And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 39 July 15, 2007
In this issue:
In order for a body with a deadly cancer to survive, it must put to death that cancer. One must kill the cancer, lest the cancer kill him. Sin is such in one’s life (2 Tim. 2:17). If we wish to survive spiritually, we must put to death the cancer of sin. Thankfully, God has given us instruction concerning specific cancers we must seek to kill among our members.
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…” (Col. 3:5-10).
In the list above, God deals with sins of morality. Without the correction of these sins, it does not matter how doctrinally correct and upright one may be. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he...” Thus, “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 23:7; 4:23). Put to death…
1. Fornication – Sexual relations outside of lawful marriage (1 Cor. 6:9).
2. Uncleanness – All things physically and morally impure. Pornography, immodest dress, and dancing apply here (2 Cor. 12:21).
3. Passion – A feeling in which the mind suffers an addiction. Drinking, smoking, chewing, and things that have an addictive nature must be avoided (Rom. 13:13-14).
4. Evil Desire – Craving or longing for that which is forbidden by God (2 Sam. 11:2). Do you long for the wrong? That is an evil desire.
5. Covetousness – Greedy desire to have more and/or strong attachment to current belongings (2 Ki 5:20). Anything can become your god if you covet or that item. And no man can serve two masters (Mt. 6:24). Serve God!
6. Anger – Unrighteous indignation. This can lead to wrath, if not put to death.
7. Wrath – Anger turned to fierce passion. This can lead to malice, if not stopped.
8. Malice – Wrath turned to evil hate. This can lead to action, if not cured (any of the next three actions in the list).
9. Blasphemy – Inward malice now turned outward in action by evil speaking (2 Tim. 3:2). Do you gossip and say wrong against your neighbor?
10. Filthy Language – Vile conversation, despicable words. Your mind is polluted to utter such (Mt. 26:74).
11. Lying – To speak an untruth or attempt to deceive by falsehood. White lies are still lies. If you can’t say the truth, don’t speak (Mt. 5:37)! truth, don’t speak (Mt. 5:37)!
God expects us to
put to death our members and not revert to our old ways of living. As
members of one another, let us never seek to infect each other with this
The pope affirmed this week what Catholic doctrine has said all along; the Roman Catholic Church is the only fully organized church of Christ in the world. The document he approved states:
“Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
“Response: Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”. (“Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church,” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican, 29June07)
Well, this has the Protestants in an uproar. After all, they think they are part of the church of Christ on this earth, too. Perhaps they thought Vatican II opened a new era of commonality with the Catholic Church. Concerning doctrine, they were wrong. This document affirms “they (other churches, jrp) suffer from defects” while maintaining that “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them (other churches, jrp) as instruments of salvation”. But, only the Catholic Church has been entrusted with the “fullness of grace and of truth”. Practically stated, unity with Protestants will only occur when they have full communion with the Catholic Church (when they become Catholics)!
The Vatican says all the other (Protestant) churches are “not fully in communion with the Catholic Church”, yet Christ still uses them to save people. Interesting. If that is true, then why do we need the Catholic Church in the first place?
“Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Catholic Church, jrp) since the Council (Vatican II, jrp) not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
“Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.” (Ibid.)
Once the errors of Catholicism are exposed, the basis for the existence of the Protestant denominations fails, for they grew out of it and not out of the word of God (1 Tim. 4:1-3, 6).
What does the Bible say? First, that Jesus would build – and did build – his church (Matt. 16:18). Second, that his church was built on the truth that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and not on a succession of men claiming to be descendants of Peter (Matt. 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:11). Third, Jesus built a community of saved ones, not an ecclesiastical organization through which salvation is dispensed (Acts 2:47; Heb. 12:22-23). Every Christian is a priest (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Fourth, there is one church, which is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). And finally, Jesus saved his body, the church (Eph. 5:23).
The Catholic Church corrupts the nature of the church, turning it into an ecclesiastical institution that dispenses God’s salvation. Without it, you cannot be fully saved. The Protestant churches are no better, viewing themselves as parts of the whole church, a view fully rejected in the Scriptures (Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13). Christians are neither “Catholic” nor “Protestant”. They are disciples of Jesus, saved and capable of serving God through Christ without an ecclesiastical organization like the Catholic Church standing between them and God (Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9-10; 4:11, 16). The Catholic Church subsists by the will of men and not the will of God.
The woman of Samaria, perceiving Jesus to be a prophet after revealing the truth of her private life, promptly changed the subject. She turned the spotlight away from her to the problem of determining where one should worship God. Being a Samaritan, her people worshipped in mount Gerazim. Yet she knew that the Jews say Jerusalem is the place where God is to be worshipped. (John. 4:20)
Jesus responds with two interesting facts regarding worship. First, worship is not to be offered through ignorance. “Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). Giving homage to God was not manifesting reverence through emotions void of understanding. Salvation was being offered and was coming through the lineage of the Jews in Jesus. Understanding revealed salvation continues to be one reason for why one is to worship God.
Second, worship should be focused upon our spirit guided by truth instead of stressing a particular place. “Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father... But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such doth the Father seek to be His worshippers” (John 4:21, 23). Since God is “spirit”, our connection to him in worship must be through our spirit molded by revealed truth. “God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
One avenue that God wants our spirit to take in worship is “singing.” Under the influence of the Spirit’s teachings, we are to engage in “speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and making melody with your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19). Since we reverence God, we carry out his specific commands without unauthorized additions. In our spirit, we offer spiritual thoughts through singing in accordance to truth without mechanical instruments of music.
Convicted by this truth and the understanding of Jesus’ words in John 4:21-24, one would assume regardless of where we find ourselves, we would sing hymns and spiritual songs without any mechanical instrument. But such is not the case.
While some will not sing “I’ll Fly Away” with an instrument in the building on Sunday, they have no problem with strumming a guitar and singing the same words in their home on Saturday. Is the Saturday night exercise offered without considering God and his promises, therefore not worship?
Others will not sing “Rock of Ages” with a mechanical instrument in our assemblies, but will sing the same song with a piano at a funeral. Are we saying to God, this is not worship, but just uttered words not offered in praise of you? Have we not ignored the fact that Jesus has not restricted worship to a physical place?
May the light of truth vanquish the darkness of ignorance. The praise of God offered from our spirits is worship regardless of where we are. Offer it in the way God wants to be worshipped. Offer it according to Truth!
-Glad Tidings, March 11, 2007
A church that is no part of any denomination? (1 Cor. 1:10)
A church with no head but Christ? (Eph. 1:22-23)
A church with no creed but the Bible? (2 John 9-11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
A church with only a Bible Name? (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2)
A church without any amusements to draw crowds? (John 12:32; Matt. 21:12-13)
A church organized by New Testament pattern? (Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23)
A church support by the free-will offerings of its members? (1 Cor. 16:2)
(No begging, rummage sales, pie suppers nor amateur programs, etc.)
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Created by Chuck Sibbing. 07/13/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA