And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
Moses did not feel worthy to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Call it fear, call it insecurity, call it what you will, he was having a serious bout of uncertainty, doubt and lack of faith. But his every excuse for not going back to Egypt was answered by God. When he rationalized that "they will not believe me" God asked, "What is that in your hand?" (Exo. 4:1-2). God has placed many things in our hands. Things that are important and eternal in nature. How we use them says much about our faith in God as well as our ultimate reward.
As a parent, you have a child in your hand. God has placed in your care and keeping an immortal soul. What a precious gift (Psa. 127:3). Children are not burdens. They are not "in the way". They are God's reward. We rear our children with a desire to honor and obey God in their lives. It has been said that a child may not inherit his parents' talents, but he will absorb their values. What are your children absorbing from you?
You have a name in your hand. That is, you have a reputation that you should value and not ruin through indiscretion (Prov. 22:1; Eccl. 7:1). Once tarnished, a good name is not easily nor quickly reclaimed. "The memory of the righteous is blessed; but the name of the wicked will rot" (Prov. 10:7). Guard your reputation by thinking of the consequences of your actions. You will never regret living a godly, pure life of faith.
You have an influence in your hand. Your life touches others. Your family, your associates at work, your neighbors, your fellow Christians. As salt influences the taste of our food, so should one’s life cause those around him to be better for the experience (Matt. 5:13). With so many evil influences around us we must be careful not to become the salt that loses its flavor.
You have an opportunity in your hand. Just as the wealthy master gave his servants portions of money according to their ability, God has placed in our hands many opportunities to use the abilities He has given us (Matt. 25:14-15). The chance to speak a kind word, to help a stranger, to support the weak, to restore the fallen, to teach the lost - these are just examples of the many opportunities before us. Do not grow weary while doing good. Use the opportunities before you to glorify God (Gal. 6:9-10; 1 Cor. 10:31).
The Old Testament includes two passages prohibiting specific people from consuming intoxicating drinks.
The book of Proverbs contains an admonition against kings drinking wine and intoxicating drinks. These are the words spoken to King Lemuel by his mother: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted” (Prov. 31:4-5).
The Law of Moses prohibited the priests from drinking wine and intoxicating drinks (Lev. 10:8-10).
8 Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying:
The reason for this prohibition is very clear. Those who served as kings and priests were in important positions. They had incredible responsibilities to both God and man. They had to be able to make good judgments. Kings had to remember the law and execute justice according to the law. Priests had to be able to distinguish between what was holy and unholy. They also had to be able to teach all the statutes of the Lord to the people. As we all know, alcohol impairs one’s judgment, rendering him unable to fulfill such responsibilities in a proper manner. These individuals were not allowed to enjoy intoxicants - not even in moderation. They were advised (in the case of King Lemuel) and commanded (in the case of the priests) not to touch any of it.
According to the New Testament, all Christians are kings and priests. “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6). If it was unfitting for kings and priests to consume intoxicating drinks under the Old Law, why wouldn’t God have the same expectations for His kings and priests under the new and better covenant? Aren’t we still expected to know the law and make righteous judgments (Eph. 5:17; John 7:24)? Don’t we still need to distinguish between what is holy and clean and what is unholy and unclean (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1)? Aren’t we commanded to live in a sober manner (1 Thess. 5:6-8; 1 Peter 1:13, 5:8)? Intoxicating drinks have no place in the life of a Christian, not even in moderation.
We are coming upon the time of year when some Christians will face temptations regarding alcohol. Holiday parties, office parties, family gatherings, and New Year’s celebrations will place the stumbling block of intoxicating drinks before some of us. Christian, please remember who you are and what God expects of you. You are a king and a priest!
-Knollwood Reminder, Nov. 1, 2015
Scripture Reading: 3 John 9-12
1. Temptations are strong, but they
can be overcome, 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 2:18; Jas. 1:12; 2 Pet. 2:9.
I. DO NOT IMITATE EVIL.
A. Fleshly Lusts, 1 Pet. 2:11-12 (Gal. 5:19-21); 4:1-5.
Matt. 5:31; Rom. 12:2
II. IMITATE WHAT IS GOOD, 3 Jno. 11 (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 1 Ths. 1:6-7).
-Who are your role models?
Last month California became the fourth state in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide. Governor Jerry Brown explained he would not want to be in pain during his final days. (Perhaps Gov. Brown is unaware of the many pain relief treatments available these days.) Suicide is thus rationalized at just another "medical option" as one nears the end of life ("California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Dangerous Bill to Become 4th State to Legalize Assisted Suicide, Steven Ertelt, lifenews.com).
The real goal of such laws is euthanasia on demand. This minimizing of the value of human life is the inevitable outcome of thinking human life evolved from a single cell organism over billions of years. If true, then we are just animals who have evolved differently than other animals. Nothing more. Therefore, how we treat a human is really no different than how we treat an animal (and vice versa). When an animal suffers a terminal illness, it is killed. Why not do the same thing for human beings and end their suffering?
Because we are more than flesh; we are not animals. We were created in the image of God. We did not evolve in the image of ancestral primates. Genesis 1 stands as a monument to the uniqueness of human life above all of God's creation (Gen. 1:26-27). Our immortal soul stamps upon each of us the uniqueness and sanctity of our lives. The Giver of life has not given us the right to end our own life or to help others end theirs.
We are not insensitive to the realities of facing certain death. Such often comes with much pain and sorrow. Yet, death is no respecter of persons; death comes to us all (Heb. 9:27). Upon what basis does even impending death give us the right to end our life or the life of another? God, who gave us life, does not approve it. We deceive ourselves if we say, "It is my life, I can do with it as I please". No, your life belongs to God (1 Cor. 6:20). What will you do with your life as long as He allows you to live? That is the real question each of us must ask and answer (Eccl. 12:6-7; 13-14).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/08/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA