And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRIT’S
SWORD

Volume 21, Number 48
10/20/2019

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers


Editor......Joe R. Price



 

In this issue:


How to Study the Bible (1)
Joe R. Price

Since faith comes by hearing the word of God, the Bible must be understood and followed to be saved from our sins (Rom. 10:17; Eph. 5:15-17). How we approach our study of the Bible will, in large measure, determine whether we understand it. Failure to properly study the Bible produces “untaught and unstable people” who twist the Scriptures, destroying themselves and others (2 Pet. 3:16). Here are some brief, Bible-based descriptions and explanations of how to study the Bible.

1) Respect the Bible as the word of God. The Scriptures are “holy” since their origin is God (2 Tim. 3:15-16). The Bible speaks of divine things; it is the revelation of God’s mind – not a compilation of myths (1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Pet. 1:16-21). Any other view of the Bible invariably leads to less that complete reverence for its contents.

2) Decide to do the will of God. Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God…” (Jno 7:17). A study to justify ourselves does not lead us in the path of righteousness. One must have the will to do God’s will – especially when that means changing previous beliefs and repenting of past sins. Study the Bible determined to know and obey the truth of God (Matt 7:24-27).

3) Have an open and ready heart to accept the truth you find. The Bereans are commended for their fair-mindedness when they heard the apostolic gospel (Acts 17:11). With open hearts they “searched the Scriptures” to determine the truthfulness of their teaching. This, in turn, led them to faith and salvation (Acts 17:12). Like Cornelius and his house, we must be ready “to hear all the things commanded” by God (Acts 10:33).

4) Keep a good and honest heart (Lk 8:15). Such a heart holds fast the truth it learns and bears good fruit.

We need “ears to hear” to effectively study the Bible (Lk 8:8). That means our heart must be willing to accept the truth the Bible contains. Otherwise, Bible study is frustratingly futile as one remains in the darkness of ignorance and the death of sin (Eph 4:17-24). 

-Reprinted (with edits), The Spirit’s Sword, April 25, 2010 (Vol. 13, No. 12)

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What is Personal Evangelism?
John Isaac Edwards

Evangelism is the personal responsibility of every Christian. We have been saved to save (1 Timothy 4:16), taught to teach (2 Timothy 2:2), and won to win (Proverbs 11:30). Personal evangelism is described different ways in the Scriptures. In this brief writing, we capture three snapshots of personal evangelism:

Personal Evangelism Is Sowing Seed. In the Parable of the Sower, the word of God is set forth as seed and the different soils represent the hearts of men and women (Luke 8:5-15). Since we do not know men’s hearts, we must put the word in every heart possible, and pray the seed lodges in good soil and God will see fit to give “the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). The Psalmist said, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6). As Haggai asked, “Is the seed yet in the barn?” (Haggai 2:19), we must get the seed out of the barn and into the soil!

Personal Evangelism Is Fishing for Men. As Peter and Andrew, two Bible fishermen, were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-19). In Luke’s account the Lord said, “...Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught...And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes...” (Luke 5:4, 6). Peter was told, “...from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (Luke 5:10). On the day of Pentecost, Peter let down the net and “inclosed a great multitude of fishes” as “about three thousand souls” gladly received his word and were baptized (Acts 2:41). If we want to see a great “draught” (catch or haul of fish), we must launch out and let down the net! Gone fishin’ lately?

Personal Evangelism Is Winning Souls. Wisdom literature teaches us, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). Daniel 12:3 records, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Winning souls is turning souls to righteousness through the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). In the words of the song Lead Me to Some Soul Today, “Open hearts of those I love, to hear and heed the gospel call; May they start to heaven above, and may they never fall.”

That’s personal evangelism!

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Noble Bereans
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Acts 17:10-15

The Berean Jews are distinguished from the Jews of Thessalonica by the way they “received the word,” Acts 17:11-12.

I. THE BEREANS WERE FAIR-MINDED.

  A. They were Free of Prejudice (bias) that Would Prevent them from Listening to the Truth of the Gospel, cf. Acts 22:21-22.
  B. They were Opened-Minded to the Possibility of Being Mistaken in their Faith, cf. Acts 17:2-4; 3:17-19; Prov. 16:25; 28:26; Jer. 10:23. (Acts 8:31; Lk. 9:23)

II. THE BEREANS RECEIVED THE WORD WITH ALL READINESS.

  A. Willing Minds to Receive a Message Not Previously Heard/Believed, Lk. 8:15; Acts 10:33; 7:51.
  B. Readiness to Receive the Truth is not Gullibility or Naiveté, Col. 2:4, 8, 20-23; 2 Cor. 4:2; 2 Tim. 3:6-7.
  C. Willing (Eager) to Change to Conform to God’s Truth, cf. Acts 2:37; 8:22-24; 17:5-6.

III. THEY SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY.

  A. To Verify Accuracy of What is Taught and Believed, not to Justify Themselves, 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6; Jno. 5:39; 8:32-43.

IV. RESULT: THE BEREANS BELIEVED THE TRUTH (saving faith).

  A. They Believed and Obeyed the Gospel, and Were Saved. Then, they grew in faith, 2 Cor. 11:8-9 (Acts 17:15; 18:5); 8:1-5.

Conclusion
With noble heart, may we eagerly examination the Scriptures so faith will flourish.

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Lord Has Need of You
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 3:14-21

1. There is a sense in which the Lord does not need us, Acts 17:25; Psa. 50:10-12.
2. In another sense, God has chosen to make US crucial to His plans and will – His children who further His purposes on earth, Jno. 15:5; Phil. 2:14-16 (Matt. 5:13); Matt. 28:20 (Acts 8:4).

I. JESUS MUST HAVE FIRST PLACE IN OUR HEARTS, 1 Pet. 3:15.

  A. Some Have No Room for Christ in their Hearts, cf. Lk. 2:7; Jno. 8:37, 38, 41-47.
  B. Some Have Too Little Room for Christ, Mk. 4:18-19.
  C. Some Will Give Christ Full Room in their Hearts, Phil. 3:5-11; Acts 10:33 (2, 22); 11:14; Eph. 3:14-19; Gal. 2:20.

II. JESUS HAS NEED OF FAITHFUL WORKERS, 2 Cor. 5:14-15.

  A. Who Will Sacrifice for Him, Jno. 21:15-19; Lk. 9:23-26.
  B. Who Will be Diligent, Rom. 12:11; Heb. 6:11-12; 2 Pet. 1:5; 3:14.

III. JESUS HAS NEED OF DEVOUT CHRISTIANS, Matt. 6:33. 

  A. Who Will Pray Earnestly, 1 Thess. 5:17; Jas. 5:16; Jas. 4:3; 1 Jno. 5:14-15.
  B. Who Will Use God's Word Accurately, 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:3-4.
  C. Live for Heaven, Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 2:11-12.

Conclusion
1. “Christ has no hands but our hands, to do His work today…”
2. Christ wants you; He needs you.
3. The real question is, do you want Christ?

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Overboard on the High Seas
Joe R. Price

Tuesday an Italian cruise line “confirmed the death of a 75-year-old passenger who jumped from the eighth-floor balcony…aboard the Costa Cruise ship Costa Pacifica following a major search-and-rescue operation to recover the body” (“Cruise passenger, 75, killed after jumping off balcony of eighth-floor room,” Jack Durschlag, foxnews.com). Newsweek reported witnesses confirm a woman made the “voluntary jump from the balcony of their cabin” (“Cruise Ship Passenger, 75, Dies After ‘Voluntarily’ Going Overboard,” Jason Murdock, newsweek.com).

The details of this tragedy have not been released, but we extend our condolences to the family. This sobering event calls on us to ponder the problem of suicide (if that is what this was), and to seek some answers from God’s word.

In 2016, someone attempted suicide every 28 seconds in America. It is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24 (“Suicide Statistics We'd Like to Change in 2019,” Hannah Kwawu, Crisis Text Line). What brings people to such a dark and desperate decision?

Feeling helpless. Convinced they are powerless to change their circumstances, some turn to the only power they think they have, that of taking their own life. Yet, help is available through faith in Jesus Christ. His gospel  has power to save and transform lives (Rom. 1:16; 12:1-2).

Feeling hapless. Convinced that things cannot and will not change, the only option some see is death. But, life is about choices. Death is not the only choice. May we assist the suicidal to understand they can choose life by choosing to follow God (Deut. 30:19-20).

Feeling hopeless. Perceiving only future futility, suicide becomes a viable option in some person’s mind. But, everything in life is temporary. The gospel offers hope beyond today into eternity (Matt. 11:28-30; 1 Pet. 1:3).

Life is a gift from God (Eccl. 3:12-13). May we help those in the darkness of despair find the light of hope in Christ. 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  10/21/2019

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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