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 seventh chapter of John presents a number of people with different attitudes toward Jesus which prompted different reactions toward him. Everyone must decide what they will do with Jesus.
His brothers did not believe in him (Jno. 7:3-9). They chided Jesus for not immediately presenting himself to the world if he was in fact the Christ. But, God does not work on our schedule. Jesus fulfilled heaven’s mission on heaven’s terms. We must learn to patiently trust the revealed will of God. That is the essence of faith (Heb. 11:13-16).
The Jewish leaders were unconverted and threatening (Jno. 7:10-15, 32). Although they admitted his miraculous work, he violated their traditions and for that, they wanted him dead (Jno. 5:16-18). Moreover, Jesus did not meet their scholarly expectations: “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” (Jno. 7:15) Jesus didn’t fit their mold; he did not fit their criteria for credibility. Pride hinders faith and often prompts open opposition to Christ and his truth. Do not fight against God; you will always lose (Acts 5:38-39; 9:5).
The people in Jerusalem were divided about Jesus (Jno. 7:12-13, 20, 25, 31, 40-44). Those who lived in Jerusalem, as well as those who came there for the Feast of Tabernacles, expressed doubt, fear and bewilderment over Jesus. Some said he had a demon while others said “this is the Prophet” and “this is the Christ” (7:20, 40-41). Jesus challenged them to judge his words and works righteously, and many believed (7:24, 31). We must deal honestly with Jesus and God’s word in order to have genuine faith (Rom. 10:16-17).
The officers charged with arresting Jesus were amazed (Jno. 7:45-47). The temple guard had never heard such words from the mouth of a human being (“no man ever spoke like this Man”, 7:46). This is true, for Jesus spoke as the Son of God (7:16-17). His words stand above and apart from the words of men. Jesus spoke with heaven’s authority (Jno. 7:16-17; Matt. 7:29), with boldness (Jno. 7:26), with humble truth (Jno. 7:18) and with persuasive clarity (Jno. 7:19-24). Are you listening to Jesus by hearing his New Testament (Heb. 1:2; 1 Cor. 14:37)?
Nicodemus said to listen to Jesus and consider his works (Jno. 7:51). When this is done there is only true conclusion: He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). We must believe and obey Jesus in order to be saved by Him (Heb. 5:8-9; Matt. 7:21; Lk. 6:46).
What are you doing with Jesus?
A stopped clock .....
· Is right twice a day.
· Implies that there was a clockmaker.
· Might have once run well.
· Could be started again.
· Could be such because of only one defective component.
· Could be such because of someone’s negligence.
If human reasoning could find so many “positive” lessons from a stopped clock, is it any wonder why many of our brethren can find justification for the fellowshipping of false teachers among us? Could we not justify almost any man who privately or publicly teaches falsehoods with similar reasoning as was offered on behalf of the stopped clock? See for yourself. Some might say ....
A false teacher .....
· Is right on most things.
· Believes in the same God we do.
· May have done many wonderful things for God in the past. (Compare: Ezek. 18:24, 26)
· Might change if he is given enough time.
· Generally teaches falsehood in only one area of Bible teaching.
· Generally teaches the truth on all other subjects.
· Is sometimes justified as saying he took this position because of (sins in the family, a friend, etc.) and not because he really believed it.
Some might suggest that in the case of the stopped clock, if someone would merely work with that clock, it may be possible that the clock can work correctly again. This is a true statement. So also is it true that if we will take the time to work with false teachers, (not compromising the truth, but taking the time to teach them the truth) we may be able to win them to the Lord when they repent of their false doctrine and preach the truth.
However, if our stopped clock is beyond repair, we need not keep it around. In like manner, the Holy Spirit speaks of some who were “past feeling” (Eph. 4:19), some “who concerning the truth have erred” (II Tim. 2:18), and some who “will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (I Tim. 4:1-2), etc. In such cases, we must not continue in fellowship with them, pretending as if nothing is wrong, but “watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). John condemned continuing in fellowship with those in error stating, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (II Jn. 10-11).
One evident problem today is that while most people will do what is necessary to fix a stopped clock, many are not willing to do what the Bible describes as necessary to stop a false teacher (Titus 1:11). Another evident problem is that most people are not afraid to fix the stopped clock, and in fact are appreciative when someone calls attention to the fact that their clock not working. Yet, when it comes to false teaching and false doctrine, we find just the opposite attitude. Often, we find people afraid to speak to those in error, and those in error often becoming angry that someone might suggest that they are wrong. How sad!
Let us not be afraid to call a “spade” a “spade.” If there is false teaching being promoted, the one who is the friend to the teacher is the one who points it out; not the one who is so afraid of hurting feelings or friendships that they keep it bottled up. Jesus said, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Notice the first group mentioned as having their part in the torment of the second death are the “cowardly” or “fearful”! I myself have had to work on this problem, and by God’s grace I keep working at improving. What about you, dear readers? Brethren, where are our priorities when it comes to the problem of false doctrines being spread?
Brethren, it is later than we think. We are drifting!
-The Old Paths, XXI:03, March 16, 2014
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:14-16
People make deals with the devil daily in exchange for their souls, Matt. 16:26. What are you willing to receive to deliver up Christ?
I. FALSE DOCTRINE? Gal. 1:6-12; 1 Jno. 4:1-6; Rom. 16:17-18
· For the sake of friendship, family, fame, fortune? Matt. 10:37
· No conflict (peace, peace when there is no peace), Jer. 6:14; Lk. 12:49-51.
II. CONVENIENCE? Ac 25:25; 1 Pe. 4:12-16
· Rest / Mental relaxation, Matt. 26:41 (Jno. 9:4); Heb. 4:9-11; Rev. 14:13
· Time for self may mean a selfish refusal to sacrifice, cf. Lk. 9:57-58; 14:16-20, 24
III. MATERIALISM? Matt. 6:19-21
· Greed for material things, Lk. 12:15-21
· Stingy giving, Mk. 12:41-44; Mal.3:8-10
IV. IMMORALITY ? 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:1-4
· Sensuality, Col. 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 6:18
· Immodest clothing, 1 Tim. 2:9-10
· Drugs, 1 Pet. 4:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:19-20
V. WITHSTAND STEADFAST IN FAITH.
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
1. Worship is uniquely
individual, yet the Lord arranged the local church to provide fellowship in
worship that produces edification, Psa. 146:1-2; 122:1; Ac 2:42; 1 Cor.
14:26; Heb. 10:24-25.
I. UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE.
A. What is
not in Question, Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; 11:24-26.
II. ESTABLISHING AND APPLYING BIBLE AUTHORITY.
Authority to Eat LS when the Church Comes Together, 1 Cor. 11:17-34; Acts
20:7 (6, 16).
III. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.
-These are not being suggested by anyone I know. However, the logical extension of the practice warrants caution.
1. We stand on solid ground by
eating the LS when the church comes together (1 Cor. 11:20).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Does the person who wears immodest clothing bear any moral responsibility for reactions said clothing produces? The Bible teaches that our actions affect others, and that we are held accountable for putting stumbling blocks before others (Matt. 18:6-7). Thus, Jesus taught to eliminate the snare for your own sake and the sake of others (Matt. 18:8-9).
Every Christian is to be guided by this principle of truth. Some unbelievers understand it when it comes to clothing. For example, some schools have tried to ban skintight yoga pants and leggings worn as pants, mostly at the cost of great complaint, resistance and objections (not only from students, but also from parents). Last year in Petaluma, CA, the Kenilworth Junior High decided girls’ leggings had to be covered because they are “distracting to teenage boys” (blog.sfgate.com).
Here was one parent’s response: “It is not our girls’ fault that these boys have quote ‘raging hormones’ they can’t control,” Lisa Simond, a parent at Kenilworth, told KTVU” (Ibid). We agree that boys must control their urges. But that does not absolve girls from the effects of dressing provocatively. Women (young girls and mature women) must know their clothing can evoke lustful desires. Skintight clothing that exposes the curvature of the thighs, hips and body does not display shamefastness. Women professing godliness clothe themselves with this in mind (1 Tim. 2:9).
Some try to defend immodest clothing by saying, “I can’t control what others think”. No, but you are to influence their thinking for good, Matt. 5:13-14. Our clothing is to reflect purity, not elicit the longing, lustful gazes of others (Prov. 7:10; 6:25).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 03/24/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA