And takeÖthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
temptation still exists,
As when on
Carmel Elijah spoke,
How long will
you hold the truth of God
We pick our
sides when disputes arise,
By doing so we
forget one thing,
God's truth is
(Exo. 32:26; 2 Tim. 4:2-5; 1 Kings 18:21; Gal. 1:8-10; Psa. 19:7-11)
John preached "a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Lk. 3:3). Repentance was the prerequisite needed to properly receive John's baptism. This is evident when John "said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, 'Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bring forth fruits worthy of repentance...'" (Lk. 3:7-8).
By definition, repentance means ďto change oneís mind or purposeĒ. It is helpful to remember what does not constitute repentance so that we may correctly identify it. Repentance is not the guilt or sorrow one feels over his sin; repentance is produced by "godly sorrow" (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Regret over one's past sins may indeed lead to repentance, yet it is not always so (Matt. 21:28-29; 27:3-5). Repentance is not "turning", for the apostle Paul preached that the Gentiles should "repent, turn to God, and do works befitting of repentance" (Acts 26:20). Turning to God results from repentance.
Repentance is the decision of will to change one's mind (attitudes, dispositions, purposes) toward God and toward sin (Acts 20:21; 2:37-38). To ask whether one has "fully repented" is somewhat redundant, for unless the whole mind has changed, repentance has not yet occurred. (The Bible does not endorse half-hearted repentance.)
John challenged the repentance of those who desired his baptism, making it clear that changes of life result when one repents (changes his or her mind). The people responded to John by asking, "What shall we do then?" (Lk. 3:10). His answers teach us what constitutes "fruits worthy of repentance".
1) The fruits worthy of repentance is a changed life toward one's previous sins. John told those guilty of selfishness and failing to love their neighbors to now be charitable as a fruit of their repentance (Lk. 3:11). Tax collectors who repented were told to no longer be greedy, and take only the appointed tax (Lk. 3:12-13). Soldiers were told to cease their violent intimidation, lying and greed (Lk. 3:14). When Paul wrote, "let him to stole steal no longer", he exemplified the truth that one cannot repent of sin yet continue practicing sin (Eph. 4:28; Rom. 6:2). Fruits worthy of repentance is the cessation of sin to now do God's will.
2) The fruits worthy of repentance are mandated by God, not man. Men do not define the fruits worthy of repentance, the Lord does. When Jewish Christians tried to bind circumcision on repentant Gentiles it was an unbearable, unwarranted "yoke on the neck of the disciples" (Acts 15:9-10). Some continue to put unbearable yokes on brethren, demanding their self-imposed fruits worthy of repentance be met before granting forgiveness. God's word is clear: Repentance repudiates and removes sin from one's life and replaces it with God's will (2 Cor. 7:11).
repentance there can be no remission of sins in Christ (Lk. 24:47). Once the
heart changes, one's life bears the fruit of that change by doing the
Father's will (Matt. 7:21).
 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vineís Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 525). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:26-31
1. The danger
of falling away from God is real, Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12-13.
I. THE DANGERS OF WILLFUL SIN, Heb. 10:26-31.
A. It is
Stubborn Presumptuousness, Num. 15:30-31; 1 Tim. 1:13; Lk. 12:42-48.
II. THE NATURE OF WILLFUL SIN.
Sin is Born of Pride and Over-Confidence in Self, 1 Cor. 10:12; Gal. 6:3;
Rom. 12:3, 16.
III. OUR DEFENSE AGAINST WILLFUL SIN, Heb. 10:32-39.
the Former Days of Faithfulness, 10:32-34; Gal. 5:7; 1 Cor. 9:24; Phil.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:1-8
1. The Bible is
not a theoretical book, Jno. 6:68.
I. GOD'S WILL IN RELATION TO HUMAN CHARACTER AND CONDUCT.
A. All but Four
Verses (90, 121, 122, 132) Make Allusion to Godís Word.
-The practical value of God's word is praised.
The Christian and Walls
The head of the Roman Catholic Church had something to say about Donald Trump's immigration policy Thursday. Of Trump's plan to "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it", the pope said, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," Pope Francis said. "This is not in the Gospel." ("Pope tells Trump building walls Ďnot Christianí on way back to walled-in Vatican", foxnews.com)
We will not debate Trump's immigration strategy. But, this talk about walls reminds me of a wall the Lord has torn down and walls He has built. We must respect both.
Christ tore down "the middle wall of separation" between Jews and Gentiles. That wall was "the law of commandments contained in ordinances", the Law of Moses (Eph. 2:14-16). The death of Jesus forever removed the barrier the law made between Jews and Gentiles. Now, all are saved the same way, "by grace through faith" in the gospel of Christ (Acts 15:7-9; Rom. 1:16). The old covenant with its sacrifices and offerings could never take away sins (Heb. 10:4). But, the blood of the new covenant, the death of Christ, accomplishes our redemption (Heb. 9:12-15; 10:10).
The Lord built a wall of separation between what is holy and what is profane. Ezekiel's vision of God's temple, the church, includes a wall for that very purpose (Ezek. 40:5; 42:20; 43:12; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-12). God expects Christians to observe His clear demarcation between good and evil. "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you" (2 Cor. 6:17). Christians choose to live separated from sin.
The wall of the city of God depicts its perfect security (Rev. 21:12-21). Nothing defiled will enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). We must "cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). Only by doing so will we be fit to enter heaven.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 02/21/2016
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA