And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 14, Number
In this issue:
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18). The destructive nature of pride is on display every day; it does not take long to find examples all around us. Let’s remind ourselves that we are not immune to pride’s temptation. If we give in to it, we bring upon ourselves trial and trouble, sin and death.
Pride destroys humility. Pride is the opponent of humility as it estimates and elevates itself above others. The proud person is haughty and conceited; he is more concerned with himself instead of humbly serving others (cf. Rom 12:16). By destroying humility, pride destroys the servant heart that treats others gently.
Pride destroys remorse for sin. The contrite heart is crushed by its sin, but the proud heart is obstinate and unmoved by the mercy of God whose grace saves through faith. God said, “I will dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa 57:16). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jas 4:6). Why? Because the proud of heart resist Him (none will be saved against their will), refusing to yield to Him in obedient faith.
Pride destroys generosity. By definition, pride is selfish in its arrogance and impatient toward others. Generosity, when rightly practiced, comes from a humble, thankful heart (cf. 1 Tim 6:17-19).
Pride hardens the heart against God. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, in spite of the inescapable testimony of God’s power and supremacy, is traceable to pride. By exalting himself against God he brought upon himself and his land a devastating judgment (Exo 9:16-17). Dear reader, do not harden your heart against God and the testimony of His truth, for you will not overthrow God, either.
Pride destroys the soul. Pride is an abomination to God (Prov 6:16-17). Those who elevate themselves will be humbled by God (Lk 18:14). On judgment day, only the humble will enter glory.
Let us be wise by being humble: “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov 11:2).
"Dost Thou Steal?"
In Romans 2:21-22, the apostle Paul warned the Roman Christians about the dangers of hypocrisy. He noted some tell-tale signs of hypocrisy when he wrote, “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” It is a careful student, and thus a careful teacher, who recognizes the fact that he cannot teach a person one thing and then practice something different! To do so breeds hypocrisy and results in the loss of good influence upon Christians and non-Christians. Yet, hypocrisy is an easy trap in which to fall! Many have played the hypocrite, while denying this reality. When spending time in self-examination, are we acting as hypocrites? Let us study and see.
The Word “Hypocrite”
The word “hypocrite” as used in the Old Testament means: “one defiled in mind and conscience, yet concealing it, and pretending to be outwardly what he is not inwardly; to have zeal and affection towards God, when his heart is far from him” (Wilson’s O.T. Word Studies, p. 224). W.E. Vine translates “hypocrite” in this way: “primarily one who answers, then a stage-actor; hence the word became used metaphorically as a dissembler, a hypocrite” (Vine’s, p. 582). In other words, one who says one thing and does another, a pretender.
Pretend To Be Someone You Are Not
Sadly, there are those who are “Christians in name only”. In other words, they are hypocrites. While they pretend to be Christians, they are actually children of the Devil, not unlike the Jews in John 8:44.
The Old Testament records occasions where people literally pretended to be someone else. For example, in Genesis 27:1-46, we read of Jacob deceiving his father. That day, Jacob received the blessing that belonged to Esau. How was this accomplished? He dressed and acted like his brother (Gen. 27:18-30). This is literally what it means to be a hypocrite. Yet, we do not have to dress as someone else to be a hypocrite!
In the New Testament, we read the account of “Christians” pretending to be unselfish givers, when in truth, they were selfish. This is found in Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and Sapphira pretended to give all the money gained from selling a possession (v. 1). In truth, they kept back part (v. 2), and were found to be liars (v. 4-5). Acts 5 shows us that hypocrisy is a vulgar thing that needs to be avoided at all costs.
The hypocrite has always been presented in a negative light throughout the Bible. On 15 separate occasions, Jesus rebuked the people listening, calling them “hypocrites.” After reading these definitions, does this sound like you? Are you pretending to be a Christian? Are you an actor?
Teach One Thing And Do Another
Many today have an attitude that is often expressed as: “do as I say, and not as I do.” My friend, this will not work. This concept was what the apostle Paul was fighting against in Romans 2. How sad it is to see the transparent efforts of some to teach others the way of God while they themselves act as the Devil!
The Pharisees were known for teaching one thing, and doing another. In Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus told the multitude and the disciples not to act like the Pharisees, “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men…” (Matt. 23:4-5). If you are like this, rest assured, people can see through you. You are fooling no one!
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Cor. 13:5). It is up to all of us to keep away from hypocrisy, and make sure it is not in our lives. Are you a pretender? Do you teach others that “now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2), but live like there is no tomorrow? Do not be a hypocrite! Live for Christ! Who knows what good we can do in the Lord’s kingdom when we live that sincere, genuine life, that reflects Christ in all we do (Gal. 2:20)!
-The Old Paths (May 29, 2011)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Training and Admonition of the Lord
Scripture Reading:Proverbs 4:10-15
Parental responsibilities are physical and spiritual, with immediate and long term effects, 2 Tim 1:5; Eph 6:4; cf. 5:17-18.
I. NURTURE: BRING YOUR CHILD TO MATURITY, Eph 6:4.
Teach them Respect for Authority, Eph 6:1 (Heb 12:9); Prov 1:8; 5:1-2; (1
II. TRAINING: A DAY DOTH NOT A MAN MAKE, Eph 6:4; Prov 19:18.
Discipline begins with Teaching, Prov 22:6; 1:8-9; 4:1-4, 20-22; Deut 6:7-9.
III. ADMONITION: WARN OF DANGERS, Joel 1:2-3.
Warn of Dangers that Destroy Character, 1 Cor 15:33-34; 1 Jno 2:15; Matt
The Beat Goes On
Six. That is now the number of states that has legally sanctioned same-sex marriage. Friday night, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law, which takes effect in 30 days (New York Becomes the Sixth State to Legalize Gay Marriage, FoxNews.com). Advocates of same-sex marriage hailed the New York law as a step toward nationwide acceptance of their cause.
Presently, 58% of Americans say homosexuality should be accepted into society rather than discouraged. That number shoots up to 69% among those under 30 years of age (Most Say Homosexuality Should be Accepted by Society). The same study showed that “opposition to gay marriage has fallen by 19 points (from 65%) since 1996.” “Currently, 45% favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally while 46% are opposed. Two years ago, in April 2009, 35% supported same-sex marriage while 54% were opposed.” (Ibid.)
We must vigorously uphold the sanctity and exclusivity of marriage between male and female (Matt 19:4-6; 1 Cor 7:2; Heb 13:4). Marriage is ordained by God, not societal norms. Neither is marriage “approved” based on legal definitions and civil laws enacted by men.
Brethren must remember this Bible principle before accepting all remarriages regardless of previous divorce actions. God hates divorce, and Christ taught one cause for putting away a spouse whereby a proper remarriage may occur: the cause of fornication (Mal 2:16; Matt 19:9). Legal marriages exist which God does not approve – both between a man and a woman as well as those of the same sex (Mk 6:17-18; Rom 7:2-3). Such must not be accepted, but exposed as sin (Eph 5:11). Human laws will continue to approve sinful, immoral marriages. Although governments approve sin, Christians must never “worship the image of the beast” (Rev 13:15, 4-18).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/26/2011
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA