And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
Many are encouraged to ask the preacher their Bible questions. We are not opposed to doing so, since “a servant of the Lord must…be able to teach…correcting those who are in opposition” to the truth (2 Tim. 2:24-25). Every gospel preacher should be ready to give Bible answers to Bible questions. There are some things to remember when you “ask your preacher” Bible questions.
1) Preachers do not have all the answers, but the Bible does. Be sure your preacher gives you a Bible answer when you ask a Bible question. A Bible answer is God’s answer. The preacher’s work is to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). It ought to be a red flag if a preacher answers your Bible question with deflections and equivocations, instead of telling you plainly what the Scriptures teach (1 Pet. 3:15; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 1:6-9). If he does not know the answer, he should tell you so, and then go study for himself to find the answer. Perhaps he will need to direct you to someone else for the Bible answer. No one should regard preachers as a clergy class who issue edicts for the laity to merely swallow and follow.
2) Preachers do not always give correct Bible answers. Sadly, there are false teachers among us (1 Pet. 2:1). So, it is your responsibility to examine the Scriptures to be sure the answers your preacher gives are true to the word of God (Acts 17:11; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Each one of us must “test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22). When a preacher is offended to have his answers challenged by the Scriptures, he is not following the will of the Master (1 Tim. 4:15-16). He is not fulfilling his ministry (2 Tim. 4:5).
3) Preachers should give Bible answers that clarify truth, not obscure it. God’s truth is understandable (Jno. 8:32; Eph. 3:3-4). Therefore, when you ask your preacher a Bible question, he should give you Bible answers that make the truth clear (Acts 8:30-38). Bible answers are not politically correct. They are not the preacher’s chance to display his intellectual prowess. They do not spare a person’s feelings above speaking the truth. Bible answers allow God’s word to convict the heart and convert the soul (Jno. 16:8; Acts 2:37; Heb. 4:12).
By all means, ask Bible questions of your preacher, an elder, or other Christians. Expect a Bible answer. If you do not get one, keep on asking and searching the Scriptures. When you get the Bible answer, believe it and obey it as the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).
God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Any doctrine that minimizes and allows the sundering of what God has joined together is not the truth of God. This is settled, since Jesus said, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6).
God has constituted marriage between one man and one woman for life (Matt. 19:4-5). Every cause imaginable to end a marriage will not be accepted by the Giver of marriage. The Son of God approves one exception that ends the lifelong obligation of marriage. That exception allows one person in a marriage to divorce and remarry. It occurs when fornication (sexual immorality) is the cause for putting away the fornicator. Jesus said,
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9).
I recently read a Bible question asked of a preacher about applying the Bible teaching of divorce and remarriage. The question was, “Is an adulterer able (sic) remarry after divorce, or are they to remain unmarried?” I had hoped to see a clear, Bible answer to this candid question. But, the Bible answer to the question did not appear in the posted reply.
Let us take up the question as it was posed, and allow the Bible to give us the answer. By doing so, we will know the truth, and be better equipped to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).
As already noted, God-approved marriage is between one man and one woman for life. So, of first concern is to assure that both people in the question are scripturally married to one another (Rom. 7:2-3).
The Bible answer is not hard to give or understand. The adulterer does not have a right to remarry after divorce. Here is why.
The only person who has a right to remarry after a divorce is the one who puts away his or her mate due to the other spouse’s sexual infidelity. Jesus said, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). When the exception is applied (“for the cause of sexual immorality”), only one person is given permission to remarry. Necessarily, then, the one who committed sexual immorality may not remarry after a divorce.
When the exception does not exist (the marriage ends for any other reason), every remarriage results in adultery. They have sundered what God joined together, and are told by the Holy Spirit to “remain unmarried or be reconciled” (Matt. 19:6; 1 Cor. 7:10-11).
When the adulterer remarries, he brings another person into adultery with him (Matt. 5:32). God does not approve the remarriage of adulterers. They have defiled their marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). God will not join them to another.
This does not mean adulterers
cannot be forgiven, they can (1 Cor. 6:9-11). It means adulterers are not
free to remarry. Better to be a eunuch for the kingdom’s sake, than to lose
one’s soul over an unlawful remarriage (Matt. 19:10-12).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16
1. We are familiar with the
impossibility of apostasy, 1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 3:12-14.
It is possible to be faithful,
2 Tim. 4:7-8.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Galatians 1:6-10
1. God has revealed authority
in Scriptures generically and specifically:
Two Models of Disaster Relief
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have heightened Christians’ interest in and relief of affected brethren. Brethren have set up a Facebook page with information of present needs. The word is getting out, and churches are helping brethren, following the NT pattern (Acts 11:27-30; 1 Cor. 16:1-4).
Others have gone beyond the NT pattern of organization and work of the church. They centralize the benevolent work of many churches, and generalize the recipients of church-provided relief. One such group is “Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, Inc.” Here is how they describe themselves:
“Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort immediately responds to any major disaster in the continental United States. We contact the leadership of local Churches of Christ in or near a major disaster area. If the leadership says their local congregation wants to help, we send and turn over to that congregation truckloads of emergency food, personal hygiene, infant care, water, cleaning supplies, and pallets of additional basic needs, for them to distribute to the disaster victims. These supplies are to be given to anyone affected by the disaster, regardless of race, creed, origin, gender, or religious preference. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. that employs fifteen paid personnel…Volunteers help us pack the majority of these supplies in our Nashville warehouse so they are ready to be distributed as soon as they’re received, even our truck drivers are volunteers. Local Church of Christ congregations across the country volunteer their time and distribute the provided supplies to the disaster victims in their area.” (http://disasterreliefeffort.org/)
This organization accepts
contributions from churches (with no Bible authority to do so). They speak
of "‘Church of Christ congregations” – a clear marker of their centralized
and institutionalized concept of the church. (Churches do not compose the
church, Christians do, Rom. 16:16; Acts 2:47.) God’s pattern of
church-to-church benevolent relief is abandoned, and the sufficiency of the
local church rejected. Let us follow God’s pattern, not man’s (1 Cor. 4:17;
2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Jno. 9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/18/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA