Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Only the sinless person never needs to say “I’m sorry.” None of us are in that category (Rom. 3:23). Every one of us has wronged someone at one time or another. It is the arrogant and prideful person who refuses to admit his or her sinful treatment of others. We must confess our sins to God and those we sin against if we are to be forgiven (1 Jno. 1:9; Jas. 5:16).
“I’m sorry” goes a long way in helping to solve disagreements and conflicts in relationships. “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Sorrow that comes from a heart that wants to do the will of God moves us to repent of our sins.
Saying “I’m sorry” says I recognize I have wronged another. It says I intend to repair the damage I’ve done. It says I will now act to restore the relationship to its former (proper) state.
Marriage is one of the relationships where the ability to say “I’m sorry” – and mean it – is crucial. It is hard to have a happy, healthy home without it. Consider some times when we should say “I’m sorry” in our marriages (Source: Growthtrac Marriage Minute, growthtrac.com/marriageminute/):
1) When you are wrong. Like the prodigal son who “came to himself” and returned to his father, we must say “I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Lk. 15:17-18). Confession is good for the soul – and for your marriage.
2) When you are rude. Love “does not behave rudely,” yet it seems marriage is an open invitation to rudeness to many (1 Cor. 13:5). “I’m sorry” in is order whenever kind speech has been replaced by callous disrespect.
3) When you are defensive. Defending truth and righteousness is not the same as defending yourself. Selfishness destroys marriages, and defensiveness is the automatic reflex of selfishness. On the other hand, love “does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5). Do away with selfishness; humble yourself when you’ve hurt each other and say “I’m sorry.”
4) When you are impatient. Love “suffers long” (1 Cor. 13:4). Impatience causes frustration and friction; “I’m sorry” clears the air for a fresh start.
5) When you are hurtful. Love is “kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). It is to our shame that we hurt those we love the most. When you love someone and your words or deeds have needlessly hurt them, why wouldn’t you want to heal the hurt by saying (and meaning) “I’m sorry” as quickly as possible?
"...as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:16).
It does not shame us to admit that some passages of Scripture are "hard to be understood," difficult of perception. If Peter, an apostle of Christ, can admit so readily, we must also be willing to face the fact that some passages from the word of God are both profound and complex.
Actually, can we expect anything less? The divine wisdom that framed the universe with all its intricate laws of physics, biology, chemistry, etc. is capable of thoughts beyond our finite comprehension. As the Lord himself said: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways." "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8). Yet God speaks to man, accommodating his wisdom to our level of perception (Heb. 1:1-2). Is it not marvelous to communicate with Deity? Should we assume it to be simple? Yet, God reveals so as to be understood, not to conceal; to enlighten, not to confuse. Difficult Bible passages do not presuppose the impossibility of knowing the mind of God (John 6:44-45; 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:16).
Paul, whom Peter admitted to teach things "hard to be understood" spoke of the gospel as a "mystery." To the Corinthians, Paul said, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God had ordained before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor. 2:7). To the Ephesians, he admitted that Christ and the church were "a great mystery" (Eph. 5:32). However, it is inexcusable today that some philosophies speak of the Bible as "mysterious," even mystical, placing it in the realm of that which is beyond definition. Recognizing that the plan of redemption was once beyond our reach, secure in the mind of God (thus, a mystery), we quickly note that God chose to reveal the meaning through his apostles (1 Cor. 2:4-13), forever clarifying what had been "hidden through the ages" (Col. 1:26). Paul concluded that God had "made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself" (Eph. 1:9). We have access to Paul's explanation so that "when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" (3:4). It was the intent of gospel preaching "to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:9). God intends that men everywhere receive and understand the message of the gospel. To that end, the Great Commission was given (Matt. 28:18-20).
Understanding Difficult Passages
"Difficult Bible Passages" do not suggest the impossibility of understanding. Some truths may be deeper, more complex than others, but God intends that we know his will (John 8:32). Though it suits the purpose of some to deny truth as knowable, we all shall be held accountable to the standard of truth (Jn. 12:48).
"Difficult Bible Passages" do not suggest that "one interpretation is as good as another." Words are vehicles of thought and God's thoughts have been put into words (1 Cor. 2:6ff). It is our obligation to exegete a passage so as to receive from it only what God put into it. Beware what Peter said about those who "wrest the scriptures to their own destruction."
"Difficult Bible Passages" does not permit a multitude of various views of a single passage to deny the truth of that passage. Though some delight in attempting to defuse what a passage actually teaches by pointing to various interpretations, confusion among men should not be attributed to confusion on God's part. "Let God be true and ever man a liar" (Rom. 3:4).
"Difficult Bible Passages" simply admits that some passages are "milk" and that some are "meat" (1 Pet. 2:2; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14). Meat takes more chewing and digestion than milk, but each is capable of nourishment to its own level of advancement. As one matures in the faith, God expects each to progress from milk to meat, from simple to complex truth, from babes to full grown men who "have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).
What remains is for us to accept the revelation of God as it is, to study it, to accept it into our hearts (Col. 3:16-17). Every single passage is knowable, no truth that God has revealed is beyond our ability to comprehend (Deut. 29:29). As we love and respect God's word, as we let scripture interpret scripture (Isa. 28:10; Matt. 22:23-33), as we "meditate both day and night" (Ps. 1:2), what God intended to tell us will become clear.
-Guardian of Truth
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:33-40
1. Doctrine means
instruction, that which is taught.
I. DOCTRINE IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR RELATION WITH GOD & CHRISTIANS.
Source of Sound Doctrine Shows it is Essential.
concerning salvation (Acts 16:30).
Memorial Day originated in 1868 when Union General John A. Logan designated a day on which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, it later became known as Memorial Day, and after World War I was a time to honor the dead of all American wars. It did not become a federal holiday until 1971. Now, many Americans also use the day to remember family and friends who have died regardless of their military service. Many have forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day; to them it is just a vacation day.
Historically, God has given His people "Memorial Days":
1) Passover. "So this day shall be to you a memorial" (Exo. 12:14). Israel was to remember the Lord passed over their houses, striking the Egyptians and delivering Israel from slavery (Exo. 12:26-27).
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread. "It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt" (Exo. 13:9). Israel was to remember how God brought them out of bondage.
3) Feast of Tabernacles. "You shall dwell in booths for seven days…that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt…" (Lev. 23:42-43). Israel was to remember and rejoice in God's care for them.
4) Sabbath. "Observe the Sabbath day…and remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt…" (Deut. 5:12, 15). By keeping the Sabbath Israel was to remember God's salvation.
5) Lord's Supper. "…do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11:24-25). Christians remember Jesus' death in the Supper.
Time passes and people forget. Israel sinned and profaned the memorials God gave her (see Ezek. 20:20-24; Neh. 8:13-18; 13:14-18). Christians are warned not to forget, but to discern the Lord's body when we eat the Lord's Supper and proclaim His death (1 Cor. 11:26-29). Americans should remember the sacrifices made for our freedom. Christians must remember the sacrifice that frees us from sin.
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA