And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
People who live in unrighteousness are deceived by sin and perish "because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10). Conversely, when love and truth combine they are a powerful force against evil. The devastation is eternal when love and truth are compromised and corrupted by sin. We are grateful to be reminded of the strength at our disposal through the love and truth of God. God is our great example to also deal with others in love and truth.
The world does not love you. Those who live in sin love the world with its pleasures and pride (1 Jno. 2:15-16). Worldly people will only love you as long as you endorse, approve and support them and their sinful ways. But rest assured, those who love the world will discard you when you decide to love God first and always. Jesus said, "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" (Jno. 15:19). We have a choice to make: Either love God with all our heart, soul and mind, or love the world (Matt. 22:37).
The world does not tell you the truth. The world is the dominion of the devil, the father of lies; "there is no truth in him" (Jno. 8:44). It is not surprising that his servants lie. Sinners will entice the innocent with lies. We must love truth in order to know and avoid their lies: "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent...do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil..." (Prov. 1:10, 15-16).
The power of love and truth. God shows us the power of love and truth. In love He sacrificed His Son for us (Jno. 3:16-17). By Jesus, God has spoken truth to us (Jno. 1:14; 14:6; Heb. 1:2).
The person who loves you tells you the truth. He does not lie to you. He does not deceive you. We do well to remember Paul's plea to the Galatians, "Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" (Gal. 4:16)
The love and truth of God powerfully combine in the gospel, which is His power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Those who love you tell you the truth. They want you to be blessed now and eternally. Everyone who is of the truth listens to Jesus (Jno. 18:37). The world does not love you. The world does not tell you the truth. The world offers you momentary pleasure and eternal death. That's not love - and that's the truth!
From time to time we are asked what the Bible says about the subject of tithing. Here is one such question and the answer we supplied.
"My actual question is, where in the bible does it say a tithe is 10%? I cannot find it anywhere. Thank you."
We conclude that “tithe” means “tenth” in the following ways: 1) The definition of the Hebrew word, 2) By comparing Hebrews 7:2 with Genesis 14:20, and 3) By its contextual usage throughout the Old Testament.
The word “tithe” derives from Old English for “tenth”. The Hebrew word is “maasrah” and is defined as “tenth part, tithe:—tenth(4), tenth part(1), tithe(17), tithes(9), tithing(1)” (New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries). The first Bible reference to a tithe is Abram giving one-tenth of the spoils of battle to Melchizedek, king of Salem and the priest of God Most High (Genesis 14:18-20). In Hebrews 7:2 we are told that Abraham gave him “a tenth of the spoils”. Therefore, the definition of “tithe” in Genesis 14:20 is shown to be “tenth” in Hebrews 7:2. Later, Jacob vowed to give God one-tenth of his possessions upon returning from Padan Aram (Genesis 28:22).
The law that God gave to Israel through Moses commanded giving one-tenth of their annual increase to support the central place of worship (Deut. 12:2-7; 14:22; Lev. 27:30). In addition to the tenth (tithe) they could give “vowed offerings and freewill offerings” (Deut. 12:2-7). From Deuteronomy 26:12 we learn that “every third year, the Levites, aliens, fatherless, and widows were given the whole tithe in charity” (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 2071).
“According to Numbers 18:21–32 all tithe in Israel is given to the Levites forever in return for sanctuary service and in place of other inheritance in the land. A tithe of this tithe became a 'heave offering' (offered toward, but not consumed upon, the altar) for the priests. In Leviticus 27:30–32 the holiness of the tithe is stressed, and herd and flock especially included.” (Ibid)
The New Testament of Christ does not command giving a tithe or tenth. The New Testament tells us that the old law (which contained tithing) was done away in Christ (2 Cor. 3:14; Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14; Heb. 7:12). The New Testament commands Christians to give according as they prosper as a reflection of their cheerful heart of faith (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7).
King David's declaration is well suited to the heart of giving that God's people ought always to possess and express as they give: "Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You" (1 Chron. 29:13-14).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:20-4:1
have a heavenly citizenship, Phil. 3:20 (Eph. 2:19).
I. HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP CALLS FOR UNITY AND COOPERATION AMONG FELLOW-CITIZENS, 4:1-3.
A. Must be
of the Same Mind in the Lord, 4:2, 3; 2:2 (1 Cor. 13:4-7; 1 Pet. 4:8; 1 Jno.
II. HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP PRODUCES JOY, 4:4. Lk. 12:15-20; Psa. 16:11.
III. CITIZENS OF HEAVEN ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR FORBEARANCE, 4:5. Titus 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26.
HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP ENABLES A LIFE FREE OF ANXIETY, 4:6-7; Matt. 6:25,
27-31, 33; Eph. 1:3, 7; 1 Ths. 4:13.
V. HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP DEMANDS WHOLESOME THOUGHTS, 4:8; Mk. 7:20-23.
VI. GOD GRANTS FELLOWSHIP AND HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP TO THOSE WHO OBEY HIM, 4:9; 3:16-19 (Heb. 5:9).
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 3:1-7
purpose was to stir up their minds, 3:1 ("To wake up, arouse completely",
cf. 2 Pet. 1:13-15).
I. PURE MINDS...
...Remember Word of God, 2 Pet. 3:1-2.
II. LUSTFUL MINDS...
...Scoff at the Promises of God, 3:3-4; Matt. 20:19; 27:29, 31; Jude 18-19;
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Unless you've been living under a rock this past week you've likely heard about the email brouhaha involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There are some important lessons Christians can take away from observing this still developing situation.
Christians keep their word. Honesty and integrity are hallmarks of our faith. Email is not a "truth-free zone". We must take care that what we write and forward electronically is the truth. It is hard to imagine that someone thinks they walk with God while being deceptive toward others. The "lying tongue", the "heart that devises wicked plans" and "a false witness who speaks lies" are despicable to God (Prov. 6:16-19).
Christians use careful, gracious language in every form of communication. Email and other electronic forms of communication (texting, etc.) does not give anyone the right to be unkind, rude, insulting or profane. The slang the world uses in email, texting, etc. is often full of euphemistic profanity and blasphemy toward God and men. Be careful what you write, because you will answer to God for it (Matt. 12:36-37).
Christians think before they push "send". Email has made it extremely easy to say things with little forethought (to speak without thinking). Once spoken or sent, words cannot be retrieved. "He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction" (Prov. 13:3).
Christians take responsibility for what they write. Email makes it more difficult to deny what one has said. By always "speaking the truth in love" we are prepared to account for our words (Eph. 4:15). If we should sin with our tongue, including email, let us readily admit it and seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 03/16/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA