And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
In time past, I “…walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2-3).
I am not who I was. My life has taken a different direction; that I “…no longer should live the rest of time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:2).
I would like to share with you some words that describe me now:
1) ALIVE. I was “…dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1, 5), but have been “quickened…” (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13). Now, I am “…dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).
2) LOVED. I was “…by nature the children of wrath…” (Eph. 2:3). Now, I am the object of “…his great love…” (Eph. 2:4). John wrote, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).
3) SAVED. I was among “…them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). Now, “…saved” (Eph. 2:5, 8). Paul wrote, “…God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
4) IN. I was out - “…without Christ…and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Now, I am in - “…in Christ…” (Eph. 2:10, 13). God's blessings have always been in: in the ark (Gen. 6-7), in the house (Ex. 12:22), in the city (Num. 35:25, 28), in the ship (Acts 27:31), and now in Christ (Eph. 1:3)!
5) RECONCILED. I was “…far off…” (Eph. 2:13). I have been “…made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph. 2:16). Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
6) CITIZEN. I was a stranger and a foreigner (Eph. 2:19). I have been “…translated into the kingdom of his [God's] dear Son” (Col. 1:13). Now, “…fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
7) BLESSED. Paul penned, “…Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:7-8). Galatians 3:8-9 teaches, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Thus, I am “…blessed…with all spiritual blessings…” (Eph. 1:3).
8) REDEEMED. Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). As one who has been redeemed, I have been “…purchased…” (Acts 20:28) or “…bought…” (1 Cor. 6:20).
9) NEW. The Holy Spirit revealed, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). The Galatians were taught, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15). Ephesians 4:24 records, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
10) FREE. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). He further stated, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36). The Romans were reminded, “But God by thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18).
11) FORGIVEN. What a blessing to be forgiven! “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13). Paul, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
12) WASHED, SANCTIFIED, JUSTIFIED. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 records, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
I am a believer; a Christian; a disciple; a saint. What made the difference? God's grace. My faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
Scripture Reading: James 4:13-17
1. We are mortal and immortal, Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7 (Eccl. 12:7); Gal.
I. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? Jas. 4:14
A. Life on Earth is a Gift from God, Isa. 42:5.
II. WHAT ARE YOUR LIFE PLANS? 4:13-14
A. We Should Plan to Depend on God and Not on Ourselves, 4:13; Prov.
27:1; Isa. 42:9.
III. HOW ARE YOU ACHIEVING YOUR PLANS FOR YOUR LIFE? Jas. 4:15-16
A. Seek and Do the Lord’s Will in Every Endeavor, 4:15 (Col. 3:17); Matt.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Things I Must Have to Follow Truth
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:17-24
1. Truth is practical and life changing, Heb. 4:12.
I. I NEED A GOOD HEART, Lk. 8:15.
A. A Heart that is Open and Willing to Hear the Scriptures and Hold them Fast, Lk. 8:15; Matt. 23:25-26; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psa. 51:10-13.
II. I NEED AN OBEDIENT FAITH, Heb. 11:6.
A. Trust What God Says Will Work; Col. 3:12-15, 18-19; 1 Cor. 15:58; 1 Jno. 5:4.
III. I NEED COMPLETE COMMITMENT, Matt. 6:19-24; Rom. 12:11 (purpose, Acts 11:23).
A. We Pursue what is Valuable to Us, 6:19-24.
IV. I NEED SERIOUS BIBLE STUDY, 2 Tim. 2:15.
A. Bible is the Final Authority, Jno. 6:63, 68.
V. I NEED SELF-EXAMINATION AND SELF-CORRECTION WITH, Jas. 1:22-25.
A. Don’t Waste Time Comparing Your Life to Wrong Things: Others (2 Cor. 10:12); Worldly wisdom (Col. 2:8); Opinions of men (Prov. 14:12); Your own feelings (Jer. 10:23)…
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Polling the Populace
It is election season in America. Many have already voted, and more will go to the polls on November 6. Politicians vie for votes with ads, personal appearances, and stump speeches. We have to inform ourselves of candidates and issues, since their rhetoric (and conduct) can clarify or cloud their agenda.
The Lord’s church is not of the same nature (Jno. 18:36). Members of the church are not to be polled to determine what they want truth to be and what truth to follow. New Testament Christians do not vote on the validity of doctrine and morality. There are no creeds to approve by majority vote. This distinguishes the Lord’s church from the churches of men, which form themselves after a variety of governing arrangements designed by men. Conventions, synods, and councils reflect a mindset that man is in charge of the church. The reason Christ’s church is different is clear in Scripture: Christ is the Head of the church and it is His body (Eph. 1:22-23). The church is a theocracy, not a democracy. Deity is the source of authority, not the church. Democratic practices like voting bleed over into the church every time the wisdom of men is trusted and its will is demanded more than the revealed wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:21-25; Col. 2:20-23, 3, 9-10).
The pulpit is not a vehicle to advance politicians and political agendas. We must preach gospel truth, not politics (2 Tim. 4:2). Therefore, local churches of Christ do not endorse candidates or ballot initiatives. That is not the work Christ gave local churches to do (Eph. 4:11-16).
Neither are there any valid “back rooms” where deals are made. Such conduct is Diotrephean to its core (3 John 9-10). In the church, unity is not formed and preserved by political coalitions, but by the daily work of conforming our hearts and lives to the gospel call (Eph. 4:1-3).
Americans are privileged to vote – a right and duty we cherish. May God grant us the knowledge and wisdom to approve excellent things as we use it (Phil. 1:9-10).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/05/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA