"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:
As we enjoy the holiday season, please join me in taking a moment to remember some things of the season that will help us be better people every day of the year.
First, may we always remember how important it is to give. Children are very excited to receive their Christmas presents, which is innocent and natural. In the joy and excitement of receiving, may we never forget how much better it is to give. The beloved apostle Paul reminds us of “the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). Take a moment today to consider the happiness you bring to others by giving them good gifts. Our lives are too often about “getting” – we must remember to be “giving” people. Jesus gave His life to give us the gift of eternal life (2 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 6:23). May we, as His disciples, always be “ready to give” (1 Tim. 6:18).
Secondly, may we always remember to be thankful for what we receive. Children, your parents (and others) work hard to give you good gifts (Matt. 7:11). How ungrateful it would be to not thank them for their generosity. So children, remember to say “thank you” to your parents and others who give you gifts. Each one of us ought to remember to be thankful to God for all the wonderful gifts we receive from God (1 Ths. 5:18; 1 Tim. 4:4-5). His wonderful gifts include the gift of His Son, the gift of His word, the gift of forgiveness in Christ – the gift of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Jas. 1:17; Jno. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:3). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Ths. 5:18). How sad – and sinful – it is to be unthankful to God for all He has given us. We show our thankfulness to God for Christ and His salvation through our devotion to Him.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. May each one of us show the love of God by living generously and thankfully in Christ.
In Revelation 21, the eternal fellowship of man with God is displayed in the visionary splendor of a holy city (21:1-2). Every source of death, sadness and suffering is removed from this anticipated dwelling: sin and death are conquered; “the former things have passed away” (21:3-4). He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new,” and told John to write these “true and faithful” words (21:5).
“New” is translated from kainos, which often carries the connotation of quality; that which is fresh or unworn. With this in mind, consider just three things said to be “new” because of Jesus Christ:
1. A new covenant (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 8:7-13). The old covenant (the Law of Moses given to Israel at Mt. Sinai) could never “make those who approach perfect” (Heb. 10:1). The law, although holy, just and good, could not redeem sinners from their sin (Rom. 7:12; Heb. 10:1-4). Because of sin, a “better” covenant was needed (Heb. 8:6-8). The covenant of Christ is “new” in this respect (among others), namely, “…their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 8:12; Jer. 31:34). When Jeremiah spoke of a “new covenant” it implied the Sinai covenant was “becoming obsolete and growing old;” it was passing away (Heb. 8:13). The redemption from sins through the Savior Jesus Christ is among the things that denote His covenant (testament) as “new” (Heb. 9:13-15).
2. A new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When the sinner is baptized into Christ he dies to sin and is raised to walk in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). The sinful and corrupt ways of one’s former life are deliberately “put off,” and the “new” person of “true righteousness and holiness” is “put on” (Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:5-6). Sin is to no longer rule over him – he is now “dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:7, 11). The Christian cannot “continue in sin” and expect God’s grace to abound (Rom. 6:1). So, one must stop living in sin (Rom. 6:2). Have you believed, repented and been baptized into Christ so that all things are “new” in your life? If not, why not now?
3. A new commandment (Jno. 13:34): “that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” The self-sacrificing love with which Jesus loves His disciples is the fresh quality that makes this commandment “new.” The old covenant commanded Israel to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). But, the love of Jesus “did not please himself,” instead, He bore the reproaches of sinners so we might be saved (Rom. 15:3). Thus, Christians are instructed; “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2). Acting in the best interests (good) of others; this is the love of Jesus that we must have for one another (see also, 2 Jno. 5; 1 Jno. 2:7-11). By this love, “all will know that you are My disciples” (Jno. 13:35). “We love because He fist loved us” (1 Jno. 4:19).
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jno. 5:28-29). “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52). These words of truth encourage obedience to Christ and assure the Christian’s hope. Victory over sin and death will be gloriously displayed on the resurrection day (1 Cor. 15:52-55). What can we expect on that great day?
We can expect to hear Christ’s voice commanding death to give up its captives (1 Ths. 4:16). Christ, who has power over death and Hades, will command the dead to rise, opening the graves of all men (Rev. 1:17; Jno. 11:25; Acts 24:15). It will be a day of complete victory over death (1 Cor. 15:54).
We can expect all to be raised with incorruptible bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 22). No longer corruptible, the resurrected body will be suited to live in spiritual environs (1 Cor. 15:50).
We can expect personal judgment of our lives on earth (2 Cor. 5:10). With the resurrection of the dead comes the judgment of all mankind (Matt. 25:30-46; Rom. 14:12). We must prepare for the day of resurrection, for it will also be a day of judgment. Are you ready? (Matt. 7:21-23; Rom. 2:1-11)
We can expect the resurrection to happen in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). It will be instant and momentous. Will you be ready for that day? Obey the gospel of Christ, faithfully serve Him and joyfully anticipate the resurrection day.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Joshua 1:5-9
1. Two kinds of
authority are revealed in the Scriptures; generic & specific.
I. THE TWO KINDS OF REVEALED AUTHORITY.
A. Generic Authority: Inclusive in Nature (Rev. 22:19).
-Examples of generic authority:
1. “Go” –
Matt. 28:19. How?
II. EXPOSING &
AVOIDING TWO EXTREMES ABOUT BIBLE AUTHORITY:
A. “Everything is Acceptable Unless it is Specifically Condemned.”
1. “It doesn’t say not to!” Approval based on God’s silence (“silence is consent”). Heb. 7:13-14
2. This looses where God has bound, 1 Cor. 4:6.
B. “Nothing is Acceptable Unless it is Specifically Approved.”
1. Ignores general authority & nec. inferences.
2. Binds where God has loosed.
C. We Must Have Positive Authority from Scripture to Please God, Heb. 13:21 (Josh. 1:7-8; Isa. 8:20); 1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Cor. 4:6; 2 Jno. 9.
Without Christ’s authority supporting it, what we say & do is sin, Col. 3:17 (cf. Acts 4:9-12).
"Heaven -- Where Is It? How Do We Get There?"
Barbara Walters hosted an ABC News TV special last Tuesday night with the above title. I watched most of it; perhaps you did, too.
In brief, it was a survey of what major world religions, individual believers, skeptics and people claiming near-death experiences believe about heaven.
Walters asked Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, “where is heaven?” He pointed his finger upwards and said, “Up there.”
Walters interviewed actor Richard Gere, a Buddhist, who said, “I don't think necessarily heaven and hell happen in some other life. I think it’s right now.” (abcnews.go.com)
And so it went: Muslim, Jew, Catholic and atheist. Some spoke of personal experiences – glimpses of heaven; others of renewing marriages ended by death. All had an opinion about heaven (choose the heaven of your choice!).
Unfortunately, the show didn’t spend much time on Bible verses that speak about heaven. Like the verse that says we must do the will of the Father to enter heaven (Matt. 7:21-23); or the verse that says most people are on a path that does not lead to heaven (Matt. 7:13-14); or the verse that says unless we believe in Jesus we will be lost (not go to heaven, Jno. 8:23-24); or the verse that says Christians are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20); or the verse that says Christians have an inheritance “reserved in heaven” (1 Pet. 1:4); or the verse that says Christians who stop following Jesus will not enter heaven (2 Pet. 1:8-11).
Almost 90% of Americans believe in heaven. But, most define heaven as it pleases them. Most do not believe what the Bible says about it. Jesus is “the Way” to the Father in heaven (Jno. 14:6). There is no other way to be saved (Acts 4:12). Heaven is for those who obey Jesus, not just profess Him (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:8-9). Do you believe the Bible?
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA