And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 22, Number
In this issue:
Invites you to
The gospel is "the power of God to salvation" (Romans
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God’s Old Testament prophets anticipated a king who would be a great deliverer (a savior), whose dominion would be unending, and whose power would be unmatched. Isaiah wrote,
6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isa. 9:6-7).
Christ’s New Testament apostles and prophets wrote of a kingdom now being received, with God’s anointed king reigning in righteousness over his kingdom:
8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Heb. 1:8-9).
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).
And so, the inspired Scriptures identify the king as Jesus, his kingdom as presently existing, and his subjects as those who “serve God acceptably” (i.e., Christians).
1) The prophesied king is Jesus Christ, the Son of God (2 Sam. 7:12-14; Lk. 1:32-33). Jesus declared this good confession to Pilate when he said, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (Jno. 18:37; cf. 1 Tim. 6:13).
2) The prophesied kingdom is the church of Christ. Jesus used “church” and “kingdom” interchangeably in Matthew 16:18-19. In a night vision, Daniel saw
13 …One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:13-14).
The fulfillment of Daniel’s vision is unmistakable in this inspired description of God’s mighty power:
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph. 1:20-23).
Separating the establishment of the kingdom from the beginning of the church is a tortuous misuse of the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
3) The citizens of Christ’s kingdom are Christians. These are the ones who volunteer themselves to Christ “in the day of (His) power,” when the Lord Jesus sits at the right hand of God and rules in the midst of His enemies (Psa. 110:1-3). Those redeemed by the blood of Christ are citizens of the kingdom, having been delivered by the Father “from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13-14). The sinner’s salvation (“delivered from the power of darkness”) and the kingdom’s establishment (“conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love”) are inextricably connected.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12-16
1. Previous obedience
motivates us to continue to be faithful. It is not a guarantee that we are
presently faithful to God, Phil. 2:12.
I. WAYS TO WORK OUT OUR OWN SALVATION, Phil. 2:1-16.
1. By encouraging
others, Phil. 2:1-4.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
We certainly regret that thousands have died from COVID-19, and that others will. Those with underlying immune system deficiencies and respiratory ailments are particularly vulnerable and should especially be careful at this time. There are prudent steps we can take to mitigate the exposure and contraction of this virus.
As of today (March 13, 2020), there have been approximately 140,000 reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide (worldometers.info/coronavirus/). For perspective, that is less than 0.002% of the world’s 7.8 billion people. Yet, this new strain of coronavirus is currently consuming the psyche of Americans (and the world). Panic rather than prudence appears to be driving some of the reactions to this new health problem.
We do not take note of the statistics above to deny a problem exists. It does. We do so to discuss the subject of perspective. Whether we are talking about a pandemic that threatens our physical health and lives or the universality of sin that threatens our spiritual health, we need the right perspective to have timely and needful responses.
James reminds us life is uncertain and brief, and therefore we must first depend on God instead of ourselves (Jas. 4:13-15). This perspective prompts us to do the will of God instead of arrogantly ignoring reality (Jas. 4:16-17). Christians know this and live for eternity (2 Cor. 4:16-18). And perhaps this partially explains the difference between panicked reaction and prudent precaution in times of crisis. Faith convinces us to live with an eternal perspective. Without faith, the world only looks “at the things which are seen” (2 Cor. 4:18). Perspective.
Yes, be concerned about your physical health. But, what about your spiritual health? Are you distancing yourself from sin and its carriers (1 Cor. 15:33-34)? Are you washing your heart like you are washing your hands (Jas. 4:7-10)? Are you putting God’s word in your heart to protect yourself against sin? Or, are you dying spiritually? Perspective.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 03/20/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA