And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
Invites you to our
September 22-27, 2013
Bring your Bible and join us in learning God’s word and will for our lives!
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Joe R. Price
A good friend and brother in Christ just had knee replacement surgery. As I checked his progress on Facebook I saw an encouraging comment from a brother in Christ, who told our brother they needed to get together soon and “go on a long walk”. I’m sure my friend will cherish such moments as his mobility returns, thankful for the wonderful medical advancements of our age. And most of all, God be thanked for His goodness.
The New Testament often speaks of the Christian’s life as a walk, an ongoing journey and not a punctuated act. Being a disciple of Christ is not a “step”, but a walk in which the learner follows the Master. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jno. 8:12, ESV).
Being a Christian is taking a long walk with God. God’s constant desire is that men and women walk with Him (Gen. 3:8-10; Mic. 6:8; Col. 2:6; Rev. 3:4). The Lord wants continual fellowship with His children. Truth is the light that illuminates life’s pathway, revealing the right way to live while exposing the ditches and dangers of sin’s darkness (Jno. 12:35-36). “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105).
To walk with God one must walk in the light of truth. 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jno. 1:5-7). Practicing truth (v. 6) is walking in the light (v. 7). “God is light”, therefore, one cannot walk with God while walking in the darkness of sin and error. Although many minimize the importance of doctrine (teaching) and its impact on salvation, the apostle of Christ speaks very clear of this connection in 1 John 2:3-6: Unless “we keep His commandments” (“keep His word”), we do not know God (v. 3). (One cannot be saved without knowing God, can he?) If we say we know God and do not keep His commandments “we are a liar, and the truth is not” in us (v. 4). When one “keeps His word” the love of God is perfected in him and by this we know we are in Him (v. 5). John summarizes, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked” (v. 6). Since Jesus Christ always walked in truth (He is the truth, Jno. 14:6), to suggest one can know God, love God and be with God while not walking in the truth of God is a lie! There is great joy when Christians are found “walking in truth” (2 John 1:4). In fact, John had “no greater joy” than hearing that his children “walk in truth” (3 Jno. 1:4). So come, my friend, and let us take a long walk together in the light of truth.
A Christian walks in love. “Walk in love, as Christ also have loved us and given Himself for us…” (Eph. 5:2). Love is the Christian’s regular course of conduct. But, what is love? The apostle John again comes to our aid: “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 Jno. 1:6). Jesus is our model of love, always doing the Father’s will; always sacrificing Himself for us (Jno. 6:38; 1 Jno. 3:16).
Love is defined by action (“that we walk according to His commandments”). Love is not merely spoken, it is lived in deeds of selfless service to God and others (1 Jno. 3:18). Love does what is best for its object; not what is easiest for itself. So come, my friend, and let us take a long walk together in love.
A Christian walks in the light of righteousness. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). Repentance of sins is a prerequisite to salvation (Acts 2:38). Having thus changed one’s mind toward sin, the Christian stops practicing sin (1 Pet. 4:1-3). The Christian, a new creature in Christ, practices righteousness, not sin (1 Jno. 3:7, 9).
It is not impossible to change one’s life from the darkness of worldliness to the light of purity. The power of the gospel is great and can cleanse the vilest of sinners. Christians do not walk a lonely road as they walk in the light of righteousness, although at times it may seem like that. By faith, we walk with the Righteous One, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are never alone (Heb. 13:5-6; Rom. 8:31). So come, my friend, and let us take a long walk together in the light of righteousness.
A Christian walks carefully, wisely using his time on earth. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). Sin can overtake the Christian who becomes apathetic, negligent or careless toward sin (Gal. 6:1; Heb. 3:12-13). Therefore, we must “press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Wisdom demands that we lay up treasure in heaven by faithful, charitable living (Matt. 6:19-21; 19:21; 1 Tim. 6:17-19). Our time on earth is quickly passing away. We do not know how long we will be walking this earth. So come, my friend, and let us take a long walk together, carefully and wisely helping each other live for heaven as long as we live on this earth.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 5:1-8
The rationalization of sin knows no bounds.
I. “I WAS BORN THIS WAY”.
A. Disrespects and Dishonors God
who Made Us, Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Isa. 64:8; Rom. 9:20; Isa. 29:16; Jas. 1:13.
II. APPLICATIONS OF THIS FAULTY PREMISE SHOW ITS ERROR.
A. “Humans are Totally Depraved.”
(Calvin) Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 5:12
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Violence: For the Fun of It
Joe R. Price
A shocking report came out of Duncan, Oklahoma last weekend of the cold-blooded murder of Christopher Lane, an Australian baseball player and college student as he was jogging through a neighborhood. Three teenage boys, ages 15 to 17, were arrested and charged with his murder. One of the suspects has confessed to the killing. Police Chief Danny Ford said, “They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target’…The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’” (“Christopher Lane, Australian baseball player, killed by ‘bored’ Okla. teens, police say”, cbsnews.com). One of the teens said they shot Lane “for the fun of it”. (Ibid)
Forensic psychologists will analyze the perpetrators. Social commentators will opine and politicians will angle for a political advantage; some for more gun control, others for more freedom to carry. What must not be lost in all of the justifiable outrage is the way violence has weaved its way into the American psyche.
The sanctity of life and respect for others is eroded by a culture of violence. From abortion (which violently destroys innocent, unborn life) to sports designed to beat your opponent to a bloody pulp, we are not so naďve as to think these make no contribution to devaluing life and disrespecting others. Violence on the streets of American cities is turned into video games for Xbox—or, is it the other way around?? And then, we decry to violent crime in America! (Gal. 6:7)
The influence of violence is real. “A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good” (Prov. 16:29). Proverbs 1:10-18 is as relevant as today’s news: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause’…do not walk in the way with them…” Paul’s warning is still needed, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Avoid the ways of the violent. “With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent” (Psa. 17:4). How? Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39). Treat others like you want to be treated (Matt. 7:12). Do not be vengeful, but “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:17-21). “Pursue peace with all” (Heb. 12:14).
When people commit murder because they are bored, they have lost all regard for life and conscience toward God. In our outrage against such evil, let us be sure we are not blinded by the real effect violence can have on us. Be aware of Satan’s devices; we are not immune (2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Cor. 10:12).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/25/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA