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

THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD

Volume 20, Number 25
04/15/2018

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

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


 

In this issue:


Turning Good into Evil
Joe R. Price

Sin often occurs by turning what is good and right into what is evil and a transgression of God’s law (1 Jno. 3:4). Fundamentally, sin’s temptation to commit sin involves an allurement to fulfill legitimate desires in unlawful ways (as well as by enticements to omit God’s law, Jas. 1:14; Jas. 4:17). That which once held a place of purity and honor is tarnished, denigrated and defiled by conduct that transgresses God’s intended purpose and will. Consider some Bible examples of men turning good things into evil.

Fruit of the Vine and Alcoholic Beverages

Man turned the blessing of grape juice into the curse of intoxicating wine. The Bible uses the word “wine” with a range of applications. “Wine” is “the blood of grapes” in Genesis 49:11, and it is the shameful, foolish beverage of Proverbs 20:1. New (fresh, sweet) wine comes from the vine and is a blessing from God (Gen. 27:28, 37; Deut. 7:13; 11:14; 18:4; Exo. 22:29; Psa. 104:14-15). That’s grape juice. Men’s hearts are made merry by the juice that comes directly from the fields (Judges 9:27).

These few verses teach us to be careful not to conclude that whenever “wine” is mentioned in the Bible it is always fermented, alcoholic beverage, and therefore, conclude that alcoholic beverage is acceptable to God. After all, the winepress squeezes grape juice into a wine vat, not alcohol (Matt. 21:33; Mk. 12:1). The fact that Jesus turned water into wine does not demand it was fermented (Jno. 2:1-11). While we use the word “juice,” it is proper to recognize that in the Scriptures “wine” is often applied to the juice that comes directly from the fruit. Given the totality of God’s word concerning fermented drink, we rightly conclude Jesus turned water into sweet juice, not alcoholic beverage.

While it is God who gives new wine (juice of the grape, fruit of the vine), it is man who learned to ferment and preserve wine with alcoholic content. Man turned the blessing into a curse by turning what is good into what is evil. Alcoholic wine dulls the senses, loosens self-control, inhibits sober thinking, turns people away from God and offends the holiness of God (Prov. 23:29-35). “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!” (Isa. 5:11) It staggers the mind to think how many lives and families have been hurt and even destroyed by its insidious effects. Wine produces shame, and to consume fermented wine is to be “lead astray” into foolishness (Prov. 20:1).

A Christian cannot successfully defend drinking that which God says is mockery and foolishness. Yet, that has not kept some Christians from trying to defend drinking alcohol, even though God’s word names it as “the will of the Gentiles” (those who do not know God) and is not reflective of the mind of Christ and the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-3). Not content with God’s blessing of new wine (grape juice), they dabble in drinking alcohol and call it “social,” a “happy hour” that helps them relax and “take the edge off,” or to celebrate a special occasion. Yet, God’s word teaches us to refuse alcoholic beverage at all its stages, from when it sparkles in the cup, to when its continued consumption inevitably results in drunkenness (Prov. 23:29-33). Therefore, God says do not look on it from the beginning (Prov. 23:31).

Turning grape juice into alcohol takes what is good and transforms it into what is hurtful, harmful, shameful, destructive and foolish.

Marriage and Marital Corruption

Man turned the blessing of marriage between one man and one woman for life into the curse of marital corruption (polygamy, divorce and remarriage for any cause, and same-sex marriage). God arranged marriage to be an exclusive relationship with permanency, commitment, and unity at its core (Gen. 2:23-25). Human beings introduced various distortions of this righteous relationship by injecting worldliness, selfishness, pride and prejudice into the harmony of the home. For example, man introduced multiple wives (Gen. 4:19). Man introduced concubinage (Gen. 16:1-6). Out of the hardness of their hearts, men introduced putting away their wives and marrying others (Matt. 19:8). God hates divorce, and the law of Moses regulated Israel’s appetite for it, yet they continued to proliferate divorce (Deut. 24:1-4; Mal. 2:14-16). In our time, people have redefined marriage to include two women and two men (same-sex marriage). Millions discount marriage as old-fashioned and out of step with today’s progressive lifestyle. Many view marriage as oppressive.

Yes, man has distorted what is good (marriage) into evil things.

It has always been God’s will that marriage consist of one man and one woman for life (Matt. 19:3-6, 7-8). Jesus gave one exception for putting away your spouse with the right to marry another; the cause of fornication (Matt. 19:9). God-arranged marriage is good. It solves the problem of loneliness and provides family and societal stability and morality (Gen. 2:18-24; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 7:2). Man’s caricatures of marriage are wicked and devised to devour souls.

The Church of Christ and Denominations

Man turned the blessing of the church of Christ into the curse of denominations. Jesus Christ built one church, the body of redeemed souls who are washed by the blood of the Lamb of God (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:41, 47; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23). Men have turned the house of God (the church) into a den of thieves who rob people of true faith and salvation, godliness, and righteousness through false doctrines and commandments (Gal. 1:6-12; Col. 2:1-10, 20-23; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Jude 3-4; 2 Pet. 2:18-19). Creed-based division (denominations) is not from God (Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 4:4).

We must see with clear eyes how the good things of God are turned into the evil things of men. That’s what sin does. Therefore, we must abhor evil and cling to what is good (Rom. 12:9). 

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

Praise the Lord!

Scripture Reading:  Revelation 19:1-6

1. The early church praised God, Acts 2:47.
2. Praise: To extol, to give honor to, Psa. 111:1.
3. Hallelujah (Heb.): Praise ye Yahweh; “to shine, hence, to make a show, to boast” (Strong’s); “shout for joy, rejoice” (BDB). Alleluia (Gr.): Praise ye the Lord; “an adoring exclamation” (Strong’s). Rev. 19:1, 3-4, 6.

I. THE ASSEMBLY OF THE RIGHTEOUS PRAISE THE LORD WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART, Psa. 111:1-6.

  A. Praised because of All His Marvelous Works, Psa. 40:4-5; 9:1-2; Deut. 4:32-40.
  B. Praised because He Dwells in Zion, God Remembers the Cries of the Humble, Psa. 9:11 (2 Cor. 6:16); cf. Heb. 4:16.
  C. Praised because of His Salvation, Psa. 9:13-14; 111:4; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 111:5-6; Matt. 6:11, 33-34; Jno. 6:35, 68; Col. 2:12; Heb. 2:14-18; 111:6; 1 Pet. 1:3-5.

II. HIS WORKS ARE TRUE AND JUST, Psa. 111:7-9.

  A. God’s Works are Steadfast because His Integrity is Impeccable, 111:7-8 (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2); Psa. 119:89-90; Heb. 9:15-17; Lk. 1:68-69.

III. HIS WORKS CAUSE US TO FEAR HIM, 111:10 (reverence).

  A. God is Worthy of Our Enduring, Eternal Praise.

Conclusion
1. The work of God is matchless, Rom. 11:33.
2. The church praises Him (gives Him glory) forever for His powerful works, Eph. 3:20-21.

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

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord

Scripture Reading:  2 Peter 3:14-18

1. 2 Pet. 3:18: This exhortation to grow may leave you wondering how to achieve it.
2. Spiritual growth occurs as the result of:
  a. Spiritual nutrition (word of God), 1 Pet. 2:1-3.
  b. Spiritual exercise, 1 Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 5:14.
  c. Spiritual endurance, 2 Tim. 2:1-7.
3. 2 Peter 3: Insight into how to grow.

I. GROW IN THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  A. By Keeping Proper Attitudes toward Fellow-Christians (beloved), 3:1, 8, 14, 17; 2 Cor. 6:11; Gal. 6:1; Phil. 2:3-4; Col. 4:5-6.
  B. By Being Diligent to be Found by the Lord in Peace when He Returns, 2 Pet. 3:14; 2 Tim. 2:15; Rom. 2:10.
  C. By Accepting the Teachings of Christ’s Apostles, not Twisting them, 2 Pet. 3:15-17.

II. GROW IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  A. Grow in Knowledge Judgment Day, 2 Pet. 3:7. (Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10)
  B. Grow in Knowledge of What Causes Religious Error, 2 Pet. 3:1-16.
  C. Grow in Knowledge Understanding of Repentance, 3:8-10; 2 Cor. 7:10; Rom. 2:4.
  D. Grow in Knowledge and Understanding of Christ’s Second Coming, 2 Pet. 3:10-13.
  E. Grow in Knowledge and Understanding of Spiritual Growth, 2 Pet. 3:18 (14-15).

Conclusion
We do not give God glory when we do not grow, 2 Pet. 3:18.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Numerologist Claims Rapture Near
Joe R. Price

Another false prophet is about to be exposed (Deut. 18:21-22). David Meade, a so-called Christian numerologist, predicts April 23, 2018 as the beginning of the Rapture and the second coming of Christ. His twisted interpretation of Revelation 12:1-2 is laced with the fiction of astrology and the alignment of planets and stars (“Biblical prophecy claims the Rapture is coming April 23, numerologist says,” foxnews.com). Will they ever learn?!

The Rapture doctrine is not in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is used by those who believe the righteous will be invisibly snatched up (raptured) before seven years of earthly tribulation, followed by Armageddon and the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth. However, this verse describes how Christians will meet the Lord “in the air” and “thus” (in this manner) “always be with the Lord.” The Rapture doctrine says those raptured will come back to earth with Christ. (That will be difficult, since the world will be burned up when Christ returns, 2 Peter 3:10-13.) Christians are not going to be raptured, only to return to the earth seven years later. The kingdom will be delivered up to God on that great day of His return (1 Cor. 15:23-24).

No one on earth knows when Jesus will return. That includes David Meade. That information is reserved for the Father in heaven. “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42).

We must always be prepared for Christ’s return, because it could happen at any moment. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins teaches this (Matt. 25:1-13). We are not in the darkness of ignorance about His return. Instead, we are prepared by being watchful and sober (1 Thess. 5:1-6).

Astrology and numerology are instruments of idolatry and faithlessness (Deut. 4:19). Star-gazers and prognosticators are powerless to instruct and to save (Isa. 47:13). God does not communicate to us through the stars, but by His Son, through the inspired Scriptures (Heb. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Hear Christ; not David Meade. 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  04/16/2018

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