And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD

Volume 20, Number 13
12/10/2017

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


Elders
Morris Bass
Rich Brooks
Rick Holt

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


 

In this issue:


Don't Allow Anyone to Steal Your Heart!
R. J. Evans

There were a number of sad and tragic events in the life of King David. A series of events began with his sin with Bathsheba.  His adultery with her led to deceit, and ultimately, the murder of her husband, Uriah. After David had Uriah killed and had taken this man’s wife, God told him: “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house.... Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house” (2 Sam. 12:10-11). Soon his troubles and heartaches began. His infant son with Bathsheba died; his son Amnon raped his daughter, Tamar; his son, Absalom, murdered Amnon (2 Sam. 12-13).

Surely, one of the most heart-breaking developments in the life of David was when his son, Absalom, turned and rebelled against him. He committed treason against his own father - “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam. 15:6). When having to go to battle against his son, David instructed his commanders to “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom” (2 Sam. 18:5). As the battle raged, David was asking, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” (2 Sam. 18:29, 32). When word came to David that his son had been killed, he cried out, “O my son Absalom---my son, my son Absalom---if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33). This has to be one of the saddest scenes that we read about in the Bible.

But let’s go back to the beginning when Absalom started stealing the hearts of the people. He very cunningly became trusted and more popular than David.  He worked hard at it; he looked for troubled people; he reached out to them; he took a personal interest in them; he sympathized with them; he never personally attacked his father directly, he just promised to do better (2 Sam. 15:1-12).

This reminds me of what has been happening among God’s people today, especially to some of the young. Over the past few years, I have learned of congregations being affected by this type of thing. A young preacher (not always a preacher) comes in with false ideas, endears himself to the group, especially college students and young married couples, influences them and takes them away with his false teachings. Just recently, a friend called and told me of something similar to the aforementioned scenario that happened where he worships. A young preacher came in and preached the truth for about three years, all the while developing a close relationship with the young people. Then he started teaching error, split the church, and took about 40-50 with him – a dangerous trend that has been developing. We have great young people faithfully serving the Lord today, but some are being led astray. Yes, there are problems that often exist, but some have reacted by going to the extreme with bitterness toward those who are sincerely seeking to hold fast to the ancient landmarks of faith – the “old paths” of truth.

Here are several examples of erroneous teachings that some are promoting in different parts of the country that have come to my attention over the past few years. (1) A person is saved or “born again” before baptism – that baptism is not essential to salvation. They are using typical, Calvinistic, denominational arguments that teach salvation by “faith only”. (2) Approved apostolic examples are not binding in establishing Bible authority for what is allowed or not allowed in the service of the Lord. They are saying that books such as Acts are to be viewed simply as a narrative, not as an example for us to follow today. (3) Social drinking is justified and accepted. (4) Distorted views are held on worship – particularly the Lord’s Supper. Sadly, there are brethren who are being influenced and led astray by these false teachings.

In principle, the actions of those who are teaching some of the above errors just cited are much like Absalom who “stole the hearts of the men of Israel”. Thus, we all need to be alert to this potential problem. We must be careful not to become bitter and unhappy, allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to false teachers and some of the dangerous trends that are occurring. Much of what has been mentioned feeds off bitterness and dissatisfaction toward the truth and God’s people. Brethren are being led astray!  The Apostle Paul said, “Watch, stand fast in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13). The Apostle John said, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). Our hearts belong to God! We are to love, serve, and obey Him with all our hearts. Brethren, especially those of you who are young, don’t allow anyone to steal your heart!

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

The Christian's Relation to Grace

 

Scripture Reading:  Titus 3:1-8

1. Grace is God’s favor toward sinners is undeserved, and abundant in Jesus, 2 Tim. 1:9.
  a. Jesus is the source of grace, Jno. 1:14, 16-17.
  b. Justified freely by God’s grace, Rom. 3:24.
  c. Saved by grace, through faith, Eph. 2:4-5.
2. God’s grace is greater than sin, Rom. 5:19-21.
3. We honor the grace of God, and never ignore the danger of sin.

I. CHRISTIANS STAND IN GRACE, Rom. 5:1-2; 1 Pet. 5:12.

  A. Grace is Accessed by Faith, Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16.
  B. We Stand in Grace by Continuing to Live by Faith, Rom. 5:1-2; 6:14-16 (1-2).

II. WE MUST CONTINUE IN GRACE, Acts 13:43.

  A. By Humble Obedience, Jas. 4:5-7.
  B. By Submissive Service, 1 Pet. 5:5-7.
  C. By Not Continuing to Practice Sin, Rom. 6:1-2, 5-6; 1 Jno. 2:29-3:3, 4-10; 1:6-7.

III. WE MUST GROW IN GRACE, 2 Pet. 3:18.

  A. Increase in the Image and Favor of God, Eph. 6:24; Jas. 4:5-8; Heb. 12:28; 2 Cor. 8:1ff.

IV. WE ARE TO BE STRONG IN GRACE, 2 Tim. 2:1.

  A. By Teaching Others, 2 Tim. 2:2.
  B. By Enduring Hardships, 2 Tim. 2:3.
  C. By Not being Entangled with World, 2:4.
  D. By Living According to Truth, 2 Tim. 2:5.
  E. By Being Diligent to Labor, 2 Tim. 2:6.

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

God's "One-derful" Plan for Unity (Part 1) [Ephesians 4:1-3]

 

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 133:1-3

1. We all regard unity of believers as a great blessing, Psa. 133:1. [Jno. 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 1:10, 9.
2. Yet, unity seems elusive for many.
3. God’s plan for unity combines attitudes, doctrines and conduct, Eph. 4:1-6.

I. UNITY IS MADE AND MAINTAINED BY FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN FOR UNITY.

II. FOR UNITY TO BE APPROVED BY GOD, OUR CONDUCT MUST BE WORTHY OF OUR GOSPEL CALLING, Eph. 4:1.

  A. Often, the Life that Pleases God does not Please Men, 4:1; Jno. 16:1-2; Phil. 1:27.
  B. Unity in Error is not Worthy of the Gospel, Gal. 5:7; cf. 2:11-13.
  C. We Cannot Expect Unity to Result from Factious Attitudes and Actions, Gal. 5:20; 1 Cor. 3:3; Jude 19. Rom. 12:9-16.

III.  ESSENTIAL ATTITUDES OF UNITY, Eph. 4:2-3 (Phil. 2:1-5). (“with all” – Full, entirety, whole, complete)

  A. Lowliness: Humiliation of mind. Cast down, not elevated, Phil. 2:3.
  B. Gentleness: Mild, gentle friendliness; “opp. of roughness,” Phil. 2:4; Prov. 15:1-2.
  C. Longsuffering: Long temper, forbearance, cf. 2 Pet. 3:9 (Col. 3:12).
  D. Forbearance: By Means of love, Col. 3:13.
  E. Eager Diligence to Guard (Maintain) the Spirit’s Unity by Means of the Uniting Principle of Peace, 4:3; Col. 3:15.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Marijuana, Five Years Later
Joe R. Price

Marijuana enthusiasts celebrated Colorado’s legalization of this psychoactive drug in November 2012. Five years later, data shows its legalization was not a moment for celebration. Here are some of the facts:

Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot.

Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post.

Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared.

An investigation by Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network shows drug violations reported by Colorado’s K-12 schools have increased 45 percent in the past four years, even as the combined number of all other violations has fallen,’ explains an expose on escalating pot use in schools by Rocky Mountain PBS in late 2016.

The investigation found an increase in high school drug violations of 71 percent since legalization. School suspensions for drugs increased 45 percent.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found Colorado ranks first in the country for marijuana use among teens, scoring well above the national average” (“EDITORIAL: The sad anniversary of Big Commercial Pot in Colorado,” November 5, 2017, gazette.com).

It is disingenuous to conclude marijuana is harmless, and that its legalization strengthens society. Legalized marijuana weakens the social order. It harms both mind and body. It weakens self-control, and impairs judgment and motor skills (2 Tim. 3:3; 2 Pet. 1:6; on more physical effects, see “Cannabis,” Wikipedia). Getting high on weed will not produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Remember, just because a thing is legal, does not make it moral, righteous and good. 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  12/11/2017

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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