And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD

Volume 20, Number 06
10/22/2017

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


Elders
Morris Bass
Rich Brooks
Rick Holt

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


 

In this issue:


"Join the Church of Your Choice"
Joe R. Price

Just as he deceived Eve, Satan convinces many people that their choices are right and good. He helps them believe their choices are beneficial – even when those choices bring spiritual death (Gen. 3:6; 2:16-17).

And, so it is with the churches around us. The devil wants you to “go to church” – as long as it is not the Lord’s church. He multiplies churches, and persuades people they are all the same. He convinces people they are the standard by which to assess churches by announcing, “Join the church of your choice.”

Moral and religious choices must be made. Moses chose to suffer with the people of God (Heb. 11:24-26). Joshua chose to serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15). Jesus chose to go to the cross (Jno. 11:17-18). We must choose to follow Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:28-30).
To do so, we must conform our will to God’s will. When we set out to “choose” a church, we mean to say is we must be members of the church that God approves. Please note, we are not talking about choosing a denomination. We do not read of a single denomination in the New Testament. If we choose any of them, then we are choosing churches of which are entirely foreign to the gospel of Christ. We are believing the devil’s lie that “one church is as good as another.” Here is the truth of the matter: No church of men is as good as the church that belongs to Christ. Therefore, we must choose...

the church Jesus built (Matt. 16:18). The church belongs to Christ, not us.
the church Jesus purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28). The church is blood-bought. His love for her led Jesus to die for her (Eph. 5:25).
the church Jesus sanctifies and cleanses (Eph. 5:25-27). It is marked by moral purity and doctrinal clarity.
the church to which the Lord adds saved people (Acts 2:47). You don’t “join” Christ’s church, He adds you to it. 
the church that has Christ as its head (Eph. 1:22-23). No man on earth is the head of the church of Christ.
the church that is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Only it is connected to the head, who is Jesus.
the church that makes known the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10-11). This is according to God’s eternal purpose. The church is not optional.
the church that is the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15). It is made up of God’s sons and daughters. 
the church that is registered in heaven (Heb. 12:23). It is composed of the saved (Acts 2:47).

The church of Christ is the church we read about in the New Testament. Believe and obey Jesus, and He will add you to it (Acts 2:37-41). 

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How the Holy Spirit Works Today
Joe R. Price

The Holy Spirit is Deity, a member of the Godhead (Acts 5:3-4; Heb. 9:14; Psa. 139:7-10). The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force (like the wind). The Spirit is a “He,” not an “it” (Jno. 16:13).

Some Christians hesitate to talk about the Holy Spirit and His work in their lives. Perhaps they want to stay far away from the Pentecostal errors of present-day miracles and the like. Perhaps they are acutely aware that many say the Holy Spirit personal indwells them and guides them in a direct, individual way, and they do not wish to be associated with this error. Or, perhaps Christians fail to speak about the Holy Spirit because they do not understand and appreciate His role in their lives. 

Jesus said the great work of the Holy Spirit is to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jno. 16:8). He does this by using the word of God, the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Jno. 16:7-15). 

The Spirit’s relationship to the word of God helps us understand that He uses it to convict the world. 
1) The Holy Spirit revealed God’s word (Jno. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:10). 
2) The Holy Spirit inspired God’s word (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 2:13).
3) The Holy Spirit confirmed God’s word using miracles (Mk. 16:16-20).

Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit works in the lives of the lost and the saved, but not through a miraculous event, or by an intuitive, “better felt than told” experience. Nowhere does the Bible teach such things. The Spirit works indirectly, by using the word of God (Scripture), to produce faith, to save the lost, and to fortify the saved (Rom. 10:15-17; 1:15-16). 

The work of the Holy Spirit may be accepted when one believes and obeys the word of God. Or, His work may be rejected by unbelief and disobedience to the word of God. The Holy Spirit does not force Himself and salvation upon anyone He does not impose “irresistible grace” upon sinners. In fact, sinners can resist Him. As Stephen said, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?” (Acts 7:51-52) 

What the Spirit is said to do, the word of God is said to do. Each of the following is accomplished by the Holy Spirit by means of (through the agency of) the word of God:

   1) Convicts the world (Jno. 16:8; Acts 2:37)
   2) The new birth (Jno. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23)
   3) Sanctification (1 Pet. 1:2; Jno. 17:17)
   4) Salvation (Titus 3:5; Jas. 1:21; Rom. 1:16)
   5) Cleanses sinners (1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:26-27)
   6) Leads us (Rom. 8:14; 1 Jno. 1:6-7; Jno. 8:31)
   7) Strengthens us (Eph. 3:16; Acts 20:32)
   8) Testifies we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16; 1 Jno. 2:3-6; 3:24)

Let us not shy away from a full endorsement of the work the Holy Spirit in our lives. But, let us be equipped to explain from the Scriptures that the Spirit uses the word of God to accomplish His work today; not miracles, human intuition, human emotion or human wisdom. It is no wonder that the word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). 

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

Ways to Help Us Grow

 

Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:9-12

1. Most Christians yearn to grow spiritually; to be stronger, to resist temptation more fervently, to walk with Christ more fully.
2. The devil is our adversary is our constant adversary, diverting us, discouraging us, and diminishing our faith in the strength of the Lord, Eph. 6:10.

I. DESIRE TO GROW, PRAY AND USE GOD’S WORD TO GROW, Eph. 3:14-19; Col. 1:9-12; Phil. 1:9–11; 3:13-14; Heb. 12:1-2.

II. READ GOD’S WORD OFTEN, Heb. 4:12-13; Psa. 119:11; 37:30-31; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

III. CHOOSE GOOD FRIENDS, 1 Cor. 15:33-34; Prov. 22:24-25; 1 Kgs. 11:4 (1 Cor. 7:33).

IV. THINK THE RIGHT THINGS, Prov. 23:7; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-4.

V. EXAMINE CONSTANTLY, 2 Cor. 13:5; Lk. 18:9-14; Gal. 6:3-4; Jas. 1:22-25.

VI. WORSHIP OFTEN, Acts 2:42; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14:3, 5, 12, 15-17, 26; Heb. 10:24-25; Psa. 122:1-2; Acts 2:42.

Conclusion
1. Spiritual growth has wonderful benefits now, and in the world to come, Jno. 15:1-8, 9-11; 2 Pet. 1:8-11.
2. May God help us to grow, as we commit ourselves to His ways of doing so.

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
 

Jesus is Dangerous
 

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 21:42-46

1. Jewish leaders viewed Jesus as dangerous, as a threat to their power, and concluded he must die, Jno. 11:45-53 (Matt. 27:18).
2. Jesus is still viewed as dangerous.

I. JESUS IS DANGEROUS TO SATAN, Gen. 3:15.
A. Came to Destroy Works of the Devil, 1 Jno. 3:8; Jno. 12:31-33; Heb. 2:14-18; Jas. 4:7.
B. Jesus is Dangerous to Sin, Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor. 15:56-57; Heb. 10:17-18.
C. Do You Consider those who Oppose Sin to be Dangerous? Gal. 4:16; 6:1-2

II. JESUS IS DANGEROUS TO THOSE WHO DO NOT RESPECT AND OBEY THE WORD OF GOD, Matt. 7:21-23.
A. Those who Disrespect the Authority of Jesus, Matt. 7:22; cf. Lam. 3:37; Mk. 7:1-5.
B. False Teachers, Matt. 7:15-20; cf. Lk. 11:52-54; 20:19; Rev. 2:14-16.
C. Hypocrites and Self-Righteous, Matt. 23:1-3; Lk. 18:9; 1 Cor. 4:9-16; Rev. 3:1, 3.

III. JESUS IS DANGEROUS TO EVIL MEN WHO REFUSE FAITH.
A. Secularists Who Defy God, Rom. 1:20-23.
B. Christians who are Divisive, Self-Promoters, 3 Jno. 9-10; 1 Thess. 5:14-15; 1 Cor. 3:3-4; Gal. 5:20, 21.

Conclusion
1. Christ is Sovereign King, who saves the lost and rules the nations.
2. Honor and fear Him, lest His anger consume you, Psa. 2:8-12; Lk. 12:4-5; 2 Thess. 1:7-9.


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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Church Clarity
Joe R. Price

Are you a member of an “affirming” or a “non-affirming” church? A new website, Church Clarity, identifies churches using these terms as they apply them to a church’s teaching on homosexuality and the LGBT agenda (“Church Clarity pressures pastors and churches to disclose views on homosexuality,” religionnews.com).  Faithful churches of Christ affirm what the Bible teaches about these matters. Homosexuality is sin, same-sex marriage is a perversion of God-ordained marriage of man and woman, and gender identity (male and female) and roles are established by God’s creation, not formed in the mind of people (Gen. 1:27; 2:21-24; Matt. 19:4-6; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 1:24-27; Jude 7). 

Of course, “affirming” and “non-affirming” is a matter of perspective. The Church Clarity website identifies as “affirming” those churches that affirm and accept the LGBT agenda. In fact, these churches affirm sin. We will not do so, for that would bring us into sin, too (2 Jno. 9-11).

Churches should be clear about what they teach, practice and allow in their fellowship. Some churches of Christ refuse “church clarity” by not teaching publicly on some controversial subjects. For example, any number of churches of Christ (with their elders and preachers) do not publicly post what they believe and teach on divorce and remarriage. You can search in vain trying to learn what they teach on this Bible subject. Why is that? God knows their motives, but we can know them by their fruit (Matt. 7:20). Such churches and preachers:

1) Avoid declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
2) Use the house of evasion to protect them from trouble. A non-committal tactic toward controversial biblical subjects may provide escape from the scrutiny of men, but one will not escape God’s judgment there (Heb. 4:13). 
3) Prefer silence over contending for the faith (Jude 3).

Is there church clarity on Bible teaching where you are a member? 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  10/23/2017

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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