And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
After extensively describing the sins of the Gentiles and the Jews in Romans 1:18-3:8, Paul summarized the matter in Romans 3:9-20. We are most familiar, perhaps, with the clarifying statement of Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The wonderful news of the gospel is that God’s grace offers redemption to all sinners in Christ, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
The structure of Romans 1-3 drives home this point. First, Paul identified the nature and the universality of sin, explaining that law identifies sin but does not have the power to save sinners (Rom. 1:18-3:2o, esp. vss. 19-20). Then, Paul identified the only source of sinners’ redemption, justification by God’s grace through faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:21-26). The gospel is God’s power to save believers, something law cannot do (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:19-20). Finally, Paul explained that keeping the “law of faith” is not earning salvation (boastful works). Obeying the law of faith is the full expression of faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:27-31; Rom. 4:1-8; 6:17-18).
Concerning the universal nature of sin, please notice the Holy Spirit identified sinners and their sins in Romans 3:9-18 by citing the Scriptures:
This portrait of “ungodliness and unrighteousness” properly places humanity under the justice of divine wrath (Rom. 1:18). Just as importantly, it magnifies God and His mercy, grace, wisdom, knowledge, power, and judgments (Rom. 11:32). “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33)
It seems incredible that some who profess Bible belief object to the concept of establishing and following authoritative Bible patterns, especially since the apostle wrote, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). They prefer a free-wheeling adaptation of the biblical text to one’s current circumstances and conditions, instead of amending one’s circumstances and conditions to harmonize with the inspired text. They certainly are not “originalists” and “textualists” when it comes to the law of Christ (Rom. 3:27; 1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). Like the political left’s treatment of the U.S. Constitution, these religious anti-textualists are comfortable reading into the biblical text things that are not there. They are content to let human imagination direct their faith instead of the objective standard of truth, God’s word (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7; Jno. 8:31-32; 17:17).
A pattern for salvation. God’s power has given us “all things” that concern life and godliness “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). The gospel is how God calls sinners to salvation (Mk. 16:15-16). Do you see the pattern of salvation in Mark 16:16? It must be followed by the lost to be saved. The lost soul who believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved (believes + baptized = saved). Those who do not believe are condemned in unbelief (unbelief = condemned). This is Christ’s pattern (plan) of salvation. It is God’s text, not ours. One is lost in unbelief unless he accepts and follows this gospel pattern. If you will not hold fast the gospel pattern of salvation, then we humbly conclude you do not have faith in what the Bible says. We urge you to repent now, while you can.
A pattern of good works. The inspired Scriptures completely equip the person of God to accomplish “every good work” given us by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The New Testament Scriptures contain God’s commands, the apostles’ examples, and the necessary implications we need to do so. If you do not believe this is so, then we humbly conclude you do not have faith in what the Bible says or in what it can do. We urge you to repent now, while you can.
Paul wrote, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you,” and that his actions were a “pattern” to follow (Phil. 4:9; 3:17). If you reject apostolic examples as binding today, then you are failing to accept the apostles’ teaching on the matter. To reject the worthy examples of the apostles as binding today is not a faithful response to the Scriptures. Their actions guide our lives even as their teachings inform our faith (1 Thess. 4:1-2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:4; 1 Cor. 14:37).
A pattern of worship. Just as the law of Moses contained necessary inferences that informed Israel’s worship, the gospel of Christ does so today. While Jesus explicitly said worship must be “in spirit and truth,” some aspects of worship are necessarily implied in Scripture (Jno. 4:24). Israel necessarily inferred God meant “every” Sabbath was to be kept holy when He said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo. 20:8). Further explanation made that inference clear and binding on Israel (Exo. 20:9-11). Likewise, the frequency of eating the Lord’s Supper is firmly established by a necessary inference drawn from the information given us (Acts 20:7). If the binding nature of necessarily inferences is rejected, then we humbly conclude you do not have faith in what the Bible says. We urge you to repent now, while you can.
Rejecting Bible patterns (“pattern of sound words”) ultimately leads one to remove the Bible as binding today. Many have already reached that faithless place. Are you on the path that leads there? If so, repent now, while you can.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Joe R. Price
Scripture Reading: Psalm 42:1-5
I. HOPE ENCOURAGES US TO EVANGELIZE, 1 Pet. 3:15.
A. To Study and Learn, 1 Tim.
II. HOPE ENCOURAGES US TO BE BOLD, 2 Cor. 3:12.
A. Boldness to Rely on the New
Covenant for Life and Glory, 2 Cor. 3:7-14.
III. HOPE ENCOURAGES US TO LIVE GODLY LIVES, Heb. 6:10-12.
A. Live with Boldness to Magnify
Christ in Our Body, Phil. 1:19-20.
IV. HOPE EQUIPS US TO FIGHT AGAINST THE DEVIL, 1 Thess. 5:8.
A. Hope Assures Us of Victory, 1
V. HOPE ENABLES US TO FACE SUFFERING AND EVEN DEATH, Rom. 5:1-5.
A. Live with Assurance of Hope
because of Peace with God, 5:1; Rom. 15:12-13.
VI. HOPE ENCOURAGES US TO REJOICE IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, Rom. 12:12.
A. Because we Stand in Grace, Rom.
VII. HOPE ASSURES US OF OUR ETERNAL INHERITANCE WITH GOD, 1 Pet. 1:3-5.
A. We have Living Hope Since
-Adapted from material by John Gentry in email of April 15, 2017
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Joe R. Price
Scripture Reading: James 3:1-12
I. DEADLY USES OF THE TONGUE.
A. Gossip, 1 Tim. 5:13 (tattlers,
II. HOW CAN WE AVOID SINS OF THE TONGUE?
A. Refuse the Tasty Morsel, Prov.
The Righteous Judge
The announcement of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stirred up strong passions in opponents and supporters alike. We hope the crucial discussion of what is expected of a judge will get due attention during his confirmation. We fear it may be drowned out by opposition vitriol and venom, and ignored by rubber-stamp endorsements.
The Bible, and especially the Old Testament, gives a clear picture of the type of judge that pleases God and ought to be sought by us. This helps us know the type of Judge we will stand before on the last day.
A righteous judge is guided by the law. In the case of Israel that meant the statutes and laws given by God through Moses (Exo. 18:16). Judges are not to be capricious, nor are they law-makers. They are to decide based on the basis of law so that they may “justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (Deut. 25:1).
A righteous judge is impartial (Deut. 1:16-17). A righteous judge is honest and fair because his goal in rendering judgment is justice, not its perversion (Deut. 16:18-19). He is not motivated by politics. He is not influenced by the wealth or poverty of plaintiff or defendant. He is not distracted by anything not relevant to the case before him (Lev. 19:15).
A righteous judge is careful (Deut. 19:18). He gathers all the information available and needed to render a righteous judgment. He will not judge on appearances (Jno. 7:24).
God demands that judges be just (Psa. 82:1-4). Surely this is because the Almighty Himself will not pervert justice (Job 34:12). Judges who take bribes and deny fair treatment are transgressors before Him (Amos 5:12).
We shall all stand before Jesus, the Righteous Judge (2 Tim. 4:8: Jno. 5:22). His character is impeccable, and His judgments are always true (Psa. 19:9). In righteousness He will judge the world, including you and me (Acts 17:31).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/16/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA