sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Volume 19, Number
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
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Mt. Baker church
Editor......Joe R. Price
In this issue:
Exist Before Life? By Mike Thomas
Sins Against the Holy
Spirit By Heath Rogers
Live It Down
By Larry Ray Hafley
Did We Exist Before Life?
Among the radical ideas promoted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints (i.e. the Mormons) is the belief that everyone existed in another
world before coming to earth. This idea permeates much of their literature.
"Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to
maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the
earth in a temporal (physical) body" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:
Joseph Smith , 335). Thus, all men and women are literally the
physical offspring of God the Father and pre-existed in another realm before
coming to earth.
In studying with the Mormons, I was told we each chose to come to earth to
do God's work and that our knowledge of pre-existence gradually departs
after birth. The passage they turn to for biblical evidence of this notion
was Jeremiah 1:5, which states, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew
you..." They say this is proof God literally knew Jeremiah in person before
sending him to the womb. But that is a faulty interpretation. When God told
Jeremiah that He knew him before birth, He was referring to Jeremiah's
calling as a prophet. That verse further states as much: "before you were
born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." He had
already devised the plan to send Jeremiah before he was born, in the same
way He foretold of John the Baptist's ministry centuries before it occurred
(Malachi 3:1; Matthew 11:10). These prophecies did not demand prior
existence of either man, and are no different than a couple naming their
children before they are born. God is unique. He can see the future before
it unfolds and is able to call "those things which do not exist as though
they did" (Romans 4:17).
The only human to exist in a life before this one was Jesus, who occupied
heaven before coming to earth to become a man (Philippians 2:6-7). But no
one else made this transition. Every other human received his beginning in
this life by the One who "forms the spirit of man within him" (Zechariah
12:1). Hence, Jesus told His opponents, "You are from beneath; I am from
above. You are of this world; I am not of this world" (John 8:23). That
statement would have no meaning if everyone has a prior existence.
Friends, we are on this planet because our Creator placed us here. The only
hope we have of experiencing eternal life is through His Son, Jesus Christ
(1 John 5:11). We did not have it before Jesus, nor will we have it apart
from Him. And we certainly have no hope of reincarnation and returning to
this world until we advance to enlightenment. If we want to find heaven, we
must follow Jesus now (Hebrews 5:9) by obeying His gospel (Acts 2:37-41) and
living in holiness (1 John 3:1-3). Only then will we reach God's dwelling
place, which will be an original, first-time experience for us (Matthew
Sins Against the Holy Spirit
It is possible for us to sin against the Holy Spirit. We must take this
matter very seriously. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and were
struck dead (Acts 5:1-5). Let's consider some ways the Bible says we can sin
against the Holy Spirit.
Resisting the Holy Spirit. Stephen
accused the Jews of always resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51-53). The
idea of resisting something means more than simply ignoring it. The word
"resist" is translated from a Greek word which means to fall against or upon
something. In this sense, to resist is to oppose or strive against
something. These Jews were not indifferent about the gospel. They were
opposing the gospel with all their might. The same Holy Spirit who inspired
the prophets of old also inspired the apostles who wrote the New Testament.
Today, one resists the Holy Spirit when he rejects and opposes the message
of the New Testament.
Quenching the Holy Spirit. "Do
not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies" (1 Thess. 5:19-20). The
Greek word rendered "quench" in this passage means "to extinguish." Every
time this word is used in the New Testament it refers to the act of
quenching a fire or things on fire (literally or metaphorically). As used in
this verse, the word means to quench, suppress, or stifle a divine
The Holy Spirit works through His word, pricking men's hearts (Acts 2:37)
and causing them to burn (Luke 24:32). Whenever the impact of the word of
God is ignored, the Holy Spirit has been quenched. When we stop reading the
word and praying for God's help, we have quenched the Holy Spirit's intended
influence upon our lives.
Grieving the Holy Spirit. "And
do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption" (Eph. 4:30). To "grieve" means to make one sorrowful, to cause
someone to suffer with grief or sadness. How is it possible for a Christian
to bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit? This warning is given in the context of
Christians being told to put off the corrupt conduct of their former lives
and to put on the new man who has been created in righteousness and holiness
(vv. 22-24). Paul goes on to specifically address their speech, anger, work
habits, generosity, as well as various attitudes (vv. 25-32).
When we fail to live the way God has told us to live, we have rejected God's
authority for our lives. Such rebellion causes the Holy Spirit to experience
deep sorrow, much like the parents of a wayward and foolish child (Prov.
10:1, 17:25). Any time we disobey God and violate the commands given by the
Holy Spirit, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
Insulting the Holy Spirit. In
Hebrews 10:26-29, the writer speaks of those who sin willfully,
understanding what they are doing, without showing any desire to repent.
Such persons are said to have "insulted" the Spirit of grace. The word
"insulted" is translated from a Greek word which means to insult, but it
also carries with it the idea of acting with contempt. It describes one who
is haughty and thus acts against the authority of another, the result of
which is a scornful insult to the one in the position of authority. This
attitude is exactly what is described in the above passage.
We insult the Holy Spirit when we sin willfully, rejecting God's efforts to
save our soul, without showing any desire to repent. Such a person can
expect a certain and fearful judgment. One cannot so insult the Spirit of
grace without falling into the hands of the living God (v. 31).
Live It Down
Larry Ray Hafley
David sinned and was shamed. "My sin," he said, "is ever before me" (Psa.
51:3). Paul never forgot his days as a tormentor and persecutor. Because of
his awful past, he thought himself unfit to be called an apostle (1 Cor.
15:9). Did Peter ever forget having cursed and sworn that he did not know
Jesus? I think not.
If this is your sad plight, perhaps the following story will help you.
Years ago, two brothers were caught and condemned for stealing sheep. As
part of their punishment, their foreheads were branded with large capital
letters, "S. S."
One of the young men could not bear the stigma. He fled from town to
town, but everywhere he went, people inquired about the letters on his
forehead. Haunted by his past, he lived on the run as a fugitive, trying to
escape his shame and reproach. He died while still a young man, never able
to escape the letters seared into his skin and scorched into his condemning
Meanwhile, his brother settled down in the same community where his crime
had been committed. He worked and lived an honest, upright life. He devoted
himself to helping and serving others. Many years past and people scarcely
noticed the scars on his face. One day, a stranger moved into town and asked
his neighbor about the letters, "S. S." on "that old man's face."
"Well, we're not for certain," his neighbor replied, "but we think it
means that he's the Savior's Servant."
So, my dear fellow, suffering servant, however grievous your sins have
been, if they are forgiven, you are now wearing the brand of the Savior's
Servant. Hence, you may humbly forget those things which are behind and
reach forth unto those things which are before, pressing toward the mark for
the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord
(Phil. 3:13, 14).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
“When am I Ready to Be Baptized?”
Scripture Reading: Acts 8:34-39
1. The question often arises, “When am I ready to be baptized?”
2. Acts 8:29-38 (36): “What hinders me to be baptized?”
I. YOU ARE READY TO BE BAPTIZED WHEN YOU…
A. Know the
Seriousness of Sin. Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3
Know the Basis of Salvation in the Perfect Work of Christ. Rom. 5:6-10; Heb.
9:11-15; 10:10-12; Acts 2:22-38
Knows the Conditions of Pardon, Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:8-9; Jno. 6:44-45;
8:23-24; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; Gal. 3:26-27; Acts 2:38;
Knows the Necessary Commitment that must be made to Christ; Matt. 11:28-30;
Matt. 6:33 (Acts 8:12); Lk. 9:23; 14:26-27; Lk. 14:28-33.
Knows the New Life One Must Live in Christ, Col. 3:1-11; 1 Jno. 2:15-17;
Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 4:1-3.
1. To be baptized, you must know you are lost, want to be saved, and able
to choose to put away sin and live for Jesus, Acts 2:37; 3:19.
2. Those who receive the apostolic word are ready to be baptized, Ac 2:41;
Immediately, Acts 16:33.
4. Without delay, Acts 22:16.
5. Are you ready to be baptized?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:16-19
1. Hear a lot about “fake news” these days.
2. Same can be said about the gospel. 1 Jno. 4:1 (6); 2 Tim. 2:16-19.
3. Paul warned of fake gospels, Gal. 1:6-10.
I. THE TRADITIONS OF MEN, Matt. 15:1-9.
Righteous, but are of No Spiritual Value, Col. 2:20-23.
They Go Beyond the Written Word of God, 1 Cor. 4:6.
II. THE FAITH ONLY GOSPEL IS A FAKE GOSPEL.
A. Faith is
Essential, Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:9-10. Acts 16:30-31
Faith Only does not Justify Sinners, Jas. 2:14-26; Acts 10:34-35.
III. THE SOCIAL GOSPEL IS A FAKE GOSPEL.
A. The Church
should Minister to the “Whole” Person.
Work of the Local Church is Specified in Scripture.
Work Mandate Given the Local Church is Spiritual, 1 Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34.
IV. UNIVERSAL SALVATION GOSPEL IS A FAKE GOSPEL. Matt. 7:13-14; 1
V. A SINLESS GOSPEL IS A FAKE GOSPEL.
A. Sin has been
Redefined as Illness or as Personal Identity, Rom. 3:23; 6:23.
VI. A HELL-LESS GOSPEL IS FAKE GOSPEL,
of Wicked, Mk. 9:43-44; Matt. 25:30; Rev. 20:10, 15.
Decision is Ours, Rom. 2:5-11.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
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