And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
King David had great successes in his life, but he also had failures that rocked his world (1 Sam. 17; 2 Sam. 11-12). So when he wrote, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”, we know he personally pondered that question (Psa. 11:3). When his enemies rose up against him (and one of those was his own son, Absalom) David was determined to put his trust in the Lord (11:1).
Why did David trust in the Lord when wicked, evil people tried to overpower and destroy him (11:1-3)? He trusted God because God rules from heaven (11:4), because God sees and examines mankind (11:4), because God hates the wicked and punishes their evil (11:5-6), because God is righteous and loves righteousness (11:7), and because God looks upon the upright with favor and affection (11:7).
We must trust the Lord for the same reasons when the foundations of our lives are threatened, shaken and even destroyed. Consider this in light of recently events that impact our nation.
On June 26 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying the federal government can no longer define marriage as just between a man and a woman. In states where same-sex marriage is now legal, the participants will be afforded the same legal benefits from the federal government as heterosexual marriage couples have always been granted. This has the practical effect of U.S. taxpayers granting financial benefits to people in same-sex marriages. This ruling shifts the battleground over same-sex marriage to the states. When a state legalizes same-sex marriage, the federal government will recognize it and bless it.
The high court also ruled Wednesday on California’s Proposition 8, a voter-passed referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. A district court had struck down the voter-passed referendum, reinstating same-sex marriage in that state. Citizens sued to defend the proposition, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they had no standing to bring their suit. So effectively, this allows same-sex marriages to resume in California.
First and always, the righteous must continue to keep their faith in God. God has not abdicated His rule over heaven and earth. When evil rises up the righteous look up and rely on God (Psa. 121:1). The Lord never sleeps; He will preserve, protect and deliver the righteous from evil (Matt. 6:13). Nothing that men do “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
The righteous must continue to pray. When the apostles of Christ faced threats from their people’s religious leaders they earnestly prayed, not to escape personal pain and injury, but for the boldness to continue to speak God’s word (Acts 4:23-31). Like them, we can pray for the courage of faith to be true to the Lord in the face of those who oppose righteousness and champion sin.
The righteous must be careful not to be consumed by anger. “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity” (Psa. 37:1). The word “fret” means “o be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). We must not allow the sins of evil people turn us into raving fools! “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Eccl. 7:9). The righteous are disgusted by the sins of the wicked as well as by those who condone and comfort sinners (Amos 5:15; Rom. 12:9). But the righteous give place to the wrath of God; they are not drawn into sin by the sins of others (Rom. 12:17-19).
The righteous must overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21). A great testimony of faith occurs when we suffer unjustly and “take it patiently” (1 Pet. 2:20). God’s commendation is given to those who follow the example of Jesus when He suffered for us (1 Pet. 2:21-22). We cannot allow disappointment to turn into disillusionment and then into despair.
The righteous must remember they are living for heaven. This world is not our home; our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Remain virtuous in mind and conduct, “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12). Christians give up their moral credibility when they think and act like the world while trying to defend what is right.
The righteous will exercise their rights and freedoms as citizens. It is right to do so (Acts 25:11). But while doing so, Christians remember to “honor the king” even while disagreeing with the ruling authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-17).
The righteous will obey God rather than men. God’s people submit to “every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet. 2:13). The exception is “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Your faith will be tested by the promotion of sin by a faithless, godless society. Stand upon the ground of truth and stand up for Christ. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14).
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psa. 34:16-18)
I Corinthians 13 is known as the chapter of love. Paul deals with love in such a way that it cannot be misunderstood what genuine and true love is. He states in the first verse that if he does not have love he is as a sounding brass or clanging cymbal.
Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions? Maybe it is in fixing breakfast for the family or talking with your spouse or doing your duties as a father or mother. Your heart just isn’t it on that day. Maybe your marriage is suffering because you have quit working with your spouse to make the marriage work. We all have things that we grow tired of and just go through the motions and do the duties but without love in our hearts.
Sometimes this even goes as far as our service to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe we do something for each other but we do not have love in our hearts and the actions are just actions of emptiness. The deeds might get done but they are done as a sounding brass or clanging cymbal.
This also occurs when we attend worship services and do not worship our God in Spirit and Truth (John 3:23-24). We attend the Bible Study, sing the songs, bow in prayer, participate in giving, and partake of the Lord’s Supper but our actions are done without the love in our hearts for what we are doing. As a result our worship goes up to the Lord as a sounding brass or clanging cymbal. We must do our deeds with the proper love in our hearts!
-The Way of Truth and Life, April 21, 2013
The Persecuted Preach Christ (Acts 8)
Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1-5
1. Acts 8:1: the
purpose of persecution.
I. PREACHING CHRIST SAVES SAMARITANS AND SIMON, Acts 8:5-25.
A. The Gospel in Samaria, 8:5-13,
II. PREACHING CHRIST SAVES AN ETHIOPIAN, Acts 8:26-40.
A. God brought the Sinner into
Contact with the Word of Christ, 8:26, 34-35; 1 Tim. 4:16.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
The two Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage this week (see page 1) renewed the charges of “bigotry”, “intolerance” and “discrimination” against the defenders of marriage (between a man and a woman) and the opponents of sinful violations of God’s arrangement of marriage from the beginning (Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 19:4-5; Heb. 13:4).
The accusation that opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage is “discrimination” is outrageous. It assumes the perverted definition of marriage (same-sex) is valid while at the same time minimizing the benefits of traditional marriage. We are told to believe there is no difference, when the difference is obvious to all.
The logical extension of this “discrimination” charge against proponents of traditional marriage (or in legal parlance, “equal protection under the law”) is the eventual granting of legal status to polygamists (who now can only have one legal spouse under the law). As with same-sex marriage, polygamy is the product of sinners rejecting God’s order for the home to satisfy lustful thoughts or ignorance, or both. Two wives for one man came from Lamech, not God (Gen. 4:19; Rom. 7:2-3).
If same-sex marriage is only an issue of equal protection, why not equally protect boy lovers? Do we “discriminate” against them? Are age of consent laws valid? Are we bigots and practicing discrimination for legally refusing to validate such heinous activity? Of course not. Yet, religious people who advance godliness in marriage are regarded as vile, evil and repressive.
God’s word does not promote discrimination. Opposition to sin is not bigotry. Our nation has fallen into disgrace of sin. (Prov. 14:34). Unless our nation turns back to God we will face His just punishment.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 06/30/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA