And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 15, Number
In this issue:
September 30-October 5, 2012
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
"Practical Lessons for Every Christian"
Sunday Class - Salvation and Blood
Sunday AM – Putting the Past--In the Past (1)
Sunday PM – Putting the Past--In the Past (2)
Monday - Storms of Life
Tuesday – Prayerlessness--What Happens When We Fail to Pray?
Wednesday – Rekindle the Fire
Thursday – Preaching What We Practice
Friday - Taking Up My Cross
Learn about New Testament Christianity!
The gospel is God’s power to save us! (Romans 1:16)
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
The church is God’s house, God’s family (Heb. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:15). What a blessing it is to be a child of God (1 Jno. 3:1; Gal. 4:6-7). As God’s children we have blessings and responsibilities. Hebrews 3:6 affirms we are “God’s house...if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Christians must continue to be steadfastly faithful to God in order to be finally and eternally blessed. To make his point the writer used Israel in the wilderness to teach Christians it is essential to maintain diligent faith throughout life (Heb. 3:7-19). This passage teaches Christians how to avoid hardening our hearts against God. Satan tempts Christians to become unfaithful to the Father (Christians can fall away! Lk. 8:13; Gal. 5:4). The danger of falling away from God is real. God warn us for our spiritual protection.
Do not harden your heart against God through:
Delay (Heb. 3:7-8). “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion...” Israel was slow to trust and obey God. Over and over Israel made trial of God and did not trust His power to save them and sustain them. Instead, they said, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exo. 17:7). Shall we also harden ourselves against God and fail to see our Father’s power and presence in His house (the church, Eph. 3:16, 14-21)? Seize the moment, yield your stubborn will to His and put your faith in the Lord. Otherwise, your heart will grow calloused to the call of faithfulness. Unfaithfulness is rebellion against God; you will be lost. God is ready to save you; do not delay to trust and obey.
Doubt (Heb. 3:8-9). Israel doubted God’s power in the wilderness (Heb. 3:8-9). They had seen His mighty works in Egypt and as they fled the Egyptian army, yet they hesitated to fully trust Him. Their hearts were unresponsive to God’s call for obedient faith and they fell in the wilderness. Do not doubt God. Do not doubt His love, His power, His truth or anything else that comes from Him. Build your faith upon God’s unfailing faithfulness (cf. Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1; 13:5-6; Rom. 8:31-39).
Deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). Sin promises good but delivers pain, regret, sorrow and death (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 11:25). Israel thought worshiping the golden calf would help them and that returning to Egypt would bring them joy. Like Israel, you and I can be deceived into thinking the world holds much better things than Christ has to offer. It is a lie. Do not believe it. Sin leads you away from the Promised Land, not to it.
Disobedience (Heb. 3:15-19). Hearing and knowing God’s word will do you no good unless you obey Him (Heb. 5:9). In fact, when you hear the truth and know it yet continually refuse to obey it you become guilty of provoking God. Plus, you make it more difficult to obey Him in the future. That is the problem with hardening your heart; you can come to a point where you are unreachable (Heb. 6:4-6). The blessing of being a child of God will no longer persuade you to faithfully follow God.
God has promised you rest (Heb. 3:6; 4:11). Be diligent; do not harden your heart.
Scripture Reading:John 12:17-23
1. Gentiles wanted to see Jesus, Jno. 12:20-21
I. WE SEE JESUS:
A. In the Beginning, Gen. 1:1; Jno. 1:1-3;
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Work of the Local Church: Benevolence Bible Authority (14)
Scripture Reading: Acts 4:32-35
At issue: “May a congregation give relief to non-Christians in its benevolence work and from its collected treasury? (General or Limited Benevolence)
I. NT PATTERN OF LOCAL CHURCH’S WORK IN BENEVOLENCE.
NT Pattern of Congregational Action: Local Churches Assisted Christians in
Need (group functioning, collected funds), Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37; 6:1-6;
11:27-30; Rom. 15:26-27; 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 12-13.
THE LOCAL CHURCH’S WORK OF BENEVOLENCE WAS NEVER USED IN THE NT AS A WAY TO
INTRODUCE THE GOSPEL TO THE LOST.
God and Jerusalem
Someone left God out of the Democratic Party platform on the way to their national convention in Charlotte, NC. After three voice votes the “ayes” finally prevailed and God was put back into the political document. We can all sigh a breath of relief! (As if “God” or “God-given” in their platform constitutes faith – it does not! Lk. 6:46)
Then there was the brouhaha over not stating Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. That was also reinserted into the party’s platform.
Many religious folks think Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel from God’s point of view. To borrow a phrase, they “are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God”.
Jesus Christ (God’s Anointed) has been crowned King on God’s “holy hill of Zion” (Psa. 2:6; Acts 13:32-33). Jesus does not sit on His throne in the actual city of Jerusalem. His throne is in heaven at the right hand of God (Psa. 110:1-2; Acts 2:32-36; Heb. 1:3-4, 8). His church is the “heavenly Jerusalem”, the “Jerusalem above” that is “free” (of sin’s bondage, Heb. 12:22; Gal. 4:25-26). “Jerusalem that now is” is “in bondage with her children” and is cast out (Gal. 4:26, 30-31).
God’s people are defined by faith and not by flesh (Rom. 2:28-29; 4:9-12; 9:8). The nation of Israel was long ago rejected by God for its rejection of the Messiah. All who would be redeemed from sin, whether Jew or Gentile, will be saved by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and not the powerlessness of the flesh (Rom. 1:16-17; Acts 10:34-35).
Jesus said concerning Jerusalem, “Your house is left to you desolate” (Matt. 23:37-38). Religious enemies, political parties, governments and armies argue and fight over the city of Jerusalem. But Christians anticipate the New Jerusalem, putting their hope in the eternal city to come (Rev. 21:2-27).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/13/2012
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA