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
There is a righteous place “under the sun” for eating, drinking and being merry. Eating and drinking with thankfulness to God for the bounty of His hand is good and right (1 Tim. 4:3-5). God’s gift to man is to find happiness from “the good result of all his labor in which he toils under the sun” (Eccl. 5:18). Writing with a “this life” perspective, King Solomon “commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun that to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun” (Eccl. 8:15). There is a God-given place in this life for the pleasing satisfaction produced by honest labor and godly relationships, like marriage (Eccl. 9:9-10). Yet, we must keep an eternal perspective, knowing life on earth cannot satisfy the yearnings of the immortal soul. So, we choose to “fear God and keep His commandments”, know this brings wholeness to life now, with the hope of eternity (Eccl. 12:13-14).
There is another philosophy of life that spreads great evil throughout the land. It is the selfish, self-serving philosophy that says, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”. Those living this philosophy define life by things material, forgetting the soul and the God who gave it. They foolishly barter away their lives for things that can never satisfy the soul.
Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15). To support His point, Jesus taught the parable of the rich fool who was unprepared for the day of his death. Rather than “fear God and keep His commandments”, he was absorbed by a lust for things. His passion was possessions and possessing them (Lk. 12:16-18). Lacking contentment, he greedily lived in vanity, saying “take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (Lk. 12:19). When it was time to die he was unprepared for eternity (Lk. 12:20). Jesus drove home the point for us: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Lk. 12:21). Are you ready to die?
Instead of looking to Jehovah God for protection and salvation, the faithless ones of ancient Jerusalem did not escape judgment when they lived by “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (Isa. 22:12-13). The materialists in Corinth relied on this same, futile philosophy in their denial of bodily resurrection. For the sake of argument, Paul conceded, “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Cor. 15:32). But, since “Christ is risen from the dead”, all who die shall be raised (1 Cor. 15:20, 22). We must do more than “live for t0day”; we must live for heaven (Phil. 3:20-21; Heb. 11:13-16).
How empty and how sad it is to define your life by materialism and the pursuit of earthly things. Ultimately, it is a profitless life. Lasting treasures are in heaven, not on earth. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt.16:26)? Better to deny yourself and follow Jesus, and have true riches evermore (Lk. 9:23; 16:11; Matt. 6:19-21).
God created man. He saw that it was not good for man to be alone and searched for a suitable companion. When none was found, he fashioned woman from the flesh of the man and the two were joined together (Gen. 2:18-24). God ordained marriage. In doing so, He gave both the husband and the wife the roles that for which they were best suited.
The Husband/Father. God has given man the role of provider. What are some things that married men are required to provide? First, men are to provide material necessities. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Men who will not work are not fulfilling their role, and thus should not be allowed to eat (2 Thess. 3:10). Second, men are to provide leadership. The husband is the head of the home. “For the husband is head of the wife…” (Eph. 5:23). This role is not about power and control, but about responsibility. Third, the husband is to provide love. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). This is to be a sacrificial love, putting the wife before self. Finally, fathers are to provide training and admonition for their children. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
The Wife/Mother. First, the wife is to be in subjection to her husband. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). This makes sense, seeing that God has given the role of leadership to the husband. Subjection is a hard word for many people to accept, yet all of us practice subjection in various aspects of our lives. The simplest meaning of “submit” is to yield, to give the right of way to another. When we drive our cars into an intersection bearing a “yield” sign, we understand that we are to allow the other vehicles to have the right of way. This does not mean that the people in the other car are more important than we are, but that this is the role we are to play in order for traffic to move smoothly and safely. The same thing is true in the home. The wife is not inferior. She just has a different role.
Second, the wife is to take care of the home. “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5). This does not mean that she is a slave. Neither does it mean that she is forbidden by God to work outside the home, or that she should not expect her husband and children to help around the house. However, it does mean that she is responsible for the functioning of her home.
The Children. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Eph. 6:1-3). Children are not out of the scope of God’s authority. God expects them to obey and honor their parents. If they can learn to do so, they have cultivated a trait (respecting authority) that will serve them well throughout life.
Children honor their parents by the way they talk and act. “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him” (Prov. 17:25). One’s behavior is a reflection of the home in which he was raised. Children also honor their parents by listening to them and respecting their wishes. Grown children continue to honor their parents by caring for them in their old age (1 Tim. 5:4, 16).
The teaching of the Bible concerning marriage and the home may continue to be ridiculed and rejected in favor of modern trends, but I ask one question: How well are these non-Biblical ideas working for us? Many homes today are broken and dysfunctional. God created the home. He knows how it works best.
-The Knollwood Reminder, June 16, 2013
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4
1. Christ: “Anointed”
(the Messiah, Jno. 1:41): Son of David, Lk. 1:32; Son of God, Matt.
I. JESUS IS GOD’S ANOINTED (CHRIST), Psa. 2:1-2; Acts 4:26-27.
A. Anoint: “to smear, to rub”, to
pour oil or ointment, 1 Sam. 10:1. Generally, Matt. 6:17; Mk. 6:13; 16:1;
Sacred, symbolic sense – priests, prophets, kings.
II. THE CHRIST (MESSIAH) IS GOD’S SERVANT, Acts 3:13; 10:38.
A. The Messiah is Identified as
God’s Servant, Isa. 42:1; Lk. 9:35; Isa. 11:2; 61:1.
III. ERRORS THAT ARE FALSELY DEDUCED FROM THE ANOINTING OF JESUS, WITH HOLY SPIRIT AND POWER.
A. Error: That Jesus was
Less than God Before He was Anointed with Holy Spirit, Lk. 1:31-35; Jno.
5:17-18; 10:30, 36; 17:3-5; Phil. 2:5-8 (Heb. 10:5); Jno. 1:14; Col. 2:9.
Conclusion: Holy Spirit and power is heaven’s endorsement to the world that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
The Gospel Goes to Gentiles (Acts 10)
Scripture Reading: Acts 10:30-35
The scene is set for the glorious inclusion of Gentiles into the kingdom of God, Isa. 2:2-3.
I. CORNELIUS SEES A VISION AND SENDS FOR PETER, Acts 10:1-8.
A. A Good, Moral Man Who Was Lost
in Sin, 10:1-2, 22; 11:14 (10:6, 22, 33, 48).
II. PETER SEES A VISION AND GOES TO CORNELIUS, Acts 10:9-33.
A. Vision and Revelation Convinces
him to Go to a Gentile, 10:9-23; Lev. 11:46-47; Mk. 7:19 (1 Tim. 4:4);
10:28; cf. Jno. 4:9; 18:28 (Acts 11:1-3). Acts 10:15, 34, 20, 28-29; 11:12.
III. PETER PREACHES TO GENTILES, Acts 10:34-43.
A. Peter Begins to Preach Christ, 10:34-43.
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT FELL ON THE GENTILES, Acts 10:44-48 (11:14).
A. Effect it had on the Gentiles,
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Murder: "It's Easier than Divorce"
Joe R. Price
A Michigan mother of two recently pleaded guilty to solicitation to murder for trying to arrange the death of her husband. She thought her co-worker was helping her find a hit man, but instead he called police, who set up an undercover sting and her arrest. 21-year-old Julia Merfeld was recorded on video saying, “When I first decided to do this … it’s not that we weren’t getting along…but…terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him. You know, I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It’s, like, how I got a clean getaway.” (mlive.com)
Her matter of fact manner is telling; she valued her “freedom” more than her husband’s life, and more than the consequences his death would have on their children and other family members.
There is no question that murder is sin, as well as the attitudes that lead one to arrange it, to attempt it or to actually commit it (Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:21; 1 Jno. 3:11-15).
But I want to draw your attention to another attempted “murder” here; the murder of a marriage. This wife clearly had no regard for her husband and their marriage, or for the marriage vow she had made to her husband before God (Eph. 5:33; Heb. 13:4; Rom. 7:2).
“Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” applies to everyone who enters a God-approved marriage (Matt. 19:4-6). When someone ends their marriage for reasons other than their mate’s fornication, they commit sin (1 Cor. 7:10-11; Matt. 19:6).
Some try to blunt the force of sinful remarriages explained by Jesus in Matthew 19:9 by saying we would tell someone to kill their mate, repent, and they would then be free to remarry. Such a baseless, reckless, emotion-filled distortion does nothing to advance the truth of what Jesus said: “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). Period. One who “kills” his/her marriage is not free to marry another.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/15/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA