And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 43 November 01 2009
In this issue:
Anyone who goes on a trip knows he must make certain preparations in order to insure as safe and pleasant a trip as possible. The car may need to be serviced, the clothes must be packed, and if food is being taken, the proper items purchased and prepared. Most would agree that getting ready for a trip is important to the trip's success.
Similarly, once you are on your trip, certain provisions must continually be secured. Fuel, lodging and food are some of the things that come to mind. It is not enough to begin a trip fully prepared. One must also be ready to supply the periodic provisions needed so the trip will be enjoyable.
What does this have to do with being Christians? Well, Christians have made initial preparations to make a trip to heaven. That preparation began by obeying the gospel of Christ and being saved from our past sins (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). But once the trip to heaven begins Christians must have the proper supply of spiritual provisions needed to insure a safe and rewarding journey. Sadly, we may be taking much more care to insure a successful road trip here on earth than we do our trip to heaven. How can we change this situation? What provisions must we make for our journey to heaven?
The Holy Spirit guided the apostle Paul to exhort us with sobering words: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom 13:11-14).
Christians are thus called on to examine the provisions we have made for traveling to heaven. It is not enough to begin the journey – we must also complete it (Heb 3:14). Consider the provisions the Lord exhorts us to make in order to go to heaven.
We all need a wake-up call from time to time, and Paul gives us one in Romans 13:11 (see 1 Cor 15:34 and Eph 5:14 for similar exhortations). Spiritual lethargy sets in as we hurry along from day to day. We need to renew our spiritual alertness and perception. What is life all about to us? Is it about material success and physical comfort? Is it about pleasures of the flesh and profit? Remember, this world is not the Christian’s home (Phil 3:20; 1 Pet 2:11). It is high time for us to renew and maintain our eternal perspective on life. The reason should be obvious – we are nearing our reward: “For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed”. Time moves on. Every day we draw closer to eternity. How are we using our time (Eph 5:16)? Wake up and lay up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:19-21).
Get to Work
Making provisions to accomplish a journey or any task requires timeliness. The suitcases do not pack themselves. And, if you wait until the last minute to get ready you are liable to forget something. To make provisions to go to heaven we must understand that now is the time to be working for the Lord: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Rom 13:12). “Day” signifies the opportunity for and the appropriate time of labor. When we became Christians we left the “night” of sin with its spiritual inactivity to enter the “day” of salvation (cf. 2 Cor 6:2). We do not look for a “convenient season” to get ready to go to heaven (Acts 24:25). We use the time we have to put our faith to work for the Lord (Heb 10:36-39). When it comes to improving your spiritual life, do you put off until tomorrow what you should be doing today? If so, you are risking the eternal loss of your soul.
Cast off Sin and Put on Christ
To make provisions for heaven we must eliminate sin from our lives: “Cast off the works of darkness…make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts” (Rom 13:12, 14). In verse 13 the apostle gives an abbreviated list of the works of darkness. Each couplet contains elements of selfishness and the lustful excesses of the flesh: “revelry and drunkenness” (carousing indulgence and excess), “lewdness and lust” (promiscuity and sexual immorality), and “strife and envy” (prideful disruption of unity through malicious rivalry with others).
To make provisions to go to heaven we must not only put off sin, we must also “put on the armor of light” as we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:12, 14). We would not start a trip in the dark if our car had no headlamps. Jesus, the light of world, gives us the heavenly provision of truth to light our path (Jno 8:12; Psa 119:105). Yet, many souls try traveling to heaven without the divine light guiding them. Blinded by their sin in unbelief, the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” does not shine on them (2 Cor 4:4).
To make provisions for the soul’s journey to heaven we must wake up, we must
get up and work, and we must grow up in Christ by putting away sin and
always following His word (Rom 13:113-14). Are you ready for your eternal
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-19
1. To have an effect on something; power to sway, the exertion of force.
I. THE POWER OF EVIL INFLUENCES, Prov 22:24-25; 1 Kgs 11:1-4.
Corrupting Influence of Evil and Error, 1 Cor 5:6-8 (leaven), Gal 5:7-9;
Matt 16:6,12; 2 Tim 2:14; Prov 6:25-29; He 3:13
II. THE POWER OF GODLY INFLUENCES.
Flavoring and Preserving Power of a Godly Influence, Matt 5:13; Mk 9:50.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Legacy We Leave Our Children
Scripture Reading: Psalm 101:1-4
1. We are adept at raising monuments to events, places and people.
I. THE LEGACY OF OUR LIFESTYLE, Psa 101:2.
Example is the Best Teacher”, Exo 12:25-27; 2 Chrn 30:26; Matt 5:14-16.
II. THE LEGACY OF A WHOLESOME, SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT, Eph 6:4 (1 Sam 1:27-28).
A. Put the
Word Of God into Our Children’s Hearts, Deut 6:6-9; Prov 22:6.
III. THE LEGACY OF RESPECT FOR GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE, Matt 10:37.
A. Be on the Lord’s Side When Decision Time Comes, Exo 32:25-26; Josh 24:15 (Abraham, Gen 18; Eli, 1Sam 2-3.
‘Marriage’ of Anglicans and Catholics
Almost 500 years ago the Church of England began due to a dispute over marriage. Now, the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are moving closer to bridging their religious divide. On October 20 the Vatican announced the creation of a diocesan structure within the Catholic Church to ease the process by which disaffected Anglicans can become Catholics. It seems the strained relations are easing; can a “remarriage” be far off?
The 77-million member Anglican Communion (a fellowship of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches) has been strained to the breaking point in recent years by the Episcopal ordination of an openly gay bishop and the ordination of women. Now, Anglicans wishing to return to the Catholic Church may do so without giving up “what the Vatican called ‘the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.’ That means not only a body of prayers and hymns, but also a tradition of married priests and bishops” (Catholic Church Makes ‘Stunning’ Move, AOL News).
This is an interesting dichotomy: Married priests in the Catholic Church (Anglican tradition) but celibate priests in the traditional RCC. If some Catholic priests can be married, why can’t all of them be married?
This is a classic example of man-made churches following man-made doctrines. There is no Catholic Church, Anglican Church or Episcopal Church in the New Testament; men built these churches. It speaks of the church of Christ, the one body of Christ. Christ built His church (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:47; Eph 1:22-23). There is no clergy in the church of Christ; every Christian is a priest (1 Pet 2:5, 9). Women have not been given leadership roles in the church of Christ (1 Tim 2:8-15). Marriage between a man and a woman is honorable for all, while homosexuality is a sin before God (Heb 13:4; 1 Tim 4:1-3; 1 Cor 6:9-10).
The churches of men adapt to the world, but the church of Christ comes out of the world, adapting to Christ’s gospel (1 Pet 2:9-10; 2 Cor 6:14-18).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 11/02/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA