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
The beloved physician Luke wrote “an orderly account” of the life of Jesus so that Theophilus would “know the certainty of those things” which he had been taught. Luke’s account of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ was in harmony with what the apostles and ministers of the word of God had delivered “from the beginning” (Lk. 1:1-4; Acts 1:1; Matt. 28:19-20). Luke intended to supply Theophilus with reliable information to validate, strengthen and solidify his personal faith in Jesus Christ (and by means of necessary inference, our faith as well).
We live in a time when not a few preachers have taken to preaching a gospel of uncertainty and doubt, of opinion, speculation and intellectualism. They tell us we cannot know anything for sure – only God has perfect understanding! (They need to read again 1 John 5:20 and Ephesians 3:3-5.) A postmodern gospel void of absolutes is heard throughout the land – including among brethren in churches of Christ. This is observed in how preachers and elders choose to address (or refuse to address) controversial subjects like divorce and remarriage, social drinking, immodest clothing and the modern dance (just to name a few).
It ought not to be so. Jesus Christ and preaching Christ is not “yea” and “nay” (2 Cor. 1:18-19). “We preach Christ crucified” with the clarity of truth and the confidence of heaven, so that your faith will be in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:1-5). It is past time that Bible preaching be heard and demanded from pulpits, not pop psychology and self-help messages of personal development that leave the soul starved for the truth that saves souls from sin (Jas. 1:21-22). We need Bible preaching from preachers, not pulpiteers who entertain. We must have the word of God, not intellectual elitism that offers scholarship in place of plain and persuasive gospel preaching (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
Luke’s preamble affirms the certainty of the word of God (Lk. 1:2). Luke’s “orderly account” did not differ from those given by eyewitnesses (Heb. 2:3; 2 Pet. 1:16-21; 1 Jno. 1:1-4). The harmony of God’s word gives us great certainty of faith. Preaching and teaching that leaves you wondering “what is truth?” will never save the lost and edify the saved.
Luke’s preamble affirms that certainty of faith is produced by the word of God (Lk. 1:4). Luke boldly asserted the accuracy of his narrative based on a complete understanding of all things from the beginning (Lk. 1:3). Knowing the certainty of what he was taught would generate in Theophilus (and us) a confident faith instead of a spirit of fear and shame (2 Tim. 1:7; Rom. 1:16). Dear Christian, do not fear to speak with certainty about the truth “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
Doubt over whether we can understand the truth of God with certainty does not and never will produce strong, faithful Christians. The word of God produces faith that is certain – free of fear and shame (Rom. 10:17; 1:16). Truly, the Son of God has given us an understanding (1 Jno. 5:20).
I am sure that our dear readers have heard people say words to the effect, “If you are not a Christian, all you need to do is call upon the name of the Lord, and you can be saved.” Some will tell you to pray a prayer saying, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner,” or similar things. Such teaching is a misapplication of what is said in Romans 10:13. The apostle Paul wrote, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord? Let us read the context of Romans 10 and find out.
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:13-17).
Please notice that after the apostle Paul says we must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, he asks a series of questions that point out what this means. To call upon the name of the Lord, we must: 1) Hear the gospel (Rom. 10:14); 2) Believe the gospel (Rom. 10:14); and 3) Obey the gospel (Rom. 10:16)!
Therefore, “calling upon the name of the Lord” is a comprehensive thing, not simply saying, “Lord.” In Acts 2:21 we read another time when folks were told to call upon the name of the Lord. Here, Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32. Peter shows that the events happening on the day of Pentecost were a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:16), and said, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
What did he mean? Were they commanded to simply say, “Lord”? No! They were told to “hear these words” (Acts 2:22). Peter then proves that Jesus truly is the Son of God (Acts 2:23-35), and said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). In this text, to “know for certain” means to believe. When the people who heard the gospel on this day were told to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they then asked what they needed to do to be forgiven of murdering the Son of God. Peter responded by saying, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:38-41). Based upon hearing and believing the truth, they obeyed! In so doing, they “called upon the name of the Lord”!
Therefore, when one calls upon the name of the Lord, he is simply obeying God’s plan of salvation to hear God’s word, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent, and be baptized! Is this not simple? Of course, it is! Let us be about encouraging people to call upon the name of the Lord as the Bible directs us to do, so that all might be saved before it is too late (II Pet. 3:9)!
-The Sword of the Spirit
Caneyville, KY church of Christ
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
1. Christ is the
Son of God, Matt. 16:16; emphasizing His deity.
I. THE LIFE, DEATH AND EXALTATION OF CHRIST, Phil. 2:7-9.
A. “Taking the
form of a bondservant” (2:7).
found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself” (2:8).
C. “And became
obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (2:8)
God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every
1. The Son of
Man, Lk. 9:56; 19:10; 5:24; 9:22
The Word of this Salvation (Acts 13)
Scripture Reading: Acts 13:38-43
1. The gospel work continues in
Antioch, Acts 13:1-2.
I. GOSPEL PREACHERS SENT BY GOD, Acts 13:1-5.
A. The Local Work in Antioch,
13:1-2; Eph. 4:11-12.
II. A FALSE PROPHET SENT BY THE DEVIL, Acts 13:6-12.
A. A Fierce Opponent of the Gospel
III. A SAVIOR WAS SENT FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD, Ac 13:13-41.
A. A Helper Leaves the Work, 13:13
(5). John Mark (15:38).
IV. THE WORD OF GOD IS REJECTED AND RECEIVED, Acts 13:44-52.
A. Envy of the Jews Caused
Opposition to Gospel, 13:44-46.
1. Gospel spreads among Gentiles,
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Always. Only. Jesus."
Joe R. Price
Let me introduce you to the Hillsong Church NYC:
No it is not about Jesus. If it were “Always. Only. Jesus.”, this church would be Bible-based, not culture-based. It would teach and practice the word of Christ Jesus about how to be saved. It would offer God true worship instead of the will-worship of pop-culture (Col. 2:21-23; 3:16-17; Jno. 4:23-24). It would practice true love for God by obeying Him (1 Jno. 5:2-4). It would oppose moral sins like same-sex marriage (“Lentz declined to discuss same-sex marriage, a polarizing issue that young evangelicals have said in repeated surveys that they do not want to be a focus of church”). It would reject Pentecostalism and its false doctrines about the Holy Spirit. The Hillsong Church NYC fails the Bible test of truth (1 Jno. 4:1, 6; 2 Jno. 9; Gal. 1:6-10).
But, let us not be puffed up, thinking this cannot happen among churches of Christ. It already has! We must take heed, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/12/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA