And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
Elsewhere in this bulletin is an article about the Christian's behavior in the house of God, the church. I recommend you read it first, as it addresses the broader point of our behavior as God's children at all times and in all places. Here, we wish to make a specific application to how we behave, namely, in our worship assemblies.
Our purpose for coming together as a church is to worship God and be built up in Christ: “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Cor. 14:26) Because we "come together as a church" to worship God "in spirit and truth", the church's place of assembly is not a place that facilitates social, recreational or political activities (1 Cor. 11:18; Jno. 4:24).
Your behavior in the worship assembly reflects your attitude as well as the attention you are giving God. Reverent attention ought always to be given God in worship. Some things detract from reverent worship. Please consider the following:
During worship services is not the time to be whispering, texting or otherwise visiting with your neighbor. There is time for that before and after we worship God. God is honored by giving Him our full attention as we pray, sing, eat the Lord's supper, give and hear His word taught. Worship is a time for us all to show respect for God (see Neh. 8:1-6).
During worship services is not the time to be needlessly getting up and down to go to the restrooms or wandering about. Of course there are good reasons some must leave the assembly hall, like caring for children or an illness. But, repeatedly getting up and down during worship suggests an attention problem. When Ezra read the Scriptures "from morning until midday", the men, women and children "were attentive to the Book of the Law" (Ezra 8:3). I fear we can be far more attentive to a two-hour movie (from which they do not move out of their seat) than to the Lord and His word during a one-hour worship service! If you think you must get up during the invitation song, let me challenge you to wait five more minutes until worship is concluded before diverting your attention elsewhere.
Every Christian is a participant in worship, not a spectator. Each saint should be fully engaged in song, prayer and hearing God's word. If you aren't, you are sending a message of disinterest that is distracting and discouraging to others. Furthermore, is that really the message you want to send to God during His worship?
Proper behavior in the house of God should be a matter of paramount concern to each of us. Paul wrote Timothy expressing the hope to shortly visit with him but if delayed, that he might know “how thou, oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:14, 15). Proper behavior in the place of assembling ought to characterize us when we meet to worship and study God’s word. Often a carnival type atmosphere pervades making it difficult for those who seek to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Though what has been said about our behavior in the place of assembly is true it is not the lesson that Paul is teaching Timothy. He identifies the house of God as the church of the living God and since the church is not a material building, it is not the house under consideration. Noah built an ark to the saving of his house (Heb. 11:8), which was his family or the eight souls who went into the ark (1 Pet. 3:20). In like manner God’s house is his family or church and Paul’s concern was for proper behavior in this family relationship that we have with God.
It is a great honor for man to be a member of God’s family and it is also one that entails serious obligations and duties. It is unfortunate that some do not consider these obligations as seriously as they ought and are often found misbehaving themselves in the house of God. Have you considered what misbehaving in the family of God will do for you?
It will cost you the loss of your influence for good. Probably none of us recognize just how far reaching our influence is. It may come as quite a shock in the day of judgment to learn that our influence has been the cause for another’s being lost. Jesus taught that we are the salt of the earth but added that if that salt loses it savouring power that it is henceforth good for nothing but to be trodden under foot (Matt. 5:13). Have you through your misbehaving as a child of God lost your influence for good over others?
It may cause the doctrine of Christ to be blasphemed. Timothy was told to teach servants to honour their masters that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed (1 Tim. 6:1). The aged women were commanded to teach the younger women how to conduct themselves that they be not the cause for this (Tit. 2:3-5). Enemies of Christianity rejoice in the misbehavior of God's children because it gives them occasion to blaspheme the name of God and his doctrine.
Your misbehavior may cause others to stumble or be offended. We need to carefully consider the effect of our behavior upon others for it is a serious thing to cause others to offend or stumble (Matt. 12:41-42; 18:6).
It will bring dishonor upon the worthy name by which we have been called (Jas. 2:7). One has just reason for being ashamed for suffering for some things but he has no cause for it if he suffers for being a Christian (1 Pet. 4:15-16). If our misbehavior in the house of God is the occasion for someone’s sneeringly saying, “That’s how good Christians behave!” we’ve brought reflection upon the worthy name by which we have been called.
May God help us to recognize the honor of being a member of his house and the need for properly behaving ourselves in it.
The Railroad Avenue Bulletin, Nov-Dec 2014
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
1. First century Christians had an impact on their world, Acts 2:46-47;
5:14, 28, 42; 8:4; 17:6: 28:22.
I. YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH, Matt. 5:13 (Mk. 9:50).
Flavors Food. (Christians flavor the world with goodness.)
II. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Matt. 5:14-16.
Life must be a Shining Light in the Dark World of Sin, Matt. 5:3-10.
Faith in the Storm
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
1. Cannot please God without faith, Heb. 11:6.
I. LIKE THE APOSTLES, AT TIMES WE WILL FIND OURSELVES "IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA" Matt. 14:24-27 (Jno. 6:19).
Storms of Life Come to Us All, 14:24, 22; 2 Tim. 4:16-18 (Heb. 13:5-6); Mk.
6:48; Psa. 11:4; 18:1-3.
II. FAITH WITHOUT FEAR, Matt. 14:28-33.
emboldens us, Matt. 14:29; Heb. 11:7, 23-27, 28-29, 30ff.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Mormons Admit Smith's Polygamy
For the first time the LDS Church has officially acknowledged Joseph Smith, Jr. had multiple wives. “Mormon founder Joseph Smith took his first "plural wife," Fanny Alger, in the mid-1830s. He later married many additional women — including young teens and some who already were wed to other men — and introduced the practice of polygamy to select members in the 1840s” (“New Mormon essay: Joseph Smith married teens, other men’s wives”, Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune). About 33 wives are attributable to Smith, maybe more (Ibid). The LDS Church admits these “Sealings for time and eternity included commitments and relationships during this life, generally including the possibility of sexual relations” (“Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo”, lds.org). The LDS Church’s admission at this late date does little to dispel their moral and religious entanglement.
The problem of adultery. Taking another wife while the wife to whom one is bound is living is adultery (Rom. 7:2-3). God judges fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4).
The problem of the cover up (lying). In 1831 a Mormon revelation said a man should cleave to his wife and “none else” (D&C 42:22). The Book of Mormon agrees (Jacob 2:27). So does the Bible (Gen. 2:24). Yet, Smith began taking other women by the mid-1830’s. In the 1835 edition of D&C 101 we find this disclaimer: “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” Smith covered up his practice, gradually revealing it to trusted associates in the early 1840's. Richard Bushman, author of “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling” observed, “Joseph was in an impossible situation. If he revealed what was going on, he would have brought down fury from both Mormons and outsiders. If you want to call that lying, I guess he was lying” (Stack op. cit.).
The problem of a false prophet. The Mormons would later forbid polygamy (1890). God’s revelations do not adapt to men's will (Jer. 13:14). Smith is a false prophet due to his immorality and his false teaching Matt. 7:15-23).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/16/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA