"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
In Matthew 16:13-20 Simon Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and not the reincarnation of John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets (16:13-16). Jesus blessed Simon for his affirmation, for he had correctly understood the Father’s revelation about Jesus (given through Jesus’ words and works, 16:17; see Jno. 5:36-39). Now, Jesus is about to reveal a tremendous truth about his mission as the Son of God; he would build His church (16:18). As one commentator points out, “The emphasis is not on ‘Thou art Peter’ over against ‘Thou art the Christ,’ but on Kagō: ‘The Father hath revealed to thee one truth, and I also tell you another” (McNeile, cited by Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, I:131).
When Andrew brought him to Jesus, the Lord told Simon he would be called “Cephas” (Hebrew), John 1:41-42. The Greek equivalent is “Peter” (Petros) and means “stone.” Now, Jesus makes a play on Peter’s name to reveal a great truth; “I will build my church.” Jesus did not say he would build his church upon Peter (a single stone), but upon the foundational truth or rock (petra, a massive ledge or outcropping of rock) just declared by Peter: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
“Church” is a collective noun that means an assembly (lit., called out ones). Jesus would build an assembly of people that belongs to him (“my church”). Any assembly of people who belong to Jesus is important (since it belongs to the Son of God!). Additional New Testament passages teach the composition of the church of Christ: “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The church of Christ is composed (built) of sinners who are saved by the Son of God. Peter (the stone) would later write, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:4-5). Peter and all other Christians are “living stones” in the spiritual house (temple) of God, the church of Christ. It is essential to be a member of the assembly of the saved, the church of Christ. Otherwise, one is still lost in sin.
The church of Christ was purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). In death, Jesus “gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). But “the gates of Hades” (the strength of death) did not prevail against the church (Matt. 16:18). His resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God (as Simon had confessed, cf. Rom. 1:4). Jesus, the Son of God, gives victory over sin and death to sinners who will believe he is the Son of God, repent of their sins and be baptized in his name (Acts 2:36-41; Mk. 16:15-16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Jesus adds every saved person to his church (Acts 2:47). The church of Christ is important: He died for it; he built it; he saves it (Eph. 5:23).
“...But me you do not have always.” (Mark 14:7)
In the context of this passage, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the fact that he was going to leave them. He knew that they depended on Him greatly, and therefore, He often took the opportunity to prepare them "for the worst." Yet, in the case of our Lord, he did come back after His death. Even after His ascension, he sent the Comforter (John 14:25-26) to help them. He made the necessary preparations for them because of His love towards His disciples.
I use this point to help bring to light another subject - taking the gifts of God for granted, especially the relationships between husbands and wives in our marriages. It often seems that many of us may be so busy in "this life" that we fail to give the proper care and love towards the very special relationships that God has blessed us with.
The Christians at Ephesus were reminded by the apostle Paul that marriage is the physical counterpart of the spiritual relationship between Christ and the church. The "world" may be telling us that there is nothing good about marriage, but it is a relationship that was designed by God. (Ephesians 5:22-23)
The husband has the responsibility of providing for his family, but no where has God commanded that it should be at the expense of his wife. Are you married to your job more than your wife? When is the last time that you took your wife out to dinner? What did you do on your anniversary or her birthday - or did you even remember it? When was the last time that you set aside time just for her or even told her that you loved her? For many of us it has been much too long.
Similar questions could certainly be asked of a wife. Do you remember days that are important to him, too, and set aside time just for him? When was the last time you told him that you love him and appreciate what he does for you?
Frankly, I'm afraid that many of us may learn the value of our mates too late. How can a relationship grow and mature in love and understanding when we spend so little time trying to nurture, care for and develop it?
Remember, “...It is appointed for man once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) We never know when or why. Let us not take each other for granted. Life is too short, love too precious, death is too final, and second chances are not possible. Husbands love your wives; wives love your husbands, and thank God for each other every day.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 111
1. Email question: “Why do you or I need to go
to church?” “Can't we just have it at home?”
1. Even in the OT God wanted Israel to go to His assigned place; Lev. 17:1-9; Deut. 12:5-14 (2 Chrn. 7:12). Ex. respect for God’s arrangement for worship: Not a matter of what we personally prefer.
2. NT examples of assembled worship: Acts 2:42, 44; 5:12; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2 (1 Cor. 4:16-17; Phil. 4:9).
3. NT Christians “came together” (Heb. 10:25); see Acts 20:7-8; 1 Cor. 11:18; 1 Cor. 11:20, 33-34; 1 Cor. 14:23, 26; Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 5:4.
4. Christ expects His body to come together; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 4:11-16, 4:3; 1 Cor. 12:25-27.
5. Some things cannot be done “at home” (privately), Heb. 10:24; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19; 1 Cor. 14:15-16; 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; 1 Ths. 5:27 (Col. 4:16); 1 Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34.
6. We are under commandment not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Heb. 10:24-25.
Question to ponder: If everyone attended & participated the way I do, would this church have regular worship services?
1. I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Psa. 122:1
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 30
The unrepentant sinner faces...
I. CERTAINTY OF SIN’S EXPOSURE, Num. 32:23
A. Sin is Never Hidden from God, Heb. 4:13; only temporarily from others, 2 Sam. 12:7-12; Lk. 12:2.
*Certainty for repentant: Cleansing, Isa.1:16-20
II. THE CERTAINTY OF SIN’S DISAPPOINTMENT
A. Sin Never Delivers what Offers, 2 Pet. 2:18-19.
*Certainty for repentant: Joy, Psa. 30:5 (1-3,11-12)
III. THE CERTAINTY OF LEAVING EARTHLY POSSESSIONS, 1 Tim. 6:7-10.
A. Sin of Covetousness, Lk. 12:13-21 (Job 1:21; Eccl. 5:13-17; Col. 3:5); Lk. 12:21 (Mk. 10:29-30).
*Certainty for the repentant: Treasure in heaven, 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
IV. CERTAINTY OF SPIRITUAL & ETERNAL DEATH.
A. Sin Brought Death into the World (Gen.
2:17; Rom. 5:12; 3:23; 6:23) (Gen. 3:19).
*Certainty for the repentant: Life, Jno. 11:25-26.
V. CERTAINTY OF JUDGMENT, Eccl. 12:14.
A. The Day is Appointed, Acts 17:31 (Heb. 9:27); 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:3-11; Rev. 16:7.
*Certainty for repentant: Salvation, Rev. 19:1-2.
VI. THE CERTAINTY OF SEPARATION FROM THE RIGHTEOUS, Matt. 25:31-33, 41.
A. Gathered out of the World, Matt. 13:41.
*Certainty for the repentant: Inherit prepared kingdom, Matt. 25:34.
VII. CERTAINTY OF BANISHMENT FROM THE PRESENCE OF GOD, 2 Ths. 1:9; Matt. 25:46, 30.
*Certainty for the repentant: God’s mercy with eternal glory, Lk. 15:24; Col. 3:4.
Conclusion Paul’s example, 1 Tim. 1:12-16; Ezek. 18:30-32.
Wars and Rumors of Wars
The reality and rumors of war is present in our world. “The World at War” website reports there were eight “major wars” underway in mid-2005 (the UN defines a “major war” as inflicting at least 1,000 battlefield deaths per year), (globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/). Africa alone has seen more than 20 major civil wars since 1960 (Ibid.).
Premillennial prophets have used such facts as their “proof” the end of the world is near. They over look the context and pervert the meaning of Matthew 24:6 to support their false predictions: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.”
When Jesus made this statement he was giving his apostles signs of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple so they would not be deceived (Matt. 24:1-5). Nevertheless, some today remain greatly deceived. The rest of verse 5 is significant: “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” The “end” of which he spoke was not the end of all things material; it was the end of Jerusalem. Further signs were given (verses 7-33) so that the saints could “flee” the approaching wrath of God upon faithless Jerusalem and thus be “saved” (24:16-22; see 23:37-39).
Jesus gave the time frame for fulfillment in Matthew 24:34 as the first century: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
Wars and rumors of war do not uniquely herald the second coming of Christ. His final return will be without warning and expectation (Matt. 24:44; 1 Ths. 5:1-11; 2 Pet. 3:10). Jesus is coming again – of that we are certain. We must always be ready for he will come in judgment, rewarding the faithful and punishing all sinners (1 Ths. 4:13-18; 2 Ths. 1:7-10).
Are you ready for the judgment day? (Acts 2:36-41)
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA