"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:
Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. (Psa. 85:10)
We need God’s mercy or we will forever be lost in our sins. God’s mercy offered to every sinner through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph. 2:4-5).
God’s merciful grace is obtained through faith (Eph. 2:8). Such faith entails obedience to God’s truth by confessing faith, repenting of sins and being baptized into Christ (Rom. 10:17; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). We thus see the divine provisions of salvation (mercy, grace) coupled with the human response of faith (that obeys) in order to receive salvation. The sinner is saved because mercy and truth meet. “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs evil” (Prov. 16:6).
Both God’s mercy and His truth are to be exalted and praised: “For Your mercy is great above the heavens, and Your truth reaches to the clouds” (Psa. 108:4). God’s mercy toward sinners is not antagonistic toward the necessity of obeying truth in order to obtain that mercy. God’s salvation is “near to those who fear Him” (Psa. 85:9; Lk. 1:50).
Yet, some deny that sinners must obey truth in order to obtain divine mercy. So, we have the false doctrines of “faith only” and “grace only” that offer mercy without obeying the law of liberty (Matt. 7:21-23; Jas. 1:22-25; 2:24; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 5:8-9).
Mercy without truth is arbitrary. Mercy that is not attached to truth is without definition and subjective. But, God distributes His mercy impartially and in harmony with His truth (Exo. 33:19; 34:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:3-4). So must we (Matt. 5:7).
Truth without mercy is arrogant. The Pharisees forgot mercy when they sat in Moses’ seat (Matt. 23:23, 2-3). Consequently, they bound the heavy burden of tradition upon others and demanded compliance to their tradition as if it were the will of God (Matt. 23:4-5; 15:1-9). Truth joined with mercy prevents a conceited view of self and others, and upholds truth, not tradition. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1).
We cannot expect to obtain divine mercy when we refuse to believe and obey divine truth. Mercy is not “in spite” of what God’s word says, but “in harmony with” what God’s word says. God’s mercy and truth meet to preserve the faithful (Psa. 40:11).
Since every morally responsible person has sinned against God, each one of us must be convicted of our sin if we are ever to be saved from them (Rom. 3:23).
When a criminal is convicted of a crime he is proven guilty in a court of law. Being convicted of my sins means more than just knowing I am a sinner. As the Bible uses the term, I am convicted of my sins when I acknowledge or admit to my guilt before God, thus being compelled to seek and obtain God’s forgiveness of my sins against Him.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is very clear that every sinner must be convicted of his sin before he can ever be saved in Christ. Without being convicted of his sin the sinner will not be moved by godly sorrow to repent of them (2 Cor. 7:10). Like Peter, when we are convicted (convinced or persuaded) of our sins, we will go out and weep bitterly over them (Lk. 22:62). If there is no personal conviction over one’s sin there will be no genuine confession of the name of Christ (Rom. 10:10). Neither will one be persuaded to be baptized into Christ for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38).
How does God convict me and you of our sin? He does so by means of the word of the gospel (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
In John 16:8, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit or “Spirit of truth” would “convict the world of sin” when He was sent to the apostles of Christ (Jno. 16:7-9, 13). The Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to preach the word of the gospel on the day of Pentecost to convict sinners of their sin (Acts 2:36-37). Many were “cut to the heart” by the truth and the shameful realization they had sinned against the Son of God. Their conviction of personal sin led them to be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38, 40-41). So, in the New Testament, God convicts sinners of their sin by means of the word of God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:21; Heb. 4:13).
What happens when the word of God convicts the sinner his or her sins? According to Acts 2:37, sinners are “cut to the heart” by truth and their rebellion against it. Such conviction of sin against God compels one to repent and obey God (2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 26:20). If you are convicted of your sins then you need to repent of them and be baptized for forgiveness. If you are already a Christian, conviction of having sinned against God will lead you to repent and pray, followed by a return to faithfulness (Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9).
When does God want us to be convicted of our sins? Although it may be a great temptation to put off obeying God to be forgiven of our sins, that is a tragic mistake. When we delay obeying God we harden our heart and act in unbelief (Heb. 3:13). Today is the time to be so moved by conviction of your sin that you no longer delay obeying God (Heb. 3:7-8). Sin against God causes your spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). Why haven’t you obeyed the gospel to be forgiven of your sins? Now is the time to be convicted of your sins, to obey God, to be saved and to start living for God (2 Cor. 6:2).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Gethsemane: Prayer During Trials
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:36-46
1. At Gethsemane we have a glimpse into the heart of Christ: His
dependency on God, His faith, sacrifice, submission & steadfastness.
I. THE WATCHFULNESS OF PRAYER – Matt. 26:38-39, 40-41.
A. A Moment of Separation: Time Alone with God – 26:36 (26:30, 36, 37).
II. THE OBEDIENCE OF PRAYER – Matt. 26: 39, 42, 44 (Heb. 5:8).
A. The Obedient Christian Prays in Faith (not Doubt) – Jas. 1:5-8; 1 Jno.
5:14-15; Phil. 2:12-13.
III. THE FERVENCY OF PRAYER – Matt. 26:44; Lk. 22:44.
A. Jesus’ Agony Increased the Urgency of Prayer – Lk. 22:43; Phil. 4:7;
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Beauty of Zion (Psalm 48)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 48:1-8
1. Zion: Stronghold, city of David, Temple Hill, Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:6-9;
1 Kgs. 8:1; Isa. 8:18; Jer. 31:6; Amos 1:2; Isa. 2:3).
I. THE CHURCH: RULED OVER BY GOD, 48:1-2.
The Lord Rules His Kingdom (Church) – Dan. 7:13-14; Eph. 1:20-23.
II. THE CHURCH: A PLACE OF REFUGE, 48:3-8
Lord is the Refuge of the Church – 48:3; Psa. 125:1 (Heb. 13:6; Rom.
8:31-38); 1 Jno. 5:11-13.
III. THE CHURCH IS GOD’S TEMPLE – 48:9-11
The Church is a Habitation of God – Eph. 2:19-22 (Micah 4:1-2).
IV. WALK ABOUT ZION – 48:12-14.
Number Her Towers – 48:12 (Ezek. 3:17; Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:8).
Marriage will Always be Wrong
On Thursday the California Supreme Court ruled that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did not have the authority to direct City Hall to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All of the nearly 4,000 licenses issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco were thus invalidated. The constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage is still working its way through the state court system.
Mayor Newsom did indeed overstep his authority and we are glad to see this ruling. Every judge should remember that God stands as the Supreme Judge over every human court and He judges whether they properly adjudicate justice (Psa. 82:1-4). Should there come a day when the courts of men legalize same-sex marriage in this country, be assured that it will continue to be illegitimate and immoral before Almighty God. And, His judgment will stand (Rom. 2:1-11).
Same-sex marriage will always be wrong because homosexuality is sin. When men and women leave the natural use of the body for that which is against nature it cannot be legitimized and called “good” by men’s laws (Rom. 1:26-27). Homosexuality is fornication, a sin of the flesh, and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21). Granting a marriage license to such a relationship will never validate it in God’s sight.
Same-sex marriage will always be wrong because marriage is a covenant made with God. God joins a man and a woman together in marriage based on His law for marriage (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2-3; Heb. 13:4). Since God’s law condemns homosexuality, it has no part in God’s design for marriage. Therefore, God does not agree to the sanctity of such marriages. No covenant can be made with God in such relationships. They are not holy and never will be, regardless of men’s approval.
We pray that righteousness will reign in this land, for surely sin is reproachful (Prov. 14:34).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA