And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
In John 12:48-50, Jesus drew attention to His word and every person’s reaction to it.
48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (Jno. 12:48-50)
Jesus said His word contains both judgment (condemnation) as well as everlasting life. How can this be? The answer is found in how one chooses to react to His word. The exercise of your freewill determines whether the word of Christ will bring you damnation or everlasting life in the last day.
To reject the teachings of Jesus in unbelief is to reject God the Father, who sent Jesus to this world to speak His word to mankind. The authority of heaven is contained in the teachings of Christ Jesus.
To reject Jesus and His words brings one into direct conflict with God (Deut. 18:18-19; Acts 3:22-23). The word “judge” in John 12:48 means to “distinguish, i.e. decide,” and “by impl. to try, condemn, punish” (Strong’s Dictionary). It is a terrifying thing to fall under God’s wrath, which brings be eternal anguish in outer darkness (Heb. 10:31; Rom. 2:8-9; Matt. 25:30, 46; Mk. 9:44-48). Eternal death.
On the other hand, to believe and obey the word of Christ is to reap the blessing of everlasting life, commanded and granted by God to all who love Him and keep His commandments (1 Jno. 5:3). Thus, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). The word of Christ gives eternal salvation to all who believe it and obey it (Heb. 5:8-9).
You are making your choice of eternal death or eternal life right now. The effects of your choice will reach into eternity. Grasp the serious finality and enormity of the judgment that surely comes from rejecting Christ and not receiving His words. Unquenchable fire. Agony without relief. Without God forever. Now, consider life without end. Blessed rest, peaceful bless and joyful praise in God’s presence forevermore. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.
How sweet the sound? How truly amazing is the grace of God, that sets us free from sin? Grace is often defined as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, and think how appropriate and true this statement is. God’s grace removing our own sin is nothing we deserve or provide for ourselves (2 Cor. 12:8-9; Eph. 2:8-9). Rather, it is given totally by God’s mercy at the expense of Christ on the cross (Rom. 3:20-24). God’s grace is a great gift, given to His undeserving creation. There is nothing we can do to earn the grace of God, nor will we ever deserve it.
If you stop and truly think about how blessed we are as Christians to receive forgiveness from our Lord by His own mercy, you will be much more grateful for His everlasting grace (Eph. 2:7). We should be striving to better appreciate God’s grace each day of our lives. With a humble heart and mind, coming to God with a repentant attitude and an obedient life, we have “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace,” (Eph. 1:7).
Without the grace of God, we truly have nothing. Life would not have any value, and the everlasting hope we have in Heaven would not exist. In the precious grace given by God, we have hope, salvation, and life that exceeds this world. Should we not be thankful each day for the gift of God that saves us?
Each day, we ought to thank God for His sufficient grace, and we must also thank the Son of God, for leaving the realm of Heaven to be the sacrificial lamb, by which grace is made possible. It is my hope that we never lose sight of the grace of God, but rather, that we thank Him and Jesus more and more each day for it. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound of it, that saved wretches like us. We once were lost, but now we are found. We were blind spiritually, but now we see. Let us not be ungrateful for grace, rather, let us learn to thank both God and Jesus more each day.
Hear Tanner's sermon, "Prayer" from Sunday night, July 10, 2016.
Joe R. Price
In his article this week, Tanner Bass exhorts us to be thankful for God’s grace and the salvation it provides us in Christ. A needed exhortation.
Someone will ask, “Why isn’t everyone saved, if God’s grace brings salvation to all men according to Titus 2:11? If any are lost, doesn’t that impeach God’s goodness?”
The Scriptures give us a clear answer; those who do not obtain saving grace are those who do not have saving faith. God’s grace offers salvation to everyone, but, it is only received “through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9).
As the apostle showed in another place, it is through Jesus Christ that we gain access to grace by faith: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2).
Grace is accessed by faith. Only a living, obedient faith saves sinners. Faith without the work of obedience is dead and barren, and will never save (Jas. 2:17-20, 24). Since Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, a faith that does not obey Him is a faith that does not save (Heb. 5:9). No faith in Christ; no access to grace. Obedient faith in Christ; access to grace. We stand in grace with hopeful joyful hearts. Only if one refuses to have obedient faith will he or she not have access to God’s grace in Christ.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
entices us to sin by using our strong desires, Jas. 1:13-14.
I. RESISTING TEMPTATIONS OF SATAN.
Temptations can be Resisted, 1 Cor. 10:13; Eph. 4:27 (6:11-13).
Gender Presentation and Reality
Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, “who has been serving a 35-year prison sentence for her role in leaking U.S. government secrets, was treated and released from a prison hospital Wednesday after she tried to hang herself, according to media reports” (foxnews.com). This comes on the heels of the announcement by the U.S. Armed Forces allowing transgendered people to openly serve in the military. In a recent opinion column Manning wrote from prison for The Guardian, Manning said, “Gender presentation should reflect the person that you are,” and, “The simple reality is that we are who we say we are.” (Ibid)
Once people accept that logic (?) – and many have – we wonder how long before they will take the next step and accept transpecies. This is not satire, it is reality. One such person, 20-year-old Nano from Sweden, believes she is a cat. Her friend, Sven, is also a cat trapped in a human body. She believes she was born with a genetic defect. “My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it," she explained. "I think I will be cat all my life” (mrctv.org).
Humans are not cats, and cats are not humans. If you are reading this, you are a human, not a cat. And, if you have the male chromosomes, you are male regardless of who you say you are. Simple science. (Proclamations, notwithstanding.)
God created male and female with unique capacities for unique functions and roles (Gen. 1:20-30, 27; 2:21-22). Men have been given leadership roles as husbands and fathers, while women are supportive care-givers and mothers, complimenting and completing what men lack (Gen. 2:18-25). The present obsession with gender identity reflects a basic rejection of God’s natural order. When people refuse to retain God in their knowledge, all manner of debased thinking and actions follow (Rom. 1:28). The LGBTQ community and its supporters have abandoned nature, science, common sense and the Scriptures in order to maintain their self-centered, self-serving, sinful conduct (Rom. 1:24-27). May they come to their senses and see that God’s arrangement of gender and sexual identity is correct.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/11/2016
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA