And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
Prayer is powerful: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Jas. 5:16, ESV). Prayer is among the great spiritual blessings Christians have in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3). It is uniquely arranged by God for the righteous: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12). The unrighteous can have no confidence in prayer’s power. Prayer is not a fire escape for “those who do evil” to use in the moment of crisis, only to return to the burned out wreckage of sin when the immediate crisis has subsided.
Prayer is the power to communicate with our Father in heaven. Jesus teaches us to respect the paternity of God when we pray: “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Christians are “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” and call upon Him as “Abba, Father” (Gal. 3:26; 4:6). What an honor to commune with God in prayer! Avail yourself often of this great privilege, lest you fall into faithlessness (Lk. 18:1, 8).
Prayer has the power to move God to action. “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:7-8, ESV) We “ask in faith, with no doubting” because we know God will answer “if we ask anything according to His will” (Jas. 1:6; 1 Jno. 5:14-15).
Prayer has the power to relieve Christians of sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jno. 1:9). The repentant Christian receives God’s merciful forgiveness in prayer (Acts 8:22). Note: It is the Christian, not the alien sinner outside of Christ, who benefits from the power of prayer. Nowhere in the Scriptures is the lost person told to become saved in Christ through prayer (see Acts 10:1-6, 22, 32-33, 47-48).
Prayer is a powerful refuge. Prayer is a shelter of safety for the faithful who commune with God both in good and in troubled times. The faithful pray to God in faith, fully confident that He hears and answers in His time and according to His purposes. The faithful are content with this because they trust their Father and abide in His love. They know He does all things well and gives good gifts to His children when they ask (Matt. 7:7-11). So, prayer removes anxiety from the heart and replaces it with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Let us live by faith, availing ourselves often of the power of prayer.
Saul was skilled in the Law of Moses, having trained at the feet of Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee who “was zealous toward God” and expressed that zeal by persecuting the church (Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:5-6). Upon his conversion, the apostle Paul preached the gospel of Christ to those who were “ignorant of God’s righteousness” (Rom. 10:3). They did not know how God saves sinners “through faith”. They thought salvation was through “the law” (Rom. 10:4-6). Paul could accurately testify of the Jews that “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Though they were zealous for God, they were lost. Paul’s “desire and prayer for Israel” was for their salvation, so, he preached the gospel to them (Rom. 10:1; 1:15-17).
There continue to be souls who are zealous for God yet lost in their sins. They need the gospel to be saved. We must be the ones to teach them (Rom. 10:13-17).
We must equip ourselves with knowledge and zeal to live the gospel and teach it to others. On the one hand, knowledge without zeal leads to prideful conceit (1 Cor. 8:1). On the other hand, zeal without knowledge leads to the prideful rejection of God’s truth (Rom. 2:17-24).
The gospel will save those who have zeal without knowledge when they learn the truth, humble themselves before God and in faith obey His word (Rom. 1:16; 6:17-18).
1) Evangelicals need saving by the gospel because they have zeal without knowledge. Having adopted the tenets arranged by John Calvin, evangelicals over-emphasize the sovereignty and grace of God to the neglect of the obedient faith of man. For example, the Oikos Fellowship in Bellingham WA (affiliated with the Mars Hill Church in Seattle) says, “We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace” (“What We Believe”, Oikos Statement of Faith). They do not teach the Bible plan of salvation which is “by grace, through faith” and which calls on sinners to repent and be baptized to be saved (Eph. 2:8-9; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:37-38). Although they are very zealous, it is without knowledge. They are lost in their sin and need the salvation of the gospel.
2) Mormons need saving by the gospel because they have zeal without knowledge. Tens of thousands of LDS Missionaries canvas the globe promoting the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Jr. and their “restored gospel”. Yet, they deny both the Father and the Son of the Bible (Psa. 90:2; Micah 5:2; Jno. 1:1, 14). They reject the Bible as the final revelation of God to man. They believe in personal revelation (the list goes on and on). Although they are very zealous, it is without knowledge. They are lost in their sin and need the salvation of the gospel.
3) Atheists have zeal without knowledge. They have refused to retain God in their knowledge, rejecting the evidence in the world of His eternal power and Godhood (Rom. 1:28, 20). These secular progressives have much zeal to impose their faithless agenda upon the rest of us. While they have zeal for humanity they are woefully ignorant of zeal for God and His truth. They are lost in their sin and need the salvation of the gospel.
4) Christians who have knowledge without zeal. This is a sober warning to “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). It is “high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11; Eph. 5:14)! It is time for Christians to combine zeal with a knowledge of the truth in order to be faithful and teach the lost. Souls are threatened with eternal death, including ours, if we live in zeal without knowledge.
Scripture Reading: John 17:1-5
1. Jesus came to earth to do the Father's will, Jno. 6:38.
I. "I GLORIFIED YOU ON EARTH", Jno. 17:4.
Honored the Father on Earth by doing the Work the Father Gave Him to Do,
Jno. 17:4; Lk. 2:49; Jno. 4:34.
II. THE SON ACCOMPLISHED THE FATHER'S WORK, Jno. 17:4 (12:27-33).
A. The Work
given Him by the Father, John 9:4. Jesus accomplished:
III. THE SON IS GLORIFIED BY THE FATHER, Jno. 17:5.
A. In His
Death, Jno. 12:27-36.
The Ten Commandments Part 2
Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:10-14
Barna Research Group says that 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five
of the Ten Commandments." (Faithlife Blog)
I. WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY & HOW?
Exo. 20:1, 18; 19:1; Deut. 5:1-5, 22-29 (4:13)
II. THE COMMANDMENTS, Exo. 20:1-17.
Commands Concerning God: #1-4.
III. ARE WE UNDER 10 COMMANDMENTS?
We are Under the Authority of Jesus, not Moses, Matt. 17:5; 28:18; Rom.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Pope Rejects Biblical Creation
Pope Francis made some revealing statements this week in an address to the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences”. Among other things they show that when the Roman Catholic Church makes a choice between what the Bible says (God's word) and what science says (man's word), it chooses science over God. Pope Francis said:
1. God is not a magician. “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything -- but that is not so.” [The Bible: God certainly is not a magician, but He was and is able to do everything He desires. Nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17, 27). He created the world in six days (Gen. 1:31-2:1).]
2. Accepting the Big Bang theory and evolution is consistent with the Bible and essential to understanding God. “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment...God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” (A demiurge is an artisan. In Plato's origin myth they gave design to the physical world.)
[The Bible: God's wisdom and power is the origin of the physical world. He spoke and came into being with design and order, Gen. 1:3-27; Psa. 33:6-9; Jer. 51:15. The Catholic Church advocates theistic evolution, a completely unbiblical concept. As an explanation of origins, creation and evolution are mutually exclusive.]
Christ's apostle warns against false knowledge: “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21). We will heed this warning as it applies to the Catholic pope and his Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Bible is right; the pope is wrong.
Pope Francis on Evolution and Creation: God is not a Divine Being or a Magician, ijreview.com
‘God is not a magician’: Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and Big Bang, Travis Gettys, rawstory.com
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/03/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA