And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
Membership in churches has declined 20% in America over the past two decades ( “U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades,” Jeffrey M. Jones, news.gallup.com). “Most of the decline is tied to the rise of the so-called ‘nones’ — those who claim no religious affiliation. Gallup found that the share of Americans who claim a religious identity declined from 90% to 77% in recent decades” (“Gallup: Number of Americans who belong to a church or house of worship plummets,” Bob Smietana, religiousnews.com).
Is membership in the church of Christ essential? We are not asking whether membership in a denomination called the “Church of Christ” is essential. It is not. We are not identifying the church of Christ as a denomination, because it is not one (Heb. 12:22-23). No denominating of believers is found or favored in the New Testament. The New Testament church does not divide itself into denominations (Jno. 17:20-21; Eph. 4:4). We are asking whether it is essential to belong to the church that belongs to Christ. That is the church we read about in the New Testament. Is it essential to be a member of His church?
Read the Bible and see for yourself:
The Scriptures teach membership in the church of Christ is essential. You can believe and obey the gospel of Jesus, and He will add you to His glorious church (Acts 2:37-41, 47).
God created man. He saw that it was not good for man to be alone and searched for a suitable companion. When none was found, he fashioned woman from the flesh of the man and the two were joined together (Gen. 2:18-24). God ordained marriage. In doing so, He gave both the husband and the wife roles for which they were best suited.
The Husband/Father. God has given man the role of provider. What are some things that married men are required to provide? First, men are to provide material necessities. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Men who will not work are not fulfilling their role, and should not be supported in their laziness (2 Thess. 3:10).
Second, men are to provide leadership. The husband is the head of the home. “For the husband is head of the wife…” (Eph. 5:23). This role is not about power and control, but about responsibility.
Third, the husband is to provide love. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). This is to be a sacrificial love, putting the wife before self.
Finally, fathers are to provide training and admonition for their children. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
The Wife/Mother. First, the wife is to be in subjection to her husband. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). This makes sense, seeing that God has given the role of leadership to the husband. Subjection is a hard word for many people to accept, yet all of us practice subjection in various aspects of our lives. The simplest meaning of submit is “to yield, to give the right of way to another.” When we drive our cars into an intersection bearing a “yield” sign, we understand that we are to allow the other vehicles to have the right of way. At this particular moment, we are to allow them the right of way in order for traffic to move smoothly and safely. The same thing is true in the home. The wife is not inferior. She just has a different role.
Second, the wife is to take care of the home. “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5). This does not mean that the wife is a slave. Neither does it mean that she is forbidden by God to work outside the home, or that she should not expect her husband and children to help around the house. However, it does mean that she is responsible for the functioning of her home.
The Children. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Eph. 6:1-3). Children are not out of the scope of God’s authority. God expects them to obey and honor their parents. If they can learn to do so, they have cultivated a trait (respecting authority) that will serve them well throughout life.
Children honor their parents by the way they talk and act. “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him” (Prov. 17:25). One’s behavior is a reflection of the home in which he was raised. Children also honor their parents by listening to them and respecting their wishes. Grown children continue to honor their parents by caring for them in their old age (1 Tim. 5:4, 16).
The teaching of the Bible concerning marriage and the home may continue to be ridiculed and rejected in favor of modern trends, but I ask one question: How well are these non-Biblical ideas working for us as a society? Many homes today are broken and dysfunctional. God created the home. He designed the home. He knows how it works best.
Knollwood Reminder, February 24, 2019
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6
1. Our heart is to be
close to God (Matt. 15:7-9). Has your “fear of God” become just a
“commandment” to obey? (Isa. 29:13)
I. JESUS IS THE APOSTLE OF OUR CONFESSION, Heb. 3:1.
A. Sent by the
Father, Jno. 5:36; 7:25-29.
II. JESUS IS THE HIGH PRIEST OF OUR CONFESSION, Heb. 3:1.
A. The High Priest is
Appointed for Men to Offer Gifts and Sacrifices for Sins, Heb. 5:1, 3; 3:2;
5:5-6, 10; 7:20-21, 25-28; 8:3; 9:11-12, 24ff.
III. JESUS IS THE SON OVER GOD’S HOUSE, Heb. 3:2-6.
A. Christians are
Brethren of Christ, Heb. 2: 11-12, 13-17; Matt. 12:49-50 (46-50).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Ready For Every Good Deed"
(Editor’s Note: Did you know April 7, 2019 was designated as international Good Deeds Day? I didn’t, either. “Good Deeds Day is a global day that unites people from 100 countries to do good deeds for the benefit of others and the planet” (good-deeds-day.org). This article reminds us of our daily duty to be ready to do good.)
The apostle Paul told Titus to “remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1). There are several reasons why you and I need to be ready for every good deed.
1. There is a shortage both of good works and of people who do them. There are plenty of people doing bad things. This world has been characterized by sin and evil since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. There is always a need for good people who will do good deeds. If we do not perform the good works God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10), who will?
2. If we aren’t ready, we won’t see the opportunities to do good works. How many times have opportunities passed us by because we weren’t prepared? Some people excuse their lack of involvement by saying, “I don’t know how,” or, “I never have the opportunity.” The opportunities exist, we just have to find them. Paul asked the Colossians to pray “for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned” (Col. 4:3).
3. Readiness is a state of mind. Christians are to live in a watchful, alert state. Jesus said, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matt. 24:42-44). We are to be on the alert always, not only for the Lord’s return, but also for opportunities to do good.
Are you and I ready for every good deed?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/28/2019
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA