And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 22, Number
In this issue:
An oft sung phrase is “Why do you wait, dear sinner, Oh why do you tarry so long?” Christians should see the urgency of obedience and godly living. Perhaps we can understand why someone who has no spiritual training does not urgently obey Christ. Yet strangely and sadly, some Christians never see the urgency, either. Why is it that the very ones who have “every spiritual blessing” in Christ must be pushed and prodded to love Him above all else (Mk. 12:29-31)?
Why do you wait.. to give your best to the Master? God is deserving of the very best we have to offer Him, whether it is our time, our energy, our attitude or our possessions. We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1).
“Why do you wait to get involved in the work of the congregation? There is plenty of work to do. Every member can make positive contributions toward the spiritual strength and welfare of this church (Eph. 4:16). Everyone can pray for this church. Everyone can worship God together. Everyone can show brotherly love and kindness. There is much to do.
“Why do you wait to forgive one who has sinned against you? None of us are without sin. Why then do we demand that everyone must always be perfect in their treatment of us? And when they aren’t, our attitude toward them is forever changed – hesitant, reserved, suspicious. Such unmerciful treatment of others will surely reap a lack of mercy for us in the day of judgment (Matt. 5:7; Jas. 2:13). When your brother sins against you, or when you know your brother has something against you, reconcile quickly (Matt. 5:23-26; 18:15).
“Why do you wait to develop godliness in thought and deed? Spiritual growth comes through dedicated effort. We must choose to be nourished by the gospel of Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-2; Heb. 5:12-14; 2 Pet. 3:18).
Why do you wait to become a Christian? There is no greater joy than having your sins forgiven in Christ. Seize the moment to be saved, to no longer be lost in sin. Your sin will bring you to eternal death. You have no guarantee of tomorrow. Now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
“Why do you wait?” (Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword, Oct. 22, 2000)
May we examine a person’s personal belief about their salvation without “judging” them? More specifically, is it possible to identify an unbiblical view a person has about their salvation? Can we use the Scriptures to explain to a lost person he or she is lost? Or, are we judging that person by doing so?
Recently, a pastor of a megachurch told me I was judging another person’s salvation. (I wasn’t trying to condemn anyone. After all, sin condemns us.) My sin? I told him people who believe they were saved but have not yet been baptized into Christ are still lost (Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21). To him, that made me guilty of judging their salvation. (When he tells a sinner he is lost, is he guilty of judging that person?) How could anyone ever teach the sinner he is lost under this definition of judging (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38)? Yes, we can teach people who think they are saved that the Scriptures say they are lost without being guilty “judging” them.
The apostles told people on Pentecost who thought they were saved that they were lost. Many Jews confidently trusted in being sons of Abraham (they were God’s chosen people). Yet, they had murdered Jesus, the Son of God. Were the apostles guilty of “judging” these people? No, God’s word rendered the judgment, and they spoke God’s judgment to the people (Acts 2:22-35, 36). About 3,000 souls were saved that day (Acts 2:37, 40-41).
Jesus and Ananias told a man who thought he was saved that he was lost. Saul of Tarsus boldly persecuted Christians, thinking he was serving God (Acts 22:20; 26:9-11). Would we accuse Jesus of unrighteously judging Saul? After Saul had prayed and fasted in blindness for three days, Ananias told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away you sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul was still a sinner in need of cleansing from his sins by the blood of Jesus (Rom. 6:3). Shall we charge Ananias with “judging” Saul’s salvation for telling him so?
Peter told a Christian he was lost because of his present sin. Simon had been saved by the gospel, but became caught up in sin (Acts 8:13, 18-24). Should we charge Peter with unrighteously “judging” Simon’s salvation for rebuking his sin?
The truth is, we are not “judging” people when we let God’s word speak, then make the application to their lives so they can see their sin and do God’s will to be saved. We are sharing God’s judgments, revealed to persuade sinners to believe and obey the truth of the gospel for the salvation of their souls (Heb. 5:8-9; Lk. 6:46).
David said of God’s word, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:9). Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jno. 12:48). We do not sin when we speak God’s judgments (from the Scriptures) to sinners to warn them. We are trying to warn them and bring them to salvation.
The charge of “judging” a person’s salvation may be an attempt to evade the force of truth. God knows. Regardless, false charges against truth-tellers have certainly been used in the past to escape the strength of truth (Acts 6:9-11; 16:19-24; 17:5-9).
Let us always speak the truth in love and humility (Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26). By doing so, we draw attention to God’s judgments so the lost can believe, repent, and be saved.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36, NKJV)
Unbelievers are lost. Still, it is unfortunate the King James translators in 1611 used “believeth not” in the second part of this verse. The New King James version followed suit, using the more modern, “does not believe.” But, the word in the Greek manuscript is apeitheō, which means “disobey” (BDAG), as in Romans 2:8 where the KJV and NKJV translate it, “do not obey” the truth. When the word is thus translated, John 3:36 takes on a whole new meaning: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36, ESV, see also, NASB). Obedience is necessary to have everlasting life. Since the one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who does not obey the Son “shall not see life,” we properly conclude that believing in the Son takes more than faith alone. Surely this why Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46) Believers obey Jesus. Those who reject Him are “disobedient (apeitheō) to the word” (1 Pet. 2:7, 8). Demons believe, but faith alone will not give them eternal life (Jas. 2:19-20). Those who believe in the Son have everlasting life precisely because they trust and obey Him. The disobedient shall not have life, but punishment (Matt. 25:46). Have faith to obey Jesus, and you will see everlasting life.
-Sword Tips #1852
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. The church
is an essential part of God’s plan of human redemption, Eph. 3:10-11.
I. THE CHURCH HAS NO CREED BUT CHRIST.
A. Jesus Christ is the Object of Our Faith, Jno. 8:23-24; 20:30-31; Acts 8:36-37.
II. THE CHURCH HAS NO RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE BUT THE REVEALED WILL OF CHRIST, THE NEW TESTAMENT.
A. We Follow
Christ’s Word in All Things Concerning Life and Godliness, Matt. 28:18; Col.
3:17; Heb. 1:1-2 (2 Pet. 1:3).
III. TO ACCEPT THE BIBLE AS ONE’S ONLY “RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE” IS TO…
A. Wear No Name
but Christ’s, Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Methodist Church Division Imminent
We observed back in 2014 that the United Methodist Church was “on a course to division over homosexuality and same-sex marriage” (“Division Imminent?”, The Spirit’s Sword, 6/22/14). Almost six years later, the dye has been cast. “Leaders of the United Methodist Church have agreed in principle on a deal that will divide the denomination, potentially ending years of discord over the status of gay and transgender people in the church. The agreement, which was signed by 16 leaders of the church on both sides of the debate, would allow same-sex marriage in the Methodist church and for gay clergy members to serve openly” (“United Methodist Church Leaders Agree in Principle to Split Over Gay Rights,” Ian Lovett, Wall Street Journal). If approved, this agreement will give $25 million to conservative churches that leave the UMC to start their own denomination. Reportedly, “as much as 30-40% of the denomination in the U.S. would leave the United Methodist Church” (Ibid).
And so, like the Episcopal Church (that began consecrating openly gay clergy in 2003), the UMC is yielding to cultural pressures to redefine morality and marriage. The denomination will divide, and another denomination will begin. But, where is the Lord’s word in all of this? Where is even one shred of biblical support for (1) The Methodist Church?, (2) Dividing into another denomination?, (3) Accepting homosexual practices as moral?, and (4) Same-sex marriage?
The Bible says division into denominations is sin (Jno. 17:20-21; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Cor. 1:10-13). The Bible says homosexuality is a sin (1 Cor. 6:9-10). The Bible says same-sex marriage is sin (Matt. 19:4-6; Heb. 13:4).
As long as people think the church belongs to them instead of Jesus, men will build their churches and then divide them to uphold their will rather than God’s will. Remember, God’s word establishes truth, not what we say is the truth (Jno. 17:17; 8:31-32; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/12/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA