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
We affirm that we live under the authority of Jesus Christ today, and that His authority is revealed in His gospel, the New Testament (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 1:16). Many who believe Jesus is the Christ, appeal to and practice portions of the law given through Moses. By doing so they believe they are giving honor to God. This is a brief review of why such an approach of honoring God does not harmonize with the word of Christ.
When given a choice between Moses, Elijah (the prophets) and Jesus, we are to “hear Him” in all things (Matt. 17:5; Acts 3:22; Heb. 1:2). If we listen to Moses and the prophets instead of or before Jesus, then we are not honoring the Father and the Son.
The apostles of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were guided into “all truth”. So, when we hear and receive them, we hear and receive Christ (Jno. 16:12-15; 13:20; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). If we listen to Moses and the prophets instead of or before Jesus, then we are not honoring the Spirit of God by whom the gospel of Christ was given.
Disciples of Christ are under a fundamental responsibility to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). What we say and do must have His permission; it must be by His authority as revealed in the New Testament.
The question is occasionally asked if we believe we are still under Torah law. An analysis of the Bible on this topic leads us to conclude “we” (Christians) were never under Torah law. While the things written in the Old Testament are for our learning, they are not our authoritative source for what we practice as Christians (Rom. 15:4).
The law God gave Israel through Moses was called the “book of the covenant” and the “book of the law” (Exo. 24:7; Deut. 31:24-26). It included the Ten Commandments and was God’s covenant with the nation of Israel:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exo. 34:27-28)
This is crucial to recognize and acknowledge: this covenant was a national law for a temporary period of time. It was never given as a universal law for all nations in perpetuity. Hence, on the mount of transfiguration, the Father said to “hear” His Son (Matt. 17:5).
When Moses spoke to the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land, he acknowledged God had made a covenant with them:
And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive (Deut. 5:1-3).
The Law of Moses (also called the “law of the Lord”, 2 Chrn. 30:15-16; 31:3-4), with its laws of circumcision, feast days, dietary regulations, animal sacrifices, etc. were bound upon the nation of Israel. The law helped to set apart Israel from the other nations as God’s special or chosen people (Exo. 19:5-6). This law also taught Israel about sin and its sinfulness (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:7; Gal. 3:22).
Jesus fulfilled the purposes and promises of the old law (Matt. 5:17-18; Rom. 10:4; Acts 3:20-26). The apostle Paul clearly said we are not under the old covenant. “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:24-25). The “faith” of which he spoke is the gospel of Christ, and the “tutor” is “the law” of Moses (see Gal. 1:11, 23; 2:19; Jude 3). The Law of Moses was “nailed to the cross”, no longer to be bound on the Jews as a law from God. That law was not to be pressed upon Gentiles as necessary for their approval before God (Col. 2:14-17). This was one of the major doctrinal battles in the early church, as seen in Acts 15 as well as Galatians 2. (The books of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews deal extensively with this subject, as well as portions of other NT epistles.) In fact, the apostle said Christians who tried to be justified before God by keeping the law of Moses were “estranged from Christ” and “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:3-4).
Christians rely on the New Testament of Christ for our authority in all things. The tabernacle, gifts and sacrifices of the old covenant were “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:1-5). When compared to the tabernacle and its service (which was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai), Christ “has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Heb. 8:4-6). We ought not to go back to an inferior ministry that could never take away sins (Heb. 10:1-4). Instead, we “hear” Jesus and find in Him the grace that saves us from our sins (Heb. 2:9-10; 5:8-9; Titus 3:4-7).
Since we are not under the Old Testament law, we do not celebrate the feasts associated with it. The apostle Paul said, “let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1). The gospel of Christ does not bind these shadows on Christians today, and neither do we.
Christians believe the Old Testament is inspired by God, giving us wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ (2 Tim. 2:15). It does not have binding authority over anyone today. We are answerable to Jesus; we must “hear Him”.
Scripture Reading:Ephesians 5:1-7
1. Walk: A course of conduct, lifestyle, pattern of living; “to be
I. WALK IN LOVE, Eph. 5:1-2.
A. We Imitate
God By Walking in Love, 5:1-2; 1 Jno. 4:7-11, 19-21; 1:7; Gal. 2:20.
II. WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT, Eph. 5:3-14.
A. Children of
Light Reject Self-Indulgence, 5:3-8a; 1 Cor. 6:18; 1Ths.4:3-6.
III. WALK AS WISE MEN, 5:15-21 (possessing spiritual insight); Jas. 3:13-18.
A. Wisdom Tells
B. Those Who Disregard God’s Will and His Salvation Live Foolishly, Eph. 5:17; cf. Psa. 14:1.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Bible and Original Sin
Scripture Reading:Romans 5:12-15
1. The doctrine of original sin is a component of Augustinian and
Calvinistic theologies (TULIP).
I. MAN AND SIN.
A. God Created Man and Woman without Sin, Gen. 1:27; 2:25.
B. Adam and Eve Chose to Sin, Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-6 (1 Tim. 2:14); Rom. 5:12.
C. Sin and its Guilt is Individual, Ezek. 18:4, 20; Exo. 20:5 (34:7); Num. 14:33-34.
D. Human Beings
are not Born with a “Sinful Nature”.
E. Redemption from Sin is not Inherited, but Obtained by Faith, Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-26.
II. WHAT ABOUT THESE SCRIPTURES? DON’T THEY TEACH ORIGINAL SIN?
A. Job 14:1-4: Job Mourns Life’s Brevity and Travail. Job 1:8
B. Psalm 51:5: David was Surrounded by Sin from Conception. Psa. 51:1, 2, 3, 4, 7; Deut. 1:39; Psa. 58:3.
C. Rom. 3:10: No One is Righteous, (sinlessly perfect). Rom. 3:23
D. Rom. 5:12-19: Death in Adam, Life in Christ.
E. 1 Cor. 15:21-22: Body Dies due to Adam, and the Body will be Resurrected due to Christ. Gen. 3:19
F. Eph. 2:3: By Nature Children of Wrath; 2:2; 1 Jno. 2:29.
G. Heb. 2:14-15: All Their Lifetime Subject to Bondage, Deut. 1:39; Rom. 7:9.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
The Bar Church
Joe R. Price
That’s right, the Bar Church is about to open in Abilene, Texas as a satellite of the Southern Hills Church of Christ (“Church Offers Services at Bar”, bigcountryhomepage.com).
Why meet in a bar? Consider their answers:
1. Acceptance. “We’re trying to be here in a way that communicates acceptance,’ said Van Conwell, a staff member at Southern Hills Church of Christ”. “‘Bars in (sic) particularly country western music are places where people come to be accepted just as they are,’ said Conwell.” (Ibid)
(It doesn’t really appear that the apostles of Christ made the sinners in Acts 2 feel accepted “just as they were”. Did the apostles do something wrong? Acts 2:36-38)
2. Avoid intimidation. Ken Jones, a member of the Southern Hills church, “knows what it’s like to be intimidated by a typical church building, so he figured a bar would be the best place for people to feel comfortable in.” (Ibid)
(God calls us out of sin. His gospel does not make us comfortable in our sin. Jno. 16:8; 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 2:37)
3. Convenience. “‘We wanted to go and meet people where they were with Jesus,’ said Conwell.” (Ibid)
(Sinners are not “with” Jesus, they are in need of Jesus! Jesus taught sinners to come out of sin. He did not encourage them to remain where they were in their lives of sin. Matt. 11:28-30; Jno. 8:11-12; Acts 2:36-41)
4. Break with tradition. “‘We’re not going to spend a whole lot of time on long sermons,” said Conwell. It’s a way of making church feel less like church and more like a time of fellowship.’”
(Please note the redefining of “church” to mean the worship service of the church, and “fellowship” to mean a social gathering. 1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 3:17)
How will sinners be called out of their sin when the bar opens at 12:15pm (after services end)? (Ibid) (Shall we do evil that good may come? God forbid! Rom. 3:8)
Please look carefully at those reasons again, brethren. The stated reasons for the “Bar Church” are the same ones we hear from brethren who remove the “Church of Christ” signage from their meeting places. Instead of being the “_______ church of Christ”, they are now simply the “_______ Church”.
“Church of Christ” has been removed from their identifying signage, we are told, because
· They do not want to “turn off” people by the name, “church of Christ” (intimidation).
· They want people to feel welcome, so they will avoid seeming exclusive by being identified as a “church of Christ” (acceptance).
· They are convinced using such a name is “church of Christ tradition” that hinders evangelism (break with tradition).
· A more casual, “come as you are” emphasis that includes shorter, less “judgmental” and more “positive” sermons will get people to come visit (convenience).
I suspect those who have removed “of Christ” from their signage won’t like this article much (not accepting, too intimidating, too judgmental and tradition bound, I suppose); too negative (like Romans 16:16, I guess). But, the warning must be sounded. The Bar Church is the logical extension of the mindset that values no confrontation at all cost. Eventually, everything becomes acceptable for the sake of being positive and popular. Scripture, please? (2 Tim. 1:13; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 4:2-5)
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 05/02/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA