And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 01 December 07, 2008
In this issue:
This issue marks the start of the twelfth year of publication for The Spirit’s Sword. It is good from time to time to pause and reflect on where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Perhaps this is a good opportunity for us to do so concerning the bulletin.
The Past. We began publishing The Spirit’s Sword as a part of the work of the Northside church of Christ (now the Mt. Baker church) in the fall of 1996. Our objective remains the same today as it was from the start; to provide sound Bible teaching for our members and other interested readers (2 Tim. 4:2). It was only a two-sided letter size page at the beginning, containing an article or two along with the local announcements and assignments. As time went by we increased its size and content to include our weekly sermon outlines. We are thankful to all whose articles are used from time to time; your work continues to be an important part of this effort.
The internet presented new opportunities for The Spirit’s Sword. We have been delivering it via e-mail to hundreds of others for the past ten years. Our website has an easy way to sign up for weekly e-mail delivery, and we invite you to do so (www.bibleanswer.com/ssword.htm). Chuck Sibbing does a great job presenting the bulletin on our website, and my thanks to him for his good work.
The Present. Because the Bible is relevant to our lives we try our best to be relevant in what we write. The “Noteworthy News” column on page 4 is often what folks read first. The Bible has application to daily living, and we intend to continue using the publication to address life; life as a Christian in a world darkened by sin (Eph. 5:8-17).
The Spirit’s Sword is currently being translated into the Telugu language in India. Athma Khadgam (The Spirit’s Sword) is a 24 page bi-monthly magazine. Brother Sudhakar Boni is doing yeoman’s work on this project (translating, printing, etc.). It is being mail to about 600 addresses at this time.
Some mail The Spirit’s Sword to others, and we hope that continues. Some are sending it by e-mail to many others, particularly to brethren in the Philippines. I regularly get posts from Filipino brethren who are using the material to teach, thereby spreading its influence on to others.
All of these efforts to spread the influence and usefulness of this paper are greatly appreciated. Our goal is to teach the gospel so that in turn others may be taught (2 Tim. 2:2). We pray this paper aids in that effort.
The Future. Our plan is to continue writing and publishing The Spirit’s Sword as long as the Lord grants us the ability and opportunity to do so. It is a teaching tool that we can use to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Pet. 3:18).
The Center for Youth Ethics at the Josephson Institute (an ethics organization based in California) just released its 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth (charactercounts.org). They surveyed nearly 30,000 high school students across America, and the results “paint a troubling picture of our future politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists in general” (“The Ethics of American Youth – 2008 summary”, charactercounts.org). Indeed. Please consider some numbers from this survey with me and then some analysis from the Scriptures.
STEALING. More than one third of the boys (35 percent) and one fourth of the girls (26 percent) surveyed – a total of 30 percent – admitted to stealing from a store within the past year. (In 2006 the overall total was 28 percent.) 23 percent said they stole from a parent or relative, and 20 percent said they stole from a friend.
LYING. 42 percent said they sometimes lie to save money (49 percent males, 36 percent females). That compares to 39 percent in 2006. More than eight out of ten (83 percent) confessed they lied to a parent about something significant.
CHEATING. “Cheating in school continues to be rampant and it’s getting worse. A substantial majority (64 percent) cheated on a test during the past year (38 percent did so two or more times), up from 60 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in 2006.” (Ibid.)
Now, consider this summary: “As bad as these numbers are, it appears they understate the level of dishonesty exhibited by America’s youth. More than one in four (26 percent) confessed they lied on at least one or two questions on the survey. Experts agree that dishonesty on surveys usually is an attempt to conceal misconduct.
“Despite these high levels of dishonesty, the respondents have a high self-image when it comes to ethics. A whopping 93 percent said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character and 77 percent said that when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.” (Ibid.)
Lying, cheating and stealing are becoming more and more acceptable to our youth. Almost all surveyed are satisfied with their personal ethics and character, yet many of these same young people lie, cheat and steal. Please do not miss this point: most compared themselves with others to convince themselves that when it comes to honesty, they are better than others!
The Bible is clear that lying, stealing and cheating are sins against God and against one’s neighbor. Stealing is sin: “Let him who stole steal no more” (Eph. 4:28). Lying is sin: “Put away lying, ‘let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25). Cheating is sin: “You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him” (Lev. 19:13; see Prov. 11:1; 1 Ths. 4:6).
Saying, “I’m not as bad as others” does not justify sinful behavior. Comparing our sins with the sins of others does not justify us; how foolish! (2 Cor. 10:12) God’s word is the standard of truth (Jno. 17:17). Young people are learning to lie, cheat and steal from adults as well as their peers. Parents, teachers, entertainers, politicians and others must take responsibility to teach honesty to our children by being honest themselves! Dishonesty is rampant in our society and it is being accepted and expanded by each subsequent generation.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is its reproach (Prov. 14:34). Character matters! Without honesty, souls are lost and societies are destroyed. Be honest with God – and yourself.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Daniel 2:26-30
The scene, Daniel 2:1-30.
I. …WHO HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYER (2:17-19).
-Hears: Psa. 65:2 (the humble, Psa. 10:17; the righteous, Psa. 34:15).
II. …WHO GOVERNS THE NATIONS (2:21). -Dan. 2:47; 4:17; Jno. 19:10-11; Rom. 13:1
-Pray for rulers / righteousness, 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Prov. 14:34.
III. …WHO REVEALS TRUTH TO MAN (2:22, 27-29, 47); Gen. 40:8 (41:16, 38)
-God’s hand of help, Psa. 119:169-174.
IV. …WHO HAS ESTABLISHED HIS KINGDOM (2:44, 34-35).
-Messianic kingdom, 2 Sam. 7:12-13 (Acts 2:29-33).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 33:1-5
Review of Part 1.
I. THE HISTORY OF MUSIC IN WORSHIP.
Music in the NT Church: Singing, Heb. 2:12; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor.
14:14-16; Jas. 5:13.
II. DEFENDING THE USE OF INSTRUMENTS.
In Eph. 5:19 “Psallo” means “to Pluck/Twang”: Therefore an Instrument Must
be Included in this Word.
Conclusion “God has not left His worship open to the inventions, desires, or preferences of men.” (Old Light on New Worship, John Price, 53)
The Oshkosh Northwestern Newspaper reported Friday that the leader of the Oshkosh Salvation Army, Capt. Yalanda Harsh, has been suspended from his duties and could soon be terminated from the organization due to his engagement to a woman who is not affiliated with the Salvation Army. (An officer in the Salvation Army can only marry another officer. Harsh’s wife died earlier this year of a heart attack.) (“Oshkosh Salvation Army Leader Suspended”, Doug Zellmer, thenorthwestern.com)
The Salvation Army, which is itself a religious denomination, has restricted remarriage beyond the Scriptures. The word of Christ is clear that those whose spouse has died are free to remarry (Rom. 7:3; 1 Cor. 7:8-9). Also, those who put away their spouse due to fornication have God’s approval to remarry (Matt. 19:9). I am not denying the Salvation Army’s right to regulate their organization. But, this helps to illustrate binding where the Lord has not bound. (He knew the rule, agreed to it, and is now about to violate it. Due to his violation of this man made rule he will also be removed from his Salvation Army provided house.)
God’s word says some people cannot remarry without committing sin; not all remarriages are righteous. One who has not put away his spouse for the cause of fornication cannot remarry without committing adultery (Matt. 19:9). According to Jesus, millions of remarriages are sinful. Repenting of this adultery means ending the sinful relation. To repent, the sinful remarriage must end, not remain (Lk. 3:8-14; Acts 26:20; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 9:20-21).
What is the difference between the Salvation Army and us, some ask? Simply this: The Salvation Army has imposed a man made rule on remarriage. We are not doing that. Christ has imposed His rule over remarriages, and violating His will forfeits one’s eternal life.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/17/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA