And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
The Bible tells of men in Israel “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (1 Chron. 12:32). There is evil in this world that we must recognize and reject by turning our attention to God’s word of truth and the salvation from sin found only in Jesus.
Consider some of the things God expects us to understand about the times in which we live.
1) The days are evil, Eph. 5:16. Life is filled with calamities, perils, hardships and sin. People who “understand what the will of the Lord is” will “walk circumspectly” (Eph. 5:15-17). One must carefully watch to identify the dangers to our souls, diligently avoiding sin and redeeming our opportunities to do God’s will. If you do not know God’s will, you can learn it. The Bible, God’s inspired word, will equip you to face this world’s evil without being overcome by it (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It teaches about sin and how to be saved from it. It speaks of God, who blesses and saves us through His Son, Jesus Christ. The prayer of Jesus for His apostles was not that the Father “should take them out of the world; but that you should keep them from the evil one.” Since they were “not of the world,” Jesus prayed the Father would “sanctify them by your truth. Your word in truth” (Jno. 17:15-17). We must understand the will of the Lord and not live carelessly, or the evil of sin will destroy us.
2) Our days on this earth are short, Psa. 90:10. Even if one lives eighty years and beyond, life “is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Because life is short, some unwisely choose to “go for the gusto” and live for the moment – which really means they selfishly live for themselves. In Psalm 90, Moses knows God’s wrath against sin is certain. He concludes that in view of God’s wrath, as well as the brevity of life, we should “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psa. 90:12). Understanding the times prompts one to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall both live, and do this or that” (Jas. 4:15).
3) There is nothing new under the sun, Eccl. 1:9-10. Life brings its share of monotony: “one generation passes away, and another generation comes” (Eccl. 1:4). In this world, things wear out, break, decay and lose their luster over time. Finally, we die (Eccl. 7:2; 12:1-7).
In view of life’s transitory nature, how utterly vain it is to lay up treasures on this earth (Matt. 6:19; Lk. 12:17-21). The “desire to be rich” is “the love of money” that snares many souls (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Let us lay up treasures in heaven instead of living for things that “perish with the using” (Matt. 6:19-20). One who amasses material things is making this world his home. He has failed to “understand the times” in which he lives. What about you?
4) Evil will not be victorious, Rom. 8:37. From the first sin in the garden, God began to reveal that He would conquer the old serpent, Satan. The seed of woman, who would also be the Son of God, would strike the death blow (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4-5). “God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 5:57). Christians are assured “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
Faith is tested as we live in a world full of evil. Some wonder, “How could God allow all the evil in the world? If there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering on earth?” Such sentiments question the integrity of God and undermine faith in Him. It is sin that brought death into this world, not God (Gen. 2:17; 3:4-13; Rom. 5:12). Consequently, human beings live with the toil, trials and testing of the flesh before returning to dust (Gen. 3:17-19). We experience physical decline and death because of Adam, not God (1 Cor. 15:22).
“Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18); Jesus conquered sin. “But now Christ is risen from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20); Jesus conquered death. Even though there is so much evil in this world, Christians do not despair because they overcome the devil “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:9-11). The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, overcomes every enemy of His people, “for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful” (Rev. 17:14).
An understanding of the times helps one know what he ought to do. In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the men of Issachar knew what Israel ought to do. If understanding does not lead to action, then what good is it? (If you understand the effect of gravity but jump off a cliff anyway, what good has your knowledge been to you?) We can know there is sin all around, but unless our knowledge leads us to hate the evil and love the good, what good is it? We sin when we know God’s will and do not do it (Jas. 4:17).
Not everyone understands the times in which we live. Some willfully ignore the truth. These scoffers live according to their own lusts and purposely forget the word of God (2 Pet. 3:3-5). They refuse to keep God in their knowledge and plunge deeper and deeper into depravity and eternal death (Rom. 1:18-32).
Some twist the Scriptures through ignorance and instability (2 Pet. 3:16). God has given us His word to light our path unto eternal life. But, many prefer the darkness of sin and error rather than the light and life of truth. Why? “Because their deeds (are) evil” (Jno. 3:19, 20-21).
We must understand the times in which we live to know what we ought to do. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14).
Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword, Jan. 22, 2006
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 6:1-7
1. God created
our ability to cry, Eccl. 3:1, 4.
I. CHRISTIANS Weep with Others (Jesus, Jno. 11:31-36).
had Compassion, Matt. 9:36; Col. 3:12-13; 2 Cor. 6:11-12.
II. CHRISTIANS Weep Over (about) Ourselves (Peter, Matt. 26:75).
Sorrow, for Sins, 2 Cor. 7:9-10.
III. CHRISTIANS Weep for Others (Paul, Acts 20:31).
Lost and for Christians, 1 Cor. 2:2-3; Acts 20:31; Psa. 119:136.
IV. When CHRISTIANS Stop Crying.
Our Tears Prevent Us from Doing God’s Will, 2 Tim. 1:7 (5).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 42:5-9
1. We can
only know about God what He has revealed about Himself, Rom. 1:19; 1
Cor. 2:11-12; Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:17-19.
I. THE GODHEAD: Elohim (Gen. 1:1, 26), YAWH (Jehovah, Exo. 3:13-15).
Father: God (Deity), Jno. 8:42 (Rom. 1:7). Jno. 1:18; Jno. 17:1-2 (Matt.
II. THE UNITY OF THE GODHEAD.
A. Total and Complete Unity, Jno. 10:30; 5:19-23, 18; Heb. 9:14.
III. RELATIONAL DISTINCTIONS WITHIN THE GODHEAD.
A. A Willing Chain of Authority Exists to Accomplish Human Redemption, 1 Pet. 1:2; Jno. 14:28; 1 Cor. 11:3 (Jno. 1:1-3; 17:5; Phil. 2:6)
IV. WHAT THIS MEANS TO US.
A. We Must
Put Our Faith in the True God for Salvation, Acts 14:15; Jno. 8:24; Heb.
Boy Scouts Officially Drop “Boy”
Gender identity and roles are under attack in America. (If you don’t know that, let me rouse you from your deep sleep!) The latest evidence is the official name change that the Boy Scouts of America announced this week. Now, its signature program for ages 10-17 will be known officially as “Scouts BSA.” This change reflects their “inclusive” policy already in place. “Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said they wanted to choose a name that ‘evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward.’” (“Boy Scouts Nix the Word ‘Boy,’ Showing They No Longer Believe in Masculinity,” Daniel Davis, dailysignal.com). In other words, girls may join the Boy Scouts, eh uh, the Scouts BSA.
The point is not whether boys and girls may be in the same club. It is that boys and girls are different, with distinct attributes, needs, strengths and weaknesses. The demasculinization occurring in American culture damages the social and spiritual development of both boys and girls, and needs to be addressed from God’s word.
Boys need role models of masculinity. But, not masculinity that is defined by the world (macho, beer-belching rowdy). Boys need models of men with moral character from whom they learn faith, leadership, courage, honesty and service. These are the traits that will serve them well in the kingdom of God (1 Tim. 4:12; Lk. 2:51-52).
Girls need role models of femininity. But, not from the feminist agenda who castoff God-defined character and their God-given roles as wives and mothers. Girls need models of discretion and moral purity, whose worth is measured by their strength of character and depth of loving service. These are the traits that will serve them well in the kingdom of God (Titus 2:4-5; Prov. 31:10-31).
Parents, grandparents and friends, we must be the models for children that help them grow up to accept and live their God-given roles (2 Tim. 1:5).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 05/07/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA