THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 34· October 29, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Does Sincerity Replace Obedience?Joe R. Price
Question: "There are many liberal brethren that maintain that if a person is taught that sprinkling is an acceptable baptism, and has a pure heart in truly seeking to please God that Gods' grace *may* cover that error. They often use Romans 2:12-15 as their proof-text. Please comment."
Romans 2:12-15 makes a comparison between the condition of the Gentile world (cf. Rom. 1:18-32) who did not have a written law with the Jewish people who did (Rom. 2:1-11). Remember, "where there is no law there is no transgression" (Rom. 4:15). So, whether Gentile or Jew, "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23) - nobody is beyond the reach of divine law and its requirements (Rom. 5:12-13).
Once we understand that all men are now under the authority of Jesus Christ, your question is answered easily enough (cf. Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17; Gal. 1:6-9). Sprinkling, by definition as well as by practice, is not Bible baptism (baptizo = "immerse, to dip, to plunge").
All the sincerity in the world will not change the fact that sprinkling is not the baptism of the great commission. (Cornelius was an extremely sincere man, but lost in sin, Acts 10:22; 11:14).
We can only expect God's grace to be applied when man has proper faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Since faith is produced by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17), we cannot alter that word and expect grace to be extended to us in spite of our mishandling of God's word (carefully read Gal. 1:6-9: by accepting and following a different gospel we turn away from the grace of Christ, v. 6!).
God has not given us the prerogative to extend His grace - only He has the power to do so. And we can be sure that He will do so, but only in harmony with His divinely revealed will, the "word of His grace" (Acts 20:24, 32).
Brethren who give people comfort in their sin are not teaching them the gospel of Christ! Remember, the gospel does not condemn people, sin does that (Rom. 6:23). The gospel is the lifeline to salvation to everyone who will live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17).
The True Grace of God
Joe R. PriceUnderstanding of God's grace is vital as we apply God's principles of unity. We have no right to extend or offer God's grace where He has not done so, or to whom He has not done so. Neither do we have the right to define His grace in any way other than it is defined in the holy scriptures.
The scriptures teach us that "true grace of God" includes the commands of God. One such verse reads: "By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand." (1 Peter 5:12) So, Peter affirms that what he briefly wrote to the saints (the epistle of 1 Peter) was the "true grace of God." By observing what the apostle wrote in his inspired epistle, we can determine what comprises the "true grace of God."
First Peter reveals that God's grace includes obedience in holy living (1 Pet. 1:13-16); abstaining from fleshly lusts (1 Pet. 2:11-12); submitting to civil government (1 Pet. 2:13-17); husbandly and wifely responsibilities (1 Pet. 3:1-7); putting away worldliness (sexual immorality, social drinking, drunkenness, and associated riotous conduct, 1 Pet. 4:1-3); abstinence from idolatry (1 Pet. 4:3); hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9); and the autonomy of local churches and their oversight (1 Pet. 5:1-3). These are but some of the instructions God's grace teaches us so that we may stand in the true grace of God (Tit. 2:11; 1 Pet. 5:12). We cannot violate "the word of His grace" and still abide in "the true grace of God" (Acts 20:32; 1 Pet. 5:12). Any attempt to extend fellowship and unity beyond the boundaries of revealed truth, and then to justify it on the basis of God's grace, has failed to properly define the "true grace of God." One cannot disobey the commands and instructions of the Lord and yet claim His grace. Furthermore, we are not given God's approval to have fellowship with those in such a condition (2 John 9-11; Eph. 5:8-11).
When we obey Jesus in faith, we do not establish a righteousness of our own. Noah did not do so when he obeyed and built the ark. Abraham did not do so when he prepared to offer Isaac in obedience to God's command (Heb. 11:17; Jas. 2:22-24). These men, and many others, obtained God's grace because in faith they obeyed God's word.
Now, for an application which is drawing a good deal of attention these days, namely, marriage, divorce and remarriage. According to the principles of truth we noted above, the Christian who will not obey Christ's teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage has ceased to live by faith, and has thereby forfeited fellowship with Christ and the salvation found in Him (2 Jno. 9). He is not presently standing in the "true grace of God." When we move away from obeying and teaching the revealed gospel of Christ, we remove ourselves from the grace of Christ (read Gal. 1:6-9). And, that includes our practice and teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Remember, Peter wrote about marriage in his discourse on the "true grace of God," 1 Pet. 3:1-7. If not, why not? You see, standing in grace does not mean God accepts us in spite of our sin (1 Jno. 2:1-2; 1:9 apply here)! Can we "agree to disagree" with God and still be saved? No! (cf. Amos 3:3 on the inability of walking together where agreement does not exist.)
We stand in the "true grace of God" when we obey God's commands in faith (cf. Acts 20:32; Rom. 5:1-2). This does not mean we are saved by our own righteousness (that would require sinless perfection, Rom. 4:1-5). We are unprofitable servants who have only done their duty before our Master (cf. Lk. 17:10).
For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:
WOULD YOU BE MISSED? Scripture Reading: Psalm 122
1. What kind of impact does your presence have on this congregation: Strength, faithfulness, stability; or, doubt, weakness, apathy?
2. Would you be missed if your seat was empty?I. ARE YOU REGULARLY IN YOUR APPOINTED PLACE?
A. We Have "Appointments" With God Which We Must Keep - Acts 10:33.
B. Consider Some Of The Appointments We Must Keep: Salvation, Worship, Family, Stewardship.II. ARE YOU A DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE & FRIENDSHIP?
A. Christians Are True Friends To Each Other - Jno. 13:34-35; 1 Jno. 3:17-18; 1 Pet. 4:8
B. Be A Friend To Have Friends (KJV) - Prov. 18:24; Matt. 7:12.III. ARE YOU AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE CHURCH?
A. By Helping Others Be Faithful To The Lord - Gal. 6:2; Jude 22-23.
B. By Constant Participation With Your Brethren - Rom. 12:11-16 ; 1 Cor. 12:26.IV. ARE YOU DEPENDABLE? - Titus 3:1
A. Be Useful To The Lord & His People By Purging Yourself Of Sin & Replacing It With Purity - 2 Tim. 2:20-22 (cf. 4:11).
B. Can You Be Depended On To Do Your Part? (2 Cor. 8:12)
V. ARE YOU A HELPER IN TIME OF NEED? - 1 Ths. 5:14-15
A. Do You Look To The Welfare Of Your Fellow Christians? Phil. 2:3-4
(Part 1) THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
Divinely Planned To Accomplish Divine WorkScripture Reading: Ephesians 3:8-13
I. THE CHURCH IS A VITAL PART OF GOD'S ETERNAL PURPOSE - Eph. 3:10-11.
A. The Church Displays The Eternal Wisdom Of God - v. 10. -HOW?- Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Acts 2:38, 41, 47
B. As a Result, The Church Is Not An Optional Relationship!
1. God is the Architect of the church (Eph. 3:1O-11).
2. Christ is Builder & Head of church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22).
3. H.S. the Revealer of the church's place & work (Eph. 3:3-5).
4. The church of Christ is not the work of man, it is the work of God!
C. The Church Was Built By Divine Pattern - Matt. 16:18; Heb. 3:3-4; 8:1-5; 1 Chron. 15:12-15.
II. THE DIVINE PLAN FOR THE CHURCH FULFILLS GOD'S PURPOSES - Eph . 4:11-16.
A. This Plan Rests Squarely Upon The Gospel (Rom. 1:16) - Eph. 4:11.
1. Apostles & prophets: Divine revelation.
2. Evangelists: Preach the gospel (2Tim. 4:2, 5).
3. Pastors & teachers: Their work - Congregational.
B. The Objectives Of This Divine Plan - 4:12.
1. Perfecting of the saints - "To render fit, complete" to perform tasks & bare responsibilities (Education, training, edification).
2. Work of ministry - To render service. Includes, but not limited to benevolence.
3. Building up of the body of Christ - (same word "build" - Matt. 16:18. Enlarge, growth; evangelism).
C. The Results Of This Work - 4:13-16.
III. WHAT THE DIVINE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IS NOT.
A. Not A Social Mission (Not a social organization).
B. Not An Economic Mission (Not a business).
C. Not A Domestic Mission (Not a home).
D. Not A Political Mission (Not a "theocracy").
E. A Spiritual Mission! - 1 Pet. 2:5 (Jno. 18:36).
-The church of Christ is a relationship of saved people to God, to each other & to the world.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
DEAD SAILOR'S NOTE TELLS OF UNDERWATER TERRORUSA Today - 10/26/00 - Updated 09:09 PM ET MURMANSK, Russia (AP) - Huddled in a destroyed submarine on the sea floor, a Russian sailor wrote a terse account of how he and 22 comrades tried in vain to escape, then scrawled a last message to his family, Russian naval officials said Thursday.
The note was found in the pocket of Lt. Dmitry Kolesnikov, whose body was one of the first to be recovered from the nuclear submarine Kursk that sank Aug. 12 with 118 men aboard. The message was the first firm evidence that any of the crew initially survived explosions that shattered the submarine.
Written a few hours after the sub plunged to the bottom of the Barents Sea, the note tells a horrifying story in eerily straightforward sentences.
"All the crew from the sixth, seventh and eighth compartments went over to the ninth. There are 23 people here. We made this decision as a result of the accident," Russian navy chief Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov quoted the note as saying.
"None of us can get to the surface," the message continued.
Kolesnikov's handwriting in the first part of the note was neat, Kuroyedov said during a meeting with the victims' relatives. But after the submarine's emergency lights went out, the 27-year-old seaman from St. Petersburg began to scrawl and desperation set in.
"I am writing blindly," Kuroyedov quoted the latter part of the note as saying.
The rest of the note was private and would be shown to Kolesnikov's family, said Vice Adm. Mikhail Motsak, the Northern Fleet chief of staff.
Most of the Kursk's crew apparently died instantly in the explosions that tore open the Kursk's first six compartments or within minutes as water roared into the submarine.
COMMENTARY Joe R. Price The submariner's account of his last moments of life seizes our minds with tragic horror. Trapped. Dying. No escape.
We should remember a valuable truth from this horrible incident: life is precious, yet uncertain, and our death will surely come, for "it is appointed for men to die once" (Heb. 9:27).
Will you be ready for death when it calls for you? Will it be a cold enemy or a welcome release? Can you say "for to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21)? Live for God every day so that death will usher you into your eternal home.
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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