And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?
In his book “Evidence That Demands A Verdict,” Josh McDowell sets forth the three alternatives available to man in determining who Jesus really is: He is either the Lord, a Liar, or a Lunatic.
Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58). He claimed to be equal with God (John 10:30). He claimed to be able to forgive sins (Mark 2:5). He claimed to be the only means of obtaining eternal life (John 14:6). What are we going to do with these claims?
If we believe them to be true, we must accept the fact that Jesus is who He said He was – He is God.
If we reject these claims as being untrue, we have two alternatives regarding Jesus: He either knew these claims were not true, and thus was a liar, or He did not know these claims were untrue, and was Himself deceived.
If He knew His claims were not true, He is worse than a liar – He is a hypocrite, for He taught men to tell the truth, while He lied about who He was. Worse than that – He was evil, for He taught men that He was the only source of eternal life, knowing that He was not, thus condemning “believers” to an eternal Hell. Worse than that – He was a fool, for He eventually died because of His claim to be God, and no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.
If He sincerely believed He was God, when in fact He was not – He is a lunatic. It is possible for men to be sincerely mistaken, but Jesus did not “fake” the miracles which backed up His claims. The miracles performed by Jesus were not illusions or “parlor tricks.” Multitudes of people saw Jesus perform different kinds of miracles in which He displayed power over demons, disease, nature, and even death. Jesus was not crazy.
Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). This is the question every one of us must answer. After reading the gospels, we are left with three options regarding the identity of Jesus. He was either a liar, a lunatic, or He is the Lord. The answer to this question will determine our eternal destiny (John 20:30-31). Who do you say that He is?
(Knollwood Reminder, November 9, 2014)
The Resurrection Day
Joe R. Price
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28–29).
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51–52).
These are sobering words for any who are not obeying Jesus. Yet, these same words give hope and joyful expectation for the Christian. Victory over death! The resurrection of all the dead will surely occur when Jesus returns; His own resurrection from the dead guarantees it (1 Cor. 15:20-23). What can we expect on that great day?
We can expect to hear Christ's voice commanding death to give up its captives (1 Ths. 4:16). Christ, who has the keys of death and of Hades, will command all the dead to arise (Rev. 1:17). He who is "the resurrection and the life" and who cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth", will open the tombs of both the just and the unjust on that day (Jno. 11:25, 43; Acts 24:15). The day of resurrection will be a great day of victory when death is overwhelmed by the power of God (1 Cor. 15:54).
We can expect the dead to be raised incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:42-44). Just as the stalk of grain that grows out of the ground is markedly different from the seed planted in the ground, even so the body raised from the dead will be different from the one placed in the grave. Our resurrected bodies will be suited for the spiritual realm (1 Cor. 15:50). Our resurrected bodies will not be "flesh and blood" because heaven and hell are not physical places (1 Cor. 15:44, 50). But, they will be our own bodies, make no mistake (1 Cor. 15:49). No longer subject to the decay of mortality, we will be resurrected with immortal bodies that are fit for eternity (1 Cor. 15:52-54).
We can expect the individual judgment of our earthly lives (2 Cor. 5:10). With the resurrection of the dead comes the judgment of all mankind (Matt. 25:30-46; Rom. 14:12). Here is the motivation for everyone of us to give serious thought to the resurrection day. It will also be judgment day. Are we ready? Your life will be judged by the Lord. Are you living in harmony with the will of Christ? Those who do "the will of my Father in heaven" will enter the heavenly reward on that day (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:34-40). But, "those who do not know God, and...do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" will suffer an eternal punishment that is equally just (2 Ths. 1:7-9; Matt. 25:41-46; Rom. 2:1-11).
We can expect the resurrection to happen in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). Are you ready for that day? Obey the gospel of Christ and live faithfully to be ready and to anticipate the day of resurrection with joy and not dread.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Walk About Zion (Psalm 48)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 48:9-14
Jerusalem, city of David, 2 Sam. 5:6-9 (1 Kgs. 8:1; Jer. 31:6; Amos 1:2;
I. ZION (CHURCH) IS RULED OVER BY GOD, Psa. 48:1-2.
Lord Rules over His Kingdom, the Church, Dan. 7:13-14; Eph. 1:20-23.
II. ZION (CHURCH): PLACE OF SALVATION AND REFUGE, Psa. 48:3-8.
Lord is the Refuge of His Church, 48:3; cf. Isa. 62:1-2; Psa. 125:1-2.
III. ZION (CHURCH) IS GOD’S TEMPLE, Psa. 48:9-11 (132:13-14).
Habitation of God, Eph. 2:19-22.
IV. WALK ABOUT ZION, Psa. 48:12-14.
Her Towers (watch), 48:12.
Does God Approve of Denominations? (Part 1)
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
against following the teachings of men, Gal. 1:6-11.
I. WHAT IS A DENOMINATION?
Denomination is a Sect that Results from Division.
Promotes Division, 1 Cor. 1:10-13.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Quoting the Bible
It is nothing new; politicians quoting the Bible to promote a policy position. I don't really expect politicians on either side of the aisle to do a good job of referencing the Bible in their effort to rally the folks behind their cause. I get it. So please understand, I am picking on any one politician here. It just so happens that the President recently cited the Scriptures in a way that reminds us once again how important it is to properly handle God's word.
On Tuesday, in a speech advancing his immigration policy, President Obama said, "The good book says don't throw stones at glass houses, or make sure we're looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks eyes" (Obama Quotes Nonexistent Bible Verse in Immigration Speech, christianheadlines.com). Jesus did indeed talk about a speck and a beam in Matthew 7:1-5 to warn against hypocritical judgments (not all judgments). As for glass houses, that is a proverb of unknown origin and not in the Bible. Perhaps Mr. Obama meant John 8:7, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first". Of course, Jesus meant real stones and a woman taken in the act of adultery (John 8:4-5).
Here is our point. We must be very careful how we use the Bible. It is God's word, not ours. We cannot assume what it says; we must know what it says. Just as we do not want someone twisting our words for their own advantage (and often your detriment), neither should we think God is pleased when we carelessly misuse His word.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). To "rightly divide" means to make a straight cut. One commentator notes, "As the farmer, when he cuts crooked furrows, injures his field, so also the minister of the word, who does not rightly deal with it" (Lange, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, 98).
Here a few reminders to help us use the Bible properly: 1) Honor the Bible as the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17); 2) Respect the context; 3) Take under consideration all God says on a given subject; and 4) Yield to God's conclusions (do not force your own conclusion into the Bible).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/15/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA