And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 17 February 11, 2007
In this issue:
It should not surprise us at how easily we can convince ourselves that what we are doing – or not doing – is okay based on what others are doing (or not doing).
God’s word warns us against comparing ourselves with others in an attempt to approve ourselves. “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).
When a person justifies his sin based on somebody else’s sin, he simply shows himself to be in the company of sinners. In other words, my sin is not your hope.
Sin is a personal choice that brings personal consequences. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). And again, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
For example, if I fail to bear the fruit of the Spirit in my life, that is not your excuse to also be fruitless (Gal. 5:22-23). My failure to love and obey is not your excuse to hate and rebel.
Put another way, if I fall into sin you are not to follow me into sin and then say, “It was his fault, not mine.” Adam said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12). Eve said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13). While it is true that Eve influenced Adam and the serpent deceived Eve, neither explanation justified their sin and caused them to escape the penalty of their sin. Such explanations will not justify us in our sin, either.
We can all be better, stronger Christians. We can all grow more, love more and do more (Rom. 12:1-8). So, “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Let’s help each other do better and be better (Gal. 6:1-5). We must never develop an attitude that says because somebody else is not doing what is right (the will of God), I do not have to, either. That way of thinking and living leads to our eternal death (Jas. 4:17; 1:14-16).
If no one is good except God (Mark 10:18), why is Barnabas called a “good” man in Acts 11:24?Unquestionably, only God is without sin – completely holy and pure. Jesus immediately drew the man’s attention to this point in Mark 10:18. Calling Jesus “Good Teacher” implied he is God (Matt. 19:16-17; Lk. 18:18-19). Jesus did not reject the description. He urged the young man to understand what was actually being said. By calling Jesus “Good” he acknowledged him to be God. Only God is “good” in the sense of being without sin; completely pure and holy. There was no unrighteousness in Jesus – no one could convict him of sin (Jno. 7:18; 8:46). If Jesus is truly the “Good Teacher,” what he teaches must be heard and obeyed.
One commentator says concerning Mark 10:18: “Jesus shows that if his language had been used sincerely it would have committed him to a declaration of great faith, for he had addressed Jesus by a title which belongs only to God, and he had asked Jesus the question concerning that of which God alone was fitted to speak” (J. W. McGarvey, The Fourfold Gospel, page 544).
Consider Matthew 19:16, where the word “good” is twice used: Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Only God is completely and utterly “good” (holy, without sin). Therefore, only God can definitively say what “good thing” must be done to have eternal life. Thus, Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17; Mk. 10:18).Jesus called on the young man to know that he is God, and what he says is the word of God that contains eternal life (Jno. 6:63, 68).
After implying he is God, Jesus said, “But if you want to enter life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). God’s commands are “good” (Rom. 7:12). Yet, all have sinned against God (Rom. 3:23). Consequently, sinners need God’s mercy – we need salvation “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9). So did the young ruler. He had done many good things, yet he did not have the faith to do what Jesus – God – told him to do, so he went away in sorrow (Matt. 19:20-22).
Now, what about Barnabas? He was a good man who exemplified goodness (Acts 11:24). Still, like all other Christians, he too was a sinner who had been saved by grace through faith. Barnabas walked in the “good works” of God just as every Christian should (Eph. 2:10).His character was “good” – he was upright in heart, thought and deed. When a person obeys the gospel and becomes a Christian he is “purified” of sin and is to be zealous of “good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
Barnabas was good rather than evil. See this contrast in Matthew 5:44-45:“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” And again, Matthew 12:35: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Every Christian is to be “wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil” (Rom. 16:19).
God, who is completely good, reveals in His inspired Scriptures what is good and what is evil (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The word of our “Good Teacher” (Jesus) is always “good” and right.
By doing what God says is “good” we follow the example of the good man Barnabas. By obeying the words of the Good Teacher, we put our faith in him as the Christ, the Son of God. (“He has shown you, O man, what is good…” Micah 6:8.)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Mark 1:35-39
1. It is good to look for Jesus
(Mk. 1:37). Many still look for Him (Jno. 7:11; 12:20-21).
I. WHY PEOPLE LOOK FOR JESUS.
A. Curiosity, Jno. 11:55-56.
II. WHERE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR JESUS.
A. Jesus is not Where Many
Think He is (cf. Lk. 2:44); Acts 7:48-50 (17:24); Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23
(4:4); Eph. 5:6-10 (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1).
III. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? Isa. 55:6-7
A. Seek the Lord; Call on His
Name, Acts 2:21, 37-38, 41.
Concl. Some look & never find, Jno. 7:33-36, 16-17. (You can be where Jesus is, Jno. 14:1-6, 23. Do you really want to find Jesus? Matt. 7:7)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 2:1-4
1. Hundreds of churches; Are
they all from God? Are any from God? Where did they come from? Which one is
right? (Mt. 16:18; Ep. 1:22-23; 4:4)
I. LORD HAS BUILT HIS CHURCH, Matt. 16:16-18
A. Built upon Jesus (Son of
God), Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:4-6 (Eph. 2:20).
II. THE ORIGIN OF THE LORD’S CHURCH.
A. The Church in Prophecy,
Isa. 2:2-3; Eph. 2:11-13, 19-22; 1 Tim. 3:15 (Lk. 24:47; Joel 2:32); Dan.
2:44; Jno. 18:36 (Matt. 16:16, 18); Dan. 7:13-14 (Eph. 1:20-23); Dan.
2:40-43); Mk. 1:14-15; 9:1. Church became in Acts 2.
1. Prophecy, composition &
purchase price of the church converge at Pentecost (Acts 2).
[History of the Church, #1]
Initiative 957 Mocks Marriage
Citizens of Washington, do not support Initiative 957.
“The initiative was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance (WA-DOMA, jrp), which was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“Under I-957, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriages would be subject to annulment.
“All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognized” and people in them would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.” (“Initiative would require couples to have kids,” by Rachel LaCorte, AP, Skagit-Valley Herald, A5, 06Feb07)
Even the authors of I-957 say it is “absurd” and is intended to parody the state Supreme Court ruling against same-sex marriage (www.wa-doma.org). In this twisted attempt to undermine state law and eventually to recognize same-sex “marriage,” citizens of Washington State are being asked to sign petitions to put I-957 on the November ballot. (224,880 valid signatures are required to put I-957 on the ballot.)
No one who honors marriage and God who gave it should have anything to do with supporting I-957.
Marriage was ordained by God and designed by God to accomplish righteous purposes for mankind (Heb. 13:4). That includes, but is not limited to, the procreation of the race (Gen. 1:28). Companionship and avoiding immorality are clear purposes of marriage (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 7:2). God did not mandate children in order for marriage to be approved. But, God did mandate the nature of marriage and the home. It is marriage from which children are to come and in which children are nurtured (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 6:1-4).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/14/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA