And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
April 21-26, 2013
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
"Practical Lessons for Every Christian"
Sunday Class - The Power of Peer Pressure
Sunday AM – Leavening Power of Sin
Sunday PM – Why do we need Authority Today?
Monday - New Testament Authority in the Present Age
Tuesday – Who has received a love of the truth?
Wednesday – Be Angry and Sin Not!
Thursday – Abstaining from the Appearance of Evil
Friday - Beware of Despair and Bitterness of Heart
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Joe R. Price
Satan is real, and he is our adversary. He is the god of this world, a deceiver and the accuser of both God and men (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:9). He has legions of servants doing his bidding; men and women who appear righteous but who serve darkness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
These ministers of Satan are not only found outside the body of Christ; they are also in the church of Christ. These people serve their god Satan by teaching false doctrines (2 Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 4). They serve the devil by rejecting the word of God and hindering those who advance the truth (3 Jno. 9-10). They serve Satan by accommodating and excusing immorality instead of rebuking it (Eph. 5:8-11).
It is foolish to think Satan has somehow vanished from the modern scene. Oh, no. It is his very nature to present himself as reasonable, fashionable, wise and caring (see Gen. 3:1-5). This is also true of his servants; they are the “caring” ones, the “reasonable” ones, the “loving” ones (wolves in sheep’s clothing, Matt. 7:15). Remember, the word of God is right and we must conform to it in all things – regardless of what the agents of Satan say and do (Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 3:13-17).
The devil’s tactics are recognizable today. Even as brethren drift away from the truth, Satan is very adept at convincing them they have not moved at all; it is others who have become “extreme” and “intolerant”. The subject could be the role of women in the church. It could be the subject of immodest dress, participating in the modern dance or accepting social drinking. It could be unscriptural worship or the social gospel. It could be error on divorce and remarriage. Or, it could be broadening fellowship to accept those who teach error on these subjects as well as those who’s teaching and practice comforts and accepts those in error (by the misuse of Romans 14).
Brethren who endorse sin and compromise with those who teach error use Satan’s methods to silence Scriptural objections. We must not be ignorant of these devices of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11).
Marginalize him. “He is difficult that way” or, “he can be extreme at times” may be said to discount Scriptural warnings against error. Perhaps it is true, but the evidence ought to be heard before making and accepting such charges (Jno. 7:51). By what standard is the man measured to be “extreme”, “radical” or “difficult”? Jesus and His apostles would fall into this category by using unholy measurements (cf. Matt. 11:16-19). When faithful brethren who preach and live the whole counsel of God are demonized as extreme, something is terribly wrong (2 Tim. 4:2-4). In order to survive, those who compromise truth must marginalize the one who warns others of them and their error (consider the treatment of Jeremiah, Jer. 20:7-10). With that accomplished, they have an unobstructed path to advance error (Isa. 30:11).
Beloved brethren, we must not marginalize those who call us to walk in its paths (Jer. 6:16-17). Satan wants you to fear being called “extreme”. He wants to silence your voice for truth. He wants to use you to silence others. Do not fall for his sinful scheme!
Ostracize him. Once a person is marginalized it is easier to isolate him and ignore him. Many brethren have moved away from an aggressive defense of the truth and open rebuke of error (Jude 3). They have moved on, saying, “Peace, peace! when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14-15). To advance their peace policy of positivism, those who sound the battle cry against error must be excluded and ignored. Make no mistake, the spirit of Diotrephes is alive and well today, refusing to receive “workers for the truth” while at the same time accepting and advancing compromisers and false teachers (3 Jno. 8-10). As did their namesake, these raise false accusations and insinuations against the godly in an effort to discredit, demoralize and eliminate the threat they pose to their (the devil’s) agenda.
Neutralize him. This was unsuccessfully tried against Paul: “For his letters, they say, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible” (2 Cor. 10:10). Enemies of the faith try to neutralize the force and influence of the truth by attacking and neutralizing the messengers of the truth. Jesus said it would be so (Jno. 15:18-25; 16:1-4). Do not be discouraged when it happens to you.
If you intend to follow Christ whatever the cost, please consider this: Do you have the faith and courage to examine yourself to see whether you have used or are using these tactics of Satan against others (2 Cor. 13:5)? We will never please God by using the devices of Satan (2 Cor. 5:9-11).
Scripture Reading:John 11:45-53
1. The formal charges
against Jesus to Pilate, Lk. 23:1-5.
I. JESUS IS DANGEROUS TO SATAN, 1 Jno. 3:8; 4:4.
A. Jesus Came to Destroy the Works
of the Devil, 1 Jno. 3:8; Matt. 2:16; Lk. 4:28-30; Jno. 11:50; 12:2, 27;
II. JESUS IS DANGEROUS TO THOSE WHO DO NOT RESPECT AND OBEY THE WORD OF GOD, 1 Pet. 2:7-8; Matt. 21:44-45.
A. Those who Bind Human Traditions
on Others, Jno. 11:48; Matt. 23:13; Gal. 5:1, 13; 6:12-13 (Mk. 7:5-9, 13).
1. Oh yes, our God is love, 1
Scripture Reading:Ephesians 6:21-24
1. Review: The armor of
God, Eph. 6:10-17.
I. BLESS BE THE TIE THAT BINDS, 6:21-22.
A. Knowing about Each Other
Provides Blessings to Occur, 6:2; Rom. 12:15-16; 1 Pet. 4:15; 1 Cor.
II. CLOSING SALUTATION, 6:23-24.
A. The Substance of Blessings,
6:23; Eph. 2:17-22; 3:17-19 (1 Jno. 5:3).
1. Redemption is complete in Christ,
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
Church attendance is down in America (that’s not news). One reason recently noted in a blog is the emphasis on children’s sports activities on Sundays (The Main Reason for Declining Church Attendance: Children’s Sports?, Christianity Today). Parents take their children to play soccer, baseball, football and more instead of Sunday Bible class and worship services. When we moved to Washington over 15 years ago I vividly remember being astonished at the amount of children’s sports being played on Sunday mornings. The huge soccer complex near the church’s meeting place was filled with the evidence that many people worship recreation instead of God on the Lord’s Day.
One way churches are addressing this decline is by rescheduling worship services to accommodate families. By offering Saturday afternoon services they remove Sunday conflicts. Folks are free to do as they please.
Painless discipleship is in vogue. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23). By taking children to sporting events instead of worshiping God we are teaching them they are more important than the Lord. We are teaching them they can make plans that hinder them from putting the Lord first (Matt. 6:33). We are teaching them discipleship is adaptable to “me”.
We must not have an inconsequential view toward attending worship services (Heb. 10:24-25). Does the illness that keeps you from worshiping on Sunday also keep you home from work on Monday? Being a disciple of Christ requires sacrifice; it is not always easy. Children who learn other things are more important than worshiping God will do those other things. So will adults.
Sacrifice is necessary in order to follow the Savior who sacrificed Himself for us (1 Pet. 2:21; Rom. 12:1-2). Christians gladly offer themselves to the Lord regardless of personal inconvenience. Being faithful means always putting the Lord first (Col. 3:1-4).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/15/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA