"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
The four young men were far from home. They, along with others their age, had been selected to receive the best education possible. They were intelligent and good-looking; strong of mind and body. Everything would be provided for them – no expense would be spared. The best teachers, the best accommodations and the best food would all be at their disposal to prepare them to serve the most powerful king of the day. These four young people were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, and in Daniel 1 you can read about the special treatment they received from King Nebuchadnezzar.
But, there was a problem: The food and drink set before them was forbidden – to eat it meant defilement before their God. So, Daniel asked that they be allowed to eat vegetables and drink water rather than the forbidden food (Dan. 1:8-13). They were not afraid to stand up and obey God. A period of testing showed these young men to be blessed by God for their decision and action of faith (Dan. 1:9, 14-21).
Perhaps there were other young men who went ahead and ate the food set before them. They may have convinced themselves it was okay because they were such a long way from home, nobody knew what they were doing, and besides, it was a great honor to eat the king’s delicacies. Perhaps they reasoned, “Why should we dishonor the king and place ourselves in danger over food?” But, Daniel and his friends knew what we must remember to live by: it is always more important to obey God than to please ourselves and others. As the apostle Peter said, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
When your friends try to get you to do things that are against the will of God, follow the example of Daniel and his friends. Even though others may indulge themselves, if it violates God’s word it is sin, and you must not defile yourself. Like Daniel and his friends, look for ways to do what is right and remain pure instead of going ahead and sinning against God. Don’t allow others to pressure you into sin (Prov. 1:10-16). God will be pleased with you and bless your faith when you obey Him (Jas. 4:6-10).
Knowing the Difference (continued)
Identifying false teachers and their false teachings is not slander. Jesus warned us of false prophets and said we “will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-16, 20; cf. 1 Ths. 5:21). Therefore, we are commanded to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11). If we cannot identify false teachers by their false teachings, or it is slanderous to do so, why did Jesus say we will “know them by their fruits?” When one’s teaching does not accord with “the pattern of sound words,” his teaching is false; his fruit is rotten; he is a false (prophet) teacher (2 Tim. 1:13; Matt. 7:15, 20-24). It is not slanderous to say so; it is necessary in order to avoid error and walk in truth.
When the false prophet Elymas withstood the truth and tried to turn Sergius Paulus away from the faith, Paul unhesitatingly identified him and his error: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:6-10) Are we to charge Paul with slander for publicly opposing this false teacher by name? If so, then the Holy Spirit is also to be blamed, for Paul was “filled with the Spirit” when he thus spoke (v. 9).
Paul did not slander Peter when he publicly withstood him (Gal. 2:11-14)? The Bible says, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all…” Public error called for a public rebuke that all might be saved.
Neither was Paul a slanderer when he identified Hymenaeus and Philetus as men who had “strayed concerning the truth” and who, by their cancerous error, overthrew the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:16-18). The truth was clear, the fact of their false teaching was established, and the warning was given (2 Tim. 2:15).
For the sake of example, suppose with me that Hymenaeus and Philetus were not teaching the resurrection was already past. Suppose some were falsely charging them with error on the subject. Suppose further that Paul heard the charge that these men were “false teachers,” but instead of establishing the accuracy of what they taught, he spread the hearsay to others. By such a reaction on his part, the misrepresentation was multiplied, the men were marked as false teachers, their reputation was besmirched and their work in the gospel was hindered. Clearly, such treatment, based on false accusation would have been slanderous and sinful. Do we please our father when we treat one another like this today?
Suppose with me further that Paul confronted Hymenaeus and Philetus over the charge of error against them. They replied by presenting the evidence that their teaching did not violate God’s word. What if, after thorough investigation and careful consideration of all the available evidence, no error could be laid at their feet? What should one conclude? How should these men be treated? Should not the false accusation cease, the slander silenced, repented of and repeated no longer? But instead of that, suppose Paul continued to make and spread the false charges; would he be God’s servant by doing so?
Whose purposes would be served by continuing to spread a false report? Only the devil’s purposes would be served. Under the above set of circumstances, the false accusation should forever cease and the slanderous report no longer spread. To do otherwise is to perpetuate sin and defame the reputation and work of faithful disciples.
But, that is not what happened in 2 Timothy 2:14-18. Paul knew what it was to be wronged by slander (Rom. 3:7-8); he did not slander Hymenaeus and Philetus. They were teaching error, and Paul correctly used God’s word to expose it. We should imitate how Paul handled this situation: 1) Be careful not to misrepresent what another person says, does and teaches; 2) establish the truth when a charge is made against someone; 3) do not spread hearsay and gossip; 4) answer error with divine truth; and 5) do not deal in conjecture and innuendo; to do otherwise only serves and furthers the desires of the devil (Jno. 8:44).
Disciples of Jesus denounce false accusation and slander wherever they are found (Lk. 6:40). Christians commit themselves to justice and the honest treatment of others. Out of brotherly kindness and love let us reject false accusations against others and refuse to participate in the spreading of lies (Eph. 4:25, 29-32). Remember, how we speak of others reveals who our father is: “I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father…the desires of your father you want to do” (Jno. 8:38, 44).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:14-21
1. How do we know
what is authorized & what isn’t?
I. HOW TO ESTABLISH NEW TESTAMENT (GOD’S) AUTHORITY.
A. Command or
Direct Statement in NT, Mk. 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 11:24-25.
II. MAN-MADE RULES OR DIVINELY APPROVED PATTERN FOR ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY? Acts 15:6-21
in Question (15:1, 5).
Conclusion – Without a God-approved way to establish Bible authority everyone will go their own way, not God’s (Matt. 7:21-23).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 18:24-28
#1: Is it ok for a woman to baptize someone?
1. Basis for a
Bible answer is that of the leadership role of men & the submissive role of
women. When & where Christian men can do so, they baptize.
#2: Can I have some scriptural basis for placing membership in a congregation?
1. NT examples,
Acts 9:26-28; 18:27-28; Ro. 16:1-2
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA