And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 31 May 20, 2007
In this issue:
We read in Acts 24:22-27, of Felix, “having more accurate knowledge of the Way.” Verse 22 “When Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.”
Let the reader understand that Felix had an interest in the reasons for why people were following Christ, and he wanted to know what those reasons were. When Felix brought his wife it further gave testimony to the importance of the visit.
We can read of what happened in Acts 8:26-32, when the Ethiopian heard Christ preached. “Here is water, what doth hinder me from being baptized.” Verses 35-36 Felix reaction was different from the Ethiopian’s attitude of heart. The same truth that Philip preached to the Ethiopian caused Felix to be afraid and to send Paul away for a more “convenient time.” Paul would later right to the Christians in Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
When the whole counsel of God is preached it is never convenient nor is it timely in the minds of many people, but Jesus told His apostles what the Holy Spirit would do when He came into the world: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:8-11
We can understand the fact of what happens to someone when they come to an acknowledgement of the truth. They will gladly receive it and obey, or be terrified by the thought of being lost forever in a devil’s hell. The word of God continues today to convict the hearts of many and their reaction to it will determine where they will spend eternity. We should not be terrified by what we read in God’s word, but encouraged if we are willing to obey His will. Please do not wait for a more “convenient season” to obey the gospel of Christ. What scared Felix? The Truth!
The Hebrews writer boldly asserts that Christ is better than anything the Jews had under the Old Law. The letter begins with seven credentials that place Christ in a class by himself. Following this foundation, the writer argues that He is “better than the angels.” The argument follows:
He has a more excellent name. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Christ’s name is the only name linked to our salvation. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Angels adore and worship Him. “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” (Hebrews 1:6) These angelic beings worship the Son. Why shouldn’t they? He is God and deserves their worship.
He created the angels. “And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7) God is able to change the angels’ makeup to fit his needs. The Son is unchangeable. They are changeable and therefore, inferior to the Son.
Scepter of His kingdom is righteousness. “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’” (Hebrews 1:8,9) Some angels have fallen because they transgressed (Jude 6). The Son’s kingdom is based on His perfect righteousness.
He is eternal—angels are not. “They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail. (Hebrews 1:11,12) This is not the idea of eternal destruction, but of ruin and loss. Angels are created beings and therefore not eternal —the Son is God; He is eternal.
Angels are servants, Christ is God’s Son. “But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?’ Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13,14) This shows that the function of angles is to serve, and the Son is to rule.
From examining the first 14 verses of the Hebrew letter, we learn that no one has credentials comparable to those of God’s Son. No man, group of men, or angel has such a resume. The Son is in a superior position, and He always will be!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: James 2:1-4
“Partiality…respect to the position, rank, popularity, or circumstances of
men, instead of their intrinsic conditions…” (Vine, III:179); Lev. 19:15;
I. WHY RESPECT OF PERSONS IS A SIN WE MUST REJECT, Jas. 2:1-13.
A. It is Incompatible with
Christianity, Jas. 2:1; Acts 10:34-35; 15:9; Rom. 10:12-13.
II. HOW CAN WE AVOID SHOWING RESPECT OF PERSONS? Rom. 12:9-21; Acts 2:42-46.
1. Love, 1 Ths. 4:9-10
1. Respect of persons causes
division, resentment, hostilities, Jas. 4:1; Eph.4:31-32
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:35-39
Bible reveals information we need to understand this subject and properly respond to it as we teach the truth to others.
I. WHAT ARE DEMONS?
A. They are Spirit Beings,
Matt. 8:16; Lk. 10:17, 20.
II. WHAT ABOUT DEMON POSSESSION?
A. Defined: Bodily possession
/ takeover & control, Mk. 9:17-18, 20-22, 25-29.
III. DEMONIC ACTIVITY TODAY.
A. Demon Possession Does Not
Happen Today – It has Ended, Zech. 13:1-2; Matt. 12:28-29; 1 Jno. 3:8; cf.
1. Demons will be eternally
punished, Matt. 8:29; 25:41.
Jesus, the Divider
Jerry Falwell, Baptist preacher and founder of the Moral Majority, died earlier this week. He mobilized the “religious right” in American politics and left a mark of resistance against secular progressivism in America. This is not a review of his life and work. I do want to pick up on the title of an editorial that appeared in the Eugene, OR newspaper, The Register Guard, May 17, 2007. Under “Falwell, the Divider,” the editorial said in part,
“Falwell saw his adversaries not as mistaken or just plain wrong, but as possessed by sin – and therefore not to be debated, persuaded or accommodated in compromise, but annihilated through conversion or defeat.”
The editor got this much right: Where there is sin there must be no accommodation and compromise with sin. Truth cuts away those who do not have faith for the battle as it divides righteousness and evil (1 Tim. 6:12; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Through his redemptive work, Jesus unites sinners with God and with one another in “one body” (Eph. 2:14-18). Jesus is also a divider. He said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on the earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Lk. 12:51). People do not like this Jesus, because he calls on us to choose where and with whom we will stand. As the Son of God, he has the power to delineate the separation between truth and error, good and evil.
Consider some dividing lines Jesus has drawn:
1. What is sin. His word defines and identifies sin; we must not fight against him (1 Jno. 3:4; Acts 5:29).
2. How to be saved. We must obey him in faith, or die in our sins (Matt. 7:21-24; Heb. 5:8-9; Mk. 16:16).
3. Moral living. Murder, hatred and lust are among the dividing lines he has drawn (Matt. 5-7).
We must stand with Jesus, or we will fall (Matt. 12:30; 24:44-51).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/02/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA