And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:16–18, NKJV)
These are not pleasant words, nevertheless, their warning is needful. The sexual appetite is strong, and when fed within God-approved marriage, it is undefiled (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:2). But, when indulged outside of God-approved marriage, it brings pain, sorrow, regret, and eternal death (Prov. 6:23-35; Rev. 21:8).
Every sin we commit begins in the heart; It is “outside the body.” But, sexual immorality (porneia, “fornication”) is “against the body.” That means it is opposed to the God-given purpose of the body (1 Cor. 6:18). From creation, God provided marriage for the intimacy and exclusivity of sexual relations. Without shame, the marital union of male and female bodies completes and proliferates humanity, while providing a shield against sexual sin (Gen. 2:18-25; 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:2-3).
Paul explains why fornication is against your body: Your body belongs to God, not to you (1 Cor. 6:20, 15). Therefore, “glorify God in your body” by fleeing fornication, and by maintaining sexual purity.
Society is saturated with sexual sins and their allurements. Every sinful, sexual appetite is honored and encouraged by the world, from premarital sex, to extramarital affairs, to same-sex “marriages” – the lie of normality is applied to more and more shameful things, while being approved in the name of understanding, tolerance, and love (Rom. 1:24-32).
The truth of the gospel calls us to the purity of holiness, not to the shameful, destructive sins of the flesh (1 Pet. 1:15; 4:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:1-8). Stolen water is not sweet, and stolen bread feeds the flames of hell (Prov. 9:17-18). While the world indulges itself in soul-destroying uses of their bodies, Christians will continue to flee fornication, pursue righteousness, and call sinners to repentance (2 Tim. 2:22; Lk. 5:31-32).
-Sword Tips #757 (May 12, 2016), revised
The Ethiopian learned about water baptism when Philip taught him the gospel of Jesus: “Then Philp opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’” (Acts 8:35-36) He immediately affirmed his faith “that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). He was promptly baptized by Philip, and his sins were removed. He was saved (Acts 8:38; 2:37-38, 40-41). Nothing hindered him from being baptized.
What hinders you from being baptized?
1. Some are hindered from being baptized because they have not heard the gospel. Like the Ethiopian, faith is established in the heart when one hears the gospel, and is convicted by it (Rom. 10:13-17, Acts 2:37). Therefore, infants and small children, who do not have the capacity comprehending the gospel (and who are sinless), are not subjects of water baptism. Infant baptism is not Bible baptism; it is man’s feeble, false attempt to improve on God’s perfect model of redemption (Mk. 16:15-16).
2. Some are hindered from being baptized by real or perceived inconveniences. “The water is too cold;” “My friends or family cannot be present;” “It is too late, or too far, to go to the water now,” etc. By contrast, the Philippian jailer and his house were immediately baptized “the same hour of the night” when they believed in Christ (Acts 16:33). This is the right attitude of one who is ready for baptism.
3. Some are hindered from being baptized because they think their life is too busy to become a Christian. Like governor Felix, they wait for a more “convenient time” to be saved and to live for Jesus. They look to tomorrow, which never comes (Lk. 12:20). Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
4. Some are hindered from being baptized because they think it will condemn their loved ones. This misdirection is the devil’s deception. Your sin condemns you; nobody else. And, your gospel obedience saves you; nobody else. Your obedience does not condemn anyone. We each stand responsible and accountable to God for ourselves, and God will righteously judge every person (Ezek. 18:20; 2 Cor. 5:10). You must obey the gospel for your own salvation, not hindered by what others did or did not do.
5. Some are hindered by threats from unbelievers. Pressure applied by family, friends, cultures, governments and others, can deter some from obeying God rather than men. But, Jesus demands that we fear God more than men (Matt. 10:28).
When these reasons are used to delay, or to refuse being baptized, they are not the real hindrance. The true culprit in each case is a lack of genuine faith. Where faith exists, nothing hinders one from promptly and fully obeying Jesus Christ (1 Jno. 5:3-4). Instead of being hindered by unbelief, put your full trust in the Lord Jesus. Come to Christ in full faith, repent of your sins, confess your faith in Him, and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9-10). Do this, and Christ will save you. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:36-44
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Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:6-11
1. Satan is
real, and his objective clear, Job 1:6; 1 Pet. 5:8-9.
I. LIES UNDERGIRD ALL OF SATAN’S PURPOSES, John 8:44.
A. He Lies
(About His word, His Son, His purposes, etc.)
II. THE FLESH, Romans 8:5-8.
A. "Missing out
on life!" (Heb.
11:25) Psa. 10:3-4; 1 Jno. 2:15-17;
III. DOUBT, James 1:5-8.
A. The Lie of
Trusting in Yourself,
IV. SUFFERING, 1 Peter 5:9.
Discouragement, Despair, Hopelessness, Helplessness, etc.:
Growing up on a farm taught me pretty quickly and easily, that there are only two genders, male and female. When I read the Bible, it taught me the same thing (Gen. 1:27; 2:18-20, 23). But now, some have the idea that gender is derived from the brain (what they think and feel they are), and not from biology (what their body shows they are). Furthermore, a growing chorus tells us we must recognize their delusional thinking as an accurate description of who they really are. And, if we do not, we are labelled as biased haters (read Galatians 4:16).
The Washington State Department of Health has enacted new rules allowing a person to select a third gender choice on the WA state birth certificate. Starting January 27, 2018, a person can designate their gender on their birth certificate as male, female or X. Gender X is defined as “a gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, genderfluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, Two Spirit, and unspecified” (“Rule-Making Activities,” doh.wa.gov). That sounds like a lot more than three to me. (I never saw any gender X on the farm!)
“Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism. Biological sex is assigned at birth…” (nhs.uk). “People who have gender dysphoria feel strongly that their gender does not match their biology” (WebMD).
Nature teaches two genders; so does Jesus, and the Bible (Matt. 19:4). Our children and grandchildren are being taught falsehood as the truth (1 Tim. 6:20-21). Christ is the Light, who leads the lost out of sin’s confusion into God’s mercy (Eph. 4:17-19; Jno. 1:4-9; 8:12; 1 Pet. 2:9-10).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/15/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA