And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 23, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
22 The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. 23 I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. (Proverbs 8:22–23, NKJV)
Wisdom cries out for us to receive her guidance of truth and understanding (Prov. 8:1-11). Not only does wisdom “dwell with prudence,” Jehovah has possessed her from eternity past.
1) Wisdom attended God’s creation of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). She served as His “ready craftsman” when He fashioned the earth (Prov. 8:30, 24-31). The wonders of the heavens and the earth defy human intellect, power, skill, precision, and imagination. Divine wisdom, though invisible, is perceived by the things God has made (Rom. 1:20).
2) Wisdom attended God’s plan of human redemption. God made redemption in Christ “abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph. 1:7-8). The church (those redeemed by the blood of Christ) reveals the “manifold wisdom of God” to heaven and earth (Eph. 3:10-11).
3) Wisdom attended God’s revelation of the gospel. The gospel is the “wisdom of God” that reveals His mind to the whole world (1 Cor. 2:6-13; Mk. 16:15). The gospel plums the depths of divine wisdom as it calls sinners to salvation (1 Cor. 1:18-25; Mk. 16:16). The wisdom of men pales in comparison to the wisdom that God possesses and has revealed in His word.
Let us choose “the wisdom that is from above,” and bear the fruit of righteousness (Jas. 3:17-18). -Sword Tips #1914
Yes, necessary inferences are necessary to understand and apply the word of God. Those who continue to believe we must have Bible authority for whatever we do “in word or deed” respect necessary inferences as essential to understanding God’s will (Col. 3:17).
Conversely, those who reject God-revealed patterns oppose using necessary inferences to know and apply God’s binding approval of what we teach and do. They say necessary inferences are the assumptions of fallible men, legalists who bind opinions where God has not bound.
An inference is a conclusion drawn by applying reason and logic to known data (what is said or done). We infer it is cold outside if we see someone wearing a winter coat, hat, and gloves. But, is it a necessary inference? Not if other possibilities exist given the facts that are known.
A necessary inference is not a conclusion that is probably true, mostly true, possibly true, or maybe true. It is the only possible conclusion from the given facts. “An inference is said to be necessary if another and a different inference cannot be reasonably drawn from the facts stated” (uslegal.com). A necessary inference is a conclusion that is irresistible from the stated facts. It is necessary. For example, if it is raining we necessarily conclude there must be clouds in the sky. That is a necessary inference drawn from the fact that rain is falling from the sky. Rain falls from clouds. Our inference is inescapable (necessary), and the truth we deduce about clouds being present when rain is falling cannot be successfully contradicted.
Understanding and applying the Scriptures also involves drawing conclusions from what is written. When a conclusion is irresistible based on what is revealed, it is a necessary conclusion.
We necessarily infer that God existed before creation from the stated fact that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Is God’s existence before creation binding truth? Yes.
We necessarily infer that to be baptized, one must go down into the water from the stated fact that “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water” (Matt. 3:16). Is going into the water to be baptized binding truth? Yes.
We necessarily infer that preaching Jesus includes preaching baptism from the stated fact that when Philip “preached Jesus,” the Ethiopian asked what prevented him from being baptized (Acts 8:35-36). Is preaching water baptism as a part of preaching Jesus binding truth? Yes.
Jesus used necessary inferences to teach the truth about resurrection. He told the Sadducees that from the facts given in the burning bush passage, they should have drawn the necessary conclusion that the dead rise (Mk. 12:26-27). God is (not “was”) the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, therefore, death did not end their existence. The Sadducees were “greatly mistaken.” Jesus said they did not know the Scriptures because they did not draw this necessary inference (Matt. 22:29). The inference is necessary and the resurrection is binding truth.
The apostles used necessary inferences to teach Gentiles are saved without binding the law of Moses and circumcision. God worked many miracles through Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles as they preached salvation by faith without circumcision (Acts 15:11-12). These miracles confirmed their message (Acts 14:3; Mk. 16:20). Therefore, we necessarily infer God does not bind circumcision on Gentiles. Clearly, they used a necessary inference to bind truth and expose error.
Jesus expected His disciples to use necessary inferences to understand truth. In Matthew 16:5-12, He told them to remember the facts of His bread miracles, and then they “understood” His warning against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees was about their doctrine and not the leaven of bread (v. 11-12). They understood this binding warning by making a necessary inference. So can we.
A necessary inference does not bind an opinion. It is an inescapable conclusion drawn from what God’s word says. (The Bible is full of them.) Necessary inferences are about judging what is right from the facts given in God’s word. If we can understand weather signs and draw valid conclusions, we can and must “judge what is right” when God’s word speaks (Lk. 12:54-57; 1 Pet. 4:11).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Every Soul is Valuable
Scripture Reading: Luke 15:3-7
1. The value of the soul gives value to every human being.
I. THE VALUE OF THE SOUL, Matt. 16:26; Lk. 15:8-9.
A. The Soul is Created in the Image of God, Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Jno. 5:21,
24, 29; 17:2-3 (Jno. 6:35, 51, 54, 63; 12:48-50).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Worried and Troubled
Joe R. Price
Almost daily, we hear of an “existential threat” we face: Climate change, Covid, China, extremism, ad nauseum. Yes, many threats exist in this sin-filled world. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes, it is more difficult to distinguish a looming danger from hyperbole. Significant threats may well go unheeded by the populace when the boy cry, “Wolf! Wolf!” too often. We need spiritual discernment to cut through the rhetoric to distinguish good and evil and between real and imagined threats (Heb. 5:14; Phil. 1:9-11; Prov. 1:1-7).
Life is full of distractions. As a new administration takes office this week, we are sure to hear about their national priorities. Policies and laws borne from what politicians worry over may or may not be the real dangers we face. Discernment will continue to be needed by those who live godly.
Worries and troubles distract us from seeing our present opportunities and blessings. Martha became so “distracted with much serving” that she questioned whether Jesus cared that Mary was not helping her (Lk. 10:38-40). She lost sight of being in the presence of the Son of God. “And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’” (Lk. 10:41-42).
Identify the distractions keeping you from faithfully following Jesus. If they are sins, repent and remove them (Matt. 5:29-30). If worries weigh you down and hinder your service to the Lord, lay them aside (Heb. 12:1; Phil. 4:6). Choose the “good part.” Don’t be overcome by evil (Rom. 12:20-21). May we be laser-focused on the Lord and His will, whatever threats we face (Matt. 6:33-34).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/22/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA