"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:
“Hell exists says the doctrine commission of the Church of England. But popular conceptions of final damnation are off the mark, according to a commission report, “The Mystery of Salvation,” issued Thursday.
“In the past the imagery of hell-fire and eternal torment and punishment, often sadistically expressed, has been used to frighten men and women into believing,” the report said. “Christians have professed appalling theologies which made God into a sadistic monster and left searing psychological scars on many.” The report said such views have led to a decline among Christians in a belief in eternal punishment. Hell is “not eternal torment,” said the report. “It is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total nonbeing... Annihilation might be a truer picture of damnation.” (Religion News Service, Salt Lake Tribune, D1:1.13.96)
In the report mentioned above (now almost ten years ago), the Church of England denied the simple and direct words of Jesus. Jesus Christ clearly taught that hell is a place of just punishment which lasts forever (Matt. 10:28; 25:46; Mk. 9:43-48; Lk. 16:19-31). He defined the duration of hell and heaven with the same word: both heaven and hell are “eternal” (Matt. 25:46; cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Then there is the matter of the nature of hell. Is hell a state of “nonbeing” or “annihilation?” Jesus taught that hell is a place prepared for the devil and his messengers (Matt. 25:41). Hell is not a state of being; it is a place of everlasting pain and separation from God (Mk. 9:43-48; Matt. 25:30; Lk. 16:24-28). The Anglicans and others deny the New Testament with human wisdom and sophistry.
The reality of hell does not turn God into a “sadistic monster.” God has done everything for the lost – through His Son Jesus Christ – to keep us from going to hell (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:6-11). It is man’s sin against God that will cause people to be lost in hell – not the God of heaven (Isa. 59:1-2; Rom. 6:23).
Hell is properly regarded as “the righteous judgment of God” against all forms of sin (Rom. 2:5-9). It is the “second death” from which there will be no escape (Rev. 20:14-15; 21:8).
Hell is real and lasts forever. Jesus said so. Will you believe God or man?
Goodness has become a relative thing in our society. This is due in large part to a growing absence of respect for an absolute standard of right and wrong: of what is good. Something is perceived to be good if the person defining the good thing says it is good. We have become our own standard of goodness (cf. Jgs. 21:25).
Ultimately, for anything to be good it must harmonize with God and His will. Because God is completely good, He is the standard of goodness (Mk. 10:17-18). For us to possess the goodness that is a part of the fruit of the Spirit means that we will be morally honorable (cf. Matt. 5:45). And, when we possess honorable character it will be goodness that uses our opportunities to help others (Gal. 6:10).
Therefore, goodness is a quality of character that is alert to the needs of others. When goodness knows the needs of another person it acts to meet those needs. In this way we imitate the goodness of God. Completely knowing the needs of human beings, God revealed His goodness to us in His Son (Rom. 11:22; Jn. 3:16). God expects those who walk after His Spirit to be good to others.
Goodness begins in the heart. Without a heart that is good (morally honorable) we cannot possibly expect to show goodness toward others (Lk. 6:45). By transforming the mind (heart) we will show the good will of God in our lives (Rom. 12:1-2). The “good” people we read about in the New Testament (Joseph, Lk. 23:50, and Barnabas, Acts 11:24) were men with integrity of heart. Their good hearts moved them to acts of goodness and mercy (Lk. 23:51-53; Acts 4:36-37). Having been commanded to imitate the good, we must fill our hearts with moral integrity so that this good fruit will be a part of our lives (3 Jn. 11; Eph. 5:7-11).
Here are just a few of the good things we can do (Gal. 6:10):
1) Try to rescue souls from sin (Gal. 6:1). Because this means confronting the sinner about his sin, some do not think this is a “good” thing to do. But God has said it is a good thing to do. Good men and women know the value of the soul and the danger of sin.
2) Bear the burdens of others (Gal. 6:2). The problems of life can overwhelm us, so it helps when someone empathizes with us and offers to help relieve the problem. We show goodness to others by helping them carry their burdens.
3) Show hospitality to others (Rom. 12:13). When one is given to hospitality he does not forget to be good to strangers, nor does he complain about it (Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:9).
4) Use language which is beneficial (Matt. 12:34-37; Eph. 4:29). A good heart will speak good things and be careful how it speaks those good things.
God has shown us
what is good (Micah 6:8). When Christians bring goodness into the world it
distinguishes us as it influences others for good (Matt. 5:13-16). May we
all develop more goodness of heart and life, and so be more like God.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:21-26
1. The faith: The gospel
(system of truth) that produces personal faith & salvation, Rom. 1:16-17;
3:21-31; Col. 1:21-23.
I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FAITH:
A. The Faith can be Known –
Titus 1:1; Col. 2:2-3,6-8; 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Tim. 4:2-4.
II. OUR DUTIES TOWARD THE FAITH:
A. Stand Fast in the Faith – 1
Cor. 16:13; Phil. 1:27.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 17:22-34
1. Apostles preached what people
needed to hear – Acts 17:16-17 (20:20; 2 Tim. 4:2).
Question: Does God want to make mistakes & how was he created?
1. No, God
does not want to make mistakes & He does not make them, Num. 23:19; 1 Sam.
15:29; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:13, 17 (Heb. 13:8)
I. GOD IS NOT…
A. God is
not Unknowable – Acts 17:23-24.
II. GOD IS…
A. God is our Creator (17:24-29); our Savior (7:30; 2 Cor. 5:18-21) & our Judge (17:31; 2 Co. 5:10; Jn. 12:48).
III. REACTIONS TO THE GOSPEL OF GOD – Acts 17:32-34.
Mocked – 17:32 (Acts 26:8).
On Friday the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the addition of 146,000 jobs to the US work force in January, 2005. National unemployment decreased to 5.2%.
I wonder what the unemployment rate would be if there was a Bureau of Labor Statistics in the kingdom of Christ? More importantly, we should ask ourselves whether we are “unemployed” or part of the “work force” in the vineyard of the Lord. The Lord knows.
Jesus says the harvest of souls is large; many souls need to be saved from sin and death. Yet, the work force is small (“the laborers are few”). So, Jesus instructs each disciple to pray the Lord to send out laborers into the harvest (Matt. 9:37-38).
Unlike national economies, the church does not “create jobs” – the work given disciples already exists, awaiting our action (Eph. 2:10; 4:11-16). The point to ponder is whether or not each Christian will be a worker in the kingdom (whether it is teaching the lost or some other service rendered to the Master, Matt. 21:28-30; 25:34-40).
We labor on earth to provide for ourselves, our families and those in need (Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11-12). We labor in the kingdom because of our faith in the Lord and duty to Him (Lk. 17:5-10). We know that by and by He will reward every good and faithful servant (Matt. 25:20-21). “There is much to do, there’s work on every hand” – to the work!
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA