And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:19). This was in response to His disciples rebuking them.
This shows us that God and man have two different ways of looking at things. The disciples, mere men, thought the children were a nuisance; Jesus, God, thought they were precious. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isa. 55:8, 9).
We also learn the nature of those who make up the Kingdom. They are child-like in character and quality. Children are humble. They rarely think themselves to be something they are not. They do not put on airs for others. Just look at those who have mud or chocolate smeared on their clothes and have no shame whatsoever. Many proudly wear a milk mustache. To be a part of the Kingdom, we must have such a humble attitude (Prov. 16:18, 19).
Children are also tenderhearted. When their friend is hurt, it bothers them. If a baby is crying, they often ask why and want it fixed for the baby’s sake—not their nerves. When mommy or daddy is down, a child will give them a hug or snuggle up to them. They care about others. How many children have wanted to take home that “sad looking” kitty cat, puppy, or turtle? The Lord commands us to be tenderhearted toward one another (Eph. 4:32). Without this disposition, we cannot be part of the Kingdom.
Purity is another quality children possess. Their minds may have some mischief every once in a while (I can hear a mother protesting now, “every once in a while”?!?). However, their little hearts are not thinking about doing evil to others. They do not devise plans to rob banks, cheat the store owner, or destroy the life of their neighbor. Rather, they think of what they can play next; cars, dolls, tag, etc. I am convinced one of the reasons God gives us babies who grow into children is for us to see there is purity in this world and how sweet it is—as opposed to giving us teens that are “difficult.” Purity is needed to be a child of God (Phil. 4:8).
Another quality of the young is trust. They inherently trust their parents. Think of the baby or toddler whose parent throws her into the air. Would you let someone else do that to you? It is hard for me at times to ride in a car with others. Yet, children rarely think twice about their own safety because of the trust they have. It is amazing and a great example for us; not necessarily to trust in others, but to put our faith in God. A Christian is to trust God implicitly (2 Cor. 1:8-10). He does and will take care of us.
Is your character more like a child or a cranky, grumpy, cynical old man? It will impact your joy in this life, not to mention your eternal destiny.
Truth Magazine, June 28, 2017, http://www.truthmagazine.com/for-of-such-is-the-kingdom-of-god
It was once said, “A wise person has long ears and a short tongue.” Or as we might say, a wise individual will learn to speak less, and listen more. That’s lesson we all need. Every day, we can choose to speak words of encouragement and love towards Christians and others to help build them up spiritually. Or, we can choose to use profane, hurtful, and discouraging words. It seems as though we can often fail to place proper importance upon our words, which leads to saying things we shouldn’t. How often do you say to yourself, “I shouldn’t have said that?” I fear that all too often we speak out of emotion, anger, or impulse. Let us see what the Scriptures say about our tongue, our words, and their importance.
Proverbs 21:23: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 12:18: “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”
Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 10:31: “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut out.”
James 3:6-12:”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. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame
the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. ..”
How important are our words? Solomon answers this question by declaring that both death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov.18:21). To help guard our words, we must understand a few principles:
1) We will be held accountable for the words which we use (Matthew 12:36-37).
2) We must recognize the power of the tongue for good, and for evil (James 3:3-5; Prov. 16:24).
3) We must T.H.I.N.K. about our words:
T- Is it True? (Lying forbidden; Col. 3:9)
H- Is it Helpful? (Eph. 4:29)
I -Is it Inspiring or Edifying (Col. 4:6)
N- is it Necessary? (Eph. 4:29)
K - Is it Kind? (Prov. 15:1)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us watch our language, and choose our words wisely. Our tongue is such a small muscle, yet it has tremendous power both for good and for evil. By carefully considering the words you speak, you will be improving your ability to tame your tongue. This is something every child of God must continually strive to accomplish. It is an ongoing effort. Let us remember Solomon’s instruction, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
Paul wrote that the gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). It is obvious the Jew, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist reject the gospel altogether. However, it just as true that denominations do not believe the gospel is the power unto salvation. There may be exceptions, but they are very few.
Some believe the gospel is totally unnecessary to salvation. Their belief is that the Holy Spirit works directly on the heart of a sinner. In some mysterious way the Spirit is supposed to awaken a person to his or her sin and bring them to faith in the Lord. Each person has a different and unique experience that confirms the Spirit’s work. In other words, it is all subjective and based on feelings and emotions.
Others believe the gospel is only partly needed. They would agree that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, but deny that all the word is necessary (Rom. 10:17). The teaching usually goes something like this: “Believe on Jesus as the Christ and accept Him into your heart as your personal Savior and you will be saved.” For them, belief alone is sufficient for salvation, and once you are saved you are always saved. Some say no sin can be committed by the child of God; others that sin is wiped away as it is being committed. So, anything beyond the gospels is not needed. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the basis for believing Jesus is the Christ, the rest of the New Testament is fine, but not necessary for salvation.
The truth is, the gospel is God’s power unto salvation. The gospel is not just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It includes all of the New Testament. Paul wanted to preach the “gospel” to the saints in Rome (Rom. 1:7, 15). Did he want to tell them about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? No. He had other things to teach them; things he termed as the “gospel.”
Further, notice that men are saved when they obey “the faith” (Acts 6:7). “The faith” is the gospel and the gospel is the faith. There is one faith, one body of divine truth and it is found exclusively in the New Testament (Eph. 4:5; Gal. 1:8, 9).
The gospel saves a man initially as he hears, believes, and obeys. It also keeps him saved as he follows it. Paul said, “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15:1, 2). He also said that we will be presented as holy, blameless, and above reproach “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Col. 1:23).
If there ever was a case for salvation by direct divine action, it was the case of Saul of Tarsus. On his way to Damascus the Lord appeared to him (Acts 9). Saul believed and asked the Lord, “’Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said, ‘Arise, and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do’” (Acts 9:6). After spending three days as a penitent, prayerful man, Ananias came to see him (Acts 9:9, 11, 17). Paul later revealed that Ananias said, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). In other words, Saul was not saved by the experience on the road to Damascus. He was not saved directly by the Lord on that day, nor by the prayers he offered for three days. Rather, he had to hear the commands as given by Ananias. When he obeyed, he was saved.
There is power in the word. It is the power to save a soul, and if we are going to be saved we need to spend time in the word. If we are going to help save others, we must know the word.
June was Gay Pride month in this country, first declared to be so by President Bill Clinton in 1999. “Since then, the habit has fallen along party lines (quartz.com). It was celebrated with parades and other sympathetic events throughout the month, particularly last weekend.
Progressives have worked mightily to define the LGBTQ agenda as a human rights issue. They have convinced a majority of Americans it is so. However, the Bible describes homosexuality as an expression of “vile passions” that is against nature.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26–27, NKJV)
“Vile passions” constitute a constant burning of desire that consumes and controls one’s entire being. This passage makes it very clear that homosexual lusts and conduct is sinful in God’s sight. It is not a “human rights” issue. Those who practice homosexuality have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” that their passions and practices are normal and natural (Rom. 1:25). They are not. Scripture says homosexuality is a chosen, sinful behavior, not an innocent congenital trait (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Twice, the apostle says homosexuality conflicts with the “natural use” of the body. God created male and female to perfectly answer to one another, body and soul (Gen. 2:18-25). To change this divine arrangement for shameful sin is a fraudulent perversion of sexuality that brings a just penalty. It is quite clear that homosexuality exchanges truth for a lie. It is not normal and natural; it is “shameful.” It is a work of the flesh that requires repentance, not celebration (Gal. 5:19-21).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 06/29/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA