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"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

                        published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ
                  Bellingham, WA
Volume III, Number 10 · April 25, 1999
Editor..................Joe R. Price

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 In this issue:

-- Who Will Follow Jesus?  (Jerry Vinson)
-- Attempts to Justify Unlawful Remarriages  (Joe R. Price)

Who Will Follow Jesus?
by Jerry Vinson

“I will follow You wherever You go.” - Mt 8:19

These were the words of a man who believed he was willing and ready to follow Jesus. A lot of people are that way, but for whatever reason, they just aren't going to follow Him. Who will follow Jesus?
Not the self-righteous:

Jesus spoke of some who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” - Luke 18:9-14. Self-righteous people don’t see themselves as being very sinful. They pray, “God, I thank You that I’m not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, etc.” Lacking humility, they rarely, if ever, confess sin and seek God’s mercy. The man who says, “I may not be perfect, but I’m not as bad as so and so” is self-righteous. He’s not following Jesus.

Not the materialist:

In Luke 12:13-34, Jesus warned, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He told of a farmer who planned his future after a good harvest. After storing his goods in bigger barns, he planned to live his generation’s version of “the American Dream” — eating, drinking, and fun for the rest of his life! Poor fellow — God kinda’ spoiled his plans.  What he foolishly thought was his “financial security” was covetousness in disguise. He lost his riches — and his soul! Jesus warned, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” The man whose life and future centers around possessions, riches, building financial security, and “living the good life” is a materialist. He’s not following Jesus.

Not the majority:

Jesus said that many people who profess Him as Lord will hear Him say “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” - Matthew 7:21-23.  Notice in the text that these were sincere people who assumed they were practicing things which Jesus endorsed. He called their actions “lawlessness.” If the religious majority is practicing it, you better reexamine it. The majority isn’t following Jesus.

Will You Determine To Follow Jesus Today?

Attempts to Justify Unlawful Remarriages
Joe R. Price

      “And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery;  and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”  (Matthew 19:9)

With these words Jesus teaches us His will regarding allowable divorce and remarriage.  They are not difficult to understand.  We can readily see that Jesus gave only one just cause which allows for divorce and remarriage, namely, fornication.  And, we may just as readily see that this allow­ance has been given to only one party - the one who divorces his or her mate because that mate has committed sexual immoral­ity.  Jesus said that when one divorces his (or her) spouse for a cause other than fornica­tion, and then remarries, he (she) commits adultery.  We rightly conclude that the person who is divorced (put away) may not remarry without committ­ing adultery, since Jesus said that the person who marries a divorced (put away) person commits adultery.

The straightforward statement of our Lord is not without its detrac­tors today.  When forty percent of American marriages are ending in divorce, it is not difficult to see that marriage is not being held in its proper honor (Heb. 13:4).  Unfortunately, many of the subsequent remar­riages, according to Jesus’ teaching, is adultery.

Christians are not immune from attempts to nullify the force of Jesus’ teaching.  I received a bulletin which chronicled four commonly heard attempts to ease the force of Matthew 19:9 and allow remarriages where divorces have occurred for reasons other than the cause of fornication.  I want to share them with you.  Please under­stand, these reasons are being offered by some Christians to justify remarriages which are unlawful according to Matthew 19:9.  They are used to claim that the violators of Matthew 19:9 are nevertheless in a right condition with God.  We must be aware of these subtle efforts which deny our Master’s teaching.

Attempt # 1:  David was not told to give up Bathsheba.  That is true.  But Bathsheba had no living husband (2 Sam. 11:14-21).  Romans 7:2 says “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.  But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.”  David’s adultery and murderous act is in no way exonerated by the fact that he retained Bathsheba as his wife.  David was convicted of his sins and he repented of them (2 Sam. 12:7-13; Psa. 32:5).  That David continued to care for and be married to this woman after the death of her husband in no way comforts adulterous remarriages today.

Attempt # 2:  You cannot make restitution in all cases.  It is true that one cannot undo some things he has done.  But when he can, he should (cf. Exo. 22:1; Lev. 6:1-7; Num. 5:5-10; Ezek. 33:15).  Is not this part of the fruit of repentance taught by John (Lk. 3:8-15) and Paul (Acts 26:20)?  Surely we do not believe that when one repents of an adulterous remar­riage that he may then continue to live in that sinful relationship?  What sort of repentance is that?  Remember, where there is genuine repentance there will be a cessation of the sin (Rev. 9:20-21).

Attempt # 3:  One cannot live in adultery.  This view is set forth to say that adultery is an act, not something in which one lives or “walks.”  But Jesus used the present tense “commits” when describing the adultery of the one who remarries after a divorce for a cause other than fornica­tion.  The Greek present tense indicates the present state of the remarried person.  As to the possibility of living in adultery, Colos­sians 3:5-7 teaches that it is indeed possible.  Here, fornication is among the sins which one is to “put to death” (v. 5).  (Fornication is the general term for sexual immorality which includes adultery.)   In speaking of these sins, Paul said “in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (v. 7).  The adultery of an unscriptural remarriage is indeed an ongoing sinful condition.

Attempt # 4:  When one repents, baptism will wash an unscriptural marriage away.  No brethren, baptism washes away sin, not wives!  It does not change a sinful action into a godly one.  The thief is forgiven of his theft when he repents, but baptism does not make thievery righteous!  He must stop stealing!  When a homosexual repents, his forbidden relation­ship does not become approved.  He cannot continue in it with God's blessing!  Neither can the adulterer continue in an adulterous remar­riage after baptism and have God's favor.  Baptism does not change the nature of sin, it washes away the sinner's past sin.  But the sinner must “come out and be separate,” or more sin is committed.

The wisdom of men cannot compare withstand the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:18-25).  Let us be content with and strengthened by the incomparable truth of Almighty God!


      Millions of dollars have been spent by government agencies to analyze crime's causes and cures.  If you will read the conclusions, most of them say simply: “After all our research, we still don't know the causes or solutions to this complicated problem.”

      No doubt many of you remember that in McDufffey's Eclectic Reader of 1854, he taught, warned, and predicted:

If you can induce a community to doubt the geniuses and authenticity of the Scriptures; to question the reality and obligations of religion; to hesitate, undeciding, whether there be any such thing as virtue or vice; whether there be an eternal state of retribution beyond the grave; or whether there be any such being as God; you have broken down the barriers of moral virtue, and hoisted the flood gates of immorality and crime.  I need not say that when a people have done this, they can no longer exist as a tranquil and happy people.  Every bond that holds society together would be ruptured; fraud and treachery would take the place of confi­dence between man and man; the tribunals would be scenes of bribery and injustice; avarice, perjury, ambition, and revenge would walk through the land, and render it more like the dwelling of savage beasts than the tranquil abode of civilized and Christianized men.

Is the answer to the crime problem so simple that our sophisticated society either cannot, or will not, see it?  Let's identify the disease, rather than just the symptoms of the disease.

via The Overland Church Bulletin
Lawrenceburg, KY

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

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