And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! 4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! 5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! (Psalm 150:2–5, NKJV)
The question is posed, “Why shouldn’t we use instrumental music to worship God today? After all, they were used by Israel in the Old Testament.” Yes, they were. Scripture says king Hezekiah “stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets” (2 Chronicles 29:25).
But, we do not live under the authority of the old covenant. Many things were done under it, but it has been removed, taken away, and has no binding authority now (2 Cor. 3:14; Gal. 3:23-25; Col. 2:14). The ordinances of worship for the tabernacle and temple were shadows of what is fulfilled in Christ (Heb. 9:1-122; 10:1). We must hear and follow Christ for our approved worship, not Moses and the Old Testament prophets (Jno. 4:22-24; Matt. 17:1-5; Heb. 1:1-2). We would not think of binding the Levitical rituals of worship, including animal sacrifices, today. Yet, king Hezekiah did these things along with the instruments he set in place (2 Chron. 29:26-36). If Hezekiah’s trumpets and stringed instruments can be allowed in worship today, then so can his animal sacrifices and associated offerings. But, such a thing would be a denial of Christ and His new covenant (Heb. 10:1-10).
We are content with the musical worship in song Christ revealed and approved in His new covenant. It repeatedly says to sing praises to God, but never to play praises (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Singing is enough. To play and sing is an addition, made by human will and without divine authority.
-Sword Tips, #1589 (adapted)
Lot, the nephew of Abraham, makes for an interesting study. He had the advantage of being exposed to the life and influence of Abraham: a great hero of faith, the “friend of God” (James 2:23). However, through a series of unwise decisions, he lost everything of value. After choosing the well-watered plain of the Jordan as a place to feed his flocks, Lot eventually moved into Sodom and took his place at the gate of the city. He fled the city before it was destroyed, but lost his wife as she turned and looked back. Afterward, his daughters got him drunk, lay with him, and had sons by him who turned out to father two enemy nations of Israel.
We do not look upon Lot with much respect or favor, but the Bible describes him as a righteous man. Abraham is referring to his nephew when he asks God to spare the city for the sake of the “righteous” individuals who are present (Gen. 18:23-32). Notice also Peter’s estimation of Lot in 2 Peter 2:7-8. “And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).”
We struggle with this, don’t we? How could a righteous man choose to live in Sodom? How could a righteous man offer to give his virgin daughters to satisfy a mob of men intent upon raping his guests? We don’t see much righteousness in Lot at all, but it must have been there for the inspired Scriptures to call him “righteous.”
Perhaps the statement from the apostle Peter clarifies this for us. We are told that Lot was “oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked” and that his righteous soul was tormented everyday by seeing and hearing the lawless deeds of those around him. Think about that for a moment. We don’t know why Lot stayed in Sodom. We don’t know why he made some of the decisions that he made. However, he never got to the point that he was “ok” with the things going on around him. They oppressed and tormented him. The word “oppressed” is translated from a Greek word that means to subdue, wear out, or exhaust. “Tormented” is translated from a Greek word that refers to mental affliction or torture.
Does sin bother you? Does it bother you to hear filthy language, see sexually suggestive or explicit images, or to witness violence and cruelty? Sometimes I hear my brethren claim, “These things don’t bother me.” Well, such statements should be alarming to us. When do we stop being righteous people? Perhaps it is when we stop being bothered by the unrighteousness that we see and hear. When our conscience becomes calloused to the sins of the world, we have lost something that God intends for us to maintain – the ability to be oppressed and tormented by the filthy conduct of wicked people.
Each of us has the opportunity to live in Sodom today. We don’t have to move to a city that is notorious for sin. The filthy conduct of the wicked can be funneled into our homes and hearts through the internet, the television, and other entertainment formats. We can expose ourselves to every curse word, dirty joke, sexual perversion, act of hate and violence, etc., imaginable. How much of it do we tolerate? The next time we hear ourselves say, “That doesn’t bother me,” we should stop and take notice. We might not be as righteous as Lot.
-Knollwood Reminder, May 19, 2019
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
1. We need encouragement, Heb.
I. WAYS TO ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.
A. By Urging Each Other to Trust
in God, Heb. 13:5-6; 2 Chron. 35:1-2; Acts 14:21-22; 15:41; 18:23.
II. WE MUST ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER, Rom. 1:11-12.
A. Requires that We Know Each Other, 2 Cor. 11:28-29; 1 Cor. 12:15-16; Rom. 12:15-16.
III. BARNABAS: SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT, Acts 4:36-37; 11:21-24.
A. We Need the Qualities in
Barnabas to Encourage Each Other.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Teaching Children Evil
The Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina recently invited “two drag queens to talk to middle school students about the LGBTQ community and what it's like to be transgender” (“Middle School Celebrates Drag Queens: ‘We Hope the Children Listen,’” (cbn.com). “The school collaborated with social activists to create the Pride and Liberation Event, which included drag queens Vivica C. Coxx and Stormie Daie as special guests” (Ibid). According to the two teachers involved in arranging this event, it was an answer to an LGBTQ bullying problem they believed existed on campus. “Daie also led a Drag Queen Story Hour with students in Kindergarten through fourth grade. Students were allowed to opt out of the program if they wanted to. The Drag Queen Story Hour has been a source of controversy at schools and libraries across the country” (North Carolina Charter School Hosts Drag Queen Pride and Liberation Event,” christianheadlines.com).Teacher Taylor Schmidt, one of the organizers of this event, commented, “Public school educators ultimately teach for liberation–that’s the job” (Ibid).
Christians deplore bullying (Matt. 22:39). We also deplore immorality offered up as “normal” and acceptable. Sinful choices are not made acceptable because people identify themselves with and through those sins. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). Gender is male and female, not whatever one believes about themselves (Gen. 1:27).
Parents have a tremendously important and difficult job of training their children to be kind to everyone while not accepting as good everything people say and do (Eph. 6:4). God loves everyone, but He hates evil (Jno. 3:16). So must we (Psa. 26:5; 97:10). This training will cause you and your children to be hated (Lk. 6:22). But, remain faithful to the Lord, and rejoice in your heavenly reward (Lk. 6:23).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 05/26/2019
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA