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
37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? 39 Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” (Lamentations 3:37–39, NKJV)
Jeremiah’s Lamentations may seem an unlikely place to teach respect for God’s silence, but this passage powerfully describes the futility and falsity of speaking when the Lord has not spoken. God had brought His righteous wrath upon Jerusalem to punish her sins (Lam. 1:3-5, 8-11; 2:1-8). He announced judgment against Zion and brought it to pass at the hands of the Babylonian army.
Many false prophets said Jerusalem would not fall, but its fall showed they spoke when the Lord had not commanded it (cf. Jer. 28; 2 Chron. 36:15-21). They preached a message of “peace, peace” when there was no peace, only impending doom (Jer. 6:13-15).
We have no right to complain against God when He punishes our sins according to His word (v. 39). Both “woe and well-being proceed” from Him, not us. We must humbly and faithfully submit to His word. Jerusalem and Judah refused to do that, and the Lord punished them.
In the New Testament, honoring the silence of the Scriptures (the silence of God) is not going beyond what is written but instead, abiding in Christ’s doctrine (1 Cor. 4:6; 2 Jno. 9). We must follow what the Scriptures say, not speak where God has not spoken. To teach and practice things God’s word does not speak of will not have God’s approval, but is a transgression of the doctrine of Christ. Let us speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent. -Sword Tips #2085
Joe R. Price
By the start of the third decade of the 16th century, William Tyndale had already been on the run for five years. The king of England, Henry VIII, had declared him a felon. Fleeing Roman Catholic authorities in London (never to return to England), he first went to Cologne, France, then to Worms, Germany. What crime had this fugitive from justice committed? Of what treasonous, rebellious act was he guilty? He dared to translate and print the New Testament into the English language.
In England in the 1520’s (indeed, throughout Europe during the middle ages), unless you were literate in Hebrew, Greek or Latin, reading the Bible for yourself was impossible. You had to rely on what the Roman Catholic clergy said the Bible contained. You would not have been able to study the Bible for yourself to discern the truth for yourself – much less be free to practice what you learned therein. Rome ruled with an iron hand.
The Catholic Church did not want nor permit a wide transmission of the Bible and its contents. When Tyndale’s New Testament was published in Worms, 6,000 copies were shipped back to England. Medieval historian William Manchester reports,
“To the bishop of London this was an intolerable, metastasizing heresy. He bought up all that were for sale and publicly burned them at St. Paul’s Cross. But the archbishop of Canterbury was dissatisfied; his spies told him that many remained in private hands. Protestant peers with country houses were loaning them out, like public libraries. Assembling his bishops, the archbishop declared that tracking them down was essential -- each was placing souls in jeopardy -- and so, on his instructions, dioceses organized posses, searching the homes of known literates, and offered rewards to informers -- sending out the alarm to keep Christ’s revealed word from those who worshiped him.” (A World Lit Only By Fire, 204-205)
Tyndale was eventually arrested and imprisoned for sixteen months in the castle of Vilvorde, near Brussels. In 1536, after being tried and convicted for heresy he was publicly executed, being tied to a stake, strangled to death, and then his corpse burned.
As we consider Tyndale’s struggle and sacrifice to provide the commoner in England with readable Scriptures, we are compelled to thank God for the ease and convenience with which we can read and study the Bible for ourselves. We are obliged to cherish the privilege of reading the divine text, understanding it, reflecting upon it, and thinking over it to bring ourselves into harmony with God’s will, and then to share it with others (Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:2).
We must not neglect reading, learning, and living God’s word. We have the good fortune of constant access to the Bible. We have many opportunities to read and know God’s word. Failure to drink deeply from it squanders precious and necessary blessings the Lord has given us (Job 23:12; Jas. 4:17).
So, the next time you pick up your Bible to read, study, and meditate, remember the sacrifices of countless others who helped make this possible. But above all, remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life on the cross and then was resurrected from the dead so you can know the truth, abide in His word, and be saved from the slavery and corruption of your sins (Jno. 8:31-36; 1:1-3, 14-18).
Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword (November 25, 2001), edited
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Praying for Guidance (Psalm 5)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 5:1-6
David gives many examples of prayers in his psalms.
I. DAVID’S MORNING PRAYER, 5:1-3.
A. Be Dedicated to Prayer, 1 Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18; cf. Psa. 27:1-3.
II. DAVID’S PRAYER OF WARNING TO THE WICKED, 5:4-6.
A. God does not Commune with Sinners (4); 1 Jno. 1:5; cf. Prov. 6:16-19; 1 Jno. 3:22 (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
III. BEING IN GOD’S PRESENCE INVIGORATED DAVID’S PRAYERS, 5:7-8.
A. David’s Prayers where Strengthened through Worship, Lk. 18:13; 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Isa. 35:8 (2 Cor. 6:17-18); cf. 2 Pet. 2:11-12.
IV. THE WICKED ARE DENOUNCED IN DAVID’S PRAYER, 5:9-10.
A. Our Prayers Acknowledge Our Distinction from those Who Practice Sin, Psa. 139:21-22; 2 Tim. 4:14-15.
V. DAVID ANTICIPATED GOD BLESSING THE RIGHTEOUS, 5:11-12.
A. Showers of Blessings for All Who Trust in God, Psa. 30:4-5; Jno. 10:27-29; Rom. 8:35-39; Eph. 6:10-11.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Should You Help the Wicked?"
Joe R. Price
Brother Dennis Scroggins exhorted us on his Facebook page this week:
“Please consider the Bible teaching found in 2 Chronicles 19:1-2, King Jehoshaphat returning from the house of King Ahab. Hanani met him and ask King Jehoshaphat the question many voters should ask themselves before voting tomorrow, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?’”
Washingtonians received their ballots in the mail this week. One item on the ballot is “Washington Referendum 90, Sex Education in Public Schools Measure (2020).” A vote to “approve” Referendum 90 allows “Senate Bill 5395 to take effect, thereby requiring public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education for all students and requiring students to be excused if requested by their parents.” A vote to “reject” Referendum 90 opposes allowing “Senate Bill 5395 to take effect, thereby not requiring that public schools provide comprehensive sexual health education to all students” (ballotpedia.org).
At first blush, Referendum 90 may sound benign to many people. It is not. It codifies and advances immorality. (The curriculum is online here as a large .pdf file. PARENTAL WARNING: This file contains graphic sexual language unsuitable for minors without parental oversight - which is one of the major problems with it! Please take appropriate measures if you choose to download this file.) If approved, the curriculum will shape children’s minds to accept such things as fluid gender identity, same-sex marriage, and the LGBTQ agenda as appropriate (all in the name of “acceptance”). The approved curriculum teaches elementary and junior high children gender identity, human anatomy, etc. High schoolers will learn how to have safe sex and be advised of abortion alternatives. These items only scratch the surface of the curriculum’s advancement of immorality.
Families have the responsibility of teaching these things to their children (Eph. 6:3-4). Lawmakers and public schools are reshaping minds and society. Should we “help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” The answer is obvious, isn’t it (Eph. 5:11, 3-14)?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/18/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA