And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
How does it make you feel when you hear of someone becoming successful? How do you react when others prosper? It does not take long to find examples of people who envy those who succeed.
Envy is “rottenness to the bones” (Prov. 14:30). Envy is “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others; this evil sense always attaches to this word” (Vine, II:204). One can envy a person’s wealth, popularity, power, and just about anything else. Envy is often expressed as “contentious rivalry” (Thayer, 271). It churns up strife and refuses to acknowledge the truth (1 Cor. 3:3). It blindly rushes to defend its own interests at the expense of others. (For example, envy led the Jews to hand over Jesus to Pilate, Matt. 27:18.)
Those who are “full of envy” do not fear God (Rom. 1:29). Yet, Christians are not immune to envy’s temptation (1 Cor. 3:3; Psa. 37:1).
Bitterness and selfishness fill the envious heart: “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth” (Jas. 3:14). Instances of social envy are seen when the rich are vilified for nothing more than being wealthy. Demanding the rich “pay their fair share” can be a cloak of envy. Solomon discovered this and said, “Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Eccl. 4:4).
How do we resist being envious of others? Here are some Bible ways:
“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them” (Prov. 24:1).
How long did it take God to create the world? Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” The plain declaration of scripture is that God created everything “in six days.” Some have theorized that since scientists tell us that the universe is billions of years old, there must be large gaps of time between the days of creation mentioned in Genesis 1. The implication of such a theory is that what the Bible says occurred “in six days” actually required billions of years to take place.
Trying to reconcile modern science with the Bible is at best a tricky endeavor. Conflicts inevitably arise which tempt us to compromise science, the Bible, or both. The simple fact is that miracles, such as the Creation, cannot be disproved, limited, or defined by scientific “truths.” For example, scientists would tell us that a virgin cannot conceive a child; but one did (Luke 1:26-35). Science can also prove that you cannot turn water into wine, but it was done (John 2:1-11). Scientists know (or think they do) that the light now reaching earth from some stars takes about 16 billion years to reach Earth. Does this necessitate that the universe must be 16 billion years old? If it does, then Mary was not a virgin, Jesus did not turn water into wine, raise Lazarus from the dead, feed the 5,000, or rise from the dead three days after being crucified! For people who believe in the inspiration of scripture, no scientific “fact” should ever be allowed to supersede a Bible miracle. We must believe that miracles occurred exactly as the scriptures say they did (including the given time frame), or be forced into rejecting every statement of scripture which does not agree with the science of our age.
The inspired writer of Genesis takes great care to number each of the days of creation. For example, “the evening and the morning were the first day,” “the evening and the morning were the second day,” etc. (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:2). This numbering indicates the days were sequential and consecutive. There could not have been millions of years between them.
In Judges 20, when the nation of Israel fought against the single tribe of Benjamin, the Bible describes what happened on the “first day” (20:22), the “second day” (20:24), and the “third day” (20:30). What person reading this account would think that the events of the first day were weeks, months or years removed from the events of the second day? It is obvious that the three days of this battle are consecutive days. The very reason the days are numbered is to convey that fact. Even so, the consecutive numbering of the days of Creation in Genesis indicates that that they were consecutive days! The claim that the six days of Creation spanned millions of years robs us of the power, beauty and wonder of the Biblical account.
The Gospel Teacher, January 27, 2019
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
"Give Me the Bible..."
& Part 2
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-3
“Give me the Bible” is being replaced with, “Give me human wisdom” and, “give me my own will” (Col. 2:9).
I. “GIVE ME THE BIBLE…”
A. Except for When it Judges Me a
Sinner, Acts 2:37; 7:54; 24:24-25.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
“Do you believe they are a sin?"
During a recent Senate judicial confirmation hearing, Neomi Rao (nominee to replace now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C.) was questioned by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker concerning her stance on LGBTQ rights. Reportedly,
“During the hearing, Booker challenged Rao to say whether she thinks gay relationships are “immoral.”
“I am not sure the relevance of that,” Rao said, responding to Booker’s question. “Do you think gay relationships are immoral?” Booker asked again. “I do not,” Rao said.
“Do you believe they are a sin?” Booker said.
“My personal views on any of these subjects are things I would put to one side,” the nominee responded.” (“Cory Booker schooled by Kavanaugh replacement pick after question on ‘LGBTQ law clerks,’” Andrews O’Reilly, foxnews.com).
The Bible clearly says LGBTQ relationships are immoral and sin (Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Jude 7). (Neomi Rao’s views are not our standard.) What is striking here is that once again, one’s view of morality is being scrutinized and (potentially) used to disqualify a person from the bench.
Why not ask if one thinks living together before marriage is immoral? Of whether adulterous relationships are immoral? Or, whether polygamous relationships are immoral? Truth be told, those who adhere to the moral standard of the gospel of Christ are ridiculed and demonized by millions, including elected government officials. Take, for example, the applause given New York Governor Andrew Cuomo when he signed into law a bill that legalized late-term abortion. Calling evil good and good evil did not end in Isaiah’s day (Isa. 5:20).
Christians will be increasingly pressured to accept society’s immorality. We can meet these pressures with acquiescing approval, compromising silence, or the commitment to confess Christ even in the face of strident opposition. May God strengthen us to stand fast in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13-14; 1 Pet. 2:20-25).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 02/10/2019
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA