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
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two
men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of
Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was
taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go
Jesus will come from heaven in the same manner the apostles saw Him ascend into heaven – visually, personally, and powerfully (Acts 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:16). The Scriptures tell us what will happen when Jesus returns. We do well to learn and reflect on what will take place when the Lord returns, and then conform our hearts and lives to the will and word of the Son of God (Matt. 7:21-27). These things will happen when Jesus returns:
1) Resurrection of all the dead (Jno. 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:20-22).
2) All the living will be changed from mortal to immortality (1 Cor. 15:52-54).
3) Judgment of every person (Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27; Rom. 2:5-11; Rev. 20:11-12).
4) The fiery destruction of the material realm (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12).
5) Delivery of the kingdom to God the Father for eternal life in heaven (Matt. 25:46; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 21:6-7).
6) The eternal punishment of the disobedient – eternal death in hell (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:13-15; 21:8).
Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God, and He will return. But He will not return to dwell on the earth, which many erroneously believe and teach. May the truth convict us to faithfully serve Him and attempt to persuade others to prepare for that great day (1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:11).
Joe R. Price
People are fascinated with questions about God that seem (to them) to have no answers. Many times God has already answered the question in His word. We must be willing to accept and be content with His answers (Deut. 29:29).
The wise man Solomon said there are some questions about the “work of God that a man cannot find out”. Although he “labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it” (Eccl. 8:17). We can only know why God does what He does to the extent that He has revealed His reasons to us (1 Cor. 2:9-11). God expects us to be content with that and not resist His will (Rom. 9:19).
Recently we received a question that asked,
“Please tell me why God created this world. Why did he do this knowing how things would be now, the world all in a mess, individual lives in torment every day with problems and disappointments? And why did he decide that he would need to have people ‘be saved.’”
First, God created the world because He chose to do so. As Sovereign, Almighty God, He has both the right and the power to do so. “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Rom. 9:20) God expects us to be content with the grand declaration: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
The existence of the universe declares the glory and righteousness of God (Psa. 19:1; 50:6). God’s creation is ample evidence of His power and glory. God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and Godhood are clearly seen in the world He created, and persuade us to seek and find Him (Rom. 1:20; Acts 17:24-28).
God created human beings with free will so we would choose to serve Him. God did not create robots; He created man and woman in His image (which includes the ability to make moral decisions, Gen. 1:27). It is evident that God’s purpose was to create a being whose image was like His – one with whom He could share fellowship and blessings (Gen. 2-3). When God commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it was predicated on his ability to make a moral decision (Gen. 2:17).
God wants people to choose good, but we have all chosen evil. God did not create mankind so we could suffer; He created us so we could live in close fellowship with Him (Gen. 2:15; 3:8). Solomon found “that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Eccl. 7:29). All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Furthermore, we are “without excuse” when we sin because God’s creation is proof of His power and deity and is a compelling reason for us to glorify Him and praise Him (Rom. 1:20-21).
God did not want us to live forever in sin, so He planned to save us in Christ. His plan of redemption from sin lands a death blow to Satan and the power of sin and death (Gen. 3:15, 22). His plan of redemption is a great expression of divine love that rescues sinners from eternal death (Eph. 1:3-11; 2:1-10).
God wants all sinners to be saved from their sins, so He gave His Son to be our Savior (1 Tim. 2:3-4; Jno. 3:16). All who obey the Son will be saved (Heb. 5:9; Mk. 16:15-16; Matt. 7:21-23).
The universe stands as a great monument to God’s power, wisdom, and glory. The gospel is God’s great power to save sinners (Rom. 1:16-17). God’s wants all who suffer under the weight and death of sin to come to His Son in humble, obedient faith to be saved (Matt. 11:28-30; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41; 10:34-35).
-Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword, July 27, 2008
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
False Things on the Broad Way
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:13-20
Everything religious is not genuine and pure, Jas. 1:26-27; Lk. 6:46.
I. FALSE PROPHETS, Matt. 7:15-20.
There Really are False Prophets, 1 Jno. 4:1.
II. FALSE FAITH, Matt. 7:21-23.
Faith becomes False when We Practice Lawlessness, Matt. 7:22-23 (1 Jno.
III. BEWARE OF A FALSE FOUNDATION, Matt. 7:24-27.
False Foundations Include:
IV. CHRIST HAS COMPLETE AUTHORITY, Matt. 7:28-29.
To Speak Truth and Expose Error, Jno. 8:31-32.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
Many people are hard at work on developing a vaccine for Covid-19. “The Trump administration is asking states to speed up approval for vaccine distribution sites by Nov. 1, the latest sign the federal government is eager to get a vaccine out before the end of the year” (“Trump Administration Asks States to Be Ready for Vaccine by November,” wsj.com). Just what is a vaccine? Are there spiritual lessons to be learned here?
A vaccine is “a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease” (lexico.com). A vaccine does not cure a disease; it gives protection from disease.
Unlike medical vaccinations, God has supplied a cure for sin plus protection against its recurrence. The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power to save us from the sin in our lives (Rom. 1:16). By His grace and through our faith, God makes sinners “alive together with Christ” when “we were dead in trespasses” (Eph. 2:5, 8). Like any medicine, for the gospel to work, we must “inject” ourselves with its power by having faith that obeys Jesus (Heb. 5:8-9; Acts 2:37-38).
Once healed (saved) of sin, we must vaccinate ourselves against sin by putting God’s word in our hearts (Col. 3:16). This does not mean we cannot sin (1 Jno. 1:8-10). But, we will be able to see the ways of escape from sin’s temptations (1 Jno. 2:1; 1 Cor. 10:13). Being a Christian does not make us immune to sin. But, through spiritual growth, as we walk in the light by faith, we choose to resist the devil and the desires with which he tempts us (Jas. 4:7; 1:12).
Everyone hopes for a Covid-19 vaccination. How many want the cure for sin?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/06/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA