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 Scriptures exhort Christians to “be ready to give a defense (answer, KJV) to everyone who asks you a reason (logos, a word, message) for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). The “reason” or word we must give when asked about our faith is the word of God, not the opinions and wisdom of men (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Matt. 15:8-9). Fellow Christians, it is time for us to stand up and give an answer for our hope.
The world hates the answers that are given to questions about faith when those answers come from God’s word. As a case in point, consider the present controversy swirling around Phil Robertson, star of the hit TV series Duck Dynasty who has been suspended by the A&E Network that airs the program. Robertson has been charged with being hateful, bigoted, vile and with “creating an atmosphere that discriminates and hates gays” as the result of an interview he gave to GQ Magazine. (This is not a wholesale endorsement of Duck Dynasty by any means. It serves to illustrate the point we wish to make here.)
Interviewer Drew Magary noted Robertson was commenting on the deterioration of “Christian values” in America. He wrote of Robertson,
He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” (gq.com)
Robertson gave 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 as an answer to the question, “What is sinful?” Based on the firestorm his answer caused, we may fairly conclude that in 21st century America, many view quoting the Scriptures as hate speech.
These kinds of responses from unbelievers are not new. Jesus explained very clearly that the world will hate those who follow Him and teach His word. Why? Jesus said because they hated Him first:
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (Jno. 15:18-20)
The question for Christians is not whether we will be hated for following Jesus and teaching His word; we will. The question is will we follow Jesus and teach His word in spite of the opposition we encounter? Will we stand up and speak the truth of God when unbelievers persecute us for it? Will we obey 1 Peter 3:15?
Yes, we must answer “with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). But, that does not mean to be silent or to accept misrepresentations and attacks against the truth of God. It does not mean to apologize for the truth and be ashamed of it or of those who teach it.
Christians cannot and will not accept the world’s definition of sin and hate. The apostle Paul said to “abhor what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). All sin is evil, and God defines sin in His word as anything that violates His revealed will (1 Jno. 3:4; 5:17; Jas. 4:17; Matt. 7:21).
By the way, where is the outrage from all the idolaters, the adulterers, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers and the swindlers? If Robertson was being a hateful, ignorant bigot toward LGBTs, then he was being the same to all these. Yet, the only outcry we have heard is coming from LGBTs and their defenders. You see, they desperately want to be accepted. Sin does not exist in their world. You are a hater because you will not approve.
Christians have the responsibility to speak out for righteousness. We are ready to be called names and be treated shamefully for doing so – just like Christ, His apostles and early Christians (Acts 5:40-42; Heb. 10:32-34).
Tolerance for sin is epidemic in our nation and around the world. This is not new, either (Rom. 3:9-19). What must not become epidemic is Christians cowering away from standing up and fighting the good fight of faith! Sin does not want to be challenged. So, it tries to frighten and bully the righteous into silence. Christians must be able and willing to use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” to call sinners to repentance and to protect the innocent from falling prey to intimidation and false pleas for acceptance; whether they come from the LGBT community or anyone else who departs from truth (Gal. 1:6-10; Rom. 1:20-32).
God said through Ezekiel, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand I the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Ezek. 22:30). Will God find you standing in the breach to turn away God’s wrath against sin (Psa. 106:23)? If so, then give an answer for your hope. Refuse to be silent. Rely on God’s word of truth and let it be your answer. Stand up and speak out against evil. Refuse to be intimidated by those who love the darkness of sin and hate the light of divine truth (Jno. 3:19-21). The gospel saves sinners, and many are deceived in sin (Mk. 16:15-16). If we do not speak out to save them, who will?
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 9:7-11
1. The Bible often
speaks of God’s sorrow.
I. WHAT BRINGS GOD SORROW?
Rebellion of Sin, Gen. 6:5-7; 1 Sam. 15:11; Matt. 23:37-38; Mk. 3:1-5.
II. THE INTENSITY OF GOD’S SORROW TEACHES US NOT TO CAUSE GOD SORROW.
A. God is
“Very Sorrowful” when we Choose other things instead of Following Him, Lk.
18:24; Heb. 12:11; Prov. 13:24; 19:18; Heb. 12:3-6.
III. BEHOLD THE GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD, Rom. 11:22.
Goodness of God: God’s Sorrow over Our Sins Caused Him to Offer Us Mercy,
Mk. 3:5; Ezek. 18:32; Eph. 2:4-5.
1. God is grieved
when we ignore Him, when we rebel against Him, when we choose other things
ahead of Him and when we harden our hearts in sin against Him.
Scripture Reading:Psalm 18:1-3
1. Paul and his
companions faced the threat of death in Asia, 2 Cor. 1:8-11 (Acts 19).
I. IN WHOM DO YOU TRUST TO SAVE YOU?
Savior: Saves from Sin and Death, Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23. Matt. 1:21; Lk.
19:10; Matt. 9:9-13; 1 Pet. 2:6; Acts 2:21, 37-41.
II. IN WHOM DO YOU TRUST TO TEACH YOU?
The Word of God, Jno. 17:17 (8:31-32; 45-47). Psa. 119:105, 9-11; 66.
III. IN WHOM OR WHAT DO YOU TRUST TO DEFINE YOU?
Heb. 11:1; Rom. 8:31-37; Heb. 5:8-9; 11:4, 7-11, 17; Jas. 2:20-23.
1. Choice: In whom
we trust brings either a curse of a blessing, Jer. 17:5-8.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Manhood and Womanhood Under Attack
An advertisement encouraging people to “get talking” about health insurance caught our attention this week. It pictures a 20-something male in one-piece pajamas holding a cup. The caption reads, “Wear pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance.” Well, folks are talking, but not so much about insurance as about this advertisement.
The Feminist movement has redefined the role of men in society. It has emasculated men while advancing its agenda of so-called “equality”. Gender distinctions are rendered neutral. The distinctive roles of men are not acknowledged, but vilified. Husbands are no longer regarded as the “head of the wife” and the “provider for those of his household” (Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim. 5:8). Motherhood is put off as unfulfilling and an obstacle to success and career advancement. (For contrast, see the worthy woman’s success as God defines it, Proverbs 31:10-31.)
Strong male role models have been replaced with the “metro-male” and the GQ man, confident in himself – his appearance, his success and his “maleness” (blah, blah, blah). It’s a façade; a shell of genuine manhood. Real men – God’s men – lead their families in righteousness (Gen. 18:19; Josh. 24:15). They love their wives as themselves and they sacrifice for them (Eph. 5:25-29). They seek truth, are humble and love God and others (Jer. 5:1; Matt. 22:37-39).
The strong, godly woman is not deceived by feminism’s false definitions of “equality”. She has a place and a work no man can ever fill as a wife and a mother. Her strength and honor come from her “gentle and quiet spirit” that is very precious in God’s sight (1 Pet. 3:4). She fears God and pursues godliness.
Be God’s man or God’s woman; not the world’s.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/23/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA