And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 33 August 23, 2009
In this issue:
Invites you to our
Back to the Bible Preaching!
September 9–13, 2009
Wednesday - Saturday: 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
The two little girls didn’t know what amount they were charging when I asked, “How much?” to their offer to sell me a glass of lemonade. We settled on a price and they went on their way around the neighborhood offering refreshment and earning some money along the way. A few minutes later the doorbell rang again. This time, a brother and sister were selling garden-grown carrots (earning money to go to Disneyland).
Jesus did not have selling and buying lemonade in mind when He said something about “a cup of cold water” given in the name of a disciple (Matt 10:42). Neither did He send His apostles into the world to sell the gospel like a bunch of carrots. But, He did send them into the world with His gospel and He expects us to receive them by receiving their message. When we receive the apostles we receive the Father and the Son (Matt 10:40-41).
The Father sent His Son into the world (Jno 7:29). He was sent from heaven bringing redemption, the gospel of peace and eternal life as the Savior of the world (Jno 17:3; 1 Jno 4:14). Christ offers refreshment for the soul, free of charge to all who will come to Him. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat…why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David” (Isa 55:1-3). Being justified “freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”, we rejoice in hope (Rom 5:2).
But the grace of God comes at a price. The blood of the Lamb of God was given as a ransom for those in bondage to sin (Matt 20:28; 1 Tim 2:6). The death of Jesus Christ is the great sacrifice for sin that appeases God’s wrath (Jno 3:16; Rom 3:24; 5:9; Isa 53:10-11).
The salvation offered by the grace of God is not “received” until we “accept” it. (Otherwise, everyone would be saved, since God’s grace has appeared to all, Tit. 2:11.) Sinners accept (obtain) salvation through faith: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:8-9).
Saving faith is an obedient faith (Jas 2:14-26). Noah was saved by grace through faith when he obeyed God and built the ark (Heb 11:7; Gen 6:8). Noah did not earn his salvation; he received it “by grace, through faith.”
In the same way, sinners obtain salvation “through faith” by God’s grace when they obey the Lord’s commands. And like Noah, by doing so they do not earn the right to be saved; they accept the gift of salvation God freely gives. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16). Truly, baptism “now saves you” but the sinner does not earn his salvation by it (1 Pet 3:20-21). Like Noah, he believes God’s word and obeys it in order to be saved from his sins by God.
Now then, back to Matthew 10:41. Jesus expects us to “receive a prophet in the name of a prophet” (Matt 10:41). How do we do that? Some say just believe – that faith only is enough to “receive a prophet” and be saved. But, God’s prophets are not “received” unless they are obeyed (Jer 7:25-27). The ones who received the prophet Peter were those who fully believed and fully obeyed his words: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized…” (Acts 2:40-41).
When one “receives a prophet in the name of a prophet” he “receives a prophet’s reward”. But, he has not earned his reward; he has accepted it by trusting and obeying God (Matt 10:41).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 107:1-3
1. The Lord is just, merciful and gracious; punishing sin and pardoning our
transgressions, Psa 103:6-10.
I. GOD’S LOVING-KINDNESS.
A. God is
Good, 107:1 (106:1; 118:1; 136:1); Psa 31:19.
II. THE LOVING-KINDNESS OF GOD.
Delivered Israel from Exile and Prison, 107:3-4, 10-12; Jer 31:7-12; Ezra
9:7-9 (Rom 6:17-18); 1 Chrn 16:34-36.
III. WHOEVER IS WISE…
Observes and Understands God’s Loving-kindness, 107:43.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:53-58
The bitter reactions and unreasonable rejection Jesus encountered remind us to be careful to give honor to whom honor is due and to avoid all bias and prejudice. These hinder us from accepting and living by the truth of God.
I. REACTIONS TO GOSPEL TEACHING, Matt 13:54-57.
were Offended, 13:57; cf. 1 Pet 2:7-8.
II. HOW TO AVOID REJECTING TRUTH.
on the Message, not the Messenger, 1 Cor 3:5; 2:1-5 (Psa 119:97; Gal
III. GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE, Matt 13:57; Jno 4:44.
Deserves All Honor, Jno 5:23; Matt 15:8-9; Jno 12:26; Rev 5:12-13 (19:1).
The continuing health care debate has seen partisans on both sides of the dispute. Webster says a partisan is “a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially: one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance”. The origin of our English word is traced to the Latin word pars meaning “part”.
Politics reveals partisanship. So does religion. In contrast, the gospel of Christ produces unity in Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:4-6). It is not God’s fault when division exists among believers.
Why then are there so many parties (factions), all professing to follow Christ? The answer is not found in the nature of the gospel, but in what causes division. Carnality is a source of division among believers (1 Cor 3:3). Pride is another source of divisive strife (cf. Rom 1:29-30). Thus, pride and carnality are a powerful duo that advances factiousness, strife and division where there ought to be peace and unity (Jas 4:1-3). We must “pursue peace with all” (Heb 12:14). By eliminating partisanship we will be able even to love our enemies (Matt 5:43, 46-47).
The partisan refuses the sound words of the gospel, preferring the wisdom and will of men (1 Tim 6:3-5). By definition, the partisan exhibits blind, prejudiced and unreasoning allegiance to his party rather than to the truth. Many will cling to error instead of yielding to the truth. To overcome partisanship we must have an overriding love for the truth; otherwise, we will be deceived by unrighteousness and lost in sin (2 Ths 2:10-12).
Christians must guard our unity in Christ (Eph 4:3). This is accomplished by loyalty to Christ and His word, not partisanship.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 08/24/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA