And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 40 August 31, 2008
In this issue:
The gospel of Christ is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). The reason the gospel wields such power is stated in the next verse: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH’” (Rom. 1:17). The gospel has power to save sinners from sin; to give life where before there was only death.
Jesus came to earth to “seek and save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). He accomplished his work (Jno. 4:34; 17:4). Salvation from sin is made available to all who will believe in him and obey him (Jno. 8:24; Heb. 5:8-9). If we are to be saved at all it will be in and by the power of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
Some fail to understand the nature of the salvation Jesus offers. They envision a Savior who saves from political oppression or relieves physical poverty. Yet, in life Jesus lived in poverty under an oppressive Roman regime (Lk. 9:58; Jno. 19:10-11). If the nature of his salvation is “of this world” then he miserably failed to deliver.
The explanation for naming him “Jesus” gives us insight into the nature of the salvation his gospel proclaims: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Salvation from sins is the nature of His salvation. This salvation is defined as “remission of sins” in Luke 1:76-77. There, the Holy Spirit directed Zacharias to bless his child John as “the prophet of the Highest” who would “go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.” It is by the remission of sins that God’s people know salvation. Until one’s sins are removed he is not saved.
Remission of sins occurs when the sinner willingly (1) Hears the gospel (Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:1-2), (2) Believes its message that Jesus is the Christ (Jno. 8:24; 20:30-31), (3) Confesses his faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10), (4) Repents of his sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30), and is (5) Baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38-41; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21). Once the sinner is saved from past sins, this new Christian is added by the Lord to His church and taught by the gospel to faithfully live in “newness of life” (Acts 2:47; Rom. 6:4-18; 12:1-2).
The Son of God was sent into the world to save it, not condemn it (Jno. 3:17). The question is whether you will obey Jesus and be saved from your sins by the Savior. By obeying the gospel you will be saved by Jesus from sin’s death, pain, guilt and punishment (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41; 22:16). Salvation is in Christ (Acts 4:12).
The only way a repentant believer comes into a saved relationship with Jesus is to be “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Until then, you are lost in your sins. So, why not believe and obey Jesus today and be saved from sin by the power of His gospel? (2 Tim. 1:9-10)
What follows is a recent e-mail exchange on Freemasonry. You can learn more by reading “The Christian and Freemasonry” at http://www.bibleanswer.com/masonry.htm.
“Joe: I scanned your article on Freemasonry and I must disagree with you on your opinions. First of no Masonic Lodge sets itself up as a church and does not call itself a religion, the definition of Freemasonry is “a brotherhood of friends and brothers among whom no contention should ever exist except that noble contention of who best can work or best agree”. In the Masonic Lodge there are certain signs and symbols that represent the craft, in the Christian Church there are signs and symbols that carry a certain representation. The Bible is full of gory history of God’s wrath put there by inspired men of God that we may be thoroughly furnished in all things, the Masonic Lodge admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before man that we may present ourselves approved unto God. When a person enters the Masons he is presented with a new King James Bible. Most Christian Churches today use the NIV which is a slap in the face to God. Joe, about every one of our presidents have been Masons, actually Kennedy is the only one that I know of that wasn’t a Mason. Why don’t you tell the Shriners they are not Christian and shame on them for giving free medical aide to the destitute, the crippled and victims of fire and disease. You see, Joe, if you don’t want to be a Mason then don’t be one but don’t tell me it is unchristian if I want to be one after all it is your opinion. In Christ, Jim”
My answer to Jim:
Thank you for scanning the material on Freemasonry. I hope you will take more time and carefully read and study it to get a clear understanding of the topic.
With all due respect, I gave Masonic references that confirm Masonry is indeed religious; not my opinion. As for the KJV on the Masonic altar, I encourage you to do some more studying from Masonic authors. Here is one I just looked up online (a 33° Mason). Are you comfortable with a Koran on the altar? That’s what’s used in the Islamic world. And are you comfortable with the “Supreme Being” of Masonic philosophy being Allah of the Koran? Here is what W. Bro. William Larson 33°, Kenton Lodge #145 G.L. A.F. & A.M. Oregon, USA wrote in “WHAT ARE THE SECRETS OF FREEMASONS?”:
“On the Alter you will notice that the Bible here displayed is of the King James version. This is the Holy writings that this Lodge prefers to use. However these holy writings could just as easily be the Veda, the Koran, the Jewish book of faith, or any other sacred book that you prefer. We, as Masons, make no distinction of one Bible to another. During any prayers, which we offered up this evening, you will notice that we referred to God. We as Masons believe that there is only one Supreme Being. You may refer to that Supreme Being as you would please. You may ask the blessing of Jehovah, Allah, Yod, Mohamad, or any other Supreme Being that you believe in. We make no distinctions in what you believe that Supreme Beings name is. This is your preference and the preference of all Masons everywhere.” (www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/larson.html)
This 33º Mason says Masons “make no distinction of one Bible to another.”
Furthermore, a new Mason in the country of Turkey would not be presented a KJV Bible; a Koran maybe, but not a Bible of any sort!
As for whether or not Freemasonry is a religion, the renown Masonic author Albert G. Mackey (“March 12, 1807 – June 20, 1881, an American medical doctor, and is best known for his authorship of many books and articles about freemasonry, particularly Masonic Landmarks. He served as Grand Lecturer and Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of South Carolina; Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States”, Wikipedia.com) wrote:
“There has been a needless expenditure of ingenuity and talent, by a large number of Masonic orators and essayists, in the endeavor to prove that Freemasonry is not a religion…On the contrary, we contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Freemasonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution -- that it is indebted solely to the religious element it contains for its origin as well as its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good…
“The tendency of all true Freemasonry is toward religion. If it make any progress, its progress is to that holy end. Look at its ancient landmarks, its sublime ceremonies, its profound symbols and allegories -- all inculcating religious doctrine, commanding religious observance, and teaching religious truth, and who can deny that it is eminently a religious Institution?…
“...It points its disciples to the path of righteousness…as the handmaid of religion, it may, and often does, act as the porch that introduces its votaries into the temple of divine truth. Freemasonry, then, is indeed a religious institution, and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Freemason defend it.” (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, pp. 846-848)
Jim, your argument is with the former Grand Secretary of the The Grand Lodge of South Carolina and the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States -- not with me.
I hope you will give sober consideration to the truth that Freemasonry is indeed a religion. Even its scholars say it is.
I rejoice that good is accomplished through the charitable deeds of the Shriners and others. But that does not mean they are Christians; it means they are charitable. Jews are also charitable (they are not Christians) as are many other religions, including Masons.
Thank you for considering these things in the light of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only Light of the world (Jno. 8:12, 31-32; Col. 3:17). Cordially, Joe Price
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:40-42
1. The apostles of Christ fulfill a significant role in the Messiah’s
kingdom (Matt. 19:27-28; Eph. 4:11-12).
I. THE APOSTLES ACTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST, 10:1-15. Because…
Selected them, cf. Mk. 3:14-15.
II. RECEIVING THE APOSTLES – RECEIVING CHRIST, 10:11-15; 40-42.
A. Those who
Receive the Apostles are Described as ‘Worthy’, 10:11-13, 14; Acts 2:41-42.
III. THE APOSTLES’ FAITH IN CHRIST, Matt. 10:16-39.
A. The Character
of their Faith, 10:16-23.
Another Storm Heads for U.S. Coast
Tropical storm Gustav is expected to reach hurricane strength sometime Friday as it makes its way into the Gulf of Mexico heading for landfall on the Gulf coast next week. Almost three years to the day that hurricane Katrina came onshore; Gustav has the potential to wreck new havoc from Texas to Florida.
We might say, “One storm is enough!” and “Why does there have to be another one so soon at nearly the same place as Katrina?” Of course, in a calm moment of reflection we know that such weather events have been happening for thousands of years. Bad things happen; sometimes repeatedly.
We may also think this way about the storms we face in our personal lives; storms that challenge our faith as they bring suffering and pain, deprivation and hardships. When the actions of ungodly people hurt the righteous we may cry out, “Why, Lord?!” or “Why again?” We try to make sense of it all, yet Christians do not lose heart in times of trial (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
God’s word assures the faithful that moments of trial become great opportunities to define and refine our faith: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (Jas. 1:2-3). Trials in life can discipline us to be more nearly like God if we will accept the training (Heb. 12:10-11).
No discipline is particularly enjoyable at the moment; it hurts (Heb. 12:11). Yet, we can accept it, increasing in personal devotion and growing in faith, knowing “that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).
When life’s troubles mount up, keep faith in Christ; He calms every storm (Matt. 8:26; Phil. 4:4-7).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 08/31/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA