And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 12, 04/25/2010
In this issue:
Mt. Baker Church of Christ
Invites you to our
Theme: Renewing our Minds
April 25-30, 2010
Monday-Friday at 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 25th at 9:30 & 10:30 AM; 6:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
For more information please call (360) 752-2692
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Without hearing the word of God, there can be no faith.
That is why communication is so important. God wants to communicate to us and does so through the Holy Scriptures. But if we don’t study, if we don’t read, God is not able to communicate. If God had chosen to do so, He could have written His will across the sky. But He didn’t. He could have spoken to us in some mysterious way that is "better felt than told.” But He didn’t. He could have impressed His will into man as He has with animals (instinct). But He didn’t. He has expressed His will to us through the Holy Scriptures. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16). Are you aware that God is communicating with us through the Bible?
The History of Mankind
Have you considered what God is communicating to us? Genesis 1 and 2 tells us of our origin: we are made in the image of God. But Genesis 3 tells us that man soon went astray after creation and sinned against the Creator. They died spiritually when they sinned, and began to die physically as a direct result of their disobedience (Gen. 2:17), no longer permitted to eat of the tree of life (2:9). Though we do not inherit the guilt of Adam and Eve (Ezekiel 18:4, 20), we suffer the consequences of physical death and, when we sin, we suffer spiritual death also (Romans 3:23; 6:23). We need salvation because we have sinned.
Soon after Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15). He was to come as the "seed of woman," and this was realized when Mary, though a virgin, gave birth to Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1:18-25). From Genesis 3 onward, through all the Bible, God has communicated how He planned our redemption in Jesus. It is vital that we understand what God has said about being saved from our sins and that we learn of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. But we only understand as we read – if we do not read the Bible, we will never know of God’s grace.
Testament – New Testament
In the book of Genesis, God related how He chose Abraham because he was a man of faith (15:6) and decided to bring Jesus into the world through Abraham’s genealogy. God made promises to Abraham and made a covenant with him concerning Jesus (Gen. 17:1-7; 22:18). The descendants of Abraham ultimately became a nation, dwelling in the promised land, being guided by the Law of Moses (Exodus 20, et al). This law, also a covenant, continued in effect with Abraham’s descendants (later known as "Jews") until the death of Christ. After Jesus’ resurrection, He gave another covenant and the old covenant was taken out of the way (2 Corinthians 3:6-13; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 9:11-15; et al). This new covenant was given, not just to Jews, but to all mankind the world over. Hence, the Great Commission states: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16). All mankind, you and I, are included in this new covenant and will be saved from our sins if we accept Jesus. This is why the New Testament message about Jesus is called the "gospel" or "good news." The old covenant was added "because of transgressions" (Galatians 3:19); the new covenant was added to bring salvation (Romans 1:16). This is wonderful news and needs to be communicated to the entire world.
"Go Into All The World"
It is God’s will that the story of Jesus be told so that all may be saved. Every person needs to understand what to do to be saved, just as the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:30). But how is the message to be communicated? Friends, the gospel must be preached (1 Corinthians 1:21) so that faith may be generated (Romans 10:17). "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-32). The New Testament is a written record of salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead to prove that He was the Son of God. He died that we might live! Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the gospels), reveal the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The book of Acts reveals how the church was established and that it is composed of those who are saved (Acts 2:47). The other books of the New Testament were letters written by inspired men to tell them of the teachings of Christ (Acts 2:42; 1 Timothy 3:14-15).
This is written to communicate with you concerning the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Have you accepted Jesus by faith (Hebrews 11:6)? Have you repented of your sins (Luke 13:3)? Have you confessed your faith in Jesus (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10)? Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7)? Are you following Jesus as a faithful disciple (Revelations 2:10)?
It will be our pleasure to study with you and communicate the gospel message. Do you understand the message? Are you willing to obey the gospel?
Watchman Magazine (April 2003)
We will be happy to arrange a Bible study with you if you have Bible questions and want to learn more about God’s will for your life. Ask us about a Bible study!
How to Study the Bible (1)
Joe R. Price
The Bible must be understood and followed to by saved from our sins “by grace, through faith” (Eph 2:8). How we approach our study of the Bible will in large measure determine whether we understand it. Failure to properly study the Bible produces “untaught and unstable people” who twist the Scriptures, destroying themselves and others (2 Pet 3:16). Here are some brief, Bible-based explanations of how to study the Bible.
1) Know it is the word of God. The Scriptures are “holy” since their origin is God (2 Tim 3:15-16). The Bible speaks of divine things; it is the revelation of God’s mind. Any other view of the Bible invariably leads to less that complete reverence for its contents.
2) Determine to do the will of God. Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God…” (Jno 7:17). A study to justify ourselves does not lead us in the path of righteousness. One must have the will to do God’s will – especially when that means repenting of past errors. Study the Bible determined to know and obey the truth of God (Matt 7:24-27).
3) Have an open and ready heart to accept the truth you find. The Bereans are commended for their fair-mindedness when they heard the apostolic teaching (Acts 17:11). With open hearts they “searched the Scriptures” to determine the truthfulness of the gospel. This, in turn, led them to belief and salvation (Acts 17:12). Like Cornelius and his house, you must be ready “to hear all the things commanded” by God (Acts 10:33).
4) Keep a good and honest heart (Lk 8:15). Such a heart holds fast the truth it learns and bears fruit that pleases God.
We must have “ears to hear” in order to effectively study the Bible (Lk 8:8). That is, our heart must be willing to accept the truth it contains. Otherwise, Bible study is frustratingly futile as one remains in the darkness of ignorance and death of sin (Eph 4:17-24).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 04/22/2010
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA