And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
The apostle Paul said the word of Christ forms a pattern of doctrine that must be preached, believed and obeyed. It is a pattern of teaching that is apostolic, not creedalistic: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you heard from me” (2 Tim. 1:13). This apostolic pattern is formed by “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ” that accords with godliness (1 Tim. 6:3). Those who refuse and oppose the pattern of the gospel can only offer the world a formless, shape-shifting message that lacks the power to save sinners from sin’s bondage and death. By denying the “doctrine which accords with godliness,” one is left with the obsession of “disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
The inspired apostle wrote in Romans 6:17-18: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” The “form” or pattern of doctrine (teaching) to which the Romans had been delivered was none other than the gospel of Christ, the “power of God unto salvation” to all who believe (Rom. 1:16). The verse plainly says they were freed from sin when they “obeyed from the heart” the pattern of teaching that was preached to them. That pattern includes faith that Jesus is the Christ and confession of the same (Rom. 10:9-10). It also includes being “baptized into Christ Jesus, into His death” and into death to sin (Rom. 6:3-4). The sinner who does not obey the gospel pattern of how to be saved remains lost in sin (Mk. 16:15-16).
Instead of apologizing for obeying doctrine to be saved, let us proclaim it abroad. Man’s false doctrine corrupts the Bible teaching of faith, grace, obedience and salvation. “God be thanked” for the pattern of the gospel. It frees sinners from the bondage and death of sin when it is believed and obeyed from the heart (Rom. 6:17-18).
The secular agenda of LGBTQ “rights” continues to reshape the thinking, practices and laws of North Americans. Both the U.S. and Canada have increasingly mainstreamed the immorality of homosexual, bisexual and transgender conduct, using court rulings to canonize their irreligious, immoral orthodoxy. Secularists are increasingly successful in labeling religious people “bigots” who, for faith and conscience’s sake, will not participate in celebrating their ungodly lifestyles.
In Canada, a couple seeking to adopt a child was recently denied their application by Alberta’s Child and Family Services. When Catholic Social Services asked their view of homosexuality during their home study interview, the couple stated, “Biblical principles are the foundation of our home…As such we believe that homosexuality is wrong… Gender and sexuality are determined at birth, and God has given parameters for people to enjoy the gift of sex—within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman” (“Canada Rejects Christian Couple for Adoption,” Kiley Crossland, christianheadlines.com). The report goes on: “A few days later, Catholic Social Services reversed its recommendation for approval, stating that the couple wouldn’t be able to help a child with ‘sexual identity issues.’ When they met with the staff to understand the decision further, the issue became clear: ‘If we did not change our religious beliefs regarding sexuality, to conform to the beliefs of Child and Family Services, we would not be approved for adoption,’ said the woman in the affidavit.” (Ibid)
“The couple attempted to appeal to no avail. In May, Child and Family Services officially denied their application, saying their beliefs about gender and sexuality were a rejection of LGBT children and differed from the “official position of the Alberta government.” (Ibid) Their case is currently under appeal.
Then, there is the 2012 case of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, CO, who declined to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, because he believes in God’s eyes, marriage only exists between a man and a woman, and that sex between two men is a sin. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Phillips had to make cakes for same-sex weddings, regardless of it violating his religious beliefs. His case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court (“American Muslims, Lot’s Wife, and the Christian Baker,” Ismail Royer, thepublicdiscourse.com).
The evidence is mounting that a state-sanctioned dogma of sexuality and gender is being shaped by the courts and the lawmakers of both Canada and the U.S. It is an orthodoxy that rejects biblical truth on these subjects, by attempting to mandate the violation of one’s faith.
The secular dogma of LGBTQ folks (who shout for their “rights” and for “tolerance”) does not tolerate someone else’s right to refuse to accept their sin. For you see, they seek societal approval and credibility. They demand that others validate their corruption of godliness, by the force of law, if necessary (Rom. 1:24-29). This is the real bigotry. Increasingly, they are having their way at the expense of moral decency, national honor and righteousness (Prov. 14:34).
Christians cannot and will not participate in sin, nor give it endorsement, even when civil authority abuses its power and imposes godlessness upon us (2 John 9-11; Rev. 13:15-18; Acts 5:29). We will continue to love the sinner, and hate the sin. We will continue to call all sinners to repentance and redemption through the gospel of Jesus. Secular orthodoxy codifies bigotry – all in the name of tolerance.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: John 10:22-30
Multitudes followed Jesus, Matt. 4:25; Jno. 6:2.
I. HOW WE TREAT HIS WORD AND HIS PEOPLE, IS HOW WE TREAT JESUS, Matt. 25:40, 45; Acts 9:1, 4.
A. We Cannot Physically Surround Jesus, but We Do So Figuratively, by the Posture We Take Toward His Word and His People, Jno. 12:48; Matt. 10:40; Jno. 13:20. cf. 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:15; Jno. 14:6.
II. WHY DO PEOPLE SURROUND JESUS?
because He Has the Words of Eternal Life, Jno. 6:66-69; Lk. 15:1-2.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
Peddling the gospel: Adulterating it for gain; huckster, 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.
I. HOW THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED IN THE FIRST CENTURY. Lk. 14:23
Thessalonian Model of Preaching, Acts 17:2-4; 1 Thess. 2:1-13.
II. CHURCHES ARE MARKETING THE GOSPEL.
Food, Fun and Frolic, and They Will Come, 1 Cor. 2:1-5; Mk. 6:30-36; Jno.
III. WHY ARE SUCH THINGS BEING DONE?
it is What People Want. Lk. 9:23
IV. DEFENDING “MARKETING” THE GOSPEL.
A. “We Are
Just being Wise,” Matt. 10:16.
Baptism and Marriage
The New Testament commands water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:47-48). It is an act of faith in Christ, an expression of love for Him, by which the sinner puts on Christ and is saved (Jno. 14:15; Acts 8:12-13, 16; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21). Its motive is clearly stated: “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37-38).
However, Meghan Markle, the fiancée of England’s Prince Harry, will be baptized for a different reason. You see, Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, is also the head of the Church of England. Markle was not raised Catholic, but she attended a Catholic high school. It has been announced that she will be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England prior to the wedding, in an apparent nod to the queen (“Meghan Markle Will Be Baptized Into the Church of England Before Her Wedding to Prince Harry,” Diana Pearl, people.com).
Baptism is not a church ceremony. Baptism is not a way to secure a relationship, or to cement the legitimacy of a marriage. Such are selfish, sinful reasons, and not at all worthy of Christ. Water baptism must be the action of faith by one who knows Jesus is the Christ, and is convicted of his or his sins against God. Baptism is for one whose godly sorrow for his sins has prompted repentance (Acts 2:37-38). It begins one’s relationship with Christ, not one with a man or woman (Rom. 6:3-4).
Markle is also divorced. Previously, this would have meant they could not have a wedding in a Church of England church. But, the Archbishop of Canterbury has not problem with it. Of course, it is God, not the archbishop, who approves or rejects marriages (Matt. 19:4-6, 9). Without the God-given right to remarry, adultery ensures.
The approaching royal wedding reflects culture’s disdain and rejection of both the purpose of baptism, and the permanency of marriage. How can we celebrate that?!
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/04/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA