12, 19.

III. ETERNAL LIFE CAN BE FORFEITED BY RETURNING TO SIN, Heb. 6:4-6.

  A. We Must...
    1. Guard ourselves, Jude 1:20-21.
    2. Hear and follow Jesus' voice, Jno. 10:27-29.
    3. Sow to the Spirit, Gal. 6:7-9 (5:22-23).
    4. Be steadfast to the end, Heb. 3:12-15.
    5. Do not change God's word to fit ourselves, Rev. 22:19.

Conclusion
1. This is eternal life: To know God and Jesus Christ, Jno. 17:2-3.
2. Know God by having faith to obey Jesus, 1 Jno. 2:3-6.
3. Do you have eternal life as a present spiritual blessing and your expectation of the future?

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

"He Commanded Us To Preach" (Part 2)

Scripture Reading:  1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

1. When we examine the preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts we are impressed by what they do not preach and by what they do preach.
2. Did not preach: Themselves, to please men, human wisdom or personal opinions.
3. They preached the gospel, 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Acts 10:42; 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Thess. 2:4; 2 Cor. 4:5, 7; Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:20; 1 Cor. 9:16.

I. THE APOSTLES' PREACHING IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.

  A. They Preached the Apostles' Doctrine, Acts 2:42; 1 Thess. 1:5.
  -Lesson: When we preach apostles' doctrine we preach heaven's message. All others are counterfeit. Gal. 1:8
  B. They Preached the Word, Acts 8:25; 13:5; 17:13 (16:6).
  -Lesson: God communicates to us through His word. We must hear it and obey it. 1 Cor. 14:37
  C. They Preached Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2; Col. 1:28), Acts 8:5, 35; 9:20; 17:18.
  -Lesson: Jesus is our Master. We must honor and serve Him. Col. 3:23-24
  D. They Preached Forgiveness of Sins through Jesus, Acts 13:38 (42).
  -Lesson: Preaching that does not address sin and does not explain God's remedy for sin is not Bible preaching. 2 Tim. 4:2
  E. They Preached the Kingdom of God (cf. Acts 1:6-7), Acts 8:12; 20:25 (28); 28:31.
  -Lesson: Man does not make God; He made us. Trust Him, obey Him. We are accountable to Him. He will judge us. Acts 17:30-31
  G. They Preached Human Existence Beyond the Grave, Acts 17:18, 17:30-31; 20:21.
  -Lesson: This life is not all there is to our existence. Job 14:14
  H. They Preached the Whole Counsel of God, Acts 20:27, 20.
  -Lesson: Give me all of the Bible! 2 Tim. 4:2

Conclusion God's purpose for preaching is our salvation, Rom. 10:13-17; 1 Cor. 1:21.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Politicking
Joe R. Price

Political candidates are in the business of selling themselves to their constituents; that's what they do. They promote themselves and their policies when running for office. For example, the Republican Party candidates for President of the United States debated Thursday night. The art of politicking was on full display.

Politicking can also takes on more subtle forms. Personal contact to gain confidence by way of a handshake, a look in the eye, a hand on the shoulder. That's fine. That's what politicians do to gain people's approval, support and vote. We know their motive. That's politics.

The church of Christ, on the other hand, has no place for politicking. And yet, too often that is exactly what happens. It is not always easy to detect. Motives matter, and eventually they are seen by the fruit they bear (Matt. 7:20). It is right to engender and strengthen our bonds of brotherhood through mutual concern (Rom. 1:11-12; 12:10). The motive of brotherly love produces genuine care, personal contact and the confidence in one another that comes along with it (Heb. 13:1). That is good and right.

We also realize the darker motive of pride and self-promotion can infect Christians' hearts. When it does, politicking invades the church. The result is factious disruption, sinful division. A movement to "fire" the preacher arises because his preaching is "too negative". (Translation: His preaching exposes sin among the members and too many don't like it.) An elder is forced to resign because he is "standing in the way of progress". (Translation: A younger generation wants to do things their way instead of the Bible way, and with him out of the way, they can.) We must "reject" every factious person after the second warning, not coddle them, thereby enabling divisiveness (Titus 3:9-10). We must guard our unity in Christ and vigilantly reject all who would serve themselves to deceive the innocent with "smooth words and flattering speech" (Eph. 4:3; Rom. 16:17-18).

We do well to remember that Paul said, "We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord" (2 Cor. 4:5). The apostles did not use "flattering words...nor a cloak for covetousness" to advance the gospel (1 Thess. 2:4-5). They never advanced themselves, only Christ. They were not politicians, promoting themselves. We dare not be, either. 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  08/10/2015

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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