And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
New Testament Christians were warned of false teachers who would cheat them “through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). To this present hour there continue to be such men, who desire “to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” (1 Tim. 1:7).
One such example is a preacher in India who is confidently affirming that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God while He was on the earth. He contends that only after His resurrection from the dead did Jesus become the Son of God. He is persuading Christians they did not believe in the correct Jesus when they were baptized, and therefore, they must be baptized again when they accept his distorted teaching about Jesus. This man and his doctrine is disturbing churches and overthrowing the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:18).
This blasphemous error drives a stake through the heart of the gospel truth that the child whom Mary bore and brought into this world was, while on earth, Immanuel – “God with us” (Matt. 1:21-23; Isa. 7:14). Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was born, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6; Gal. 4:4).
Jesus testified He was the Son of God while He was on the earth (Jno. 8:14-18). Jesus said, “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:36). Note, Jesus did not say He would become the Son of God. Jesus said, “I am” the Son of God. That should end the discussion for every Bible believer. The doctrine that Jesus did not become the Son of God until He was resurrected is false. It is a direct rejection of the words of Jesus Himself.
Nor was this the only time Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. This declaration was why His enemies hated Him so. Not only did they wish to kill Him because He violated their Sabbath traditions, they also wanted to kill Him because He made Himself equal with God. Notice how He did this.
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (Jno. 5:17-18). Why would Jesus risk death for claiming that which was not true? According to this false doctrine, Jesus lied and exposed Himself to grave danger by saying God was His Father (which, of course, would mean is was the Son of God). Why didn’t Jesus tell them they misunderstood Him, and that He would not be the Son of God until His resurrection? Truly, Jesus was the Son of God when He was on the earth.
The Father declared Jesus to be the Son of God while Jesus was on the earth. At both the baptism of Jesus and at His transfiguration on the mountain, the voice of the Father affirmed Jesus, while on the earth, was the Son of God. At His baptism the Father said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:22). Why would anyone argue with the Father’s testimony that Jesus, at His baptism, was His Son? (The Father did not say, “at your resurrection you will become My Son.”) Again, when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, Jesus “received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (2 Pet. 1:17). But, if the doctrine of no-Sonship-before-His-resurrection is true, then Jesus did not deserve glory on the mount as the Son of God. Yet, God the Father gave Jesus that honor – while He was alive, before His death and resurrection (Matt. 17:1-5).
Many acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God while He was on the earth. They were never rebuked and corrected for this. How strange, if in fact Jesus was not the Son of God on the earth. All these recognized Jesus as the Son of God when He was on the earth:
1) Satan knew Jesus was the Son of God (Lk. 4:3, 9).
2) Demons knew Jesus was the Son of God (Matt. 8:29; Mk. 3:11).
3) The Holy Spirit said the Son revealed the Father to the world (Jno. 1:18).
4) John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Son of God (John 1:34).
5) Nathaniel confessed Jesus to be the Son of God (Jno. 1:49).
6) The miracles of Jesus declared Him to be the Son of God (Jno. 20:30-31).
7) Peter confessed Jesus to be Son of God (Matt. 16:16-17; Jno. 8:18).
8) Enemies knew Jesus claimed to be the Son of God (Jno. 19:7).
9) Jesus accepted this description while He was on earth (Mk. 14:61-62; Matt. 26:63-64).
10) The centurion and others concluded Jesus was the Son of God (Mk. 15:39; Matt. 27:54).
11) Paul said the Son of God died for us (Gal. 2:20).
12) John said God “sent His Son” to destroy the devil and his works (1 Jno. 3:8; 4:10).
The Scriptures are clear and definitive: Jesus was the Son of God while He was on the earth. “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
1. Our view
of death informs our view of life.
I. WE ARE DUAL BEINGS, Gen. 1:27; 2:7.
Flesh Decays after Death, Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:16.
II. DEATH IS THE SEPARATION OF THE SPIRIT FROM THE BODY, Jas. 2:26.
Spirit Leaves Our Body at Death, Lk. 23:46; Acts 7:59-60.
III. AFTER DEATH.
Realm of Departed Spirits (Acts 2:27). Lk. 16:22-25.
IV. ATTITUDES TOWARD DEATH.
is Sorrowful to the Sinner, 1 Thess. 4:13. (No hope)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
1. Why are
vows taken so lightly and broken so easily?
I. WHAT IS A VOW?
A. A Vow
is a Solemn Promise, 1 Sam. 1:10-11; 1 Kgs. 1:29-30; Num. 6:2 (Prov. 20:25);
II. PAY YOUR VOWS TO GOD, Psa. 50:14.
A. A Vow
to God Obligates (Binds) You to God, Psa. 56:12-13; 61:5; cf. Jacob, Gen.
28:18-22; 31:13 Psa. 22:25.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
“Which Religion Will Have You Living The Longest?”
I had to read that article when I saw this headline (who doesn’t want to live longer?). The author noted that many say longevity is increased by being religious. As it turns out, a Pew Research study showed atheists and agnostics (or the religiously unaffiliated) have the second longest life expectancy. Jews are number one, and Buddhists are third (“Which Religion Will Have You Living The Longest?,” Alison Lesley, worldreligionnews.com).
The irony is this article’s entire focus is on physical longevity, not spiritual longevity. Even if we live 80, 90 or 100 years, what gain is that to us on the day of judgment, if we lived without God (Heb. 9:27)? “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world (including a long earthly life, jrp), and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)
Yes, God’s word forbids things that have a deleterious effect on health; we are stewards of our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). The health risks of nicotine, alcohol and other drugs are well documented. The Scriptures’ emphasis on soberness and self-control is clear, and the applications are not hard to make (Prov. 20:1; 23:31-32; Gal. 5:21, 23; 1 Pet. 4:1-3). That said, a direct linkage of longevity to one’s religion is unsustainable.
So, back to the question posed in the title. What religion will have you living the longest? Well, the religion that is from God grants eternal life. “Pure and undefiled religion” is what James called it (Jas. 1:27). All religions are not created equal. Self-defined religion will never shield the soul against sin or grant eternal life (Col. 2:21-23).
We are most interested in life after death, not life on earth. Outwardly, we are decaying, but inwardly we are renewed daily in anticipation of eternity (2 Cor. 4:16-5:1). We long for the never-ending day, when mortality is swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:4). The religions of men will never give you eternal life. Eternal life is in the Son of God. Without Jesus Christ, there is no eternal life. You will live the longest by continuing to believe in the name of the Son of God, and by always following His will (1 Jno. 5:11-13; Jno. 14:6).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/29/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA