And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 15, Number
In this issue:
We want to please people in order to gain their love and respect. It is only natural that individuals would want to make the best impression upon everyone they meet so that they might be acceptable to all.
Jesus’ disciples were disturbed by the bold statements Jesus had made to the Pharisees: “Know you not that they were offended when they heard these sayings?” (Matthew 15:12) Jesus’ disciples were not convinced of the need for pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees’ judgments. Could you envision the disciples thinking, “Why didn’t you keep it lite? Why did you have to go there? Why couldn’t you have been friendlier?” Yet, we see that Jesus was not name-calling, demonizing an opponent or being unfriendly when charging the Pharisees with being hypocrites with their judgments.
Our Brethren in the 21st century are being persuaded by false preachers who appeal to their feelings instead of appealing to Biblical standards found in the word of God. Our Brethren today do not see the need for exposing the darkness in the Brotherhood, nor do they see the need for plainly pointing out sin in the lives of fellow Christians. Ephesians 5:11
Sadly, Brethren do not see the need for marking false teachers, nor do they seek a Bible answer for the issues confronting Christians today. Romans 16:17-18; Philippians 3:17-19; 2 Peter 2:1-3
We now see “church discipline” being dismissed as ineffective or a self-serving action by those that subscribe to human wisdom versus the application of “book, chapter, and verse” from the Bible. No longer do Brethren regard the pattern of sound words found in New Testament teachings as being authoritative or necessary for faithfulness to God. 2 Timothy 1:13
Who is really following Jesus today? Who is “abiding in the teachings of Christ?” 2 John 9-11 Why is fellowship being decided more in accordance with a person’s popularity in the place of scriptural soundness? One can truly see the decline of the number of churches belonging to Christ.
The devil will rule over a church if its members remain silent and take no action concerning the guilt of those among them who transgress the teachings of Christ. How long can a local church think that it belongs to Christ when it looks more and more like the world round about them with each passing day? Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:11; James 4:4; 2 John 9-11
The subject fellowship has long been a thorny one. The advent of large and financially successful congregations entices preachers to avoid the subject of fellowship altogether. Security and lucrative reputations in the brotherhood continue to be tools of the devil that silence the mouths of those who should be preaching the whole counsel of God with reproof, rebuke and exhortation. Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:2-4
No one will be thought of as “Loving”, “Understanding”, “Longsuffering” or “Kind” if they continue to speak out against sin in these local churches. Sermons that clearly point out the worldly life styles of individual Christians will not be tolerated in the name of “tolerance.” (And what do you think will happen to those preachers who continue to point out the false teachers and what is happening in the Brotherhood?)
hear the demonizing of faithful gospel preachers by those that would “win
friends and influence enemies.” We can hear these false brethren when they
engage in name calling. They mock those standing for the truth of the gospel
by using names such as “Watchdogs” , “Legalistic”, “Pharisaical”,
“Unloving”, “Unmerciful”, “Unkind” and last but not least,
When Brethren “love to have it so” because they are set “only for the defense” of those preachers that tell them what they love to hear, how could they see the problems that continue to grow in the Brotherhood? How could Jesus remain the Head of His Church in a local place when Brethren act this way? Ephesians 1:21-22; Colossians 1:18
can be done to stop this evil practice and movement of those belonging to
the evil one? Is it possible to overthrow so much evil that has been
perpetrated against faithful Christians who continue to stand their ground
upon the solid foundation of God’s word the Bible?
Yes, it is possible.
Brethren, including preachers, are in complete denial when they paint the “Hell, Fire, and Brimstone” preachers with the broad brush of “extremism” or as “those trying to make a name for themselves in the Brotherhood!” These things are happening because Brethren have grown weary with having to make any decisions. Hebrews 5:11-14 Our Brethren have grown weary in the fight for the truth which was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 3
Where do these Brethren come from who resist the use of scriptures or deny the need of scriptural patterns? Who are these Brethren that accept those who deny the discipline of the Lord? They are the ones who have given up on a unity based upon the word of God! 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-3
What will turn this situation around in our generation? This situation will turn around when “supposed” preachers of the gospel of Christ begin to go back to the Bible and stop viewing their self-promotional speeches as gospel sermons.
situation will turn around when preachers of
the gospel of Christ once again fear the Lord God more than Brethren.
Preachers must learn they are not just preaching for Brethren; they are
preaching for the Lord. We will only see a change when our Brethren
go back to the “Old Paths” as spoken by the prophet Jeremiah.
May God help us all to go back and truly speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent! Colossians 3:17; Revelation 22:18-19
Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-33
1. Jesus was not a crowd-pleaser, Lk. 14:25-27.
2. Cannot be Christ’s disciple without forsaking all, Lk. 14:33.
3. Have you counted the cost? Will you pay the price?
I. THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST, Lk. 14:28-32.
A. The Call: Prefer Christ Above All, 14:26-27 (16:13); Matt. 10:37 (Gen. 29:30-31).
B. The Consideration: What will it Cost to Succeed? 14:28-32
C. The Cost: Self-Denial, Sacrifice and Obedient Service, 14:33; 9:23; Matt. 26:38-44; Heb. 3:6, 14; 10:36-39 (Rev. 14:12).
II. HAVE YOU COUNTED THE COST OF BEING A CHRISTIAN? Lk. 14:33
A. The Cost of being Saved from Your Sins, Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 17:30; (19:18-20); Rom. 12:1-2 (1 Jno. 2:15-16).
B. The Cost of Standing for the Truth, 1 Cor. 16:13-14; 2 Tim. 4:16; 3 Jno. 9-12.
C. The Cost of being Faithful unto Death, Rev. 2:10; Matt. 10:28; Heb. 13:5-6 (1 Pet. 5:8-9; Heb. 5:12; 6:9-12).
III. HAVE YOU COUNTED THE COST OF BEING LOST? Matt. 16:26
A. You Will Pay the Price of Never-ending Separation from God and His Good Blessings, Rom. 6:23; Matt. 7:23; 25:30.
B. You Will Pay the Price of Never-ending Torment, Lk. 16:24; Mk. 9:43-44; 2 Ths. 1:8-9. (Rev. 14:11-13)
C. You Will Pay the Price of Never-ending Regret, Lk. 16:25; 12:15-21.
The cost of sin is too high of a price to pay!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28
Review Part 8: The church (universal) is composed of individual Christians, not local churches (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23, 30; Acts 2:47).
I. THE LOCAL CHURCH. Rev. 1:11; 2:1 (Specific, Acts 8:1); 1 Cor. 11:18; 14:28
A. Independent, Autonomous Congregations of Christians, Acts 11:22, 26.
1. Local church is a relationship and a functioning organization; acts as a unit.
2. Local church is just that – local; Not regional, national or int’l:
a. Local organizational structure, Phil. 1:1.
b. Local oversight, 1 Pet. 5:1-2 (Acts 20:28).
c. Local treasury to fund its work, Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 11:8 (Phil. 4:15-16).
d. Local church regulates its membership, Acts 9:26-28; 18:27; Rom. 16:1-2, 17-18; 1 Cor. 5:4-7.
II. CONTRASTS BETWEEN THE UNIVERSAL AND THE LOCAL CHURCH.
Stand Fast or Fall Apart
Two organizations took opposite stands recently toward the subject of homosexuality. The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their policy that excludes gays from joining and holding leadership positions. Opponents say they are choosing the path of “division and intolerance” (Boy Scouts Reconfirm Policy: No Gays Allowed, July 17, 2012, news.yahoo.com).
Meanwhile, the U.S. Episcopal Church voted “overwhelmingly” to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions. It was a decision the Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence (bishop of South Carolina) says goes too far to the left and will cause further decline in this mainstream Protestant denomination. “I think we’ve entered into a time of sexual and gender anarchy,” Lawrence said (Is liberal Christianity signing its own death warrant?, Becky Batnu, NBC News, July 17, 2012, usnews.msnbc.msn.com).
Some think taking a strong stand for moral principles weakens or even destroys credibility. The opposite is true. Those who do not value the God-revealed standard of morality will cry out against every strong defense of what is decent, moral and godly (Isa. 5:20; Prov. 24:24-25). The Boys Scouts have chosen the moral ground. The U.S. Episcopal Church continues to decline (along with other Protestant denominations) as it endeavors to be “inclusive” at the expense of truth (Ibid).
Some brethren apparently think taking a strong stand upon doctrinal principles weakens or even destroys credibility. The opposite is true. Those who do not value the God-revealed standard of apostolic truth will cry out against every strong defense of it (Gal. 1:6-10; 2:4-5; Jude 3-4). We will only withstand error by standing on the unshakeable ground of a “thus saith the Lord” (Eph. 6:10-14; Col. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:17; 1 Ths. 5:21-22). We must not compromise this high ground. We must “hold fast” the apostolic truth; to do less will be our undoing (2 Ths. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:1; Gal. 5:7-9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/23/2012
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA