And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 03 October 01, 2006
In this issue:
“Thank you” – simple words that often go unspoken. This simple consideration of politeness is not only taken for granted, but forgotten by many people. Christians should never be unthankful: “in everything give thanks” (1 Ths. 5:18). Ingratitude is sin against God; Him in whom we all live and move and have our being, and also the One who has blessed Christians “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Acts 17:28; Eph. 1:3). Whether material or spiritual, “every good gift and every perfect gift” is from God, and thanksgiving is due His name (Jas. 1:17; 1 Chrn. 29:10-15).
The sin of ingratitude indicates some very clear and distinctive marks that help us identify and repent of it. Marks of the sin of ingratitude include:
1) Lack of respect. The child who is not thankful toward his or her parents demonstrates a lack of respect for mother and father. “Honor your father and mother” is obeyed by saying “thank you” and having an attitude of gratitude toward parents. Likewise, we show respect for God our Creator by being thankful to Him. God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness that displays irreverent ingratitude: “…they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:20-21). By disrespecting God we show ourselves to be unthankful of His blessings.
2) Misplaced love. Many people are too busy loving themselves and the things of this world to love God and be thankful to Him. The apostle Paul described “perilous times” when “men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers…despisers of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Even when a person appears godly their “unthankful” attitude and conduct condemns them. These love self and money and pleasure more than God. Where love for God, truth and godliness do not abide, thankfulness will not be found.
3) Pride. Israel became unthankful when, lifted up in pride, she said, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth” (Deut. 8:10-18, 17). Mighty king Nebuchadnezzar was lifted up with pride until he was taught to bless (thank) praise and honor Almighty God (Dan. 4:28-35). A proud heart cannot be a thankful heart; thankfulness requires humility.
We receive innumerable blessings from the hand of God, the greatest of which is salvation in the Son. Like the Samaritan leper who returned to thank Jesus and give glory to God for his cleansing, we must give thanks in everything. Jesus saw faith in the man who said “thank you.” Does Jesus see faith in us?
Please consider the Top Ten Reasons given by some Christians for why local congregations across the world do not have Elders:
10. “This congregation has never had elders and there is no need for them in our congregation.”
9. “We are a small church and don’t need elders.”
8. “We don’t even know where to begin to elect elders.”
7. “No one wants to deal with the problems that exist in the church.”
6. “No one wants to be an elder.”
5. “There are too many disagreements about qualifications, and it would just start a lot of trouble for no good reason!”
4. “All men prefer to have a vote in the “men’s business meetings” – why change now?”
3. “No one will ever be qualified to serve, because we don’t feel that there is anyone that is good enough for us to serve under!”
2. “If elders were ever elected, then we would lose our personal control over the local congregation.”
The top reason for there being no elders in this local church:
1. “We just don’t want to change anything, and end up having to serve under elders!”
10. It is by Apostolic Example that elders be appointed in every church! Acts 14:21-27
9. The Holy Spirit provided for Shepherds to feed the flock. Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-12
8. Serving as an elder in the Lord’s church is a “good work.” 1 Timothy 3:1
7. The evangelist Titus was charged by Paul to “set in order the things that are lacking” and to “appoint elders in every city.” Titus 1:5-11
6. Who will provide scriptural rule over and set godly examples for God’s people if no one is willing to seek the work of an elder? Hebrews 13:7
5. What will happen to the sheep if there are no shepherds (elders) to guard the sheep and make sure they are fed properly? 1 Pet. 5:2-3
4. Who will stop the mouths of the gainsayers, false teachers, factious Christians and those that pervert the word of God? Titus 1:10-11
3. Diotrephes must be exposed in the local congregation and stopped! 3 John 9-11
2. Jesus told Peter that He would build His church, not “Our” church, and His church has elders! Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:18-23; Acts 14:23
The top reason why God has commanded that there be elders in every place:
1. BECAUSE GOD SAID SO!! To do otherwise is to pervert the gospel of Christ and forsake the New Testament pattern that was clearly set forth through His Apostles!
Does the local church where you attend have qualified elders serving in accordance with the scriptures? And if not, why not? And if you do attend where there are elders then get down on your knees and give thanks to God that men and women in a local congregation have the courage of their convictions to serve under godly men willing to place their lives on the line for the cause of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Is the congregation you are a part of proud of the fact that they don’t have elders?
Is the congregation you are a part of dismissing the commandment of God because they don’t think it is that important?
Has the preacher ever preached on the qualifications and work of elders? Is he teaching the local church that it needs qualified elders as revealed in the scriptures?
All these are questions that need to be asked if we would serve the Lord in accordance with the God given pattern found in the New Testament (Col. 3:17).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
1. Unity of saints is a blessing that is scriptural,
reasonable and attainable:
I. UNITY DEMANDS HUMILITY, Phil. 2:3.
A. Unity is Destroyed by Evil Motives
II. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE LOOK OUT FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES, Phil. 2:4 (cf. v. 3).
A. This is not an Endorsement for being Busybodies, 1
III. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, Phil. 2:5.
A. Christ's Work in Redemption Shows the Mind (Heart) it
takes to have Unity:
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
1. Speculations & false doctrines about return.
I. THE RETURN OF JESUS IS PROMISED.
A. By the Word of God, 2 Pet. 3:1-4; Jno. 14:1-3; Acts
1:9-11; 2 Pet. 3:13.
II. THE RETURN OF JESUS WILL BE PERSONAL, Acts 1:9-11.
A. Actual (Personal) Return of Jesus, 1 Ths. 4:16.
III. RETURN OF JESUS WILL BE POWERFUL.
A. To Resurrect All the Dead, Jno. 5:28-29; 11:23-26; 1
IV. WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE SHOULD WE BE? 2 Pet. 3:11
A. Purified People, 2 Pet. 3:11; 1 Jno. 3:2-3.
Conclusion: Jesus will appear a second time, Heb. 9:28 (1 Ths. 5:1-11).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/02/2006
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA