And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 14, Number
In this issue:
April 24–28, 2011
Bible lessons nightly, Mon-Thu at 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Peter was a man of faith. Like each of us, his faith grew with time. The miraculous evidence he saw and the teaching he heard convicted him that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:13-17). The truth the Father revealed remains available for the whole world to see and believe (Jno 20:30-31; 5:36-37; 10:25).
In his Wednesday night lesson brother Rich Brooks reminded us of Peter’s faith, using the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5:1-11 to show us the kind of faith we must have to be saved. Though an experienced fisherman who had labored all night and caught nothing, Peter humbly yielded to the instructions of the carpenter and caught a great number of fish (vss. 4-7). Peter said, “at your word” I will let down the net, and did. We must follow Peter’s example of faith.
When Peter saw the miraculous catch he fell before Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (v. 8)! Peter knew his spiritual condition before the Lord; he was a sinner, unworthy of the Lord’s presence. Yet, Jesus mercifully reassured Peter (and his fishing partners) not to fear; they would become fishers of men (v. 9-10). Convicted and encouraged, they forsook all and followed Jesus. We must do the same (Lk 9:23).
Such uncomplicated faith in Christ and unflinching commitment to His word is essential for our salvation (Matt 7:21-24; Lk 6:46). Faith will not save us if we fail to fall before Jesus, trusting Him fully and obeying Him completely (Heb 5:8-9; Matt 19:20-22).
Consider what has and will happen at God’s word:
1) The universe was made at His word. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made...For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa 33:6, 9). God did not use evolution and eons of time to “create” the world; He spoke, created and completed His work of creation in six days (Gen 1:1; 2:1-2; Exo 20:11). The Psalmist did not say by the word of the Lord the heavens ‘began to be made’ and ‘after billions of years’ it stood fast. Those who tinker with the length of the days of creation deny the word of God (whether knowingly or unwittingly, I cannot say). Our faith is in what God said. At His word, the heavens and the earth were “made”, creation was “done” and it “stood fast”.
2) The dead will be raised at His word. “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jno 5:28-29). The resurrection of the just and the unjust will happen simultaneously, not separated by 1,000 years as Premillennialism teaches. All will hear Christ command death to release its captives, thus destroying its power (1 Cor 15:26, 51-55). Faith compels us to get ready for that day to come.
3) The universe will be destroyed at His word. God’s word is reserving this world for fire “until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet 3:7). God’s word assures a complete destruction on that day, prompting holy living by the faithful (2 Pet 3:10-14).
At His word, people of faith obey and are saved.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading:1 Peter 1:13-19
1. Holiness of God is our compelling reason to be holy, 1 Pet 1:13-16.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HOLY?
II. HOLINESS BEGINS IN THE MIND, 1 Pet 1:13; Rom 12:2 (1).
Gird Up the Loins of Your Mind, 1 Pet 1:13; cf. Jas 1:8 (Acts 17:11).
III. HOLINESS MUST PREVAIL IN OUR CONDUCT, 1 Pet 1:14-16.
Obedience Harmonizes with Holiness.
1. Holy God dwells with the humble, Isa 57:15.
The Blame Game
As this is being written we do not yet know if the U.S. Government will shut down for lack of a budget. Whatever the outcome, I am safe in saying there will be plenty of finger pointing over who caused it, who nearly caused it, or who could have prevented it. (In fact, the pointing has already begun.)
Children on the playground, unwilling to take responsibility, point their fingers at one another and say, “He made me do it”! Adam figuratively pointed his finger at Eve (even trying to point back at God), “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Gen 3:12). Eve pointed at the serpent (Gen 3:13). God, however, pointed at both of them. They were responsible for their own sin, even though influenced by another. So are we.
For example, the unfaithful husband cannot justifiably point his finger at his wife saying, “You drove me to the arms of another woman.” He took the fire into his own bosom; he is guilty (Prov 7:27-29).
We dare not expect divine mercy by pointing a finger at others as being worse sinners. If someone has sinned in some way you have not, that means you are putting degrees on sin – and yours is less than his (he is a “worse sinner” than you). If true, that only means you too are a sinner and without repentance, you will also perish (Lk 13:1-5).
We dare not point our finger at others saying, “I would never commit that sin.” Peter did something like that once, only to weep bitterly later over his sinful failure (Matt 26:33-35, 69-75).
Taking personal responsibility does not point fingers at others, it takes stock of itself, humbly repents and obtains God’s mercy (Lk 18:13-14).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 04/14/2011
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA