And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
Paul challenged the Roman Christians in Romans 12:1 to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God. Basing his plea on the mercy of God they had received, he explained the nature of their sacrifice as living, holy, acceptable and reasonable. To sacrifice themselves to God they must “not be conformed to this world" but be transformed renewed minds (Rom. 12:2). This pleases God and fulfills His will for them and for us.
Christians use the blessings and gifts God has graciously put into our hands, being always guided by humility and faith (Rom. 12:3-8). There is a place of value and service in the body of Christ for every Christian to sacrifice and serve (12:4-5; Matt. 25:34-40).
1) The Christian’s behavior is genuine, Rom. 12:9-11. Love is to be without hypocrisy; it does not wear a disguise. Whether it is love for what is good (“cling to what is good”), love for brethren (“be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love”) or love for God (“fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”), love is diligent and sincere.
2) The Christian’s behavior is constant and caring, Rom. 12:12-14. We are to act consistently with the need and context of the moment, whether it is “rejoicing in hope” or being “patient in tribulation” (v. 12). In fact, we rejoice and are patient simultaneously, since our hope of eternal life anchors us through the storms of life (Heb. 6:18-20; Rom. 5:2-5). Steadfast prayer and hospitality are among the ways we become a blessing to friend and foe alike: “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
3) The Christian’s behavior is sympathetic, Rom. 12:15-16. The Christian is joyful when someone else has reason to rejoice. When sadness grips a soul, he shares the sorrow (v. 15). He is “of the same mind” with his brethren. He is not conceited or arrogant (traits that prevent compassion and sympathetic responses toward others) – his mind is not set on “high things” that exalt himself above others (v. 16). He considers others better than himself and looks out for their interests before his own (Phil. 2:3-4).
4) The Christian’s behavior is peaceful, Rom. 12:17-21. The person who is vengeful and vindictive is not living like Jesus. He set us an example of not returning evil for evil (1 Pet. 2:18-23). Like Jesus, we must value good things and live honorably and peacefully before others (12:17-18). The Lord has all authority and will avenge evil. So, Christians leave that work to the Almighty, while overcoming evil with good (v. 19-21).
Christians behave these ways because we are living sacrifices unto God (Rom. 12:1-2).
incredible size loomed over the valley as he hurled his insults toward the
armies of Israel. He was a champion among the Philistine warriors, and
everyone knew why: he was huge! Several feet taller than the average man, no
one could hope to survive hand to hand combat with Goliath of Gath. No one,
that is, except a youngster named David. Armed with faith in God, David
displayed remarkable courage as he challenged and then defeated this giant
of a man. His confrontation with Goliath is a truly remarkable display of
faith, courage, conviction, impressing on us the victory God gives those who
rely on Him (1 Samuel 17).
David knew the urgency of stopping the mouth of Goliath. Like David, we must assess the causes for which we fight to be sure we are on the Lord's side (Matt. 12:30). Then, as soldiers of Christ, let us engage the enemy. With faith in God and His power to deliver us from the foe, let us "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12; see 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-13).
-The Spirit's Sword, May 19, 2002, revised
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-7
1. 2 Timothy is Paul's emotional
farewell to a man he dearly loved, 1:1-5; 2:1.
I. STRENGTHENED IN GRACE BY TEACHING
THE GOSPEL TO OTHERS, 2 Tim. 2:2.
II. HOW TO BE STRENGTHENED IN THE
GRACE OF CHRIST, 2:3-6.
B. Compete as an Athlete, 2:5.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:1-4
1. Faithful Christian never looks
for ways to disobey God, 2 Cor. 5:9; Mk. 12:30.
I. DOING WHAT GOD FORBIDS. Gen. 2:16; 3:6
A. Sins of Commission: Committing an act
that God prohibits.
II. NOT DOING WHAT GOD COMMANDS, Jas. 4:17; Lk. 7:30.
A. Sins of Omission, Jas. 4:17; 2 Ti.
III. BY ADDING TO THE WORD OF GOD, Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18.
A. Doing what has not been Authorized is
Sin, 1 Jno. 3:4."
IV. BY TAKING FROM THE WORD OF GOD, Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19.
A. Some Speak of "Non-Essential" Commands
V. BY SUBSTITUTING SOMETHING ELSE FOR WHAT GOD COMMANDS.
A. God will not Accept a Substitute for
Obedience, 1 Sam. 15:22.
No Moral Exemption Allowed
Unless overturned on appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court, pharmacists in the state of Washington who have a moral objection to dispensing Plan B (morning-after pill) and other forms of emergency contraception that eliminate pregnancy (i.e., a medical abortion), will not be given a legal exemption to honor their consciences. In July the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Washington state law requiring pharmacies to provide all medications in a timely manner. No provisions were made in the law for religious objection and moral conscience against dispensing Plan B. Now, the Ninth Circuit Court has said none will be granted ("Washington state to require pharmacies to stock Plan B", DrugTopics.com).
Thus we have another example of man's law conflicting with the law of God. God forbids murder and commands us to love our neighbor (Rom. 13:8-10). We are made in God's image, and all human life is to be honored no matter how new (hours, days) or how old (80, 90, 100 years and beyond). Rather than kill new, unique and distinct human life, those who respect God praise Him for it: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psa. 139:13-14).
Followers of Jesus will continue to fear God rather than men and obey God instead of men (Matt. 10:28; Acts 5:29). All the more reason for us to say with former Christians who endured great trials, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). Every wrong will be righted on the great day of His return (2 Ths. 1:6-9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/07/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA