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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 29 ∑ September 05, 1999
Editor..................Joe R. Price

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 In this issue:

--What The Bible Says About Suicide
--By Faith Abraham Obeyed (Jeff Herrin) -- A series on Hebrews 11: Part 5
----Encouraging One Another
----The Urgency Of The Gospel
--Noteworthy News: Some Students Just Need A Good Caning.....

 Joe R. Price

Unquestionably, those who commit suicide were troubled in heart. Our sympathy goes out to those whose lives have been affected by the suicide of a relative or loved one. We also want to understand what God's word says about suicide so that we can make godly decisions about it. Everyone of us will face despair and trouble in this life. Is suicide how God would have us deal with despair, pain and trouble in our lives? Are there alternatives to suicide?

The Bible does not paint a pleasant or supportive picture of suicide. While more and more people are openly advocating their "right" to commit suicide, the Bible nowhere offers suicide as an option for the right-thinking man or woman. Life is a precious gift which God has given us. We are neither to murder others, nor are we to inflict a fatal wound upon ourselves. Those who advocate suicide reveal a diminished view of life and humanity, who have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 2:7). Suicide is an act of selfishness. It does not consider its impact upon those it leaves behind.

Suicide is the result of utter despair. Experts tell us that overwhelming feelings of helpless, haplessness and hopelessness are the warning signs of suicide. There were people in the Bible who reached a point in their lives that the only option they could see was to kill themselves. Notable among these was Judas (Matt. 27:1-5). His hopeless attitude can be contrasted with Peter, who denied Jesus three times, but repented of his sins and was restored (Lk. 22:31-34, 54-62). Life is never as hopeless, and we are never as helpless, as we may think. we must learn to trust in God instead of ourselves!

Suicide is often contemplated when one sees no clear resolution of our troubles. Elijah's life was under the threat of murder from queen Jezebel (1 Kgs. 19:1-4). The Philippian jailer thought his prisoners had escaped, which meant certain doom for him, so he prepared to kill himself (Acts 16:26-27). The problem is that just because we do not see a solution to our troubles does not mean there is not one -- or that God is through with us here on earth. God still had many things for Elijah to do (1 Kgs. 19:15-18). If the jailer had killed himself he would not have been saved (Acts 16:28-34). Although Paul wanted to be with Christ, he knew there was still much for him to do in this life, so he committed himself to being faithful to Jesus (Phil. 1:21-25).

Physical suffering drives many to kill themselves while they still have life. Although Job longed for death rather than his life which at the moment was filled with pain, agony, and humiliation, he endured, and he was ultimately blessed beyond measure (Job 3; 6:8-11; 7:15-16; 42:10-17). It was not the quality of life which made Job's life precious, it was life itself! He learned (like we must) that there are many things which God does which we must accept in faith (Job 42:1-6). If Job had killed himself he would have shown a lack of faith in God and trust in his own opinion of how things were. We should learn from Job not to think that we have all the answers. Paul did not allow his physical disability to lead him to the depths of despair and suicide, but to the heights of faith and service (2 Cor. 12:7-10)! We must trust God even when things look helpless to us. God is great and does great things for those who fear Him (Heb. 13:5-6). Many astounding things have been accomplished by people who would not give up. In Christ we do not have to resort to suicide - we are more than conquerors in Christ! (Rom. 8:37-39) You are important to God, so live for Him!

BY FAITH ABRAHAM OBEYED  A Series on Hebrews 11 (Part 5)

Jeff Herrin

Abraham was seventy five years old when God called him to leave Ur of the Chaldees. He lived the rest of his life in tents. How easily Abraham could have made excuses not to obey the Lord.

Abraham obeyed because he had faith in God's promises. "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:8-10).

Notice what Abraham's faith compelled him to do. When he left Ur, he left all that was familiar behind. There was no security in the wilderness of Canaan. Some speak of faith as a leap in the dark and give it mystical overtones. Abraham's faith was reasonable, but it did cause him to journey into uncharted territory. True faith compels us to do things we have never done before. We try to lead a song or prayer, or talk to a neighbor about the gospel. We may try to help someone who is very ill, not knowing exactly what to say or do. Like Abraham, we cannot rationalize away God's call to duty.

Abraham spent the rest of his life in pursuit of the promises of God. He "Died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (Heb. 11:13-16). God was not ashamed to introduce Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham. If we live a life of faithful obedience, He will be righteous to proclaim us as His people also.

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS at:

(Scripture Reading: Isaiah 41:8-13)

Everybody in the church needs daily encouragement - Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24-25; Acts 11:23.

A. By Having Singular Devotion To Christ - Matt. 6:21-23; Exo. 14:13; 2 Cor. 5:7; cf. Isa. 41:8-13; Jno. 6:27-30.
B. By Urging Each Other To Trust In God - Heb. 13:5-6; Col. 2:6-7.
C. By Urging Each Other To Be Faithful In Service To The Lord - cf. 2 Chrn. 35:1-2; Acts 14:21-22; 15:41; 18:23; Acts 9:31; Rom. 12:10-16; 1 Cor. 14:26.
D. By Using The Word Of God - cf. 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 13:22; 2 Tim. 2:15; Acts 15:32.
E. By Assisting Each Other Physically & Spiritually - Matt. 25:34-40; Jude 20-23; Gal. 6:2; Jas. 5:19-20; 1 Jno. 3:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:17 (love).

II. BARNABAS: SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT - Acts 4:36-37; 11:21-24
A. The Qualities We Need In Order To Encourage Each Other Are Seen In Barnabas: -Generosity (4:37), Unselfishness (cf. 4:37 & 5:1-2), Devotion (11:22), Spiritual perception (11:23), Goodness (11:24), Full of the Holy Spirit and faith (11:24).
B. We Are Not Meeting Our Spiritual Obligations & Opportunities If We Are Not Encouraging Each Other In The Faith - Eph. 4:16; Matt. 10:41-42.

(Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:42-51)

I. The Planning Of Salvation Before Creation Calls Us To Urgency - Eph. 1:4-8; 3:11; Col. 3:1-3.

II. The Compassion Of Christ Calls Us To Urgency - Matt. 9:36-38; Mk. 1:40-41.

III. The Crucifixion Calls Us To Urgency - Rom. 8:32; 5:6-8; Heb. 10:26-31.

IV. Christ's Exaltation Calls Us To Urgency - Acts 2:34-36; Dan. 7:13-14.

V. Christ's Future Coming Calls Us To Urgency - Acts 1:11; 2 Ths. 1:8-9; 1 Ths. 4:16-18.

VI. Christ's Charge To His Church Calls Us To Urgency - 1 Tim. 3:15; 4:11; 2 Tim. 2:2; 4:1-2.

Noteworthy News
(Current events in the light of Scripture)


LONDON (Reuters) - School beatings were finally banned from Britain's private schools Wednesday, drawing sighs of relief from schoolchildren, but an angry backlash from independent schools that swear by the cane.

A group of 40 independent Christian school leaders said it would go to the European Court of Human Rights later this year to try to have the ban lifted.

Caning was banned in state run schools 13 years ago but the ban has only just been implemented in the private sector.

Philip Williamson, headmaster of the Christian Fellowship School in Liverpool, which is spearheading the protest, argues the ruling interferes with parents' right to choose the way their child is educated and disciplined.

"This is dictatorial and an example of the nanny state," Williamson told Reuters.

He said he could not remember the last time he used his cane, but said in a bad month he would typically reach for the ruler three times.

However most of Britain's fee-paying schools welcomed the end to an archaic tradition which they said hindered education.

"Many independent schools concluded, long before any form of legal ban was contemplated, that corporal punishment impeded good education," said Ian Beer, head of the Independent Schools Council, a group of 1,300 independent schools.

 Joe R. Price

"Beatings," "sighs of relief," "an archaic tradition," "hindered education," "impeded good education" - so goes the humanistic verbiage against spanking unruly children. God's word, the Bible, on the other hand, says that physical correction will not kill the child, but will save him from death (Prov. 23:13-14). Of course, the school children of England sighed in relief - they don't want to be spanked! (What child does?) But, it is for their good and an expression of love when properly administered (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; Heb. 12:5-6, 10-11).

Society needs the benefit of well-trained children. A generation that has not learned self-restraint and respect for others will be a detriment to any nation. Even so more, the church of Christ. We must train our children to respect God and others, or we will surely reap the whirlwind which inevitably blows when we refuse to train (or be trained) in righteousness.

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

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