And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8)
Evidently, from Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia, the church had turned away from the truth which was preached to them at a prior time. This is an immense wake up call for us today, in that we too can turn away from the truth which is found in the Scriptures. The error of the once saved, always saved doctrine is revealed in this passage. If this false doctrine were true, Paul would have had no need to correct the brethren of Galatia, because they were already saved. But, this was not the case. Paul urged the brethren to compare what was being preaching to them to the sound doctrine they had received from the apostle of Christ. If it was a different gospel, then the message and its messenger was devoted to destruction by God – not commended by God. False doctrines existed 2000 years ago, and they will continue to exist as long as the gospel exists. It is imperative that we examine ourselves, and what we preach and teach, that it is in complete agreement with the Scriptures (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). We can be led astray by false teachings just as the churches of Galatia were under this threat. Let us remain vigilant and sober-minded, that we may clearly and accurately teach and follow the word of Christ.
Pain, suffering, and afflictions are not a possibility in this life; they are inevitable and inescapable. We are told throughout the Scriptures in numerous places that children of God are to endure afflictions, and endure through various trials and pains that will come (2 Tim 2:3-12; 2 Cor. 1:3-8; Rom. 8:18-28; 1 Thess. 1:4; James 1:12). For some, the idea that a child of God will suffer and will feel pain in their life seems unfair, undeserving, or simply unjust. They can understand why a non-Christian would suffer and experience pain, but they themselves? A child of God? A Christian? “That is just not fair”, some might say. It has been falsely understood before that the words ‘Christian’ and ‘Suffering’ do not go together. We will see, however, that they do go together. Very well, in fact.
Paul, in Acts 14:22, had been preaching the gospel and was “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’” From the first century churches, we can see Paul’s message of exhortation through the many tribulations of life. Those who were children of God dating back 2000 years endured pain and suffering, including physical suffering, just as we do today. Christians are called to be different, and as a byproduct of this, we are told we will be hated by the world “for [Christ’s] name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22; Mk. 13:13). Rather than counting this persecution as suffering, let us rejoice in the moments of trial and pain, “knowing that the testing of [our] faith produces patience,” (James 1:2-3).
Looking at Christ as our ultimate example in all things, can we not clearly identify the pain and suffering He underwent while He lived here on earth? He, of all people could rightly say that He was undeserving of experiencing such pain, agony, and suffering. After all, He is the Son of God and without sin (2 Pet. 2:22)! But, we know He did so willingly for you and me, as He looked to the Father for support, guidance, comfort, and truth (1 Pet. 2:21-25; Matt. 4:1-11; 26:39). Let us also have this mindset that Christ had, for He is our “example for [us] to follow in His footsteps“ (1 Pet. 2:21; Heb. 12:2). When we endure hardships, and temporary pain and suffering, let us also look unto the Father and His Holy Scriptures as Christ did, and, humble ourselves as He did.
In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” The persecution and suffering we may endure will not destroy us, contingent that we are proceeding through prayer, relying wholeheartedly on the Lord, and following in His footsteps as He has commanded. 2 Corinthians 1:4 also says that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” As Christians, we have a duty to help other Christians endure hardships.
Paul summed up this topic well in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Through the inevitable hardships, pain, and sufferings that happen in life, let us look unto the things unseen, for they are eternal, and they help us endure!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: John 16:8-15
Some think unless Jesus personally and specifically taught on a subject, then NT teaching is not binding, Jno. 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 14:37; Jno. 13:20.
I. “JESUS NEVER SAID WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TO USE IN WORSHIP.”
in Spirit and Truth, Jno. 4:24.
II. “JESUS NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT DENOMINATIONS BEING SINFUL.”
Prayed for Unity, Jno. 17:20-21.
III. “JESUS NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT GAMBLING BEING SINFUL.”
Violates Law of Love, Matt. 7:12 (22:39).
IV. “JESUS NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY BEING SINFUL.”
Teaching about Creation, Mk. 10:6.
V. “JESUS NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT DANCING BEING SINFUL.”
Kinds of Dancing in the Scriptures.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Job 1:1
Purpose of Book:
To demonstrate God’s
sovereignty over all things; To elicit unwavering trust in Him.
I. AFFLICTION(S) OF JOB
to affliction, Job was blessed! Job 1:1-8
II. JOB’S FRIENDS & THEIR CLAIMS
days of silent sympathy, 2:11-13
III. THE LORD ANSWERS
IV. JOB’S CONFESSION & REPENTANCE
It's an Emergency!
“Nevada’s governor has endorsed a statement of emergency declared for recreational marijuana regulations, after the state’s tax authority declared that many stores are running out of weed. The Nevada Tax Commission said in a statement it will consider emergency regulations on July 13 to provide a structure for marijuana distribution to retailers. It would allow for liquor wholesalers to get in on the marijuana business” (“Nevada running out of weed, ‘statement of emergency’ declared,” Ben Winslow, fox13now.com).
Nevada has an emergency! They are running out of marijuana! Liquor distributors say they can solve the problem and get the weed to the retailers. The Nevada liquor industry wants in on the marijuana money. Nice. (That should tell us something about evil companionships!) Like alcohol, marijuana affects your brain and nervous system. It also affects your respiratory, circulatory, digestive and immune systems. It dulls the senses and lessens self-control. Since self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit that Christians produce, it follows that any substance that diminishes self-control (leading to more sinful conduct) is not something in which saints should participate (Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet. 1:6; 1 Cor. 9:24-27).
The real emergency is the growing acceptance of mind-altering substances for social and recreational use. The pressures of life are not escaped in a bottle, or with a roach clip; they are only multiplied. Clear-thinking is needed to make wise life decisions. Alcohol and drugs rob you of mental clarity. True wisdom begins with a fear of the Lord, not greed for pleasure and money (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). How foolish indeed for a government to grab for cash at the expense of human dignity and health. And, how foolish it is for people to exchange their dignity and their soul for the temporary escape of alcohol and drugs. In the end, the snake bite will kill you (Prov. 23:29-33).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/17/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA