Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
"I Don't Feel Good!"
It is the Lord’s Day and early on Sunday morning you begin to wake up the rest of the family to get ready, eat breakfast, etc., and assemble with the saints for worship. Have you ever been through this question/answer routine with family members?
<Declaration> “I don’t feel good!”
<Concern> “What do you mean?”
<Defense> “Well, I just don’t feel good!”
<More concerned> “Are you sick…is your stomach upset; are you warm, do you have fever?”
<Evading issue> “No, I just don’t feel good!” “I think I just need to stay home today.” “I don’t think I am going to feel better.”
<Remedy> “Well, if you are not sick, and don’t have fever, you need to get up and get ready!”
<Frustration> “But I REALLY don’t feel good!” “I feel something is coming on…it’s hard to explain.”
<Practical remedy> “Well, maybe getting out will make you feel better. Anyway, if later you still feel bad, you can go home!”
<Decision made> “NO, I think I’d better just stay home and rest.”
What is the real problem here? Is it an actual sickness, or could it be laziness, negligence, indifference, depression, or a combination of one or all of these? A few simple questions will usually reveal the source of the problem.
Have you ever encountered this pattern when a Christian misses worship services? “I just don’t feel good enough to make it today,” is the reason given for the absence. But the day before and after the day that they “just did not feel good enough” to assemble with the saints (for just one to two hours), they have been able to make it to work (usually for 8 hours), or go shopping and do other chores that need to be done! Seems to be an inconsistency, doesn’t it? You tell the individual(s) that you missed them at services (or work) and ask what was wrong with them? They reply, “I didn’t feel good yesterday, but I feel much better today!”
The apostle Paul gives a list of ordeals he had been through in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. Paul was in more abundant labors—experiencing the weariness from the exertion he put into his labors. He was imprisoned, beaten (being close to death often), received lashes, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked—spent a night and day in the deep; in dangers from rivers, robbers, countrymen, Gentiles; dangers in the city and wilderness, and on the sea and from false brethren; in labor and hardship, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, without food and naked. Besides all these ordeals, Paul’s concern was for all the churches. Do you think he “did not feel good on occasion?” In 1 Thessalonians 2:9, Paul writes the brethren to remember their labor and hardship, working night and day so as to not burden the brethren, but proclaimed to them the gospel. Do you think that Paul was tired? What exhortation, encouragement and beseeching as a father to his children to walk in a manner worthy of God (vs. 11-12). What an example Paul is for us! In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul speaks of his “thorn in the flesh,” which caused him weakness. He entreated the Lord three times to remove it, but it was not removed. Paul was “content” with weakness, mistreatment, distresses, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake; for when he is weak, then he is strong. We do not know what the thorn in the flesh was, there are suppositions, but whatever it was--it did not stop Paul from assembling with the saints and proclaiming the gospel to the brethren and the lost.
There is always a reason for not wanting to get up and attend services on the Lord’s Day or on Wednesday evenings. It might truly be an illness, and that is understandable. It might be that we overdid it on Saturday, stayed out too late, and are just too tired to get up on Sunday morning. We may have had a long day at work on Wednesday and were tired. Maybe we should be honest with ourselves and realize our limitations and remember our commitment to Christ and make preparations to worship with the saints on the Lord’s Day and mid-week by being careful the day or night before (Heb. 10:24-25).
I certainly do not want to discount the fact that there are times when sickness prevents us from assembling with the saints. Paul, as a result of his persecutions and difficulties, was prevented at times. My encouragement is for us to be honest with ourselves, and to be careful; God knows the real reason, doesn’t He? I believe that if God knows the number of hairs on our heads and the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Heb. 4:12-13) – He knows whether the reason is “I really don’t feel good,” or just that I do not want to put out the effort of getting up and meeting the day!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 130
1. God’s forgiveness our pattern, Eph.4:32; Col.3:12-13.
I. THE POWER TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US…
A. …Comes From Our Own Forgiveness, Lk. 6:36; Matt.
18:21-35; Lk. 7:36-43, 47; Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15.
II. THE HEALING POWER IN FORGIVENESS, Jas. 5:16.
A. The Power to Restore the Soul from Sin & Death (Lk.
15:32); Isa. 59:1-2, 12-13; 1 Jno. 1:9; Psa. 51:4.
III. SUMMARY: CHARACTERISTICS OF FORGIVENESS, Matt. 18:21-35.
A. No Limits to Forgiveness, 18:21-22.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:10-13
1. Christians should be confident in our faith & bold as we
approach eternity, 1 Jno. 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14.
I. THE EVIDENCE FOR OUR FAITH IS SURE (true, genuine, authentic), 1:1-4
A. Eyewitness Testimony, 1 Jno. 4:14 (Jno. 19:35;
21:24); 2 Pet. 1:16-21 (Jno. 14:26; 16:13).
II. WE KNOW…
A. …We Know & Are in Jesus Christ, 1 Jno. 2:3-6.
Obedient love, 3:24 & 4:13; 4:7-8, 11, 15-16.
III. SUMMARY DECLARATIONS, 1 Jno. 5:18-20.
A. We Know those Born of God do not (Practice) Sin, 1
Conclusion - God has given us eternal life in the Son; written so we know we have eternal life, 1 Jno. 5:11-13.
Warnings Timely Given
The discovery and disruption of the plot to blow up multiple passenger aircraft in route from Britain to the United States is another reminder that we live in a hostile, dangerous world. Evil continues to live and thrive in the hearts of many people. Vigilance is continually needed to avert tragedy; we are at war.
While there are plenty of long lines at airports with the added inconvenience of carry-on baggage restrictions, I suspect most people know the added trouble is to be preferred over the alternative. Most people will be thankful the warning came in time to save hundreds, if not, thousands of lives.
Yet, when it comes to warnings intended to save our souls, many are not nearly so receptive. When Jeremiah warned Judah of sin he was met with mockery and daily derision (Jer. 20:7-8). They plotted against him even as he tried to turn them away from their sin and its certain wrath (Jer. 18:18-23). Isaiah confronted people who would not hear the word of the Lord; they said, “Do not see” to the seers, and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9-10). Consequently, rebellious Israel was punished.
The gospel warns sinners to repent and God’s people not to turn back to sin (Lk. 13:1-5; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). It warns us all that a judgment day is coming that none will escape (Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 2:1-11). People who refuse these warnings, like Israel of old, should prepare to meet God (Amos 4:12).
Scratching itching ears will not warn sinners of sin’s danger. It feels good for the moment, but the result is deadly (2 Tim. 4:3-4). We must continue to give God’s warnings so some will be saved (Ezek. 3:17-21; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 1 Cor. 10:11).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA