And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
Can you imagine General Motors manufacturing automobiles without following patterns that have been designed, reviewed and approved for that purpose? Or, suppose Boeing made airplanes that did not follow strict specifications (patterns) of design. Would those be the cars and airplanes in which you want to travel? We live in a world dependent upon patterns. Yet, when it comes to “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” many (if not most) people are content to trust their salvation to personal preferences concerning personal faith, morality, worship and service of God, instead of upon divinely-revealed patterns that must be followed for God’s blessings.
Some in churches of Christ have long since reject Bible patterns as binding authority. For example, Rubel Shelly said in a speech at the Missouri Street Church of Christ in West Memphis, Arkansas, April 20-21, 1990, “Are we really looking for a pattern? We have taken Acts and tried to make it a prison. Acts was not meant to be a pattern. I reject pattern theology. The Scripture is not a book of case law to be cited like a bunch of proof texts. The way to teach people about the Bible is not to quote a series of steps to salvation. I am not looking for a pattern. I am looking for a Person” (“Pattern Theology,” Brock Hartwigsen, The Auburn Beacon).
The Scriptures say we must follow the patterns God has designed and revealed. When we find the Bible pattern, we find the Person (Christ). Scripture says...
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17).
“However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Tim. 1:16).
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13).
“Join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3:17).
1. There is a pattern to follow to be saved from sin. As noted in Romans 6:17, the apostle said, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17). There is a “form” or pattern of teaching that every sinner must obey from the heart in order to be freed from sin’s bondage. We do not decide this pattern on our own; God has revealed it in the gospel. God’s pattern to be saved from your past sins is to (1) Hear the gospel (Jno. 6:44-45; Acts 2:22), (2) Believe the gospel (Mk. 16:15-16; Jno. 8:24), (3) Confess faith in Christ the Lord (Rom. 10:9-10), (4) Repent of sins (Acts 17:30; 2:38), and (5) Be baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Paul said his salvation was a pattern that showed God’s merciful longsuffering to sinners. “However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Tim. 1:16). When Paul believed in Christ and prayerfully repented of his sins, he was told to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). When he did, he was saved. Sinners who do as Paul did will be saved like Paul was.
What person has the power (right) to change the “form of doctrine” that saves the lost? None of us do. Yet, many try. The doctrine of “faith only” for salvation changes God’s pattern (Jas. 2:24). Infant baptism for salvation changes God’s pattern (Mk. 16:16). Praying the “sinner’s prayer” changes God’s pattern (Acts 9:11; 22:16). To go beyond what is written in God’s word concerning how to be saved is presumptuous error (1 Cor. 4:6).
2. There is a pattern to follow for God-approved worship. Widely defined, worship must be “in spirit and truth” (Jno. 4:24). Specifically described, the New Testament pattern for worship is (1) Prayer (Acts 2:42), (2) Singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), (3) Giving (1 Cor. 16:2), (4) The Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-34), and (5) Teaching the word of God (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 14:26). There are no worship rituals found in the Scriptures. There are no “praise bands” or “worship teams” found in the “pattern of sound words” we must hold fast (2 Tim. 1:13). For our “faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” to be properly expressed in worship, we must “hold fast the pattern of sound words” which teach us how to worship in spirit and truth. To change God-given worship is to design worship that does not follow the pattern God gave us.
3. There is a pattern for the local church to follow for its work and organization. The local church has been given a pattern of work to follow – the spiritual work of preaching the gospel, building up Christians in the word of God, and relieving needy Christians (Acts 2:42-47; 6:1-7; 20:28-32; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The local church is organized independently of other churches, with its own elders and deacons (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1). No one has the right to change what God has arranged.
Moses was commanded to “see that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Heb. 8:5). Even so, we must “give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Heb. 2:1). God has revealed patterns we must follow in order to please Him. Without Bible patterns, we do not know the Person of Jesus Christ (2 Jno. 9). Look for the Bible pattern, and you will find the Person (of Christ).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 3:14-16
1. The church makes known God’s wisdom, Eph. 3:10-11.
2. How we conduct ourselves as the church is relevant to God’s glory and our salvation, 1 Tim. 3:14-15; Eph. 3:21.
I. THE CHURCH IS THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH, 1 Tim. 3:15.
A. The Church Supports God’s Revealed Truth.
1. Pillar: Support, Eph. 4:11-12; Jno. 8:31-32; Phil. 3:14-16; 2 Pet. 1:5-7.
2. Ground: Strength, stabilize, Col. 1:23.
II. WHY THE CHURCH MUST SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE TRUTH.
A. Because of What Truth is and What it Accomplishes. Jno. 17:17
1. Consider the nature of truth.
2. When a church fails to support and defend the truth it will, without fail, move into unauthorized areas of work and lose its identity as the NT church, 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Rev. 2:14-16; 2:4-5.
III. LOCAL CHURCHES OF CHRIST DO THE WORK GOD GIVES THEM (REVEALED IN THE WORD OF TRUTH, 1 Tim. 3:15).
A. Preach Gospel, Phil. 1:5; 1 Thess. 1:8.
B. Edify the Saints, Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 4:15-16, 20-21; 2 Tim. 3:17.
C. Relieve Needy Saints, Acts 4:34-35; 11:27-30.
D. Any Work that is Added or Taken Away is Accursed, Gal. 1:6-12.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
is key to a success marriage (security, intimacy, openness and
communication), Gen. 2:24-25.
I. BUILDING TRUST IN YOUR MARRIAGE.
Four Essentials for Building and Maintaining Trust in Marriage.
II. DAMAGING AND DESTROYING TRUST IN YOUR MARRIAGE.
Infidelity, Prov. 6:30-35; 5:7-14.
Illegal immigration is of major interest in the U.S. at this time in our history. Many have illegally entered our country, obtaining the benefits this land affords. Some of these try to defraud the U.S. government in order to obtain legal status. For example:
“A father and daughter duo allegedly helped obtain visas for Chinese nationals, including people on that country’s “100 Most Wanted” fugitive list, by defrauding a U.S. program that awards visas to wealthy foreigners who invest in American projects, according to federal court documents unsealed Wednesday (“Father, daughter, accused in US visa fraud,” The Wall Street Journal, foxnews.com). It is alleged that more than $50 million was involved in this fraud: “But instead of investing in U.S. businesses, the duo allegedly pocketed millions and gave the money back to some of these investors.” (Ibid)
Many people believe they will be allowed to “illegally” enter heaven – even though God’s law is clear about who will be granted entrance, and who will be denied. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). And again, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27). More specifically, “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
Illegal aliens are deported because they have violated the law concerning legal entry into our country. God’s visa program for entrance into heaven is the gospel of Christ (Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16-17). We must obey it in order to receive the blessing of entrance into the heavenly country. Just as there is a correct way to enter the U.S., there is one correct way to enter heaven (Jno. 14:6; Acts 4:12). Fraudulent, illegal attempts to enter heaven will fail.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/10/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA