"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:
Invites you to our
Steven j. wallace
(Sunnyside & Yakima, WA)
March 26–31, 2006
Monday-Friday: 7:00 PM
9:30 AM: 2 Timothy 2:15
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Facial expressions can tell us something about a person’s attitude of heart. Joy is reflected in a smile, relief is expressed in a sigh, concern is seen in a furrowed brow and anger is betrayed by a clinched jaw. The Bible describes a fallen countenance as the disquieted soul (Psa. 43:5). Body language does send messages.
For example, one’s countenance can indicate his or her attitude toward the word of God. How we react to Bible teaching, personal encouragement and personal rebuke of sin evoke a response that comes from the heart: as a man “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). With readiness of heart, the Bereans received the word and searched the Scriptures to determine truth (Acts 17:11). Do you suppose their willing hearts could be seen on their faces?
When God accepted Abel and his offering but did not accept Cain and his offering, “Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:4-5).
It is not as though Cain had a right to be angry; he didn’t. “So the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door” (Gen. 3:6-7).
In contrast to Abel, we may rightly infer that Cain had not offered his sacrifice “by faith” (Heb. 11:4). Yet, before God rejected his gift, Cain’s demeanor appears to suggest he thought he was pleasing God. Otherwise, why would his countenance “fall?” Which teaches us an important lesson: It is possible to think we are right with God when we are not pleasing to Him (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). We should remember Saul of Tarsus, who in good conscience thought he was being “zealous toward God” when he persecuted Christians (Acts 22:3-5; 23:1; 26:9-11)
Which leads us to the point of this article: How do we react when we learn the truth of God? How do we react when we learn what we thought pleased God is in fact, against His will? Does our countenance fall in proud and defiant anger? Or, does our countenance reflect resolve to do whatever is necessary to be right with God?
Cain did not react properly when he heard God’s will. His face showed his anger. As God warned, Cain allowed sin to enter his heart and consume him, and in hate, he murdered his brother Abel (1 Jno. 3:12-15).
The countenance of some falls when they hear God’s truth about how to be saved. They thought they were saved by “faith alone” until they heard the gospel that says “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16).
The countenance of some falls when they hear God’s truth about the cost of discipleship. They thought they could be a Christian and still “live as they please.” Like the rich young man, when told the cost of following Jesus, they go away sorrowful, unwilling to put Jesus first (Mk. 10:21-22).
The countenance of some falls when they hear God’s truth on marriage, divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:9). They thought becoming a Christian meant they could stay in their unscriptural marriage. But, the gospel commands repentance and “works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). One can no more remain in a relationship that is adultery as they can remain in any other sinful relationship. But, in anger over the truth, their countenance falls and they walk away.
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psa. 10:4). We must humble our hearts before God for our countenance to be lifted up with the joy of salvation. When hope rests in God, the countenance is raised in praise of our mighty God (Psa. 43:5).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28
1. Universal church composed of Christians,
I. THE LOCAL CHURCH, Rev. 1:11; 2:1 (Acts 8:1).
Autonomous Congregations of Christians, Acts 11:22, 26.
II. CONTRASTS BETWEEN THE UNIVERSAL & THE LOCAL CHURCH.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:13-17
1. How much must God say before you will obey
I. IT ONLY TOOK (TAKES) A WORD FROM GOD TO…
1. Create the world,
Psa. 33:6-9; Heb. 11:3.
II. WHEN GOD SPEAKS HIS WORD, DO WE LISTEN & OBEY? OR DO WE ARGUE, DISPUTE & GAINSAY AGAINST GOD?
-Samuel (1 Sam.
3:1-10); Israel (Rom. 10:21; Matt. 13:13-15); Cornelius & house (Acts
III. WE MUST SPEAK WHAT GOD SPEAKS, Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:11.
What do you want to hear? He. 1:1-2; Lk. 8:8, 18
from the Olympics
Athletic competition is used in the Bible to illustrate spiritual lessons of truth. The discipline of training and competing for the prize is used to illustrate the Christians self-control as he lives for heaven in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Competing by the rules in order to win the crown illustrates the disciple’s life in Christ in 2 Timothy 2:5. The endurance needed to face life’s trials is likened to the athlete’s race in Hebrews 12:1-2.
The XX Winter Olympiad is currently underway in Torino, Italy. This athletic competition continues to provide illustrations of spiritual lessons, including the following:
1. Excellence requires sacrifice. One Russian skater left home at the age of eleven to train for his event 1,000 miles away. Today he has won a gold medal, and he honors his parents for their support of him. This reminds us to be sure what it is we are trying to gain: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Matt. 16:26)? Christians press on toward the goal of heaven, sacrificing self for Jesus (Matt. 16:24-25; Phil. 3:12-14).
2. Endure to the end. U.S. snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis was leading her race; the gold medal was sure to be hers. But, during a routine jump near the end of the race she grabbed her board, fell, and came in second. “Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off” (1 Kgs. 20:11). “Therefore let him who thinks he stand take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Yes, salvation in Christ is assured (Rom. 8:37-39). But, it is sure for those who endure to the end (Matt. 10:22). Celebrate after the race is won, not before.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA