And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 22, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
Our adversary, the devil, is caricatured as wearing a red suit with horns, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork. The truth is far different. He is real, not a cartoon. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). What he says sounds good. He is like a roaring lion, stalking his prey (1 Pet. 5:8). He gladly accepts unscriptural names and theories people devise about him because they divert attention away from what the Bible says. “Lucifer” is a name given the devil that mishandles the word of God and perpetuates the “fall from heaven” motif about Satan.
Let us see who the Bible identifies as Lucifer.
you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut
down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!”
Satan is not given the name “Lucifer” in
the Bible. The word is a Latinized translation of Hebrew that means “day
star,” “bright one,” or “light-bearer.” The “son of the morning” in Isaiah
14 is undeniably the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:4). Isaiah 14:3-23 is an
oracle of judgment against Babylon’s king. Although his oppressive conquests
exalted him over many nations, the Lord God of Israel would extinguish his
brightness. He who cut down nations would be “cut down to the ground.” God
would bring down the king (who had exalted his heart and his throne “above
the stars of God”) “to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isa. 14:13-15). This
“man” (the king of Babylon) was a waning luminary, soon to be snuffed out by
God’s righteous judgment (Isa. 14:16-17). God used the Medes to do just that
(Isa. 13:17; Jer. 51:11-14, 28-29; Dan. 5:30-31). Our lessons include these:
1) God rules over and judges the
(Dan. 4:25-26, 35; Acts 17:26);
2) No one can exalt himself above God
without incurring wrath
(Isa. 14:14-15; Rom. 1:18-23);
3) Do not add to the Scriptures things
are not there.
The king of Babylon is Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12, not Satan.
4) Christ overthrows Satan
(Lk. 10:18; Jno. 12:31; 1 Jno. 3:8). Why choose to be ruled by Satan, a
defeated foe? “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee
from you” (Jas. 4:7).
Craig V. Thomas
Today’s Thought for the Day comes from Psalm 102. This psalm repeats a quite common theme in the Psalms. In it the psalmist pours out his complaint before the Lord. Note verses 3-5:
For my days are consumed like smoke,
In addition to his downcast spirit and inability to even summon his appetite to eat, he is also having trouble sleeping (v. 7). He is reduced to weeping (v. 9) and is in total despair over life (v. 11). He endures endless criticism at the hands of his detractors (v. 8). In verse 10 he appears to suggest his plight may involve some measure of self-infliction due to his own sin as he laments:
Because of Your indignation and Your wrath;
As the psalmist laments his sadness and sorrow, he calls on the Lord to hear his prayer (vv. 1-2):
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Since this psalm repeats a familiar refrain, the lessons and application should be familiar as well. God hears our pray if we offer them in the proper spirit and with a determination to face our sins and repent of them. In this psalm, I believe that thought is expressed in verse 17:
He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
As we pour out our burdens to the Lord, we must have the faith that He hears, and He cares. It is critical for our prayer to be heard and acted upon by the Lord that we demonstrate our humility and recognition that we cannot make it on our own. Peter puts it this way (1 Pet. 5:6-7):
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may
exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon
Him, for He cares for you.”
Wait on the Lord;
If we will do these things, I’m convinced the Lord will A-L-W-A-Y-S answer our prayers! We may not receive the exact answer we seek, but He will answer! (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7-10) We must accept His answer in faith and realize His answer may not take away our pain and suffering. But His “grace is sufficient” for us and we must remember His “strength is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). As the psalmist closes this psalm, I believe he is expressing his confidence the Lord will answer his prayer. It is a confidence we too can have and should express.
The children of Your servants will continue,
Once upon a time there were four people: Their names were Everybody,
Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody. Whenever there was an important job to
do, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody
could have done it, but Nobody did it. When Nobody did it,
Everybody got angry because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody
thought Somebody would do it, but Nobody realized that
Nobody would do it. So, Everybody blamed Somebody when
Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
There is Good News!
Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:3-8
1. There is a lot of bad news in the world.
I. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Facts to Believe, 1 Cor. 15:1-4 (Acts 2:21-36). Jno. 20:30-31
II. THE GOOD NEWS (THE GOSPEL), Col. 1:5.
The Gospel is Good News of Truth, Col. 1:5. Jno. 14:6; Gal. 2:5, 14; Eph.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
God-Given Religious Liberty
Joe R. Price
Americans have taken our religious liberty for granted. This liberty, acknowledged in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, did not begin there. Freedom to worship and serve God without governmental interference is a blessing for which we are thankful and for which we pray (1 Tim. 2:2). It has not always been so. Even now, there are places in the world where this freedom is stifled and, at times, forbidden.
One such place is communist China. Bitter Winter reports crosses were forcibly removed from the buildings of over 900 Three-Self Churches earlier this year. (The Three-Self Church is the state-sanctioned Protestant Church in China.) “In April, the Religious Affairs Bureau of Fuyang-administered Taihe county ordered to remove the cross from one of the Three-Self churches and threatened to close it down if the congregation disobeyed” (“Crosses Toppled from Over 900 Three-Self Churches in Anhui,” bitterwinter.org). A church member explained, “‘If a church refuses to remove its cross, congregation members may lose their social benefits, like pensions and poverty-alleviation subsidies, and possibilities for their children’s future employment will be affected’…The believer also revealed that government officials warned an elder in the church that ‘protesting cross demolitions means protesting against the government.’ ‘I feel sad thinking that all crosses in our church have been demolished,’ the believer added. ‘Even though it is a symbol of our faith, who dares to disobey the central government order?’” (Ibid) This reminds us of the mark of the beast that gave economic privileges to Roman emperor worshippers (Rev. 13:15-17).
Indeed. Who dares to disobey the central government order? Those who dare to obey God rather than men (when men’s laws force a violation of God’s law, Acts 5:28-29, 20).
Human governments do not have greater authority than Christ. Christ teaches us to obey civil authorities, but not at the expense of obeying His will (Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).
When manmade churches face such resistance in China, we can imagine what NT Christians in China face.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/30/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA