And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
Invites you to
Saturday at 6:00 PM;
Monday-Wednesday at 7:00 PM
Bring your Bible and join us in learning God’s word and will for our lives!
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
The church is God’s house, God’s family (Heb. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:15). What a blessing that is! As God’s house, we bear a responsibility of service. Hebrews 3:6 continues by saying we are God’s house “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Christians need to continue in steadfast faithfulness to God in order to be finally blessed. To emphasize this, the writer used Israel in the wilderness to teach us about maintaining a diligent faith (Heb. 3:7-19). He teaches us how to avoid hardening our hearts against God. Otherwise, we are in danger of falling away from God. Consider four things that will harden our hearts:
Delay (Heb. 3:7-8). “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion....” Israel was slow to trust and obey God. Over and over, Israel made trial of God by failing to trust in His power to save and sustain them. They said, “is the Lord among us or not?” (Exo. 17:7) Shall we also harden ourselves against God by failing to see the power and presence of God within His house, the church (Eph. 3:14-21)? Let us seize the moment to yield our stubborn will to His. Otherwise, our heart will surely grow tired of the call to faithfulness, and we will be lost. God is always present to save.
Doubt (Heb. 3:8-9). Israel doubted God’s power in the wilderness (Heb. 3:8-9). They had seen it in Egypt and in their flight from the Egyptians, yet they hesitated to fully trust Him. Their hearts became unresponsive to God’s call to believe and obey. We must not doubt God, His love, His power, His truth, or anything else that emanates from Him. Build your faith on the unfailing faithfulness of God.
Deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). Sin promises so much, but delivers pain, turmoil and spiritual death. Israel thought the golden calf would help them, and that going back to Egypt would be a blessing. We also can be deceived into thinking the world holds much better things than Christ has to offer. It is a lie. Do not believe it. Sin will not lead you to the promised land.
Disobedience (Heb. 3:15-19). Hearing and knowing God’s word does us no good unless we obey it. In fact, when we hear and know the truth, yet persistently refuse to obey it, we are guilty of provoking God. Plus, we are making it harder on ourselves to obey Him in the future. That is the seriousness of hardening our hearts. We can come to a point where we are no longer reached by God and His word (Heb. 6:4-6).
Remember, God has promised you rest. Do not harden your heart.
(Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword, March 3, 2002)
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14–15, NKJV)
Enoch’s prophecy against those who abandon God’s truth makes it undeniable that God convicts and executes judgment upon sinners. He sets before us a clear description of God’s judgment against the ungodly (impious, irreverent) person. The character of the ungodly is condemned – they “are ungodly” (v. 15; Hebrews 4:13). The ungodly are convicted and condemned for their deeds: “All their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way” will be judged by God (v. 15; Romans 2:6-11). And, the words of the ungodly will be judged by God. All the “harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” will be exposed to divine wrath on the day of God’s judgment (Matthew 12:37). God’s judgment against the ungodly will be comprehensive. The character, deeds and words of the ungodly do not escape God’s notice. The ungodly will not escape God’s judgment. May we strive to live “soberly, righteously and godly” to receive the hope of glory and not the certainty of wrath on the great day of God’s judgment (Titus 2:11-13; 2 Peter 3:10-14).
-Sword Tips #1450
Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:25-30
Bible contains God’s call to the world to come to Him and find
forgiveness, peace, joy, and sure hope.
I. COME INTO THE ARK, Gen. 7:1. (cf. heaven)
God’s Call to be Saved from Wrath, Gen. 6:13; 1 Pet. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Lk.
13:23-24; Matt. 7:13-14.
II. COME AND I WILL SEND YOU, Exo. 3:10.
God’s Call to Serve His People through Leadership, cf. Micah 6:3-4; Acts
III. COME AND BE REVIVED, Isa. 55:1-4; Rev. 22:17.
A. God’s Call to Receive the Gift of Salvation, Spiritual Refreshing, Renewal, and Life Eternal, cf. Isa. 41:17-20; 12:2; Jno. 4:10-14; Acts 13:34, 38; Heb. 10:15-18.
IV. COME FOLLOW ME, Lk. 5:27-28; Matt. 19:21.
Christ’s Call to Complete Surrender, Matt. 6:33, 19-21; Gal. 2:20.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
You need a manual these days to decipher all the social acronyms in use. Then there are the new designations of gender that are totally confusing and beyond reason. Facebook offers over 55 custom gender options for its U.S. users, and 71 choices in the U.K. (When I was growing up we only had two genders. Somehow, I do not think biology has changed that much in the past sixty years!)
Occasionally we meet those who are unfamiliar with the more frequent acronyms of self-designation currently in use. Here are some along with their meanings:
LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning
LGBTQI: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex
LGBTQIA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Allies
1. No matter how one self-identifies, God knows who you really are. The character of one’s heart drives one’s conduct. (See in Romans 1:20-32 how unthankful, proud hearts led to denying God, to idolatry and to all manner of immoral conduct.)
2. It is prideful for humans (the created ones) to subjectively assign their gender and proclivities instead of acknowledging their Creator’s objective decision. “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Rom. 9:20) God created “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). We will not presume to be otherwise.
3. Sin remains a choice, not an inherited trait. You do not choose your gender, but you do choose whether you will honor God according to your gender. You choose whether to glorify God with your body or to defile it with sinful actions (1 Cor. 6:16-20; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Eph. 5:3-7).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/26/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA