And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 19 February 25, 2007
In this issue:
Mt.Baker Church of Christ
March 25-30, 2007
(Canyon Lake, TX)
Bible lessons Nightly Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
Sunday: 9:30 & 10:30 AM; 6:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
The word of God says,
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. (1 Jno. 5:14-17)
John gives Christians confident assurance in this passage that God hears and answers our prayers when we pray “according to His will” (vv. 14-15). What a blessed assurance it is to know God hears and answers our prayers: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 Jno. 3:22).
Some are confused by what verses 16-17 say about praying – and not praying – for brethren and their sin. The doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church have added to the confusion. The RCC teaches there are “mortal” and “venial” sins. “Venial” sins, they say, are less serious in nature and harm one’s relationship with God, but do not dissolve it (“not leading to death”). They say that “mortal” sins bring death. These definitions are contrived; they are not revealed in the Bible.
1 John 5:16-17 does not put degrees upon sin. But, it does show that prayer for a Christian who continues to practice sin is futile. God says not to offer pointless petitions to Him. A Christian’s sin will be forgiven according to the will of God. Therefore, our prayers concerning that sin must also reflect God’s will.
This passage cautions that prayer for certain brethren will not grant the sinner life. As long as a brother is practicing sin we cannot expect prayer to save him; his sin is leading to his death. God will not forgive a sinning Christian in spite of his continual sin. Expecting God to answer us and save him while he is still sinning is wrong thinking; such a prayer is no longer being prayed “according to His will” (1 Jno. 5:14-15).
God will not forgive sin when the sinner himself will not repent; such sin is “leading to death” (1 Jno. 5:16). Asking God to forgive an unrepentant sinner is a form of improper intercession; such prayer will not be heard.
When a Christian is overtaken in sin we are to help him know and overcome his sin (Gal. 6:1-2). That naturally includes praying for him. When the brother repents and confesses his sin, God forgives him (Acts 8:18-24; 1 Jno. 1:9). Such a sin is “not leading to death” (1 Jno. 5:16; Js. 5:19-20).
But there is a time when it is not proper to pray for a sinner. That time is when the sinner refuses to repent and stubbornly remains in his sin. For example, God commanded Jeremiah not to pray for sinning Judah: “do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you” (Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). Judah had hardened herself against God and His plea to “amend your ways and your doings” (Jer. 7:3). As long as Judah continued to defy God, Jeremiah’s prayers for mercy would not be heard. Judah must cease her sin to be forgiven; the time for intercessory prayer had passed.
Some sins occur out of ignorance, some result from yielding to the weakness of the flesh, while some are willful (Acts 3:17; Matt. 26:41; Heb. 10:26). But all sin, left unattended, produces spiritual death. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23); and “…sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jas. 1:15). The death that sin causes passes to all individuals as each person sins (Rom. 5:12; 3:23; Ezek. 18:20).
“Sin leading to death” is sin that is not renounced and repented of and therefore, not forgiven. Intercession for such a sinning Christian will not be accepted and acted on by God. The sinner must repent in order to be saved. Prayer that such a one be saved in spite of his sin does not please God (1 Jno. 5:14-15).
“Sin not leading to death” is exactly the opposite of “sin leading to death.” The sin that is not deadly is the one that is repented of and properly prayed about to God (Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9).
John summarizes that “all unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (1 Jno. 5:17). God will answer our prayers for others as we pray “according to His will.” His will is that sinners repent. Petitions are vain for unrepentant Christians who continue in their sin. Are you praying for a sinning Christian? Then, also help him repent and live (Jas. 5:19-20).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:1-3
1. With growth came problems (Ac
I. WARNINGS AGAINST APOSTASY.
II. GUIDEPOSTS ON ROAD TO
[History of the Church, #3]
Proliferation of Pornography
“According to the University of New Hampshire study on kids and porn, one-third of young Internet users were exposed to unwanted pornography in 2005, a number that rose from 25 percent in the 1999-2000 report.
“Forty-two percent of Internet users aged 10 to 17 told University of New Hampshire (UNH) researchers they had seen online pornography in a 12-month period. UNH conducted the study for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).”
Pornography is a major problem in the world and in America. There are about 4.2 million web sites on the Internet (12% of total websites). The personal computer has increased accessibility to porn and made its viewing virtually anonymous. Parents must monitor what their children view on the Internet, and adults must apply self-control and standards of purity to prevent the powerful seduction of pornography from capturing them.
Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1) We must follow his example and guard against viewing pornography. Imagine how much sin, pain, shame and tragedy would have been avoided had David not gazed upon Bathsheba’s beauty (2 Sam. 11:2). Jesus said to pluck out our eye or cut off our hand if they cause us to sin (Matt. 5:29-30). “Cut off” the computer and “cast it from you” if that’s what it takes to avoid sin. We must “put to death” every evil desire (read Col. 3:5-7).
Openness and accountability will help overcome and prevent viewing pornography. Making a covenant with our eyes implies we know someone is watching us; that we are accountable (to God). Ask someone you trust – a parent, a co-worker, a fellow student or a fellow Christian – to hold you accountable for what you watch. God does.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom. 13:14)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 02/25/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA