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)
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that (life) which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, (the faith) which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“I have been crucified with Christ.” Of all people, Paul as a prominent Jew had to learn what it is to die to the law of Moses, to die to self, and all things considered of great value as a Jew (cf. Philippians 3:3ff). In verse 19 the apostle had expressed, “For I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God.” Paul was brought by the law to Christ (cf. John 5:39, 46). Yet, the law could not justify, “… by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). To seek justification by the law would make the death of Jesus useless (Galatians 2:21)! Furthermore, the old man of sin had to die. “We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life … knowing this, that our old man was crucified with (him), that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin” (Romans 6:2-7). The putting to death of the man of sin is that mental resolution in which a man chooses that he will no longer live to serve sin. That old man is buried (baptized), raised a new man (forgiven). Sin shall no longer be the master he chooses to obey (cf. Romans 6:13, 15).
“Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (KJV). In what appears to be a paradox “crucified … nevertheless I live,” the apostle states that the only way to live is through union with the crucifixion of Christ. His greatest desire was that he might “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). The significance of “Christ liveth in me” is that now He directs my life through His word. Paul’s concern for the Galatians was that Christ be formed in them (cf. Galatians 4:19). We must follow His example, obey His commands, imitate His attitudes, even unto death.
“That (life) which I now live … I live in faith.” Paul is contrasting the life he lived prior to being crucified with Christ. To live by faith is to trust what God has said! This includes having one’s life governed by the revelation of “the faith.” That body of truth that constitutes what we are to believe and practice. Faith is the means by which Paul conducted his life. He said, we “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). As Jesus says to Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26a, NASB). Then, in view of such revelation, he puts her on the spot to accept this kind of faith, “Do you believe this?” (verse 26b). Do you have to see it to believe what God said? The apostle understands that reality reaches beyond the appearance of human sight. By faith he sees the unseen and acts accordingly (cf. II Corinthians 4:18).
What motivated Paul to do any of this? Galatians 2:20
1. Christ is “the Son of God.” He is one with the Father. John 14:9, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Hebrews 1:3, “who being the effulgence (brightness NKJV) of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” He is and ever has been the expression of the Father.
2. Christ “loved me.” Regardless of whomever else Christ might love, He loved ME! Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The apostle wrote, “For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
3. Christ “gave himself up for me.” Again, regardless of whomever else Christ might have died for, He died for ME! Nothing less than the precious blood of God’s Son could atone for sin. “Knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, (even the blood) of Christ” (I Peter 1:18-19; cf. Hebrews 10:1-4). Nothing could better demonstrate the horribleness of sin and the tremendous love of God than the death of Jesus on the cross. Notice Jesus’ plea in the Garden of Gethsemane, “… if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me” (Matthew 26:39). Sin is not just a mistake, an error; it is a transgression of God’s law, a blatant offence to God demanding the atoning blood of Jesus for man’s redemption.
The apostle Paul’s conclusion was he had to change his life. Self had to die in order that he might truly live. “For the love of Christ constraineth (compels NKJV) us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:14-15). What about you? Will you come to the same conclusion?
-Fifth Street East church bulletin, July 1, 2018
Some say gospel meetings are no longer useful. But, since they are an arrangement for the gospel to be heard, is that no longer useful? Is it no longer helpful to listen to the gospel, to invite the lost to hear it, and as Christians to be edified by it (2 Tim. 4:1-5; Eph. 4:11-16)?
1. “Gospel meetings are outdated and ineffective in the modern world.” This implies the gospel must be dressed up in some new way if it is to have an impact on sinners today. This simply is not true. God’s word is powerful, persuasive, and still able to convert the lost and strengthen the saved (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 4:12; Psa. 19:7-11).
2. “Meetings are too long and tiresome.” This is usually said by those who have already decided not to come to every service. Yes, a gospel meeting requires extra devotion and energy. Is this the best attitude to have when it comes to a gospel meeting?
3. “Only brethren come to gospel meetings.” If that is true it would not invalidate them (Heb. 10:24-25). But, it is not true. The lost are saved as a result of gospel meetings. I have seen it and perhaps you have, too. Maybe this criticism hides a more troubling picture: perhaps the lost do not come because we do not invite them and bring them to hear the gospel (cf. Jno. 1:46).
4. “Meetings are just another way for preachers to make money.” That sort of motive judging is truly sad. The gospel preacher should not be made to feel ashamed for being supported for his work, but it happens. Jesus said, “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (Lk. 10:7; cf. 1 Cor. 9:14).
A common thread running through these objections is a lack of faith in the power of God’s word to save the lost (Rom. 1:16). They reflect selfish, excuse-making attitudes, not faith in the power of Christ and His gospel. Gospel meetings are just one arrangement used to teach the lost and encourage the saved. Yet, no scriptural arrangement of teaching the gospel will succeed unless we diligently commit ourselves to it, including gospel meetings.
-Condensed from, “Are Gospel Meetings Out-dated?”
The Spirit’s Sword (March 5, 2006)
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/20/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA