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
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Jesus claimed an eternal nature for His words. What He said were the very words His Father gave Him to speak (Jno. 8:28; 12:49; 17:8). When we receive the word of Jesus we are receiving the word of God (Matt. 10:40; Jno. 13:20; Heb. 1:1-2).
This gives Christians great confidence. God’s word has not been altered; it is “incorruptible” (1 Pet. 1:23). It has not disappeared from the earth.
This gives sinner’s great hope. The word of God is light from God that shines in the darkness, giving guidance to every wayward soul, leading to salvation in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6; Jno. 8:12; 14:6).
Astonishingly, many reject the enduring nature of God’s word, the Bible. Some assert it is no longer relevant to address the needs of human beings. They believe we have outgrown the Bible; its relevancy has ended. Others deny the adequacy or completeness of the Bible. According to them, truth once found in the Bible has been taken away. They believe men have taken away many “plain and precious things” from God’s incorruptible word (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 13:28). This false doctrine destroys the faith of many, convincing them they cannot rely on the Bible completely. Nevertheless, the incorruptible seed was not corrupted; Jesus’ words have not passed away (1 Pet. 1:23-25; Matt. 24:35). Jesus said so.
The word of Jesus denies and rejects these views of God’s word, and so must we (1 Jno. 4:1, 6; 2 Jno. 9-11). The relevancy and adequacy of God’s word endures (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Faith-building conclusions are drawn from the enduring nature of God’s word. 1) We can trust it because it is true (Jno. 14:6; 17:17). 2) We can understand it since we will be judged by it (Jno. 12:48; Acts 3:22-23). 3) We must obey it since by doing so our soul is purified of sin (1 Pet. 1:22; Heb. 5:8-9).
Yes, God’s word endures. Will God’s word endure in your life?
Jarrod M. Jacobs
From an early age, our youth lament about what is fair and what isn’t. I can remember things happening to me as a young child, and my response was, “That’s not fair!” Did you also say that in your youth? Maybe you have said those things even more recently? You’re probably right!
Solomon made this same observation about life in Ecclesiastes 7:15. He wrote, “All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.” Notice that Solomon observed what we have all seen, namely that life is not fair! A just man dies, while the wicked man lives, and we think it ought to be the other way around.
Asaph wrote a similar thing in Psalm 73. He said he was distressed over his observation of the wicked until he had almost given up altogether. “My feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped” (v. 2). He looked and saw the wicked, who, “are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men” (v. 5). Life is not fair!
Let us not despair, though. Though life is not fair to us, God is! It is God who praises the balanced scale (Prov. 11:1, 16:11, 20:23). It is God who looks on things fairly when men do not (Ezek. 18:20-32). It is God who knows how to judge us fairly, based upon our works and not merely our intentions (II Cor. 5:10; Ecc. 12:13-14; Matt. 25:31-45).
Looking again to Psalm 73, we see that Asaph’s distress and depression disappeared when he “went to the sanctuary of the Lord” and understood the “end” of the wicked (v. 17). He considered what God was doing and saw that even though life is not fair, God is! We may have hardships and unfairness to contend with in this life, but God sees and knows and will make all “fair” in the end.
The “prince of this world” favors those who hate God and despises those who love Him (Jn. 14:30, 15:18-20). This is why life on earth is not fair. God, however, brings balance and fairness to His children. The question is will we accept what the Lord has said? Will we be patient in an unfair world and realize that what is fair is on the way? “Let us not be weary in well-doing …” (Gal. 6:9).
Joe R. Price
“Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.” (Proverbs 14:9)
Our attitudes and reactions to sin are strong indicators of either wisdom or foolishness.
Some deny the existence of sin because they deny the existence of God. Foolish. The fool says there is no God (Prov. 14:1).
Some think they will hide their sins and not be held accountable for them. Foolish. Your sin will find you out (Num. 32:23). Some judge the personal benefits of sin justify mistreating and abusing others. Foolish. Treachery leads to ruin (Prov. 13:15).
The person who mocks at sin ignores the judgment of God. Foolish. The day of God’s righteous judgment will bring wrath and eternal anguish (Rom. 2:5-11).
On the other hand, favor is the reward of the person who sows righteousness. Wise. “He who sows righteousness will have a sure reward” (Prov. 11:18).
Let us choose to be wise and never mock sin. It is a destroyer of lives and souls. “The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust” (Prov. 11:6).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Obligations of Citizenship
Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:15-22
We are free in Christ to use our freedom for good (1 Cor. 7:20-24). Freedom
brings blessings and responsibilities (Matt. 25:15).
I. OUR OBLIGATION IS TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, Matt. 6:33; Phil. 3:20; Acts 5:29.
-We cannot escape living in a sin-filled world, 1 Cor. 5:9-10.
II. OUR OBLIGATION IS TO RENDER TO CAESAR WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR, Matt. 22:15-21.
Submit to Legal Authority, Rom. 13:1-5.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Back to Normal?
Joe R. Price
The headline caught my eye: “Dr. Fauci Says ‘There Will Be an End’ to Covid-19.” “Effective vaccine and public-health measures could put coronavirus pandemic ‘behind us,’ top infectious-disease expert tells WSJ CEO Council; return to ‘reasonable form of normality’ possible by end of 2021” (Betsy McKay, wsj.com). Hooray. But then again, who will define the “normality” to which we will return?
And so it goes with life on earth. As one crisis is addressed, assuaged, or averted, another one occurs. And there is usually more than one crisis at a time. It is enough to reassure us why this world is not our home and why we are “just a passing through.”
It is normal for disease and death to happen. Aging, sickness, and death are a part of life (Heb. 9:27). “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever” (Eccl. 1:4).
It is normal to expect science not to have all the answers. Science is man’s effort to explain natural occurrences. It is always correcting itself. Before germs were discovered (1850-1920) “people believed that foul odors could create disease or that evil spirits could cause a person to become ill” (“The History of Germs and Germ Theory,” safespaceco.com). Science cannot give knowledge that saves the soul (cf. 1 Tim. 6:20-21).
It is normal for a godless society to grow worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13). The human condition invariably devolves into moral chaos when people refuse to “retain God in their knowledge” (Rom. 1:18-32). The conduct many say is “normal” is under God’s wrath (v. 18, 32).
Back to normal? Whatever normal is, go there with God, or don’t go at all (Eccl. 12:13; Lk. 12:16-21).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/20/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA