"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Did you know that the Bible talks about the hole in the ozone layer? Or, that the apostle Paul predicted Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost? Well, neither did I! But, back in 1990 I received a notice from “The Omega-Letter” which set me straight. According to that organization, Revelation 16:8 tells of the hole in our atmosphere, and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 foretells a speech given by Mikhail Gorbachev in November 1987.
These are but two illustrations of the numerous distortions of the word of God with which we are continually bombarded. No wonder so many people ridicule the Bible and those who would order their lives by it. What can we learn from the foregoing examples of false teaching?
First, rest assured that the Bible can be understood. God has revealed His will to man; it is no longer a mystery (Eph. 3:3-5). The Bible can be understood.
When we understand the Bible the way God wants us to, we will understand it alike. This is not a popular view of God’s word these days, but the logic is sound – and scriptural: “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17); “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
Because so many people say so many different things about what the Bible teaches, many are inclined to accept the notion that “you can prove anything by the Bible.” While many have tried to prove many things by the Bible, that does not mean they have succeeded. No, you cannot prove whatever you please by the Bible. Assert and speculate? Yes. But prove? No. The Bible calls such endeavors the twisting of scriptures, and warns that in doing so one loses his soul (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Do not let what others say the Bible teaches keep you from personally studying the Bible in order to learn and obey what it really teaches.
How can you be sure that what you are being taught is in fact what the Bible teaches? Be careful to not depend on someone else’s study of the Bible as the measure of your faith. While God wants His word to be taught, He certainly He does not want us to blindly follow the teacher (Acts 8:30-35; Matt. 15:14). Like the ancient Bereans, you must “search the Scriptures daily to find out whether” the things you are taught are so (Acts 17:11). Because they actually examined the Scriptures, many of them believed the gospel (Acts 17:12). So can you.
To properly understand the Bible you need to be reading it. Bible reading and study enables one to be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). You must spend time with God’s word if your goal is to use it properly. My friend, if your time with the Bible consists only of listening to sermons and attending Bible classes a couple of times a week, you are ripe for some false teacher to pick! The apostle John warned Christians that many false prophets are in the world and that we must test their teaching against the apostles’ doctrine (1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Only by accurate and consistent use of God’s word can this be accomplished. To accurately use God’s word we must give “attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13).
Another thing needed in assessing truth is how we approach Bible study. That is, do you study it with your mind already made up about the subject you are studying? An open mind, willing to do God’s will, is essential when studying the Bible. “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jno. 7:17). Do you approach Bible study determined to prove what you already believe, or with a willingness to obey whatever you learn from your study (even it if refutes your present belief and practice)? Those who rejected Jesus as the Son of God had this problem, for Jesus rebuked them in John 5:39: “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me.” The Jews had made up their minds that Jesus was not the Savior. They thought they had found eternal life in the Scriptures, but by rejecting Jesus, those very Scriptures, which testified of Him, exposed their spiritual death. As Jesus said, “for if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (Jno. 5:46). They went to the scriptures with a preconceived notion, and set out to uphold their preconception regardless of the evidence to the contrary. What a shame.
We must maintain an “honest
and good heart” that will hear the word of God, examine it, believe it
and then obey it (Lk. 8:15). An open mind, an open heart and an open Bible
will bring souls to faith and salvation in Jesus (Rom. 1:16; 10:13-17; Acts
17:11-12; Jas. 1:21-22).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
1. NT accurately describes
man’s spiritual condition: Sinners who can only be saved by Jesus Christ
(Rom. 3:23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Col. 1:19-22; Eph. 2:1-3).
I. SPIRITUAL GROWTH BEGINS WITH A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH – Jno. 3:3-8.
A. The Sinner is Born Again – 1 Pet. 1:22-23.
II. SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS AN ONGOING PROCESS (2 Pet. 3:18).
A. Faith is the Foundation for our Spiritual Growth
– 2 Pet. 1:3-5 (1 Pet. 1:5).
III. SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS REWARDED.
A. Heavenly Inheritance Reserved, 1 Pet. 1:4-9.
1. Your spiritual growth is up to you – Heb.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box: (July 2004)
Scripture Reading: Romans 2:12-16
Were Gentiles under the Patriarchal Law of God until the establishment of the church?
Ans. Yes, Gentiles were under law before church
I. OVERVIEW OF GOD’S DEALINGS WITH MANKIND (Dispensations).
A. Patriarchal Age: Creation until the time of
Christ (Gen. 18:19); cf. Heb. 1:1.
II. GOD’S LAW AND THE GENTILES.
A. Men have always been under Divine Law – Rom.
5:12-13; 4:15 (1:18); Isa. 24:5.
III. ALL MEN ARE NOW UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST (Eph. 1:20-23).
A. Christ Rules All Men with His Gospel, Jno. 17:2;
Matt. 28:18-19; Heb. 1:1-3; Acts 17:30-31.
Baptist Promotes 'Prophetic Preaching'
During last month’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, one preacher urged a return to “prophetic preaching” in America. Moral issues like abortion and homosexuality will “determine the future of America,” said Steve Gaines of the First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Alabama. In his message he chastised “many aspects of modern worship and ministry found in contemporary churches” (Allie Martin, http://news.christiansunite.com/religion/religion01168.shtml).
“I don't know about you,” the Alabama preacher said in his fiery message, “but I think America is fed up with drama skits, coffee talks, interpretive dances, operatic cantatas, high-church ‘Frankenstein music,’ pop psychology sessions from the pulpit -- America is looking for some prophets of God!” (Ibid.)
America certainly needs Bible preaching today. We agree that immorality is a shameful curse upon this land (Prov. 14:34). And, we agree that men have strayed far from true worship (Jno. 4:23-24).
When God’s word was “like a burning fire” in one of God’s ancient prophets (Jeremiah) that could not be contained, he spoke out against Judah’s sin. But, the people did not want his message of warning and rebuke (Jer. 6:10-17). They reproached him; they mocked him; they imprisoned him (Jer. 20:7-10; 18:18; 37:11-38:13).
Allow me to propose some preaching that Southern Baptists should receive. First, we urge you to forever abandon and forsake the Baptist Church, its offices and functions. The NT never speaks of the Baptist Church; it never existed in NT days. Jesus built His church, not the Baptist denomination, and adds the saved ones to His church, not the Baptist Church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16; Acts 2:47).
Next, we implore you to abandon the use of all instrumental music in worship of God. It is an addition of men that perverts true worship (Jno. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:19; 1 Cor. 14:15). Your good intentions in using them do not approve that which the Lord has not asked for (Col. 3:17; see 1 Sam. 15).
Will you begin teaching men to be saved the way Jesus did? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). Give up the manmade doctrine of salvation by faith only (Jas. 2:24).
It is our earnest prayer that Southern Baptists, and every soul, truly wants Bible preaching. However, human history – and the Bible - suggests otherwise (Isa. 53:1; Rom. 10:16-17).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA