Volume VI, Number 39
In this issue:
Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood. But they said, What is that to us? see thou to it. And he cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. (Matt. 27:3-5)
Judas was remorseful (“repented himself”, ASV) over his betrayal of Jesus. He sought solace for his sorrow by trying to return the money which bought his assistance. Finding no relief, he ended his life in disgrace.
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:74-75). “…and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Lk. 22:32).
With cursing Peter denied knowing Jesus (just as the Lord had told him he would). With bitter weeping Peter shows the sorrow he bore over his sin.
Both men, Judas and Peter, had sorrow over their sins. Why then, did one man kill himself and the other go on to great apostolic work? Because their sorrow was not the same.
Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Cor. 7:9-10)
Judas possess the sorrow of the world. He had only had an emotional change, but his heart (mind and will) had not changed at all. With the sorrow of the world and the regret it causes, Judas killed himself.
This teaches us a simple lesson. Genuine repentance is not merely being sorry for one’s sin. Repentance is the change of heart which is produced by “godly sorrow” (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow, because it produces repentance, does not cause regret. Full repentance causes us to bear the fruit of repentance in our lives (Lk. 3:8-14; Acts 26:20)
Did you repent, fully repent?
The voice of Jesus calls sinners to salvation. Not by a “still small voice” in the deep recesses of the heart. Not in a vision out in the woods or in your bedroom. The voice of Jesus can only be heard in the word of God, the New Testament (Heb. 1:1-2; Jno. 12:48). There we hear Jesus calling:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Jesus is depicted as standing at the door of the sinner’s heart, seeking entrance so that He can grant salvation and blessings:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)
We do not let a friend stand outside knocking at our door when we hear him. Why then, do people keep Jesus waiting outside of their hearts and lives when He is knocking to come in? Here are a few answers we can gather from the Scriptures.
(1) Some have not heard the gospel. “And how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14) They have not heard the Savior’s knock. The gospel needs to be proclaimed to them: “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14) This is a compelling reason for Christians to teach the gospel to others (Mk. 16:15; Rom. 1:16).
(2) Some have no faith. These have heard the Savior knocking but have not opened to Him. They have heard gospel invitations. They may even be able to tell you what they need to do to “open the door” to Christ (hear the gospel, believe in Christ and confess faith, repent of sins and be baptized into Christ). But, they keep Jesus waiting. They are not convicted of their sins (Acts 2:37). They console themselves in their moral goodness as they see the immorality around them. They have swallowed the devil’s deception that being a “good person” is enough to be saved. Jesus is still knocking. They are still in their sin.
(3) Some prefer the pleasures of sin. Though sin’s delight is temporary, they live for the moment as they “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Their life announces their real agenda: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Cor. 15:32) In worldliness their opportunities to open to Jesus and be saved are squandered, wasted on riotous living. The world presents formidable temptations to ignore Jesus, but its end is only death and eternal destruction (1 Jno. 2:15-17). Jesus is still knocking, desiring to save you from the world’s ruin.
(4) Some think they will have plenty of time later. They meander to the door: they will obey the gospel one day. They are oblivious of the obstacles that arise which can take away life itself, forever removing their opportunity to be saved (Jas. 4: 13-17). We do not control time, we must use it wisely to the glory of God and the salvation of our souls. Now is the acceptable day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
To open the door of your heart to Jesus you must hear and obey His gospel. Believe He is the Son of God (Jno. 8:24), confess your faith (Rom. 10:9-10), repent of your sins (Acts 2:38) and be baptized (Mk. 16:16). Then, live faithfully to Him (2 Cor. 5:7).
Jesus is knocking at your heart to come in and save you. Why keep Jesus waiting?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Church: Many Members, One Body
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
I. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST - 12:27.
A. The Church is One Body with Many Members – 12:12, 13 20, 27; Acts 2:41, 47; Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 2:19.
B. The Body Illustrates Our Unity in Christ – 12:12 (Eph. 4:3-6), 25; 1 Cor. 1:10, 13; 11:17-18.
II. THE BODY (CHURCH): MANY MEMBERS.
A. God has Designed the Church (body) to Achieve His Purposes – 12:18 (28); Rom. 12:4-5. (cf. 1 Cor. 12:1-12)
B. Each Member of the Body of Christ:
1. Is vital – 12:14-19.
2. Is needed – 12:20-22.
3. Is honorable – 12:23-24.
4. Has mutual care for the other – 12:25-27.
III. APPLYING THE PRINCIPLE.
A. We Must Respect Our Head (Christ) in All Things – Col. 3:17.
B. We Must Do Our Part So the Body Properly Functions – Eph. 4:16.
-When we do not do our part the body suffers! For example:
1. Are you teaching/will you teach a Bible class?
2. Are you praying for your brethren?
3. Are you encouraging others in word & actions?
4. Are you burying your blessings instead of using them to help the church?
5. Are you using or abusing the gift of time the Lord gives us?
C. We Must Endeavor to Keep Unity Among Us – 12:12, 25; Eph. 4:3.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
How We Got the
Bible - Part 2
Scripture Reading: Psalms 119:169-176
We now need to know which books to respect as inspired by God - which books should be received as having authoritative status.
I. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE.
A. Canon (“a reed or measuring rod;” it came to mean “the norm or rule,” and eventually came to mean a “catalog or list”).
1. A collection of inspired writings which are therefore authoritative & binding on us.
2. Important to recognize the difference between “inspiration” & “canonization.”
II. IN GENERAL, RELIGIOUS BOOKS CAN BE PUT INTO FOUR GROUPS.
A. Those Books Virtually All Agree Belong in the Canon.
B. Those Books Most All Agree Belong in the Canon, Though Some Dispute.
C. Those Books Most Scholars Agree Do Not Belong in the Canon, Though Some Accept.
D. Those Books Virtually All Agree Do Not Belong in the Canon.
III. WHAT DETERMINES CANONICITY?
A. Its Inspiration – 2 Tim. 3:16.
1. Apostolicity – 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Ths. 3:17; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Pet. 3:1516; 1 Tim. 5:18 (Lk. 10:7).
2. Character of contents – 2 Ths. 2:1-2; Matt. 24:4.
3. Universality – 1 Ths. 5:27; Col. 4:16.
IV. WHY HAVE A CANON?
A. To Identify the Accepted Standard – 2 Pet. 2:1-2; 3:1-3, 16; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6.
B. To Identify the Counterfeits (2 Ths. 2:1-2).
Distractions in Worship
I just came across the following news item which caught my attention:
Jamming Phones to Keep Worshiping Quiet
DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar has imported 1,000 frequency jammers to block mobile phone transmissions that disrupt prayers and sermons in the Gulf state’s mosques, the daily newspaper The Peninsula said Thursday.
The Cellular Phone Hunter, a pocket-size device, should silence the modem-day nuisance of cellphones chirruping during prayers, the paper said.
“Imams and muezzins (prayer callers) have been instructed to switch on the devices a few minutes before the call for prayer and keep them on till five minutes after the prayers, five times a day,” The Peninsula added. (Lycos News)
Cell phones rarely go off in our worship assemblies, so I doubt we could use a “Cellular Phone Hunter.” I’ve got an idea, though, that would help us in our assemblies whenever we come together to worship God and edify one another (Jno. 4:24; 1 Cor. 14:26).
Someone ought to invent a “Distraction Hunter” to be used during worship services. Here’s how it should work: it will detect and deter distractions to reverent worship – things that make our worship (and those around us) more difficult. Here are some of the models every church (including this one) could use:
(1) Play-time Hunter. This device will make sure parents oversee the conduct of their children during (as well as before and after) services. It will silence shouting and playground-type games inside the building. And, it will remind parents to be teaching their children proper conduct during worship. (A side benefit to this device is improved care for the worship place and its contents. Things like mistreating song books, coloring on pews and leaving personal trash in the seats will be eliminated.
(2) Snack-time Hunter. A companion to the Play-time Hunter, it will teach parents and children alike that worship is not the time and place to pull out snacks to satisfy cravings or still a fidgeting child.
(3) Getting up and down Hunter. This pocket-size device will vibrate every time someone starts to unnecessarily get up and go to the back of the building. A habit buster, its built in reminder to attend to personal business before worship is an indispensable part of this device.
(4) Talking Hunter. Whenever someone is speaking and leading our worship, this tool will insure we give him our full attention as we participate together in worshiping God.
What do you think? Will the “Distraction Hunter” catch on? Maybe we already have one we should use: Our own sense of reverent devotion and quiet demeanor when we come before God to worship Him (Hab. 2:20).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/01/2003
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication
of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA