And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 33 June 03, 2007
In this issue:
We all wait in some kind of line just about every day, be it the grocery store, the gas station, the post office, the bank, etc. I waited in line at the post office today to buy stamps (a 3 minute task) and it ended up taking twenty minutes! I had plenty of time to think about how much time is wasted waiting in line. Wouldn’t it be great not to have to wait in line?
Thankfully, there are some things for which Christians do not have to wait in line. They are constantly available to us, without delay. The question is whether we are availing ourselves of their immediate access.
1) There is no waiting in line to be heard by God in prayer. God is always available to the Christian when we pray. (Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Jno. 5:14-15; Jas. 1:5)
2) There is no waiting in line to receive spiritual blessings. The Lord showers his blessings on us every day. (Eph. 1:3; 3:20; Phil. 4:19)
3) There is no waiting in line to praise and worship God. While it is right to do so on the Lord’s Day, Christians do not have to wait until Sunday to praise God. We can continually worship God, regardless of our circumstance. (Heb. 13:15; Acts 16:25; Jas. 5:13)
4) There is no waiting in line to read and learn more of God’s word. The Bible is the most accessible book on the earth; we should be reading and studying it more. (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:13)
If you are not a Christian, you are lost in your sins. However, you should know there are things you do not have to wait in line for, either.
1) There is no waiting in line to obey the gospel. God does not want you to delay obey his commands (Matt. 7:21-23). You can obey God and be saved now! (Acts 16:33; 2 Cor. 6:2)
2) There is no waiting in line before you are really saved from your sins. There is no period of probation before you are actually forgiven. God’s pardon of sins is immediate, as soon as you will “arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” (Acts 22:16; 2:37-38, 41, 47)
When Jesus returns there will be no waiting for judgment. Jesus is not coming to earth 1,000 years before the judgment. All will be raised from the dead to stand before Almighty God at once (Jno. 5:28-29; Acts 17:31). Those who “have done good” will be raised to eternal life, but those who have “done evil” will be condemned.
Presently, Christians “eagerly wait” for the return of Jesus Christ and the eternal blessings he will bring (Phil. 3:20-21). Christians are “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” since it will be a day of great reward (2 Pet. 3:12-13).
Stop waiting! “Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
In what eventually became John Lennon’s trademark song, we hear the following lines sung with a great longing:
“Imagine there's no heaven, It's easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky, Imagine all the people living for today...”
Such a vision of our existence is one that has become dominant in our world today and is often seen as the only way to a utopian existence on this earth. However, such a vision stands in direct contradiction to the word of God.
Men want paradise, and they want it on this earth. This can never be, for paradise was lost in the garden due to sin. Furthermore, a major part of the paradise that men seek on this earth is one of having no accountability before God. Thus, our world, our society, and even much of denominationalism has chosen to disregard what the Bible says about heaven and hell. Even among some of our brethren, the Biblical teaching of heaven and hell has been watered down or ignored altogether for fear of offending sensitive listeners.
Consider the following points that the Bible makes absolutely clear:
1) There Is Life After Death.
Job asks the question in Job 14:14 “If a man dies, shall he live again?” Throughout the scriptures, the answer is made known. Perhaps no where more so than in Luke 16 when Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both of these men died, and went either to paradise, or to torment. There is indeed life after death.
2) The Spiritual Realm Is A Reality.
There is a spiritual realm, a spiritual reality, that is greater and stronger than what we see with our eyes. 2 COR 4:18 says that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that what is seen, that is this physical world, was not made out of things which are visible. Something spiritual made our physical existence, and we have to answer to that spiritual authority.
3) Heaven And Hell Are Eternal.
Here is what all men will face on the day of judgment – an eternal sentence, to either heaven or hell.
Mat 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:
Mat 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
4) The Bible teaches no such thing as Purgatory or Reincarnation.
These are the doctrines of man, not of the Bible.
Heb 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
For so many in this world, this world is all there is, and they’ll stop at nothing to prolong their life. For those in Christ however, we understand that “the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:19-23
Christians should have confident hope and assurance in Christ, Heb. 3:6 (10:19, 35).
I. DEFINING BOLDNESS.
A. It is Courage
and Confident Assurance, Phil. 1:20, 14 (Mk. 15:43).
II. CHRISTIANS NEED BOLDNESS.
A. In our
Personal Faith, 2 Tim. 1:7-8, 12; 2 Pet. 1:5; Prov. 28:1; Phil. 1:27-30.
1. Do not fear man
– be confident to live in Christ & be a faithful Christian, Matt. 10:28.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 24:30-34
1. God has always
intended for man to be engaged in meaningful labor: Gen. 2:15; Col. 3:23; 1
Ths. 4:10-11; 2 Ths. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:8.
I. JESUS WAS NOT A LAZY PERSON.
A. He Understood
the Work Given Him, Jno. 4:34-35 (Lk. 19:10); Mk. 10:45.
II. LAZY LESSONS:
6:6-11: Can Keep from Being Lazy by Watching & Learning how Others
B. Prov. 19:15:
Idleness Breeds Laziness.
C. Prov. 12:24:
Lazy Man Will Always be Controlled by Others.
D. Prov. 18:9:
Laziness Wastes One’s Life and Opportunities, Prov. 24:30-34.
E. Prov. 21:25-26: Laziness Produces Nothing Beneficial; Industry Brings Results.
F. Prov. 22:13: If You Don't Want to Work, any Excuse is Good Enough! Acts 24:25
Conclusion – God has given us work; be diligent, not lazy, 1 Cor. 15:58.
Time to Reflect
A $27 million creation museum opened Monday in Kentucky, offering the usually unheard other side to the creation/evolution debate.
Atheists, of course, dispute the role of an intelligent designer in the origin of the universe, pinning their hopes upon billions of years of random chance instead.
Their amoral belief system dominates college campuses, children's text books and the media, and yet they continue to run scared every time a believer in God speaks up. Petitions and protests surrounded the museum's opening in an effort either to silence or shutter it lest people discover there is another side.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).
(Woodmont Beacon, June 3, 2007)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/04/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA