And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 08 December 03, 2006
In this issue:
How is it that the church of the Living God does not know it must be about Christ Jesus’ Father’s business? Some have started preaching that the church belonging to Christ Jesus is in the “people business,” but in fact the Lord’s Church is in the “preaching the gospel” business. The perversion we speak of is sometimes called the “Social Gospel,” but in fact, the gospel has nothing to do with humanity’s social goals.
Today we see a trend that leads Christ’s church in a different direction away from what Paul instructed the evangelist Timothy to teach in 2 Timothy 2:8-15. “Study to show thyself approved unto God” has been quietly replaced with “Practice those things that are pleasing to all, that all may have their say and be entertained in the Name of the Lord!”
We should understand from 1 Timothy 3:15 that the church of Christ is the “pillar and ground of the truth,” not the pillow and smooth sound of self satisfied snoring brethren. Nor is the local church to dictate its own way based on what everyone likes or dislikes. How is Christ to be glorified in a house that takes pride in building that which God did not ask for? (1 Cor. 3:9, 11, 16-17)
2 Timothy 4:3-4, teaches us that “itching ears” will always win out over sound gospel teaching when the people love to have it so! (Jer. 5:31)
Those who believe and teach that the church belongs “to the people” will always be at the forefront of establishing perverted works and goals in a local church. They will be fighting for things that please the people and will be the very ones who introduce practices which have no Biblical authority whatsoever! These are the Christians who attack anyone who dare ask for “Book, Chapter, and Verse.” These are among those who attack preachers who stand and declare the “whole counsel” of God! (Acts 20:27)
Those who believe in the pattern of sound words will teach and preach that the gospel dictates the local church’s work, not those things that use man’s wisdom to entice the flesh. (1 Cor. 2:1-5)
What happened in the first century is happening to local churches in the 21st century. It has happened to churches in every preceding century; Paul said, “For I know this” (Acts 20:29). What Paul foretold has continued to happen in every generation because Christians of each generation do not read this and listen to the admonition of the Lord. Paul warned in Romans 12:3 that human pride is the driving factor of this great apostasy.
Why are Christians asleep at the wheel in this generation? They are asleep because it is easier to “GO ALONG, TO GET ALONG,” than to stand up and fight for the truth of the gospel. (1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Tim. 6:11-12) Put on your armor and take a stand for the truth of the gospel! (Eph. 6:10-20)
Blood is the vehicle of life; without it we will die. When God gave mankind animals for food He said, “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” (Gen. 9:3-4). God explained in the Law of Moses that “I have given it (the blood, jrp) to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:10-11). Without the shedding of blood – the giving of life – there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). The animal blood shed on Israel’s altar of burnt offering is a shadow of the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Heb. 10:1-4; Jno. 1:29).
The blood of Christ is superior to the blood of bulls and goats because animal blood can never take away sins (Heb. 10:4). Christ died once for sins, but animals were continually offered for sins under Moses’ law (Heb. 10:11-12). Christ’s blood removes sin, but the blood of animals continually reminded Israel of their sin (Heb. 10:17-18, 3).
The value of the blood of Christ also surpasses that of silver or gold, for such temporal things will never save sinners: “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
1. The blood of Christ is precious because it is sinless (“as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”). Jesus never committed sin, but “offered Himself without spot to God” (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 9:14). The blood of one sinner cannot save another sinner; only a sinless sacrifice would do. His suffering and death was “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).
2. The blood of Christ is precious because it shows God’s great love for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus died for His enemies and for His friends (Col. 1:19-22; Jno. 15:13). There is no greater love than God sending “His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 Jno. 4:9-10).
3. The blood of Christ is precious because of what it accomplishes. The blood of Jesus redeems us from sin. He came “to give His life a ransom” for sinners (Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6). Through His blood we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:19). By His death and subsequent ascension to heaven, Jesus obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:11-12). His blood cleanses us “from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). His church, purchased and cleansed by His blood, lives to serve God (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25; 1 Pet. 1:15-19).
4. The blood of Christ is precious because it is available to you. Christ “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6). If you believe Jesus is the Son of God you must not delay; repent, confess your faith in Him and then “arise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). The blood of Jesus washes away your sins when you are “baptized into His death” (Rom. 6:3).
God has provided a Lamb to take away sin; His Son Jesus Christ (Gen. 22:8; Isa. 53:10-11). Behold how precious His blood is!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
1. Of course, there is
nothing good in Satan or about what he does, Jno. 8:44.
I. HE ATTENDS EVERY
WORSHIP SERVICE (Heb. 10:25; cf. Job 1:6).
II. HE ATTENDS EVERY
ELDERS MEETING (MEN’S BUSINESS MEETING).
III. HE ATTENDS EVERY
IV. HE VISITS EVERY
HOME (Josh. 24:15).
V. HE IS ZEALOUS &
DILIGENT IN HIS WORK, 1 Pet. 5:8.
Out of the Cold
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). We certain had our share of “cold and winter” this past week! They will be talking about the snow storm of Nov. ’06 here in northwest Washington for a long time to come. It was cold, snowy and (due to power outages) dark for many people.
There are some timely lessons for us to learn from winter’s cold, including these:
1) The cold of winter is a time of opportunity.
It was an opportunity for acts of kindness. When we got home in the middle of the storm last Sunday afternoon our neighbor had shoveled our driveway. So, together we shoveled another neighbor’s drive. I suspect many of you either helped or were helped by someone during the storm. Keep it up, even when it isn’t snowing.
It was an opportunity to give thanks. The Lord has blessed us with warm houses, clothing and food. Did you remember to thank God for your blessings?
It was an opportunity for family time together. With schools closed and normal routines disrupted there was more time to spend with family. Make that a regular thing. Family ties are made stronger by being together.
It was an opportunity to trust God. You may have been without power or maybe you had to drive on dangerous roads. The apostle was himself “in cold,” yet through it all he trusted the Lord (2 Cor. 11:27).
2) Do not let our love grow cold (Matt. 24:12). When our faith is tested by the trials of life we must endure and not grow weary (see Matt. 24:10-13). Like cold weather numbs our senses, trials of life can “numb” our spiritual senses. It need not be so; we can choose to increase the fervor (heat) of our faith (Jas. 1:2-3; Rom. 12:11).
3) Don’t warm yourself at the wrong fire (Jno. 18:18). When we put ourselves in the midst of sin we are exposed to its influence and danger. The enemy’s fire is warm, but deadly. “Do not be deceived; Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/03/2006
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA