Volume VII, Number 03
In this issue:
Free will distinguishes human beings from the animal world. We possess the capacity of rational intent as well as the capability of carrying out our intentions. Animals operate on instinct to survive, but we have the unique ability to make moral choices that determine our present (as well as our future) circumstances.
God expects us to make the moral choice to honor and obey Him. In fact, to choose to not honor and obey God is to incur justifiable wrath from the Almighty. Romans 1:18-32 shows, with graduated intensity, the result of the Gentiles’ failure to choose to acknowledge God in their lives. Instead, they chose to serve and satisfy their own base desires. Their choices of unrighteousness hindered the truth and brought them under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18). They were “without excuse” because, although God had revealed Himself to them, they chose to ignore Him and indulge their fleshly lusts (Rom. 1:20, 21-32).
God also expected the people of Israel to use their free will to obey His commandments: “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off…but the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it…I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:11, 14, 19). Whenever God gives a command it is within man’s ability to choose (to will) to obey God, as well as carry out that intention. Therefore, God is not to be blamed when men choose to sin against Him rather than obey Him. Having exercised his free will in sinning against God, man also bears the responsibility that comes with free will: his sinful choices are “without excuse” and “inexcusable” before God (Rom. 1:20; 2:1).
God has blessed you with free will. With it, you may choose to ignore God and live for yourself. With it, you may choose to obey God and be a blessing to others. Free will, a true blessing from God, brings with it a corresponding responsibility. God will bring into judgment the choices you make. If you have committed sin, God will forgive you if you now choose to believe and obey Jesus (Rom. 3:23; Acts 17:30; Mk. 16:15-16). “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). Are you choosing life or death?
It never ceases to amaze this writer that people who are so meticulous concerning their physical well-being often times become so careless about their spiritual welfare.
When this I lived in New Mexico it was not uncommon for people to drive the twenty miles from Portales to Clovis just to save the city sales tax of one penny on the dollar which Portales collected and Clovis did not. Of course, it cost more to drive to Clovis and back than could possibly be amassed by the few pennies of tax saved, but that did not matter as long as it seemed that there was the slightest chance to save money. However, talk to someone about driving twenty miles to worship with a faithful church and the response would be, “It’s too far to drive.”
People in our area will drive for miles to a little town in order to eat in a restaurant which is considered by many to have the best food and most reasonable prices. If we can save a few cents on clothing by shopping in another town, whether ten, twenty or even one hundred miles away, we scarcely give it a second thought. Why, we would not think of buying our groceries at the store next door if the supermarket down the street or in the next town has the same items at a cheaper price. But, when it comes to feasting on the word of the Lord with faithful brethren in a sound church a few miles away, the expression is heard, “It’s so far to drive.”
There must be something wrong with one's thinker who believes it all right to drive a few miles in order to feed and clothe his body by too far to drive in order to feed and clothe his soul. Brethren, is your spiritual well-being any less important than your physical welfare? Is ten or twenty miles so far when your soul hangs in the balance?
When there is a faithful church only a few, short miles away where you can worship God without stultifying your conscience, is it too far?
Your soul is too precious for you to worship in a church where there are unscriptural practices just because it happens to be a little closer to where you live. If you consider your soul more valuable than money, then worship with a faithful church.
The Proclaimer, February 2003
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Judge Righteous Judgment
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-6
God condemns some judgments while He calls on us to make other types of judgments. We must be able to discern the difference so we will judge righteous judgment!
I. JUDGMENTS WE MUST CEASE.
A. Hypocritical Judging of Others
– Matt. 7:1-5; cf. Rom. 2:1-2, 21-22; Ex: Lk. 18:9-12, 14
II. JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT (Jno. 7:24).
A. How? –
Jno. 5:30 (Right standard & motive)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box
Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 11:20-34
#1: 1 Cor. 11:27-29: How do you examine yourself to prepare for partaking of the Lord’s Supper so that you don’t do so in an unworthy manner?
1. The Lord’s Supper:
#2: Is it OK to have pictures, statues, images, etc. of Jesus, depictions of heaven, angels and/or the crucifixion on display at home? What about in the church building?
1. Such depictions are inaccurate & do
not help us know Jesus – Jno. 8:17-19; 14:6-11.
#3: If we’re not under the OT anymore, what does it matter if we properly understand what it says? What does it matter if we teach something incorrectly about the OT if we teach correctly from the NT?
1. Though not under its authority,
inspired & profitable – Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1-12.
WWU's sex-related event shames, disgraces us all
(Letter to the Editor, The Bellingham Herald, May 16, 2003)
According to an article by Leslie Sugiura in the May 2 issue of the campus newspaper, The Western Front, this open communication included “condom hunts…and Pornfest.” Pornographic films were shown on campus at “Porn and Popcorn.” A guest lecturer spoke on “the truth behind the myths surrounding polyamory, having relationships with more than one person at one time” (Ibid.). I wonder, was there also a lecture on the truth behind the myths surrounding sexual abstinence before marriage? I doubt it. Evidently, pornography and polyamory are forms of higher education at WWU, but not the morality of sexual abstinence before and sexual fidelity in marriage. Are the citizens of Washington comfortable with their tax dollars funding such smut?
While we honored mothers last week, WWU was urging students to engage in the very kinds of activities that dishonor and shame their mothers – not to mention our nation.
Wouldn’t Mom be proud?
Joe R. Price, evangelist; Mt. Baker Church of Christ
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Prov. 14:34)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/25/2003
Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ,