"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:
The fourth of July celebration gives us an opportunity to pause and remember that God rules in the affairs of men. Our nation was founded on the declaration that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (The Declaration of Independence). But in truth, the governments of men derive their powers from God: “the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1; cf. Jno. 19:10-11). I love my country, but we should remember that a representative form of government is not the only type of government ordained by God. He ordained “governing authorities,” however that authority is specifically arranged in a society. He expected first century saints to honor the king (Caesar, 1 Pet. 2:17). Whatever specific forms of government men arrange (monarchy, parliamentary, representative republic, etc.), it should never be forgotten that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:25, 32). King Nebuchadnezzar was dramatically reminded that God is the Sovereign Ruler over the nations (Dan. 4:28-37; Acts 17:26).
Does this mean that the word or law of the civil government is equivalent to divine law? If that were true, then there would never be a time that “we ought to obey God rather than men” when it comes to the laws of men, for they would always be endorsed by and approved of by God! (Acts 5:29) No, the laws formed by human governments do not have precedence over the revealed word of God. The point is that God ordained civil government, and with it the right to exercise authority over the governed. That does not mean they always do so in righteousness. In fact, the “higher powers” (civil governments) often abuse power and oppress the governed (Isa. 10:5-7, 12-13). Does this, then, make God the author of evil? No. The fact that God ordained governing authorities does not make Him responsible for the evil choices and actions men enact through that authority (Jas. 1:13). Thus, “we ought to obey God rather than men” whenever the laws of men prevent our obedience to God. In His due time, God will bring down the corrupt, sinful nation, just as surely as He had previously raised it up (Jer. 18:1-11).
Governments of men are sanctioned by God to be His instruments of vengeance against evil-doers as well as His servants of good toward those who do good (Rom. 12:19; 13:2-6). Our responsibility is to “render therefore to all their due, taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (Rom. 13:7).
All of us have experienced “catching” something from our kids, our neighbors or our fellow workers; the flu, running noses, sore throats and the like -- all are examples of things contagious.
Spiritually speaking, there are a number of things that are also “catching.” Some, we must avoid; others, we ought to “catch.”
“Catch” these, and you’ll be healthier than before:
1. A GOOD INFLUENCE. A good influence is only obtained through hard work (Phil. 2:12-16). But, we can be helped in this effort by the good influences of others. “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Since “Evil company corrupts good habits,” the reverse is also true; the influence of good company strengthen good habits (1 Cor. 15:33).
2. GODLY COMMUNICATION. Our speech is often patterned after what we hear. Children learn good or bad speech by what they hear from their parents, the classmates, on TV – anywhere people talk. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). The mouth speaks what is in the heart (Matt. 12:34). So, listen to good things and put them into your heart. Then you can communicate good things to others.
3. ZEAL. Like fire ignites the dry blades of grass, turning the mountainside into an inferno, our zeal for the Lord’s work can help others be “fired up” for Him. “...in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).
Immunize yourself against catching:
1. GOSSIP. Like a cancer, gossip grows until it hurts many innocent souls. Remember, it takes a listener to make a gossiper: “Who may dwell in Your holy hill? ... He who does not backbite with his tongue…” (Psa. 15:1-3).
2. ENVY. How do you feel and react over the good fortunes of another person? We should “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom. 12:15). However, envy looks at the advantages of others with “an evil eye” of discontent and resentment (Mk. 7:22). Envy is infectious -- it likes company. Don’t be a party to it.
3. WORLDLINESS. The world and its enticements will pass away one day (1 Jno. 2:17). Therefore, we must “deny...worldly lusts” and do God’s will; the one who does “abides forever” (Tit. 2:12; 1 Jno. 2:17).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: John 8:31-36
1. July 4th
celebrates our nation’s freedom. The cost of freedom was paid in blood,
pain and sacrifice. We are blessed by the cost others paid.
I. FREEDOM IS ONLY IN CHRIST (Acts 4:12).
Freedom from Sin, Jno. 8:31-36; Rom. 6:18, 22-23; Isa. 59:1-2; Col. 1:21.
II. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.
Cost the Life of the Sinless Son of God to Free Us from Sin, 1 Tim. 2:6 (Mk.
10:45); Tit. 2:14; Rom. 5:6-11.
III. RESPONSIBILITIES OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST (2 Pet. 2:19-20; Jude 4).
A. Stand Fast in the Gospel & Don’t Return to Bondage of Sin, Gal. 5:1 (1:6-7); 1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 5:6-8; Heb. 3:12-19.
Concl. Freedom from sin is greatest of all—Christ.
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
1. One of God’s gifts
to man is labor & its blessings.
I. THE POPULARITY OF GAMBLING.
Gambling: Costly & Convenient.
II. DEFINING GAMBLING.
Accurate Definition is Crucial (Eccl. 9:11).
III. SINFUL TRAITS OF GAMBLING (Jas.1:15-16).
Essential Motive is Covetousness, Lk. 12:15 (Eph. 5:3, 5; Col. 3:5-6).
IV. SUMMARIZING THE SIN OF GAMBLING.
Encourages Laziness & Lust, Prov. 21:25-26.
The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was announced Friday. Speculation has already begun over her successor.
The Bible offers some guidelines on what God expects of judges. In fact, in Psalm 82, God is depicted as standing in the midst of His people, judging their judges. It serves as a reminder that those in positions of authority are themselves under the authority of the Almighty, and answer to Him.
Some may view judges as “gods” (Psa. 82); some judges may even start thinking of themselves that way. As they adjudicate matters of law, judges do exercise power. That power should be used with respect for the law and for mankind, honesty, impartiality and fairness. Corrupt judges spread oppression among the people; honorable judges spread justice.
Consider God’s judgment in Psalm 82 against the corrupt judges of Israel who sat as “gods” among the people, but failed to judge righteously. Judges need to remember that God judges the judges (a good lesson then and now).
PSALM 82: 1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. 2 How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. 6 I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.”
h the strife we perceive as “defending the faith” (2 Tim. 2:14; 1 Tim. 6:4). So, contend for the faith. Do so with God’s word of truth; not with rumors and reckless hyperboles.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA