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)
Daniel H. King, Sr.
How does a man like Diotrephes rise to preeminence? How does he maintain his ascendency over others? Why is he not removed from power by the forces of the majority? The answers to these questions are not easily determined. But some factors are undoubtedly present. On the one hand, there is the fact that he is usually a person who is aggressive and abrasive in dealing with others. The result is that some people genuinely fear him. Because of his caustic manner, he is able to bully people who do not have the courage to stand up to him. In the second place, he is brought to power and kept there by his enablers. These are folks who genuinely respect him because they count him as a fearless soldier of the cross. He is their hero. They consider his harsh methods as necessary under the “mitigating” circumstances of the present. They make excuses for him and justify his actions. For them he can do no wrong. Finally, there are the weak and spineless who allow him to work his evil because they are not going to cause any waves no matter what happens. They will never stand up against any evil at any time. They are the ultimate enablers. They are the spiritual cowards in the war between evil and good. They view themselves as followers and not as leaders. And followers they are. They will follow the Devil himself into hell. This represents the largest number of those who fall in line to follow someone like Diotrephes. They know that what he does and says is wrong, but they will never have the intestinal fortitude necessary to say so, or if they do say it they will do so in whispered tones, and deny it if you repeat what they say. Again, they are the ultimate enablers, and there are far more of them that any of us would ever like to admit. (Truth Commentaries, The Three Epistles of John, 234-235)
Joe R. Price
How does a man like Gaius rise to the level of commendation given him by John the apostle in 3 John 1-8? It is proper to notice and imitate faithful brethren like Gaius, who walked in the way of truth (3 Jno. 11; cf. Phil. 3:17). In sharp contrast to Diotrephes, Gaius genuinely walked in the truth, resulting in a godly reputation and influence (3 Jno. 3). He did not seek preeminence over men. Instead, his humble life of faithfulness spoke for itself. Others witnessed his faithful conduct and bore testimony of him to John. Gaius was worthy of respect, not because he sought it, but because he lived devoutly, respectful of both God and men. Additionally, Gaius served God’s people. Instead of elevating himself above brethren, he helped them, including those unknown to him when they came preaching the pure gospel of Christ. His hospitality and encouragement was a refreshing respite from the hostile rejection these faithful preachers encountered at the hands of Diotrephes (3 Jno. 10). Gaius was in the business of advancing the cause of Christ, not himself. Consequently, he assisted and encouraged these traveling preachers, thereby having fellowship with them in their work. His willingness to receive them and to send them on their journey demonstrated his allegiance to the truth and his unity with those faithfully teaching it (3 Jno. 6-8). He was a fitting counterweight to those who accept and encourage those who teach contrary to the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 10-11). It is little wonder why John described him as “beloved” four times in his short epistle (3 Jno. 1, 2, 5, 11). John was confident Gaius’s soul was prospering, and so he prayed that his physical life would be similarly blessed. Truly, there is no greater joy “than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 Jno. 4). With Gaius as our example, let us “not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (3 Jno. 11).
Scripture Reading:Psalm 103:19-22
Fascination with angels; People are fascinated with angels, and have many
notions about them.
I. THE PURPOSES OF ANGELS, Psa. 104:4; Heb. 1:7, 13-14 (ministering spirits).
A. Definition of Angel:
II. ARE THEY ACTIVE TODAY?
Past: Delivered Divine Messages to Man (Heb. 1:1-2). Gal. 3:19; Acts
5:19-20; 8:26; 10:3-6; Gal. 1:8.
III. WHAT ABOUT GUARDIAN ANGELS?
A. Catholic Definition: Not in
Addressing Problems (Acts 15)
Scripture Reading:Acts 15:1-5
Satan does not leave God’s people alone! We have seen that already (Acts
I. THE JERUSALEM MEETING.
A. Why Did Brethren Go to Jerusalem? Gal. 2:1-9; cf. Acts 15:4-7.
II. ADDRESSING A DOCTRINAL PROBLEM.
A. Distinguish between Necessary
and Unnecessary Things.
III. ADDRESSING A PROBLEM OVER PERSONAL JUDGMENT, Acts 15:36-41.
A. Paul and Barnabas Agreed on
Work to be Done, 15:36.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Stop my pain for good"
Joe R. Price
These are the words Christ Chumbley told police his wife, Virginia, said to him before he killed her with two shots from his .32 caliber pistol. The Laurel County, Kentucky resident was terminally ill with breast cancer. “Neighbors say the couple had a great marriage that lasted more than 20 years. And one that was very loving between the two. But they say in the last couple of years, the cancer had gotten the best of Virginia Chumbley” (foxlexington.com). “Chumbley pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Laurel District Court. He’s in jail on a $200,000 cash bond…‘I shot her,’ he said from the Laurel County Detention Center. ‘She died from my shots, but it’s not murder.’” (Ibid)
What, in the eyes of Mr. Chumbley, made the deliberate killing of his wife “not murder”? Was it because his wife asked him to kill her? Or, was it the excruciating pain she experienced? Was it the terminal nature of her disease? Was it having to witness his wife in constant pain and suffering? What mitigating circumstances change killing an innocent person from murder to mercy?
None of the excuses above justify such a killing in God’s sight. His word upholds the sanctity of life (Psa. 139:14). For all the sorrow and pain of his wife, he had no right to end her life. Giving someone permission to kill you does not change the nature of the crime: “You shall not murder” still applies (Rom. 13:9). Consider inserting these excuses into the crucifixion of Jesus. Why didn’t the Father immediately end Jesus’ life to spare him the great pain of crucifixion? What if Jesus had asked for a “quick, painless death” – would that have justified it? Or, because Jesus was going to die anyway, why not end it sooner rather than later? (Then, the Father would not have to see His Son in such tortuous agony.) No, the sanctity of life must be respected. It is in moments of great trial that great faith helps one endure the suffering (Jas. 1:2-4; Lk. 22:41-44).
This inevitably draws our attention to another murderous crime: abortion. Unlike what often occurs with euthanasia, abortion is not requested by the unborn child. It deliberately ends innocent life for the sake of the mother and father – not the child. The child is not in pain; its life is extinguished to relieve and/or prevent the parents’ pain. How utterly selfish! What indescribable horror! Life, both at its beginning and near its end, is honorable and deserves respect. Murder cannot be justified. A society that does will not long endure.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/02/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA