"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:
● WHEN the way to the meeting house SEEMS TOO FAR,
● WHEN it seems TOO MUCH TROUBLE to get ready or to get out in the weather to go to the service,
● WHEN the singing comes HARD and SEEMS DREARY,
● WHEN the sermon seems much TOO LONG,
● WHEN you see much you DISLIKE in the brethren,
● WHEN the preacher’s or teacher’s lessons make you MAD,
● WHEN the members frequently say things that OFFEND you,
● WHEN PRAYER is a BURDEN,
● WHEN the reading of the BIBLE is DULL and puts you to sleep,
● WHEN it FRETS you to be called on to GIVE more,
● WHEN you try to make EXCUSES FOR YOUR SINS and try to persuade yourself that God will NOT PUNISH or Judge,
● WHEN you feel you are being SLIGHTLY NEGLECTED,
Are you fat in the Lord? I realize I’m the last person qualified to ask that, but are you? Have you forgotten what it is like to be without God and His blessings because you have an abundance of them right now? Has He surrounded you with good things for so long that you can no longer remember how empty and dark (and lonely and fearful) you were before Christianity?
God warned the Israelites that they would abandon Him once He established them in the land of Canaan. Deuteronomy 31:20 reads:
When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant.
This is exactly what happened. They lived better than they ever could in Egypt, yet they forgot to see Him as the source of life and prosperity when He brought them to a land flowing “with milk and honey”. They got accustomed to their abundance, thinking they could fare just fine without Him. Yet, after God led them into Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, the returning generation humbled themselves and praised God for His judgment against their ancestors. God was justified in judging them because they abandoned Him in their fatness:
And they took strong cities and a rich land, And possessed houses full of all goods, Cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, And fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat, And delighted themselves in Your great goodness. Nevertheless they were disobedient And rebelled against You, Cast Your law behind their backs And killed Your prophets, who testified against them To turn them to Yourself; And they worked great provocations. (Neh. 9:25-26)
Today, God is still rich in His blessings upon His people. Jesus likened God to a Father who wants to shower blessings upon His children (Matt. 7:11). His love for us compels Him to extend such mercy and wealth, even when we don’t deserve it. And, like spoiled children, we lap up to our heart’s content, and then some—forgetting that without Him we would have nothing.
In our abundance let us not take for granted our blessings in becoming ungodly. Before God saved us, we cried out to Him for deliverance from sin and darkness, and He heard us. Let us continue to have such dependence on Him throughout the day, and turn to Him in the good times as well (Eccl. 7:14). Our families, our brethren, our peace of mind, our jobs, our health and every other significant blessing can all be traced back to God in one way or another. At the very least, had He not permitted us to live, we would not have seen any of these in life under the sun.
Instead of neglecting God by not attending worship, let us not use our jobs and riches against Him in our worldliness. Instead of despising our families and our responsibilities to them, let us be thankful for God’s mercy in giving us a mate and children. Instead of blaming God for the bad times in life, let us be mindful of His care for us and how we depended on Him in the past. Ungratefulness is a sin (Rom. 1:21). It is the product of people who are selfish and fat, and is insulting to the One in whom we live and move and have our very being:
Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah, saying...They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season’…’For among My people are found wicked men…’They have grown fat, they are sleek...’Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’ (Jer. 5:20-28)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Be a Friend of God
Scripture Reading: James 2:17-24
1. Marks of friendship
(companionship, communication & constancy).
I. WE ARE FRIENDS WITH GOD WHEN WE REVERENCE HIM – Psa. 25:14.
in Awe of God (Wonder, amazement) – Heb. 12:28-29 (Psa. 22:23).
II. WE ARE GOD’S FRIENDS WHEN WE HAVE FAITH IN HIM.
Abraham an Example of Friendship with God – 2 Chrn. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; Jas.
2:21-23 (Gen. 15:6); 1 Jno. 3:23-24; Gal. 5:6-7.
III. WE HAVE FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD WHEN WE LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY – Prov. 3:32 (Acts 10:35).
A. A Life Lived in God’s Truth – Deut. 6:24-25 (Lk. 1:6); Eph. 4:23-24; 6:14; Tit. 2:11-13; Phil. 4:8-9.
IV. WE ARE GOD’S FRIENDS WHEN WE OBEY JESUS – Jno. 15:13-15.
A. Out of
Love for Jesus – Matt. 22:36-37.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
"A Thing of Brass"
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-14
1. Num. 21:4-9 – Serpent of
brass, because idolatrous, 2 Kgs. 18:1-4 (“Nehushtan”).
I. RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE OF CHRIST’S BIRTH: FROM MAN OR GOD? (Matt. 21:23)
Bible Affirms the Virgin Birth of Jesus – Lk. 1:31-35 (2:1-7); Jno. 1:14;
II. ORIGIN OF CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
of Christ” – Catholicism; To counter pagan festivals.
III. WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN TO DO?
A. Do not
Take Part in Religious Additions of Men – 2 Jno. 9-11 (1 Cor. 10:20-22);
Gal. 4:8-11; 2 Cor. 6:14.
Concl. Jesus is not “the reason for the season” – Man is…only a “thing of brass”.
Earlier this month the Washington State Supreme Court overturned a felony conviction of a 17-year old because evidence used to convict was obtained from a parent who was listening in on her 14-year old daughter’s telephone conversation. Now, the state legislature will introduce a bill that would “exclude” minors from the state privacy act.
God not only gives parents the right to see after the welfare of their children, He commands it of them (Prov. 22:6; 13:24; Eph. 6:4). And, children are expected to obey their parents (which, by the way, would include answering any questions parents ask them about their telephone conversations, Eph. 6:1).
Christians (and everyone else) should remember that our heavenly Father hears every conversation we have:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. (Psa. 139:1-4; cf. Heb. 4:13)
We will not deceive God. Better to confess and repent of every sin to be forgiven in Christ than to arrogantly live as if God does not know you and will not judge your sin. Better to “be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live” than to rebel against God and die in sin (Rom. 6:23).
Loving parents will be involved in our children’s life to protect them from evil and train them in righteous living. God is involved, disciplining us so we will live for Him (Heb. 12:5-11). God is listening – are we?
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA