And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 21 March 11, 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)
Every one of us have some tradition that is a part of our life, even if it is nothing more than squeezing the tube of toothpaste from the bottom! Really, we all live with many traditions every day.
The word “tradition” with its shades of meaning is sometimes used with disdain by New Testament Christians. This is not necessarily bad. We need to be warned against the dangers of the religious and philosophical traditions of men (Mk. 7:8-9, 13; Col. 2:8). On the other hand, the gospel itself is described as a “tradition” (1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Ths. 2:15; 3:6). Wherein is the difference – and the harmony – of what the New Testament says about traditions?
Defining words is crucial to understanding any subject. The word translated “tradition” in the New Testament (paradosis), by definition, means “giving over, giving up....a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc....objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a teaching” (Thayer, 481). So, a tradition is something that is handed over or handed down from one to another. We commonly think of traditions as generational, such as parents handing down some family tradition to their children.
The traditions of men originate in the minds of men and are “given over” to others through verbal teaching and written words. The Jewish “traditions of the elders,” which often conflicted with a “commandment of God,” are a case in point (Matt. 15:2-3, 6). It is sin to place religious doctrines and practices that were started by men and handed down to others on a par with the word of God (Gal. 1:6-9). Untold numbers of human religious traditions are practiced today in the name of God. Just as in the days of the New Testament, such traditions continue to be deceitful and spiritually worthless (Col. 2:8, 20-23). Truly, they “make void the word of God” (Matt. 15:6).
There are also traditions that have been delivered to man from God. The Corinthians were praised by the apostle for holding fast the traditions “just as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2). Since it is “the faith” (gospel) that was been delivered from heaven to man through the work of inspired men, Paul is commending the Corinthian Christians for staying true to the gospel of Christ (cf. Jude 3). The good news (gospel) is called “traditions” because it was “given over” to man from God.
The God-given traditions (divinely revealed truth) were transmitted verbally and then in written form (2 Ths. 2:15). We are expected to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught” (2 Ths. 2:15). The truth handed over from God to man is God-approved teaching for our lives and salvation (Jno. 17:17). If we do not live according to the “tradition” received from the apostles (the gospel), our life is described as “disorderly” before men and God (2 Ths. 3:6). God expects us to arrange our lives according to His revealed word that was been handed down to us from the apostles of Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:3-5).
Be careful to walk in the will of the Lord – the traditions given over to us from God (Eph. 5:15-17). There are no better traditions to hand down to our children than these.
The apostle charged the preacher Timothy before God and Christ to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). Gospel preacher, there is a lot of word that needs to be preached! Here is just a sampling:
• Preach about Christ. His life, words and works, His sacrifice, resurrection and ascension, His authority and reign as king, His promised return and the judgment day; His plan of salvation (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:1-3; 17:1-4; 1 Cor. 1:18-25).
• Preach about the church. People need to know what it is and why it exists; its work, its organization and its worship (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23; Acts 14:23).
• Preach about the Christian’s life. Molding our character, attitudes and conduct after the likeness of our Master, our duties, our blessings and our hope (Lk. 6:40; Acts 14:22).
• Preach on morality. There will always be a need for warnings against immorality and encouragements to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12; 1 Jno. 2:15-17).
• Preach about Bible characters. A wealth of instruction is gleaned from the lives of people found in God’s word (Phil. 3:17).
• Preach textual lessons. People need to know the Bible (Hos. 4:6; Jno. 8:31-32). Explain the Scriptures and make practical applications that exhort and admonish your hearers (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
• Preach topical lessons. The Bible addresses topics on life and godliness; study and teach all God has said (2 Pet. 1:3-4; Psa. 119:160).
• Preach against false doctrine. Remember to “test the spirits, whether they are of God” because there are many false prophets (1 Jno. 4:1; Matt. 7:15-20).
This is not an exhaustive list, but it helps point out the principle responsibility to declare “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Preaching the whole counsel of God means we preach Christ. To preach Christ is to preach His word, His church, His authority and His salvation (Acts 8:5, 12; 1 Cor. 2:1-5). It is to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Otherwise, those who hear and those who teach will not be saved (Acts 20:26; Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Tim. 4:16).
Preaching the whole counsel of God does not mean preaching ourselves; “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor. 4:5). Our task is to defend the gospel, not preach and defend men (Phil. 1:7, 17).
Preaching the whole counsel of God does not mean preaching some new thing (Acts 17:21). The apostle John said, “Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning” (1 Jno. 2:7). Preach the word that was heard from the beginning, when the gospel went forth from Jerusalem (Acts 1:8; Gal. 1:6-10).
“Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love” – all of it.
• Unkindness tears marriages down
-This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (Gen. 2:23)
-For no one ever hated his own flesh (Eph. 5:29)
• Acts of Kindness are intentional, not random
-For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church (Eph. 5:29)
-Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Col. 3:12)
• Criticism, Contempt & Condemnation -- unravel the power of kindness
-Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:31-32)
-Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Eph. 5:33)
-Love suffers long, and is kind…does not behave rudely…love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/10/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA