And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 14, Number
In this issue:
September 25–30, 2011
Bible lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
I want to think the best of others; the Bible says this is a part of love (1 Cor. 13:5; Matt. 7:12). Perhaps the person saying it has not thought through its meaning and implications. Perhaps it is said carelessly as “filler”. Then again, perhaps it accurately conveys how one sees, uses and teaches the Bible. Since teachers are accountable for the words they use, it is worthwhile for us to look more closely at a phrase that is heard at times among us (Matt. 12:37; Jas. 3:1).
Saying “the Bible suggests” implies an aversion to being negative when teaching the word of God. A more positive approach to Bible preaching that seeks not to offend sensibilities suggests a course of action rather than reproof, rebuke and exhortation (2 Tim. 4:2). Apparently, some brethren are more sensitive (and positive) than the Son of God. Jesus did not suggest the scribes and Pharisees were lost; He exposed them as hypocrites, blind guides, fools, whitewashed tombs and a brood of vipers who would not escape the condemnation of hell (Matt. 23)! The Bible does not suggest a plan of salvation; it reveals and commands the only one that will save the lost (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41). The Bible does not suggest true worship; it demands it (Jno. 4:23-24). The Bible does not suggest the work and organization of the local church; it lays down a pattern we must hold fast (2 Tim. 1:13). The Bible does not suggest withdrawing from disorderly Christians; it commands it (2 Ths. 3:6, 14-15). And so it goes. When brethren prefer to “suggest” rather than preach, a rebuking call to repentance is in order.
Saying “the Bible suggests” implies the Bible is not definitive truth. It implies the Scriptures do not convey final authority. Yet, we are confident that heaven’s authority is in fact inscribed on its pages (Jno. 13:20; 1 Cor. 14:37). By its very nature, authority does not suggest, it directs. Because Jesus has “all authority”, His gospel must be authoritatively taught (see Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 14:37). Preachers: Preach the word; do not merely “suggest” the word! (2 Tim 4:2)
Saying “the Bible suggests” implies Bible knowledge is left up to individual intuition and notions. When preaching in Corinth, Paul was careful “not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He did this so their faith would be “in the power of God” and not in the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Jesus said we can “know” the truth, Paul commanded us to “understand” the will of the Lord, and we are taught to “rightly divide” the word of truth (Jno. 8:32; Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15). Thus, knowing truth is not left up to our feelings, our experiences, our intuition and our suggestions (Prov. 14:12). Why then would we attempt to teach the gospel by saying the Bible merely suggests a course of action? (Rom. 1:16)
Saying “the Bible suggests” implies we are at liberty to take or leave its teachings without consequences. Suggestions are not directives that must be followed; they are not commands that must be obeyed. Suggestions are not patterns that must be held fast; they are not the powerful gospel that saves. God does not suggest His truth to us; He tells it to us plainly! Christ assures us that if we reject Him and His words we will be condemned by His word in the last day (Jno. 12:48). That’s not a suggestion!
Elders, preachers and teachers: If you do not intend to imply these things when you say, “the Bible suggests”, then refrain from saying it. Choose your words carefully. The implications left by this statement diminish respect for the authority of the Scriptures and lessen trust in the saving power of the gospel. Will we be rebuked for more than suggest these things (2 Tim. 4:3-4)? Maybe. Nevertheless, we cannot but “speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you” (Tit. 2:15).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Blood of Christ (#1)
Scripture Reading:Hebrews 10:1-10
1. Blood is the vehicle of life.
I. BLOOD IN GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION.
Represents Life, Gen. 9:4; Deut. 12:23; Lev. 17:10-12.
II. ONLY ONE BLOOD (LIFE) CAN REMOVE THE SINNER’S SIN.
Blood (life) is Insufficient to Remove our Sin, Heb. 10:4; Micah 6:6-7.
The Blood of Christ (#2)
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 9:11-15
1. The death of the Son of God gives life to sinners, Jno. 14:6; Col. 3:4.
I. HOW SINNERS OBTAIN THE BLESSINGS OF CHRIST’S BLOOD.
Christ’s Blood (His sacrificial death) must be Applied to Our Sins for us to
Receive the Benefits of His Death, 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 3:26; 6:3; Acts 22:16.
II. WHAT CHRIST’S BLOOD (DEATH) ACCOMPLISHES.
Away Sins, Jno. 1:29 (Heb. 9:22; 10:17-18).
Concl. Without the blood of Christ applied to your sins you are forever lost; with it, you have an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15).
Fasting for Leverage
Seventy-four year old anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, India, ended his 12-day fast last week after the Indian government agreed to refer three of his demands to a standing committee (The Times of India). His Gandhian approach to social activism has captured world-wide attention.
God rebuked the nation of Israel for turning fasting into a public spectacle (see Isa. 58:1-9). Jesus Christ spoke plainly against fasting as a tool to garner the attention of men. “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matt. 6:16). Faithless men have used fasting for thousands of years to advance social and political reform. Fasting used as a means to gain recognition of religious piety corrupts the purpose of this self-imposed denial of the flesh. Fasting is an expression of total focus and dependency upon God.
Fasting (the voluntary abstinence from food) is an expression of personal faith, discipline and devotion to God, not a mechanism of leverage over others (cf. Anna, Lk. 2:37). In Acts 13:3, the church in Antioch fasted and prayed before sending Barnabas and Saul on a Spirit-directed preaching trip. There was prayer and fasting when elders were appointed (Acts 14:23). Attention to spiritual matters, not social and political activism, marks the occasions of fasting in the New Testament.
Notably, the Lord does not command fasting, but He regulates its practice (Matt. 6:17-18). It is a personal choice of faith, not a mandatory display of devotion. Setting religious “fast days” is not the will of God, but an addition to the gospel (Gal. 1:6-10). God-approved fasting is not a political tactic; it is a period of concentrated service to and dependence upon God.
(For more on fasting, visit www.bibleanswer.com/fasting.htm)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/05/2011