Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
“So there was a division among the people because of Him.” (John 7:43)
Jesus of Nazareth has always been a lightning rod for controversy. When Jesus walked this earth the crowds disputed over what he said, what he did and who he was (read John 7): Was he was prophet? Was he just a man? Is he the Christ, the Son of God? Is he the Savior or a sinner? Things have not changed today as evidenced by the commotion surrounding the release of the film version of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
Time has not changed the effect Jesus has on people. Just about every view of Jesus imaginable has been offered, from “a good man” to a “lunatic” to a “prophet” to “the Christ.” Some even blasphemously tell us that Jesus was a homosexual. Others contend Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children; some say he was a polygamist.
The world has never seen anyone like Jesus. At least one thing is certain: somebody is wrong. The Bible is plain and certain in presenting the evidence: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; Jesus is Immanuel (God with us); Jesus is God in flesh (Matt. 16:16-18; 1:23; Jno. 1:1-3, 14; Col. 2:9).
An important and intriguing truth gleaned from John 7:43 is Jesus provokes division: You cannot remain neutral. Jesus admitted as much when he said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34; Lk. 12:51). The division Jesus brought to the earth is the separating effect His gospel has concerning sin and righteousness and the resulting division of human relationships caused by following Jesus (Lk. 12:52-53; Matt. 10:35-39). Inevitably, division occurs between the person who puts Jesus first in his life and those who do not. If you choose to be a Christian you must be prepared for the dividing effect truth will have on your life. Some continue to stumble in disobedience because they will not accept this trait of Christ and His gospel (1 Pet. 2:8).
Division is not a new thing among Christians. It ought not to be (Jno. 17:20-21). God’s people should banish division (1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6). When division does occur it identifies those approved by God (1 Cor. 11:19; 1 Jno. 2:19). A careful comparison what one teaches and practices to the New Testament shows who is with God and who is not with Him (1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Work tirelessly to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. If division comes let it be because we stand for Christ on His truth (cf. Phil. 1:12-18).
The Prince of Peace brought peace – and division – to the world. That is the nature of truth (Jno. 3:19-21). Who is on the Lord’s side? (Exo. 32:26)
“Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye Jehovah. And if it seems evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
What a choice of words given by inspiration to Joshua to challenge the Israelites to remain faithful to God and to us for our learning and instruction (2 Tim. 3:16). In this passage we learn we need to serve the Lord in sincerity and truth, without hypocrisy and from the heart. Verse 14 begins with “Now, therefore…” Joshua had just recited to the children of Israel what great things God had done for them beginning with Terah, the father of Abraham. God delivered them from the bondage in Egypt; delivered them at the Red Sea; and delivered nations and peoples into their hands so they possessed a land and its cities, and partook of the yield of the land, for which they did not labor. Their eyes had seen these things (Josh. 24:1-13). We have the benefit of the written record for our learning, that we through the patience of the scriptures might have hope (Rom.15:4).
First, notice that Joshua said, “As for me…,” clearly stating on an individual level, he will serve Jehovah. Brethren, as Joshua, we must first make the personal commitment to serve God in all that we do. Men, fathers, have you made the choice to serve God? Have you “put away” the gods (obstacles) that would hinder your service to God? The fathers of old worshiped false gods (beyond the River, and the gods of the Amorites). Today, there are many false gods, i.e., worldly endeavors, pleasures, diversions from seeking God, which vie for our time, which should be focused on serving God.
Second, he said, “and my house, we will serve…,” Joshua made the choice to lead his family in serving Jehovah. Next to our individual relationship to God come our families. Men, fathers, listen to the passage! It is your responsibility, just as it was Joshua’s, to lead your family in serving God (Matt. 6:33; Eph. 5:25-29; 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:8).
Third, consider the words… “fear Jehovah, serve Him, put away the gods, and choose you this day!” If you have not been diligent in leading your family to serve God, please consider the following:
Does that mean that you do not “fear” (reverence, revere) God?
Think about the passage, your life and family and “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-25
Millions are diagnosed with some form of clinical anxiety or depression
I. WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. (What is anxiety?)
Medical Definition: Stress…Panic…Fear… Disorders…Mental Illness.
II. WHAT ANXIETY DOES.
(Elijah); cf. Jesus,
Matt. 4:1; 5:11.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-13
III. OVERCOMING ANXIETY (Be anxious for nothing), Matt. 6:25; Phil. 4:6.
Arm Yourself with the Mind of Christ,
1 Pet. 4:1-2
Psa. 94:19: “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”
"And do you not remember?"
The UPI reported Friday that “Iran’s parliament passed a new law this week that would force the country’s Jews, Christians and other religious minorities to wear color-coded ID badges” (“Iran may force badges on Jews, Christians, upi.com). Ynetnews.com said the “National Uniform Law” intends to remove “‘Western’ style clothing off the streets” while “advancing more traditional ‘Islamic’ attire” (“Exiles: Iran Jews to wear yellow ribbons,” ynetnews.com).
This is the same Iran whose president said the Holocaust did not occur and the state of Israel should be “wiped off the map.” How long will such madness be brushed aside with platitudes of diplomacy? Will there be another policy of appeasement announcing “peace in our time” while maniacs plot against the innocent? Do you not remember?
Sometimes it is important to remember the past. After Jesus had shown His divine power by feeding thousands from seven loaves of bread and a few fish, he warned his disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Mk. 8:15). They thought he was talking about bread. They didn’t understand he referred to their teaching (Matt. 16:6-12). Jesus rebuked their slowness to grasp truth with a series of stinging rhetorical questions in Mark 8:17-21, including these: “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”
The Lord expects us to perceive the truth set before our eyes in His word. Followers of Jesus must have minds that think, hearts that are open, eyes that see and ears that hear (Acts 17:11-12; 2:42). Otherwise, we are susceptible to the lies of false doctrine that distort truth. Jesus also asked, “Is your heart still hardened?” (“Are your minds still closed?” Mk. 8:17, CEV) We show a hardened heart deceived by sin when we stubbornly refuse the truth of God’s revealed word (Heb. 3:13). Remember, none are so blind as they who will not see.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA