And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 27 June 01, 2008
In this issue:
Many people believe they are Christians. However, just believing it is so does not make it so. The way of man is not in himself – Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jno. 14:6). We must go to the word of Christ and let it answer the question, “Who is a Christian?”
A Christian has been saved from his past sins (Acts 4:12). God’s grace saves all who believe and obey the Son (Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 5:8-9). A newsletter I receive says being saved is “summed up in three words: believe, Jesus and (everlasting) life. To be born again, eternally saved, all one needs to do is believe that Jesus Christ guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it” (Bob Wilkin, “Scavenger Hunt Salvation without a List”, Grace in Focus, May/June 2008). Mr. Wilkin has it wrong on how to be born again (saved) and on the impossibility of apostasy. The lost are not saved by “simply believing.” There is no doubt the demons believe that Jesus Christ saves those who believe in Him – yet they are lost! (Jas. 2:19; Mk. 5:6-7) Yes, one must believe Jesus Christ saves in order to become a Christian, but to “simply believe” does not make one a Christian. Such belief gives one the power to become a child of God (Jno. 1:12-13).
Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). Sins are washed away in the blood of Christ when the believer repents and is baptized (Acts 2:37-38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4). Then the Lord adds the saved person – the Christian – to his church (Acts 2:47).
A Christian is a disciple of Jesus. With his past sins forgiven, the Christian now follows Christ: “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The word Christian means “an adherent of Christ”. As a disciple, the Christian follows the teachings of Christ throughout his life. His first priority is the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). He does what the Lord Jesus says (Lk. 6:46). The Christian who fails to put the Lord first and refuses to follow His word has turned back to sin and has fallen from grace (2 Pet. 2:20-22; Gal. 5:4).
One becomes a Christian through the persuasion of the gospel. King Agrippa knew that people become Christians through persuasion (Acts 26:28; Mk. 16:15-16). The Lord did not equip us with gimmicks to draw people to Christ. He gave us the power of the gospel to convict and persuade the lost (Rom. 1:16-17; 10:13-17; Jno. 6:44-45).
A Christian lives to glorify God (1 Pet. 4:16). The Christian’s life is a living sacrifice, offering to God what pleases him by faithfully doing his will (Rom. 12:1). He commits himself to a life that is morally pure and doctrinally accurate (1 Jno. 2:28-29). He is an “unprofitable” servant of God who is saved by grace through faith (Lk. 17:10; Eph. 2:8-9).
The Bible says that the person who practices righteousness is righteous (1 Jno. 3:7). Likewise, we cannot just talk about self-sacrifice; we must practice it every day. Self-sacrifice that is not practiced is no sacrifice at all!
1. Self-sacrifice is necessary to repent and be saved. The godly sorrow that produces repentance unto salvation is ready and willing to sacrifice every sin that was previously committed (2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 19:18-20).
2. Self-sacrifice is necessary to worship God. Many excuses are heard from those who choose not to deny self and worship the Lord as he has commanded. To put the Lord first and worship him will mean sacrificing your time and your personal convenience to assemble with God’s people (Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:24-25). Giving as the Lord has prospered you involves self-sacrifice (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7).
3. Self-sacrifice is necessary to learn God’s word. Time and effort are required to study and learn the Bible. The upright in heart will sacrifice whatever is necessary in order to learn and live the word of God (Psa. 1:1-2; 25:4-5; 2 Tim. 2:15).
4. Self-sacrifice is necessary to live a moral life. The gospel calls us to put away evil companions and immoral conduct (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). As you live in the world you must not be of the world (Jno. 17:15-17). That requires putting away every desire of the flesh and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:13-14; 1 Jno. 2:15-16).
5. Self-sacrifice is necessary to help those in need. To have the ability to help someone in need but refusing to do so does not show the love of God (1 Jno. 3:17-18). It is not the character of Christ (Matt. 25:35-41).
Sacrifice characterizes true disciples of Jesus. The disciple’s purpose in life is to “gain Christ” – everything else is secondary to that goal. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).
-From Building Bible Character, 58
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:3-5
I. FALSE TEACHERS DECEIVE, 2 Cor. 11: 13-15.
A. We must not be Caught off
Guard, 2 Cor. 4:1-2 (2:17); Matt. 7:15; Jude 4; 2 Pet. 2:3.
II. FALSE TEACHERS DESTROY, 2 Pet. 2:1-2, 15 (19).
A. Destroy Themselves, 2 Pet.
III. FALSE TEACHES DEVOUR, 2 Pet. 2:3.
A. They Covet You for
Themselves, not You for the Truth’s Sake, cf. Gal. 6:12-13 with 2 Cor.
12:14-15; Rom. 16:18; 1 Ths. 2:5; Acts 20:20; Jer. 14:13-15.
IV. FALSE TEACHERS DIVIDE, Ro. 16:17-18
A. Cause Division where Unity
should Exist, 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 1 Jno. 2:19 (1 Cor. 11:19).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 15:8-13
1. Matthew was
written primarily to Jewish audience.
I. THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS, 1:1-17.
A. Why? (Certification of his
lineage), 2 Chr. 23:3 (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5).
II. ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS, 1:18-25.
A. The Birth of Jesus Christ.
III. CONTRASTS FOR OUR LEARNING.
A. His Human Descent and
Actress Sharon Stone said this week the earthquake in China that killed tens of thousands was the result of “bad karma” for China’s treatment of Tibet. This created a firestorm of complaints against Stone, who later apologized for her statement.
Karma is a philosophical theory of cause and effect. In Buddhism it is “the law of moral causation…Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. It covers all that is included in the phrase "thought, word and deed". Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. In its ultimate sense Karma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent.” (“The Theory of Karma,” Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw) In Hinduism, this moral causation is a series of actions and reactions throughout a person’s reincarnated lives. In other words, if you are experiencing good things now, Hinduism says it is due to the good you did in a previous life. On the other hand, harmful effects now are due to your harmful actions in a previous life.
The Bible does not teach the eastern religions’ theory of karma. It does teach that we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). However, the reaping here is in the eternal realm, not this temporal one: “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6:8).
Jesus said those who were killed by Pilate and those on whom the tower fell were not worse sinners than others (Lk. 13:1-4). Evil people harm the innocent and accidents happen (Eccl. 9:11).
Calamities in life serve as a (1) Reminder that God rules over all and as a (2) Warning that we must repent of our sins and obey God now (Amos 4:6-12; Lk. 13:3, 5).
Karma is a false philosophy. God’s people must not allow themselves to be deceived by its error (Col. 2:8).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/02/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA