And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 15, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
College football has now ended and the basketball season is in full gear. The NFL playoffs are closing in on the next Super Bowl. Spring training and another baseball season will soon begin. Then there is hockey, golf, soccer, cricket and all the other sports you can imagine.
Years ago CBS radio advertised their NFL broadcasts with the announcer defining the sports fan’s attitude towards sports (and especially towards football). Greg Gumble made two important points about a fan: First, the true fan never complains about the amount of football games there are to watch. He is always anxious and ready to be a part of them. Second, the true fan never gets enough – he always wants more. Gumble reminded us that “fan” is short for “fanatic”, and that is what true football fans are.
There was a lot of truth to the commercial. Football fans are fanatics for their team. Consequently, it takes something very important and serious to prevent them from attending the game or watching their favorite team play.
A fan is an “enthusiast”, a “devotee”. The Christian is also a fan, but not necessarily of sports. The Christian is devoted to Jesus (Lk. 9:23). His enthusiasm for Christ is reflected in his daily life (Gal. 2:20). He does not grow tired of obeying Jesus, nor does he complain about his duty (Gal. 6:9; 1 Jno. 5:3). The Christian cannot get enough of serving Christ and others. They are fanatics! So, what about us? Are we as enthusiastic about being Christians as we are about our favorite team? Are we fans or fakes?
Be a fan of worshiping God. The early disciples " continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers " (Acts 2:42). They worshiped together daily, honoring God and learning His gospel (Acts 2:46; 5:12).
Even in the face of threats and persecution they were unafraid and undeterred from worshiping God who had saved them by His grace. Faithful saints suffered many hardships for being true to Christ and still they did not forsake the assembling of themselves together like some did (Heb. 10:32-34, 24-25). They were enthusiasts; they were “fans”. We are not following their good example when we choose not to assemble for worship over the smallest of things. Predictably, many have turned worship into an “I’ll be there if I can” situation instead of having an “I’ll be there whatever it takes” attitude. We know what the sport fan does, don’t we? Like them, worship “fans” never complain about worship – they look forward to the opportunity to honor God. They are not the clock watches, worrying about what time it is. They are in the moment, worshiping God; they cannot get enough. We must be “fans” of worshiping God.
Be a fan of Bible study and of Bible living. The Bible tells Christians to be like newborn babies and “desire the pure milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). Babies are fans of milk! Christians should be fans of God’s word. Most Christians would say they are “fans” of God’s word. They enjoy hearing it a couple of times a week. But are we so devoted to it that we actually read it every day? Do we read it so we can live by its teachings? By being diligent in our study of God’s word we learn how to use it properly and gain God’s approval (2 Tim. 2:15). We ought to be “fans” of Bible study and Bible living. If you are ashamed of not studying God’s word as a “fan”, then you can change that. Hungering and thirsting for the righteousness it contains is your choice (Matt. 5:6). It is enough to feast on for a lifetime! Never complain about the amount of time needed to study God’s word; it is for your benefit. We must be “fans” of the Bible.
Be a fan of spreading the gospel. The early Christians were fanatics when it came to teaching the word (Acts 8:4; 17:6). They knew the gospel has the power to save souls and that no other power could save the lost (Rom. 1:16; Acts 4:12). If they did not tell others about the gospel the lost would remain lost. We must possess the urgency of teaching the truth of the gospel to the lost like Jesus and His early disciples did (Matt. 9:36-38). It could be a weekly Bible study in your home, a conversation at work or a letter to a friend; the ways to share the gospel are infinite. But, we must be devoted to gospel in order to really be a “fan” of telling others about it. Sports fans love to talk about their team and how it is doing. We should love to talk about Jesus and His gospel. We must be fans of spreading God’s word to the lost.
Watching sports is an entertaining, recreational diversion. But being a Christian is not a spectator sport. Christians are not spectators, we are in the arena and others are watching us (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Do they see fanatics who are completely devoted to Christ and to following Him? Or, do they see halfhearted Christians with little interest and involvement in the cause of Christ? We know the kind of Christian God wants. Be a fan - not a fake.
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:2-4
1. God has given Christians “exceedingly great and precious promises...” 2
I. THE PROMISES MADE TO THE FATHERS, Rom. 15:8-12.
Promised Redemption in the Seed of Abraham, Gen. 12:1-3; Acts 3:25-26; Gal.
3:10-14, 16; 3:5-9, 29 (26-28), 16-19; Rom. 9:6-8.
II. THE PROMISE OF HEAVEN, Jno. 14:1-6.
Habitation Built by God, 2 Cor. 5:1.
1. All of
God’s promises are in Christ, 2 Cor. 1:20. One must be “in Christ” to have
the promises, Gal. 3:26-29.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:14-18
1. Church is the fullness of Christ, Eph. 1:23.
I. OUR NEW CONDITION IN CHRIST, Eph. 2:1-10.
Contrasts: Before and After Conversion.
II. OUR NEW RELATION IN CHRIST, Eph. 2:11-18.
Contrast of Relation to God’s Blessings and People, 2:11-18.
III. THE GRAND SUMMARY, Eph. 2:19-22.
A. “Now Therefore You Are...”
The church is alive with Christ. Our means of peace with God (new relation, 2:16) and peace with man (2:15). We are the result of His work, His craftsmanship (2:10). Our mission is to do His good works (Tit. 2:14; Lk. 17:10).
This winter has been an especially difficult flu season. One doctor I heard being interviewed said while the flu is “epidemic” right now, it is really a matter of severity since almost every year the flu is “epidemic” for at least a short period of time. This year’s flu shot is about 62% effective – if you get the shot.
When God delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery He said, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer” (Exo. 15:26, esv). God was the Healer of Israel, but Israel bore responsibility to remain healthy by diligently listening to God’s word and obeying it (Deut. 7:15). Failure to do so produced a diseased nation that eventually died (Deut. 28:27, 58-60; Dan. 9:11-12; Matt. 23:38; Lk. 21:20-33). There are vivid lessons here for us.
Like the flu, sin is contagious. Imagine if everyone took as much care not to pass on sin as they do not to pass on the flu! The flu easily illustrates the spread of influence, both good and bad. Good influence is powerful and we should spread it. If we don’t, the evil influence of sin will infect us and others (Matt. 5:13; 18:6-7).
Like the flu, we can protect ourselves against sin. Vaccines, pills, masks, soap and water – all these help protect us from catching and spreading the flu. We ought to be even more careful to protect ourselves from sin. Let us be careful of what we watch, what we listen to, what we do and the companions we choose (Job 31:1; Psa. 1:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:33). Wearing the armor of God at all times protects us from sin (Eph. 6:10-13).
Like the flu, we can recover from sin. Not that everyone does; each year the flu kills many. God will forgive our sins when we repent. We must, or our sin will cause our eternal death (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8). The disease of sin is epidemic, but God has the cure. The Great Physician Jesus heals all who hear and obey Him.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/21/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA