And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
Invites you to our
September 25 - 30, 2016
Hear these gospel lessons:
Bring your Bible and join us in learning God’s word and will for our lives!
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Jesus’ plea both during His time on earth and since has been for people to come to Him. His appeal, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” has been the subject of sermons and songs (Matt. 11:28). In John 5:40, He lamented, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” The design of Messianic prophecy was to lead people to come to Him (Jno. 6:44, 45). One of the last verses of the Bible bids all to come to Him (Rev. 22:17). That verse includes the words, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” The bride in this text is the church. One way that the church can say, “come,” is via an invitation at the end of services.
The invitation is given because of the urgent nature of the possible spiritual needs of the hearers. As such, the invitation is not a devotional. It also is not a time for talking about physical needs of those in attendance such as sicknesses or hardships in life. Such needs are important and worthy of prayer but not urgent.
Jesus shed His blood for the sins of man (Matt. 20:28; 26:28). The Bible reveals that baptism is the final step in God’s plan for man to be saved by His blood (Mk. 16:15, 16; Acts 2:37, 38). Viewed in this light it does not surprise us to learn that baptism was not delayed in New Testament accounts of conversion. We read of Saul of Tarsus being urged not to wait to be baptized (Acts 22:16). The Philippian jailor and his household were baptized “the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:33). Those who believed after hearing the first gospel sermon were baptized “the same day” (Acts 2:41). After coming to believe in Jesus the Ethiopian treasurer was baptized without delay (Acts 8:35-37). The invitation is one way in which sinners can be assisted in their pressing need to be baptized.
The Bible also reveals the course that must be followed by a Christian who has sinned. In order to be forgiven such a one must repent and pray for forgiveness, confessing their sins to God (Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9). Sins are sometimes of a public nature (Gal. 2:11-14; Eph. 19:18). When a Christian sins publicly the church has been wronged. It is the church’s responsibility to be pure before the Lord (Eph. 5:3,4; 27; Phil. 2:15). When a Christian’s sin(s) becomes public knowledge it brings reproach upon the church (1 Cor. 5:1; Rom. 2:24; Ti. 2:5). When one sins against another the Bible teaches that it is vitally necessary for that person to correct the matter with the offended party (Matt. 5:23, 24). Why would this not be true when the church is the offended party? Also, the Bible teaches Christians to confess their sins to one another and pray for each other (Jas. 5:16). The invitation gives Christians guilty of public sin a chance to confess it and ask for prayers of their brethren. It is a way for them to fulfill an urgent necessity.
Jesus’ call goes forth today through the medium of His word. The invitation at the end of services aids sinners in hearing His call. Have you responded to heaven’s invitation?
The Way of Truth and Life, April 5, 2015
Proverbs 19:20, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (KJV).
Great is the need for this proverb. Many people in our society, some of God’s people among them, are wasting their lives because they are squandering opportunities to improve themselves. Specifically, they will not listen to God nor to the wise who have long followed the guidelines found in this proverb.
The book of Proverbs describes the kinds of people who refuse counsel and instruction. Among them are those who harden themselves against efforts made for their betterment (29:1), fools who hate knowledge (1:22), the reckless who live carelessly (5:9-14), the wicked who live for the here and now (11:7), scoffers (15:12) and such like. It is sad but true that, in every age, there are those possessed with self-confidence regarding the future who have no reason to be so (12:5; 26:12).
Our proverb’s exhortation implies that such people must first break with their present self-willed, undisciplined ways in order to start improving themselves. It is not just speaking of consulting friends before acting. It demands that there be a sharp contrast between two periods of their lives, the present and the future. Hence, the readers must accept that they are currently in need of improvement if indeed they are to be wise in the future. Its words are obviously written to stimulate and spur its reader(s) to needed action. What they said to the original readers they say today.
Our proverb implies a source of wisdom. God is the ultimate source of wisdom (2:6-9). This would include the words of the wise recorded in the book of Proverbs (1:2-6). The “counsel” mentioned in our proverb is also generally found in a “multitude of counselors” (11:14; 13:10; 15:22).
Our proverb implies a proper attitude before the counsel and instruction that all men need. Humility (11:2; 15:33), meekness (Jas. 1:21), readiness of mind (Acts 17:11), and self-distrust (Jer. 1:4-12) will aid one in hearing and receiving counsel and instruction.
Our proverb implies that one must have obedient faith in its teaching. After all, the fruits (wisdom) it promises are future. The effort it commands is now. Wherever and whenever we encounter it, properly heeded, it aids us in preparing for the future. We can never think that we have arrived when it comes to all the wisdom we need in life.
Finally, our proverb implies one of two ends for all men. When men choose the world and its ways as their portion they will one day face fear, calamity, distress and anguish in this life and/or the next (1:24-32; Rom. 2:5-14). When men receive and follow the wise counsel and instruction of the Lord and His people they are building a future wherein they can walk with the Lord and His people, in this life and the next. One is presently not as wise as one should be. Are you seeking wisdom? Are you wiser than you were last year at this time?
Assembling ourselves together (Heb. 10:25).
Gathering to hear God’s word (Acts 10:33).
Opportunity to grow in Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-2).
Saving power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16).
Preaching the word (2 Tim. 4:2).
Edifying the saints with the gospel (Acts 20:32).
Looking unto Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2).
Minding things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5).
Exposing the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).
Enduring faith (Heb. 10:36-39).
Taking time to be holy (1 Pet. 1:13-17).
Interceding in prayer (1 Tim. 2:1).
Now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
Go and teach all nations (Matt. 28:19).
Preparations have been made, and our meeting begins today. Brother Steve Wallace is here and has prepared himself to preach the word of God. The elders have prepared this time for our edification and for evangelism in this area. We hope, by now, you have also prepared to be present for the gospel lessons that will be preached.
Let us encourage each other to use our time well this week, and be an active part in this gospel effort.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/23/2016
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA