And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
Our faith can be small (Matt. 6:30) or it can be great (Matt. 8:10).
We can be full of faith (Acts 6:5) or we can have no faith (Mark 4:40).
We can be strengthened in faith (Rom. 4:20) or we can be weak in faith (Rom. 14:1).
Our faith can be genuine (2 Tim. 1:5) or it can be empty (1 Cor. 15:14).
Our faith can increase (2 Cor. 10:15), be rich (James 2:5), and grow exceedingly (2 Thess. 1:3) or it can fail (Luke 22:32), suffer shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19), and die (James 2:17).
Our faith comes from the word of God (Rom. 10:17) and is made perfect through works (James 2:22).
Our faith is to be sincere (1 Tim. 1:5) and must be working through love (Gal. 5:6).
We are to stand by faith (Rom. 11:20), walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), and live by faith (Gal. 2:20) as we strive to receive the end of our faith – the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9).
(Knollwood Reminder, July 1, 2018)
The inspired apostle wrote in 1 Peter 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” While Peter anticipates a point in time when the end will happen, he does not say when that end will occur. [Every attempt to predict the exact time of Christ’s return and the end of the world is doomed to fail (1 Thess. 5:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:1-3). Rest assured, that day is coming, and is nearer than when we first believed. Therefore, we must wake up and be vigilant disciples (Rom. 13:11).]
Peter’s assurance that the end is approaching (“at hand,” drawing near) is similar to the one given when James urged patient steadfastness in the face of persecution and provocation, because “the coming of the Lord is at hand” and, “the Judge is standing at the door” (James 5:8-9). Like James, Peter embedded the certainty of “the end of all things” in a context of sure judgment to come at the end.
Christians are exhorted to have the mind of Christ and to do the will of God in 1 Peter 4:1-2. The reason for our new life is given with elaboration and specificity in 1 Peter 4:3. Our new life that rejects indulging the flesh will stir up opposition from former colleagues (1 Pet. 4:4). However, because they will answer to the Lord on the day of judgment, we must keep on preaching the gospel to the spiritually dead so they can correct themselves and be saved unto eternal life on that day of judgment (1 Pet. 4:5-6; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Being exhorted to remain faithful in the face of opposition for doing the will of God is balanced by the certainty that God will right every wrong with impartial judgment when “the end of all things” occurs (2 Thess. 1:4-8; Rom. 2:1-11). God is in the place of rendering vengeance (not us), and He will do so (Rom. 12:17-19).
For our part, instead of compromising and denying our faith in the face of trials and temptations, the Holy Spirit instructs us to equip ourselves for the approaching “end of all things” by taking the following measures:
1. Refuse to be intimidated by the peer pressure of false charges against your faith (1 Pet. 4:4-5). You are in a spiritual battle against foes whose intent is to weaken and destroy your resolve to be faithful to Christ (Eph. 6:10-13). The force of peers at work, at school and in a family cannot be overstated. Their good influence can strengthen you in your faith, but their ungodly influence can drive you into a corner of fear and silence. It is crucial that you choose your friends wisely. They will either help or hinder your preparation for “the end of all things” (1 Cor. 15:33-34).
2. Keep preaching the gospel (1 Pet. 4:6). Jesus warned not to fear man instead of fearing God (Matt. 10:28). He said this to persuade His disciples to preach the gospel fully and faithfully (Matt. 10:27-28). The world needs the unvarnished gospel to know and to be saved from sin (Acts 26:17-20). Being ready for “the end of all things” means you will not be silenced by evil men.
3. Be sober-minded, using sound judgment in your conduct (1 Pet. 4:7). The life of Christians should be characterized by being “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Shape your thoughts (attitudes and motives) into the image of Christ (Gal. 4:19; Phil. 2:5). Use righteous judgment to abstain from evil and cling to what is good, and you will be ready for “the end of all things” (Jno. 7:24; 1 Thess. 5:21-22).
4. Be watchful in prayer (1 Pet. 4:7). Even as Jesus urged His disciples to watch with Him in prayer at Gethsemane, we must remain alert in prayer (Matt. 26:36-41). Pray for all people, leaders, brethren and enemies (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Lk. 6:27-28; Jas. 5:16). What better way to prepare for “the end of all things” than to pray constantly (1 Thess. 5:17)?
5. Practice fervent love for fellow Christians (1 Pet. 4:8). Love is not apathetic and inactive toward others. Peter identified forgiveness as a prime example of love in action. Instead of fomenting strife, love settles the matter (covers the sin) so one is ready for “the end of all things” (Prov. 10:12).
6. Practice hospitality willingly (1 Pet. 4:9). Showing love to strangers is consistent with one’s new life in Christ (Heb. 13:2). Complaining over being hospitable is incompatible with preparing for “the end of all things.”
7. Serve one another as good stewards of God, who has favored each of us (1 Pet. 4:10-11). Disciples of Jesus serve just as He did (Matt. 20:26-28). You have a useful place in the kingdom. Use what God has blessed you with to be ready for “the end of all things.”
8. God is glorified through Christ when we speak His word and serve others (1 Pet. 4:11). In these ways we glorify God through Christ as “the end of all things” approaches (Matt. 25:31-40). And, we honor Him to whom belongs all glory and dominion. Amen.
As much as it pains us, we see a number of people who are satisfied to give God what is left over rather than putting Him first (Matt. 6:33). Folks give God the leftovers of their money, time, their souls, dedication, etc. Let us contrast two events in the Bible and see the attitude some had toward God, and whether or not God was pleased. Let us then make some applications to ourselves.
When David sinned by numbering the people and acting when God was silent, 70,000 men were killed (II Sam. 24:15). As David went to make a sacrifice to stop the pestilence, God told him to sacrifice on Araunah the Jebusite’s land. When David came to his threshing floor, Araunah offered to give David the place and the oxen for the sacrifice. “The king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (II Sam. 24:24). David was not going to give God his “leftovers”! He knew that anything less than a complete sacrifice wouldn’t please God!
The People In Malachi’s Day
At this time, the people were not sacrificing as they should. God said that their governor would not accept the sacrifices they offered, so why should He (Mal. 1:7-8)! They were so bad that God told them He wished someone would shut the doors to the temple (Mal. 1:10). These people were the opposite of David. They were looking for a cheap way to sacrifice, and it angered God. Can we see why God was angry with them?
Let us look at ourselves (Jas. 1:22-25). Are we truly sacrificing to God as we should? Do we act more like David or the folks in Malachi’s day? Be honest!
-The Old Paths (7/22/18)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Joe R. Price
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:13-21
posed a penetrating question: “How it is that you do not understand?” Mk.
8:21 (17, 18)
I. HUMAN REASONING DOES NOT ESTABLISH TRUTH, Mk. 8:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:4-10.
Wisdom Must Never be Accepted Over Revealed Truth, Jno. 18:38 (17:17); 14:6.
II. HARD HEARTS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH, Mk. 8:17 (6:52).
World, Mk. 4:13-15. cf. Mark 8:11-12.
III. SEEING/HEARING ONLY WHAT WE WANT TO SEE/HEAR WILL NOT BRING US TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, Mk. 8:18.
A. Pride Blinds Eyes and Closes Ears to Truth, 1 Cor. 8:1-2 (Jno. 8:43); 1 Cor. 3:18-21; Jno. 9:35-41 (24, 29).
IV. LITTLE FAITH PREVENTS US FROM UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH, Matt. 16:6-8.
A. Failure to Trust the Authority of Revealed Word of God Results in Misunderstanding.
V. JESUS EXPECTS US TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH BY USING NECESSARY INFERENCES CORRECTLY, Mk. 8:19-21.
A. Be Sure
Your Inferences are Necessary, 8:16-17 (1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/29/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA