And takeÖthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
Satan tries to isolate the Christian in this sin-filled world. He and his cohorts want you to feel like an "odd-ball" for believing in the Bible and for practicing Bible values. He wants you to doubt the gospel and your faith in Christ. This is one of his subtle devices (2 Cor. 2:11).
We sing, "I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, nor to defend His cause..." and, "Soldiers of Christ, arise!" Our lives must bear out the sentiments our voices proclaim. When push comes to shove, we must not shrink in shame and retreat from the battlefield.
Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mk. 8:34-38). Our eternal destiny is at stake in whether or not we are ashamed of Christ.
When one obeys the gospel of Christ he must never feel inferior to the crowd around him (that does not care for the things of God). After all, whose approval is most important to us: menís or Godís? The answer to that question affects our willingness to endure the reproaches of men for the sake of heavenís salvation.
Romans 8:31-39 renews our strength to fight against sin and error: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (v. 31) Ö "Who shall bring a charge against Godís elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?" (v. 33-34) Ö "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (v. 35) Ö "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (v. 37). Nothing can separate faithful Christians from God's love in Christ Jesus (v. 38-39).
We can and must stand strong and firm for Christ and His gospel in this world of sin (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10-13). We cannot play with the fire of sin and not get burned. As David stood before Goliath, let us steady ourselves in faith, stand our ground and fight the enemies that defy the living God (1 Sam. 17:31-54).
Heaven is for those who are not ashamed (Rev. 12:11; 14:12-13; cf. Rev. 21:8). Therefore, we gladly bear His shame and reproach.
-Revised from The Spirit's Sword (VI:10), June 2, 2002
The tongue is a powerful thing. It can comfort the grieving with kindness and concern, and it can destroy a personís credibility and good reputation. It can build up brethren and it can destroy churches. "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell" (Jas. 3:5).
We must learn to restrain our tongue by controlling our heart. Jesus said what comes out of the mouth defiles the man because it comes from the heart (Matt. 15:11, 18). One such defilement is gossip.
Gossip is a sin. It does not show love for oneís neighbor, nor does it show evidence of tongue (heart) control (1 Cor. 13:4-7; Matt. 22:39; Jas. 3:8).
The person who gossips is a talebearer. "He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends" (Prov. 17:9). To the gossip (and the person who listens to it), a morsel of information about somebody else is delightfully feasted upon: "The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body" (Prov. 18:8). But, the gossip fails to realize that the food of gossip also poisons his or her soul.
The person who gossips sows strife. One who "sows discord among brethren" is an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 6:16, 19). That is reason enough not to gossip.
The person who gossips is a slanderer. "The person who gossips is a slanderer" (Prov. 16:28). "Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure" (Psa. 101:5).
The person who gossips is a busybody. "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other peopleís matters" (1 Pet. 4:15; see 2 Ths. 3:11). To gossip is to meddle in the lives of others.
Idleness invites gossiping: "And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not" (1 Tim. 5:13). It could be you have too much time on your hands if you are gossiping about others. Use your time productively to bear righteous fruit instead of the fruit of destruction.
The tongue requires constant surveillance: "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (Jas. 3:8) We cannot turn our back on the tongue for one second. Constant vigilance over it is required to use it for a blessing rather than a curse (see Jas. 3:9-12).
By keeping our heart pure we help guard ourselves from the sin of gossip (Phil. 4:8).
-Revised from The Spirit's Sword, June 2, 2002
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:7-14
reveals God's formulas for success:
I. GIVE GOD FIRST HOUR OF EACH DAY.
A. To Pray, Mk. 1:35; 1 Thess. 5:21.
II. GIVE GOD FIRST DAY OF EVERY WEEK.
A. To Worship God, Acts 20:7; Psa. 122:1.
III. GIVE GOD THE FIRST PORTION OF EVERY PAYCHECK.
A. As You have Prospered, 1 Cor. 16:2.
IV. GIVE GOD THE FIRST CONSIDERATION IN EVERY DECISION.
A. We Make Decisions based on Our Priorities, Matt. 6:33-34; Lk.
V. GIVE GOD THE FIRST PLACE IN YOUR HEART. Psa. 37:5-6
A. To Form Your Faith, 1 Pet. 3:15.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-4
learn early in life that by asking their parents many needs, wants and
wishes are met.
I. THE PROMISE OF PRAYER.
A. God Hears and Answers Our Prayers, Matt. 7:11; 21:22; 1Pet.3:10-12;
II. THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER. Pray about...
A. Our Attitudes, Phil. 4:6-8. Prayer helps:
III. THE PATIENCE OF PRAYER, Psa. 55:16-17.
A. The Endurance to Keep on Praying, Lk. 18:1, 8; Acts 2:42; Eph. 6:18;
Washington governor Jay Inslee honored "Tillie" Thursday as "Washingtonian of the Day". Tillie is a setter-spaniel mix that protectively stood watch over another dog that fell into a cistern and was rescued seven days after becoming lost. "Inslee had Tillie sit next to him as he read the proclamation in which he urged 'everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.'" ("Dog who protected trapped friend honored by Washington governor", foxnews.com).
It seems Tillie is far better at protecting a fellow dog than many politicians and judges are at protecting people.
Where are the leaders who stand guard to protect innocent, unborn children? Legalized abortion has murdered close to 60 million children in America since 1973. As a U.S. Representative (before becoming governor), Jay Inslee received a 0% rating from National Right to Life (his voting record was completely pro-abortion). Innocent blood is on the hands of leaders who enable murder (Matt. 27:22-26). We need leaders who stand guard over all human life.
Where are those who stand guard to protect our children from transgenderism in schools and throughout society? "A transgender student has reportedly filed suit against the largest school district in Illinois for refusing to allow the student to use the girlsí locker room. The student, whose name has not been released, was born a biological male, but identifies as a female" ("Transgender Student Files Complaint against School District for Girls' Locker Room Access", christianheadlines.com). Gender was created by God (Gen. 1:27). Gender is not fashioned in the imaginations of confused people. They need help, not encouragement to confuse others.
Where are those who stand guard to protect God-designed marriage? Marriage is the product of God (Gen. 2:21-24). Legal definitions by human courts do not define God-approved marriages (Mk. 6:17-18).
The Lord calls on us to stand guard: "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/19/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA