"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
In the Old Path Guide of July, 1879 (exactly 125 years ago as I type this-LRH), Frank G. Allen, in an article entitled, “The Church - Its Worship,” and under the heading, “Singing,” wrote:
Their singing was a real heart-service, and consisted of “psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19, 20; Col. 3:16). In this delightful service, the whole congregation doubtless took part. “The psalms of David were chiefly used in the ancient church.”
It has been contended recently, that the singing of the first churches was not congregational, and therefore our congregational singing is as unauthorized as any musical performance in the worship. The facts of history are clearly against this statement. In his Ancient Christianity Exemplified, than which no work known to us contains more reliable information with reference to the primitive Church, Dr. Lyman Coleman says:
The prevailing mode of singing during the first three centuries was congregational. The whole congregation united their voices in the sacred song of praise in strains suited to their ability....The most ancient and the most common mode of singing was confessedly for the whole assembly, men, women, and children, to blend their voices in their songs of praise in the great congregation. Such is the testimony of Hilary of Augustin and Chrysostom. “Formerly all came together and united in their song, as is still our custom.” “Men and women, the aged and the young, were distinguished only by their skill in singing, for the spirit which led the voice of each one, blended all in one harmonious melody.”
Comments: Not history, not quotations from ancient authorities (no matter their esteemed integrity and reliability, nor the depth of their scholastic credibility), but the Scriptures are our authority (Col. 3:16, 17; 1 Pet. 4:11). Yet, it is refreshing to view again another testimony to the divine plan as announced and pronounced by the Spirit of God and followed by the saints throughout the sorrowing centuries. The echoes of the songs of Zion resound and reverberate down through the corridors of time. Their melody is picked up by the ear of faith and put to the lips of the faithful who sing anew the timeless songs of both antiquity and eternity. May it ever be so. Then, on the other side of the moon and stars, when we blend our voices with angelic armies and heavenly hosts and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, it will indeed ever be so!
False teachers do not carry about a banner proclaiming their occupation. The New Testament repeatedly warns us of the stealth by which false teachers gain access to the hearts and lives of the unsuspecting (Gal. 2:4; 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude 4). After first warning of the crafty nature by which false teachers gain a foothold among the saints, Jude describes them throughout much of the rest of his book (Jude 3-13). By what Jude wrote, the Holy Spirit assures us that God will punish those who teach error (Jude 14-16). It matters to God what we teach (1 Pet. 4:11). It ought to matter to us (1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:2-5).
Jesus taught us to beware of false prophets, reminding us that we “will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-20). God’s word equips us to recognize the purveyors of error so that we can turn away from them (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 16:17). Jude 11 names three men who epitomize the attitudes and conduct of those who abandon “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” for doctrines that turn God’s grace into lewdness and deny Christ (Jude 3-4; Col. 1:5-6; Acts 20:32). Let us briefly consider Cain, who murdered his brother; Balaam, who counseled Israel to sin; and Korah, who rebelled against God’s leader.
From Cain we learn to never be presumptuous before God. While Abel offered his sacrifice to God by faith, Cain presumed that his offering was sufficient (Heb. 11:4). False teachers offer to God what they have chosen to be acceptable instead of what God has commanded He will approve. In so doing, the false teacher acts arrogantly and presumptuously toward God’s word. Driven by presumption rather than humble and faithful obedience, “the way of Cain” is also cluttered with the immoral debris of hatred, murder and lies (1 Jno. 3:11-12). The saints of God do not reject the authority of God’s word, but in faith, obey it (Jude 8).
From Balaam we learn to avoid evil motives. Balaam “loved the hire of wrong-doing” and successfully counseled Israel to commit idolatry (2 Pet. 2:15, ASV; Num. 31:16; 25:1-3). Not content with God blessing Israel, he sought and found a way to achieve his objective of self-profit to the detriment of God’s people (Num. 22-24). It continues to be so with false teachers. Selfish motives and self-serving interests have causes many to advocate error and foist it upon unsuspecting souls (Rom. 16:18; Phil. 3:18-19).
From Korah we learn the danger of gainsaying. Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, but it was really against God Himself. He and his companions were not satisfied with the role God had given them in the service of the tabernacle (Num. 16:8-10). They wanted more. The priesthood and leadership over the people of God was their objective (Num. 16:10, 3). The definition of gainsay is to “contradict, oppose, lit., say against” (Vine’s, 260). A gainsayer seeks to gain the advantage over people or over a situation through opposition. Gainsaying is rebellion against the Lord and His revealed will and purposes (Num. 16:8-11, 28). This reminds us of Diotrephes in 3 John 9-10. The gainsayer yearns for prominence and power. Humility is foreign to him. The gainsayer is not content with God’s ways. He presses for new and different arrangements of the divine order. In doing so, like Korah who perished, he “despise(s) Jehovah” (Num. 16:30).
None are immune from the temptations to which these three men succumbed. We must be vigilant against presumption toward God’s will. We must abandon greedy motives that satisfy self while destroying souls. And, we must always be content with God’s revealed way of doing things. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 Jno. 10-11; cf. Gal. 1:6-10; 1 Cor. 4:6).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Kingdom of God
Scripture Reading: Acts 28:23-31
“…he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets…” (Acts 28:23); cf. Matt. 13:11
Conclusion – Heb.
12:28; Acts 8:12
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Water Baptism: Its Purposes and Designs (Part 4)
Scripture Reading: Romans 6:1-7
I. BAPTISM’S DESIGN WITH REGARD TO SIN & SALVATION.
Baptism is for (in order to) Remission of Sins – Acts 2:38 (Mk. 16:16); 1
Jno. 3:4; Rom. 6:23 (Acts 8:12-13, 18-24)
II. BAPTISM’S DESIGN WITH REGARD TO THE SINNER & CHRIST.
Baptized into Christ, Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27.
III. BAPTISM’S DESIGN WITH REGARD TO THE SINNER.
Baptized into Death to Sin (one dies to sin) – Rom. 6:4-7, 8-11 (Col.
IV. BAPTISM’S DESIGN WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH.
A. We have been Baptized into One Body, the Church – 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Acts 2:41, 47.
God’s design for baptism: An action of faith that secures God’s forgiveness of sins through Christ – Acts 22:16.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA