And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
God described Israel as His child in Hosea 11:1-4:
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
2 As they called them, so they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images.
3 “I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them.
4 I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.”
A father guides and teaches his children (11:1-3). In love, God called Israel out of Egypt, guiding His son to freedom. Fathers teach their children, from their formative years to maturity and beyond, with the guidance of wisdom and understanding (Prov. 3:1-2; 4:20-23). Israel did not always and immediately follow the guidance of God, their Father. In fact, Israel often turned away from its Father and served idols (Hos. 11:2). Children are quite similar. They do not always and immediately follow their father’s instruction and guidance. But, just as God sent His servants the prophets to Israel to call the nation to repentance and back to His law, fathers must repeatedly teach and guide their children even when they disobey. Do not lose heart when your child does not immediately follow your guidance. Keep training and calling your child to walk in the way of truth. That’s a father’s love.
A father nurtures his children (11:3-4). God embraced Israel and nurtured His child, even as a father must cultivate his relationship with his children. Give your children your time and attention. Take them in your arms and draw them to you with gentle cords of love. By doing so you begin to know your children in a way that helps you address their problems and burdens. God healed and sustained Israel in times of distress, just as every father wishes to do for his own children. With strength and tenderness, a father engenders his child’s trust and reliance by developing his bond with his child. That’s a father’s love.
A father corrects his children (Hos. 11:5-9). God did not ignore His child’s transgressions. When He punished Israel His heart churned within Him (Hos. 11:8; Amos 4:6-12). Yet, He applied the punishment with love, not with the terror of fierce anger (Hos. 11:9; Heb. 12:6). When you must correct your child, do not do it with hot anger. Your goal is to correct the child’s behavior, not provoke him to bitterness against you (Col. 3:21; Heb. 12:10-11). Fathers apply corrective discipline when their children sin. That’s a father’s love.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4
I sometimes wonder if we actually realize what the death of Jesus means. Isaiah put into words one of the most wonderful passages about the work of Christ. This passage forms the apex or focal point of the Old Testament. All of the marvelous attributes of what God’s Son would do for us are succinctly presented in Isaiah 53.
When the Jews first saw Jesus’ suffering, they concluded that God was punishing Him for His sins. However, they failed to understand the true significance of Christ’s sacrifice. The griefs (sicknesses) which the Servant bore and the sorrows (mental anguish) which He carried were not His, but ours (cp. Matthew 8:17). He willingly took these burdens on Himself.
The innocence of Jesus is very much like Job. Job was “punished” as a test of his righteousness, but his friends saw a completely different picture. They, like the Jews, were not able to comprehend the plan that God had put in motion. If some today are not able to understand God’s plan of salvation, they will not open their minds to His blessings and thus will lose their chance of eternal life.
Psalm 22:16 and Zechariah 12:10 both corroborate Isaiah 53:5 in that the Servant was pierced for our transgressions. This word suggests a mortal wound. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Romans 6:23 adds, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our transgressions are nothing more than acts of rebellion against God’s law. These acts must either be punished or pardoned.
Without the Servant’s help, we would have remained in a relationship which could not save our lost souls. Jesus Christ, by His stripes, healed us. When He sacrificed Himself for our sins, He allowed us to be restored to a completely harmonious relationship with God. Isaiah 53:6 teaches us that we all are like sheep that have gone astray into sin. This verse is an excellent commentary on the idea of iniquity, because it indicates that we reject God’s way for man’s way.
An important point to note is that while we have gone astray into sin, we can still have the hope of forgiveness. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” As we commit sins which we think could never be forgiven, God assures us that His thoughts on forgiveness are higher than ours.
God’s provision is wonderful. He has furnished a glorious way to be reconciled back to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). The Servant’s work was the most important to ever take place on the earth. I hope we can all gain a little more insight into the one who “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
-Loop 287 Church of Christ, Lufkin TX lawofliberty.com
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 7:1-5
Day reminds us of the value of fatherhood.
I. THE WAR ON MEN (MANHOOD).
A. Men are Made to Look like Fools, cf. Prov. 8:1-4; 1 Cor. 11:3 (1 Cor. 15:33-34).
II. WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Because the war between the sexes…
Effectively Weakens the Family and Damages Marriages, Matt. 19:5-6; Eph.
5:28-29; 1 Cor. 7:3-4.
III. A FATHER MUST…
Compassionate, Psa. 103:13 (Prov. 19:22); Col. 3:21.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:1-6
world looks at Christians as odd, strange, weird and peculiar, cf. 1
I. THEY THINK YOU ARE STRANGE FOR…
Using Instrumental Music in Worship, Jno. 4:23-24; Eph 5:19; 2 Tim. 1:13
(Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Jno. 9).
II. WHAT CAN YOU DO?
and Follow Parental Teaching, Prov. 1:18-15.
Style and Substance
This week saw an historic meeting between the U.S. president and the North Korean dictator. Trump and Kim signed an “important document” that is, at least for now, more style and symbolism than substance. A good first step if the substance that follows is complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. Time will tell.
As I write this politicians and pundits, lawyers and laymen are awaiting the release of the Inspector General’s report on the handling of the Hilary Clinton email investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Hopefully, it will contain substance over symbolism – facts not fiction – so the country can know what happened.
When it comes to religion, many prefer style (symbolism) over substance. They are content as long as there are stained-glass windows, cathedrals and other such religious trappings around them. Doctrinal contradictions with the Bible are of little concern since they believe everything is open to personal interpretation anyway. The spiritual jeopardy of personal immorality fades in favor of personal preferences and orthodoxy’s pronouncements (see Lk. 6:46; Matt. 7:21-23; 15:1-14). Yes, the world is alive behind a façade of faith (1 Jno. 2:15-17).
Then there are those who value and demand substance. For them, truth (not outward appearance) is the standard they seek and apply. These respect the power of truth to sanctify them and set them free from sin (Jno. 17:17; Rom. 1:16-17). They are committed to knowing and obeying the word of Jesus (Jno. 8:31-32). They choose the authority of the Scriptures instead of the orthodoxy of man’s traditions (Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The practical question for each of us is whether we are a person of style or of substance? Are you pleased and satisfied with religious appearances and human preferences (Jas. 1:26)? Or, do you measure yourself with and live by God’s truth (Jas. 1:21-25, 27; 2 Cor. 13:5)?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 06/18/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA