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
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. (John 10:27–30, NKJV)
This passage is easily understood and gives great assurance to the followers of Jesus. Unfortunately, people have distorted this teaching of Christ to assure souls that they can never so sin as to be lost once saved from sin. This passage does not teach the error of “once saved, always saved.”
A brief review of the text shows Jesus comforts the faithful but does not secure sinners. First, see what Christ’s sheep do: They hear His voice and follow Him. Next, see what Jesus does: He knows them and gives them eternal life. Now, who “shall never perish” and not be snatched from Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand? It is the sheep who hear and follow Jesus (v. 27).
What if the sheep stops following the shepherd? Christ sheep are exposed to life-threatening dangers when they leave the sheepfold of safety, wander on the hillside of sin, and forage in the thicket of evil. When Christians stop listening to Jesus and refuse to follow Him, their souls are in jeopardy! Christians who return to sin bring on their eternal demise, not an eternal reward (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
This truth does not diminish the power of the Father and Son to save. It acknowledges what Scripture confirms: Christians can fall away (Gal. 5:4; Lk. 8:13). God protects sheep who hear Him and follow Him. So, hear the word of Jesus and follow Him every day.
Joe R. Price
Faith has been described as taking God at His word and doing whatever He says (cf. Heb. 11:1, 6). A person who lives by faith is faithful to God (2 Cor. 5:7). He is reliable and dependable in the things of God. He is trustworthy to the cause of Christ. He can be counted on to obey the word of God. Therefore, unfaithfulness to God shows a lack of faith in God. The fruit of the Spirit includes “faith” (KJV) or “faithfulness” (NKJV, ASV) (Gal. 5:22).
1) Faithfulness in little things. Our faithfulness is seen by how we handle little things. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Lk. 16:10). Jesus used our care for material things to illustrate how we will care for spiritual things.
2) Faithful servants. Oh, how faithfulness is needed in the church of Christ. Faithfulness is a matter of loyalty to Christ. The “faithful and wise servant” is loyal to his lord, honestly fulfilling his duties as a servant, even when his master is not personally present to oversee his work (Matt. 24:45-47).
God sees and knows what we say and do. If we are unfaithful (unreliable, negligent, disloyal, and disobedient) servants, we will receive eternal punishment when we face our Master (Matt. 24:48-51). Let us be faithful to God and fulfill the tasks He gives us in His house, the church (1 Cor. 4:2; Rom. 12:3-8; cf. Gaius, 3 Jno. 5-8).
3) Faithfulness in families. Consider what a difference it would make in the world if faithfulness were in every home. What if every husband and every wife were loyal to each other and each could totally trust the other to be faithful to the interests and welfare of their marriage? The number of sinfully broken homes would evaporate. What God has joined together would stay together (Matt. 19:3-6). Millions of parents and children would not face the emotional, financial, and spiritual devastations of divorce. The positive impact on society would be tremendous. The effects of unfaithfulness on the family are profound, including infidelity, child and spousal abuse, selfishness, poverty, neglect, and chaos (1 Pet. 3:1-2, 5-7; Eph. 5:22-33).
4) Faithfulness at work. Faithfulness on the job is required of the Christian; he works with “all good fidelity” (Tit. 2:9-10). Here, the Christian’s faithfulness is contrasted with insubordination, abusive confrontation, and stealing from his master. A Christian who is trustworthy at work beautifies the gospel (v. 10). When he is unfaithful on the job, he tarnishes his name and dishonors the name of Christ.
5) Faithful when tempted to sin. We need faithfulness to resist temptations. Withstanding temptation is accomplished through faith (1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1:6-9; 1 Jno. 5:4).
Being faithful calls for all our energy to be directed toward heaven in everything we do (Col. 3:1-3). Faithfulness keeps us deliberate and diligent in meeting our duties to the Lord (Heb. 6:11-12). Obedience to Christ reflects our faithful to Him, and assures the victory of faith, eternal life (Lk. 17:5-10; Rev. 17:14; Heb. 10:36-39).
R. L. Whiteside
“When humility says, “Look at me,” it ceases to be humility and becomes arrogant self-righteousness. Obtrusive humility is only a cloak worn to be seen by men.”
“It is sometimes hard to tell whether a man is full of enthusiasm or simply so full of egotism that he thinks nothing will be done right unless he looks after it.”
“Some preachers manipulate the people; others teach them.”
-Doctrinal Discourses, page 110
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Realities of Hell
Scripture Reading: Revelation 20:11-15
Jesus said heaven and hell are real, Matt. 25:46; 10:28. We do not love our neighbor by remaining silent about hell, Matt. 23:33; Gal. 4:16.
I. HELL IS A PLACE OF CHOICE, Matt. 7:13-14.
-We choose hell when we choose sin, Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:7-8.
II. HELL IS A PLACE OF TRUTH.
A. Hell Will Expose the Truth about Those Who Go There, Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 4:4-5; Heb. 4:13 (Eph. 2:1-3, 12-13). B. Hell Will Expose the Truth About:
and disobedience, 2 Thess. 1:8.
III. HELL IS A PLACE OF FAIR TREATMENT.
A. Hell is the Outcome of God’s Fair, Impartial Judgment Against Sin, Rom. 2:2, 5-11.
B. Hell is an Expression of God’s Perfect Justice, Gen. 18:24-25; Rom. 2:5; Jno. 5:29; Rev. 20:12, 15.
IV. HELL IS A PLACE OF LOST HOPE.
A. No Second Chance, Heb. 9:27.
B. Destruction in Hell Affirms it to be a Place of Lost Hope, Matt. 10:28.
C. Hell’s Punishment Will be Eternal, Matt. 25:46 (Rev. 14:9-13; 20:10; Mk. 9:48).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
U.S. Divorce Rate at 50-Year Low
Joe R. Price
We were glad to read, “divorce in America has been falling fast in recent years, and it just hit a record low in 2019. For every 1,000 marriages in the last year, only 14.9 ended in divorce, according to the newly released American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau. This is the lowest rate we have seen in 50 years. It is even slightly lower than 1970, when 15 marriages ended in divorce per 1,000 marriages” (“The U.S. Divorce Rate Has Hit a 50-Year Low,” Wang, Institute for Family Studies).
It is always good news when God-approved marriages endure (Matt. 19:4-6). But this is not the end of the story.
Fewer Americans are getting married today. The marriage rate hit an all-time low in 2019. “For every 1,000 unmarried adults in 2019, only 33 got married. This number was 35 a decade ago in 2010 and 86 in 1970.” (Ibid) That is an astonishing decline in the past 50 years.
Living with an unmarried partner is now common for young adults. “In 2018, 15 percent of young adults ages 25-34 live with an unmarried partner, up from 12 percent 10 years ago… Fifty years ago, in 1968, living with an unmarried partner was rare. Only 0.1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 0.2 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds lived with an unmarried partner, according to the Current Population Survey” (“Living with an Unmarried Partner Now Common for Young Adults,” Benjamin Gurrentz, United States Census Bureau).
Secularism has normalized fornication in America. Romans 1:18-21 aptly describes these United States: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness…” Keeping God in our knowledge helps prevent sin. Refusing to acknowledge God accelerates sin’s corrosive, cursed effects.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/15/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA