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
12 Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; 13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12–13, NKJV)
God sent Zechariah to the remnant of Israel after their return from the divine judgment of Babylonian captivity (about 520 B.C.). He challenged them to remember their fathers’ sins while assuring them God remembered His covenant and His people (Zech. 1:1-6, 12-17). God told Zechariah to crown Joshua, the high priest (Zech. 6:9-15). That act was symbolic of God’s eventual crowning of His Servant, “the BRANCH” (Zech. 3:8; Isa. 11:1-4; Jer. 23:5-6).
The Messiah would build God’s temple, gloriously serving as High Priest and ruling as King on His royal throne (v. 13). This event powerfully depicted Christ’s exaltation at God’s right hand, crowned High Priest over God’s church, the temple Jesus built (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 3:1-6). “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Heb. 8:1-2).
The Branch, Jesus Christ, now reigns as King and serves as High Priest. He has built God’s temple, the church. His gospel of peace calls lost souls out of sin’s darkness and death to receive mercy and be living stones in God’s spiritual house (Rom. 10:15; 1 Pet. 2:4-6).
God remembers His people and gives them peace. Do you remember Him? -Sword Tips #2124
Joe R. Price
Jesus said, “I will build My church,” and with that clear statement established the identity and value of His church (Matt 16:18). He said He would build His church on the foundational truth confessed by Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:18, 16). Jesus emphasized His superior power to build His church when He said, “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (v. 18). His death would not prevent Him from building His church. Indeed, it was by means of His death and His resurrection that He showed Himself to be the Son of God (Rom. 1:4). Jesus built His church as a result of the redemptive power of His death (Acts 20:28; 2:32-41). The gospel calls lost souls to salvation and Jesus adds the saved to His church (Acts 2:47).
Consider these simple and profound truths about the church Jesus built.
1) The church of Christ belongs to Christ. It does not belong to the elders, to the members, or to anyone else. It is the body of Christ, not the body of men (Eph. 1:22-23).
2) The church of Christ is comprised of the redeemed. The word “church” means the called out ones. The gospel calls sinners out of sin’s darkness and death into God’s light of salvation (1 Pet 2:9-10). The church of Christ is those who answer that call of salvation by obeying the Lord’s commands (Acts 2:21, 37-41; 1 Pet. 1:22-23).
3) The church of Christ is valuable to God. The Son of God purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28). Those who think the church is unimportant fail to correctly value Jesus’ death (Eph. 5:25-27).
4) The church of Christ is comprised of Christians. The church is not an amalgamation of churches. Each Christian is a living stone in God’s spiritual house, the church (1 Pet. 2:5). Saved people are added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47).
5) The church of Christ is not a denomination of churches. Denominations are not in the Bible. They only appeared on the religious landscape because men left the pattern of sound words to cling to false doctrines and false organizations (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:16-17). There is “one body” (one church of Christ), not many (Eph. 4:4).
6) Men did not build the church of Christ. No one but Jesus purchased the church and no one but Jesus is the head of His church (Eph. 1:22-23). Man cannot improve on the church that Jesus built.
7) People are added to the church of Christ by Christ when He saves them from their sins (Acts 2:47). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). Jesus saves believers who repent and are baptized (Acts 2:38). If you have not believed and been baptized, then you are not yet in the church of Christ. You remain lost in your sins. Believe and obey Jesus and be saved, and you will be added to His church (1 Cor. 12:13).
-The Spirit’s Sword, Oct. 4, 2009
Joe R. Price
1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:1–3, NKJV)
The guilt of sin does not pass from parent to child. We do not inherit sin and its guilt (Ezek. 18:4, 20). The false doctrines of original sin and total hereditary depravity are rampant. The Catholic Church teaches people inherit the stain of original sin. The Protestant Reformation codified these errors in their creeds as orthodox. Untold millions are convinced to baptize their babies due to this error. These teachings have convinced many they became sinners at their first breath instead of their initial transgression against God’s will (Rom. 7:7-9; 3:23). Many today think they have a “sinful nature.” Jesus said we must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3). If little children are sinners or have a sinful nature, then why should we become like them to be saved? When asked why the man was born blind, Jesus refused to link his suffering to the generational transference of sin’s guilt (v. 2-3). We accept the weight of our sins, but we refuse to believe we bear the guilt of Adam’s sin. Sin and its wages (spiritual death) entered the world through Adam. Sin and death “spread to all men, because all sinned,” not because Adam sinned (Rom. 5:12).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Rule of God's Anointed (Psalm 2)
Scripture Reading: Acts 13:32-35
1. Psalm 2: A prophetic call to the nations that God’s Anointed King (His Son) would be crowned and He would rule, demanding allegiance, blessing those who trust in Him and executing wrath on the scornful.
2. Psalm 2 is fulfilled in Jesus (Acts 4:25-28; 13:32-33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5). God’s Son is ruling.
I. THE TEXT OF PSALM 2.
A. Man’s Rebellion (1-3); Acts 4:24-27.
B. God’s Reply (2:4-6); Acts 4:28; Psa. 132:13-14. (Psa. 110:1-2; Acts 2:33-35)
C. The Divine Plan is Executed (7-9); Rom. 1:4; Acts 13:32-33; Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-21; Rev. 1:5; 2:9. Rev. 12:5; 19:11-15.
D. Admonition Given (10-12).
II. LESSONS FOR US.
1. People will not overthrow God’s purposes, so the faithful trust in the Lord, Psa. 94:16-19; 1 Cor. 1:18-25.
2. Man’s corrupt laws hasten God’s day of wrath, Psa. 94:20-23 (Isa. 1:21-26; Matt. 23:38; Rev. 19:15-21; Rom. 2:1-3; 1:20-32).
3. Jesus Christ rules as King over friend and foe, Psa. 2:6; 110:1-3. Lk. 6:46; Col. 3:17
4. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling, Psa. 2:10-11; Heb. 12:28-29
5. Behold the goodness and the severity of God, Psa. 2:9-11; Jno. 5:26-27, 30.
6. Our trust in the Lord’s rule is greater than our trust in man’s rule, Psa. 2:10-11; Jer. 17:5; Prov. 3:5-6. (Matt. 6:33)
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
Former boxing champion Mike Tyson has an exhibition boxing match tonight. The 54-year-old Tyson said in a pre-fight press conference that a psychedelic drug called toad venom helped him prepare for the fight. “’I took the medicine, and the medicine told me to get into shape,’ he said, via USA Today. ‘It really blew my mind. It told me to come back and start getting in shape’” (“Mike Tyson says psychedelic drug inspired his return to boxing,” Ryan Gaydos, foxnews.com).
For context, toad venom is a “trendy new psychedelic” hallucinogenic drug. “It’s such an intense experience that, in most cases, doing it at a party isn’t safe. It’s not a recreational drug. If people get dosed too high, they can ‘white out’ and disassociate from their mind and body, Alan K. Davis, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University’s psychedelic research unit, said in the (2019) report.” (Ibid)
This is not the first time someone has used drugs to enhance their careers. Simon used drugs and magical arts to deceive the Samaritans he had great power (Acts 8:9-10). The miracles Philip worked stood in striking contrast to Simon’s pretense, and many (including Simon) believed and obeyed the gospel (Acts 8:5-8, 12-13).
Tyson’s toad venom reminds us of the spiritual toad venom of false teaching that poisons and destroys souls (2 Tim. 2:16-18). The toad venom of salvation by faith only denies Jesus, who said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). The toad venom of Calvinism says, “once saved always saved” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). The toad venom of human wisdom causes spiritual hallucinations, convincing people to stay in sinful remarriages after they are baptized (thus ignoring the demands of repentance, Matt. 19:9-12; Rom. 7:2-3; Lk. 3:8). Beware the spiritual toad venom of false teaching, philosophies, and wisdom of men (Col. 2:6-8, 20-23; Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Jno. 9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/29/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA