Volume VI, Number 38
In this issue:
God’s plan and purpose to save sinners through the death of His Son has been accomplished in Jesus of Nazareth: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7). The word of this salvation, the word of faith which we preach, is God’s power to save sinners (Rom. 10:8; 1:16).
The New Testament reveals and displays God’s plan of salvation. What God has done for sinners and what God expects sinners to do in order to be saved by Christ are both set forth on its pages. God’s love, mercy and grace are extolled from cover to cover (Jno. 3:16; Rom. 5:6-11; Eph. 2:4-7; et al.)
The call to have faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God is heard therein (Jno. 8:23-24; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:17). The necessity to confess one’s faith in Jesus as the Christ is firmly established there (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Tim. 6:12). On its pages the command to repent of sins is forcefully proclaimed by Jesus and His apostles (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30-31). The need of baptism is firmly fixed there (Mk. 16:16; Act 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; Gal. 3:27). Faithful living after being baptized is also essential as a child of God (1 Jno. 1:6-9; Rom. 12:1-2).
The plan of salvation is at the heart of man’s redemption in the Son. Thus, we proclaim throughout the land that the lost must obey God’s will to be saved (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9). Why then, do many preachers preach without ever offering the Lord’s invitation to obey His plan of salvation? Why is it that in many pulpits across the land one rarely hears mention of what to do to be saved when the gospel is preached?
We have heard preachers conclude their sermons with, “if anyone has a need, come forward as we stand and sing,” and we are made to wonder, need for what?! Have you told the sinner his or her need, preacher? Or have you assumed they know what they need? Truly, a serious and unwarranted assumption! The bewilderment of the Ethiopian rings in our ears: “how can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31)
Perhaps some are of the opinion that since they have heard the plan of salvation so often everyone else has, too. Perhaps some have become ashamed of the gospel’s simple plan of salvation (Rom. 1:15-17). Perhaps, some who ought to know it and be able to offer it to others, do not (Heb. 5:12). Some may even think that the pulpit is not the right time and place to offer the gospel invitation (better done privately instead of publicly – cf. Acts 20:20)!
Fellow preacher, continue to preach that life is short, death is sure, the judgment is certain, sin is real and Christ is our only means of salvation! If we preach these gospel truths, how can we not also teach the lost what they must do to be saved and invite the lost to come to Jesus (Matt. 11:28-30)?
Christians who do not understand our enemy are in danger of defeat: “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11).
A Bible question was submitted this week about the capabilities of our adversary, the devil. A gentleman wrote: “In our Bible study we discussed if the Devil knows your future please help me with this.”
First, we should understand that the devil is not the evil antithesis or mirror image of God. The Bible establishes that Satan is not all-powerful, nor is he all-knowing. The fundamental answer to this question is “no, the devil does not know our future.” Here are some reasons for this conclusion.
1. Omniscience is a trait of
deity, not the devil (Isa. 42:9; 46:10).
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The devil was clearly behind the crucifixion of Christ by the rulers of men (Acts 2:23). Revelation 12:1-5 depicts Satan as a great, fiery red dragon, waiting to devour the Man-child (Christ) and thereby defeat the divine purposes. But, he failed to do so - Christ accomplished human redemption. Now, had Satan known the future he surely would have changed he tactics in his effort to defeat the Son of God. Here are a few examples of his failures which resulted because he did not know the future:
1) The devil did not know where Christ would be born (Matt. 2:1-12).
2) The devil tried to tempt Jesus to sin, implying he did not know whether Jesus would succumb or not (Matt. 4:1-11).
3) The devil did not anticipate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:23-24).
4) The devil does not know
whether we will yield to temptation or reject his overtures (1 Pet. 5:8-9). We
must and can resist!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
How We Got the
Bible - Part 1
Scripture Reading: John 10:30-38
The Bible has been praised & scorned, prized & despised. What are its claims? How should we view & use it?
I. THE BIBLE IS A COLLECTION OF BOOKS.
II. THE BIBLE’S CLAIMS CONCERNING ITSELF.
Divine Origin - 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1: 20-21.
III. OUR RESPECT FOR THE SCRIPTURES.
A. We Must
Respect the Authority of the Scriptures – Jno. 10:30-38; Matt. 5:17-18.
The Bible is
much more than the words of men – it is the inspired word of God.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:47-56
· Does Mt. 26:53 imply that Jesus had a choice on whether to go through with his crucifixion, or not?
26:53: Yes, the passage implies Jesus’ choice regarding His crucifixion (1 Pet.
· How does Mt. 26:53 harmonize with Mt. 26:39?”
1. The unity
of the Father & Son – Jno. 10:30.
· Matthew 3:11 - What did John the Baptist mean when he said, “He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”?
Baptism & preaching of John – Matt. 3:1-12 (11:7-10)
Conclusion Your question to answer: Are you the wheat that will be garnered by the Lord, or the chaff that will be cast out into “unquenchable fire”?
I Saw Bigfoot...Really!!
Jeff Meldrum, associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho Sate University, has scores of footprint casts which he believes establish the existence of an unknown primate known as Bigfoot. Sightings, photographs and even a film (the Patterson film, taken by Roger Patterson in 1967) are offered to support the reports of Bigfoot as genuine.
There is one problem, though. Bigfoot is dead. It was all a hoax.
Ray L. Wallace's family admitted his role in the creature myth after his death Nov. 26 from heart failure. He was 84. “The reality is, Bigfoot just died,” his son, Michael, said. In August 1958, a bulldozer operator who worked for Wallace's construction company in Humboldt County, Calif., found huge footprints circling and then leading away from his rig. Family members said Wallace asked a friend to carve the wooden 16-inch-long feet that he and his brother Wilbur wore to create the tracks. The nation — fascinated by tales of the Himalayan Abominable Snowman — quickly bought into the notion of a homegrown version. (“Man Who Claimed ‘Bigfoot’ Legend Dies,” AP story, Yahoo News, Dec. 5, 2002)
This story cautions each of us to remember it is possible to believe a lie (read 2 Ths. 2:9-12)!
Sincere people can be (and often, are) deceived about spiritual things: Perhaps they were taught religious error and accepted it without testing its validity against the apostolic doctrine (Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Jno. 4:1-6); Perhaps they wanted so badly to believe that their minds were blinded to the truth (2 Cor. 4:3-4; 3:14); Perhaps emotions have overtaken reason and the statements of Biblical truth in their minds (Matt. 13:14-15). But make no mistake, religious deception is alive and well!
We have heard of people who confidently affirm they have seen Jesus (ala Oral Roberts, Joseph Smith, Jr., etc.). But alas, like Bigfoot, they are mistaken. Oh, Jesus exists (unlike Bigfoot), but He does not reveal Himself to us in visions. He reveals Himself to every person in His gospel, God’s word of truth (Heb. 1:1-2; Rom. 10:17; Jno. 20:29-31; 1 Pet. 1:8-9).
Like Professor Meldrum, some will continue to believe Bigfoot is real. Sadder still, some will continue to reject the truth of God’s word for the errors of men (Jno. 12:37-40). They have invested their time, energy, credibility, and lives to support and defend the error. While it is not easy to admit having been mistaken or deceived, one must build his faith on the living word of God, not lies.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 01/25/2003
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication
of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA