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
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, NKJV)
This warning is equally relevant and applicable to us as when given to the Colossian saints. Consider dissecting this warning in reverse.
1) The source of the danger. False teachings originate in the “basic principles of the world” and the “tradition of men” formed around those principles. We are taught not to love the world (1 Jno. 2:15-17). False teaching grows out of misplaced love, impure lusts, and human pride
2) The means used to spread false teaching. The philosophical systems and sophistry of men (the wisdom of men) inject doubt and “empty deceit” into unsuspecting minds (Col. 2:3-4; Rom. 16:16-17). The gospel is foolishness to the “enlightened” minds of unbelievers. Professing to be wise, they become fools (1 Cor. 1:18-25; Rom. 1:22).
3) The effect of false teaching. It captures souls and plunders our spiritual treasures. In Christ, we have “all riches of the full assurance of understanding” because “all the treasures of wisdom and understanding” are in Him (Col. 2:3-4). Truth is in Jesus, and error is of the evil one (Eph. 4:21; 2 Cor. 4:3-4).
4) The warning. We must “beware,” carefully watching for false teachers and their deceptive teachings. You see, it matters to God what we believe and teach. He does not accept every “wind of doctrine;” therefore, we cannot (Eph. 4:14). Because there is truth, there is also error. We strive to speak the truth in love because the truth frees us from sin (Eph. 4:15; Jno. 8:31-32). -Sword Tips #2106
On Sunday, December 13, 2020 I asked for prayers from the congregation on behalf of my 99-year-old Aunt Artie, who has contracted the Corona Virus. In April 2021 she will commemorate her 100th birthday. As I mentioned, while addressing the congregation, I have always considered her to be the matriarch of my family, and this role increased with the aging of my mother and dad.
Aunt Artie, born on April 10, 1921, the second of four daughters, was named Thelma Arletha Stamm, borne to my grandparents Ralph and Maude Stamm. However, the nickname that somehow stuck with her was Artie. I do not think I was even aware that her first name was Thelma, not Artie, until I was in my teens.
In studying the scriptures about faithful and righteous women in the bible I am writing this in context of how my aunt Artie is like those women to me, and how she has played an important role in my life that has led me back to the Church.
Aunt Artie is wise, as is described in Proverbs 31:26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” She fears the Lord, as written in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
She is like Timothy’s mother Eunice and guided me all the years I had fallen away, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure dwells in you.”
With love, Aunt Artie, like Priscilla and Aquila, in Acts 18:24-26, did when they took Apollos aside in the synagogue as he was speaking boldly, and accurately the things concerning Jesus, while knowing only the baptism of John. Lovingly, they took Apollos aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately, just as my aunt has done with me.
Finally, as Paul wrote in Romans 16:1-2, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.” Aunt Artie, you have been this and more to me and our family throughout my entire life, and I love you deeply for being this.
[Editor’s Note: We commend such worthy examples of godly influence as seen is Aunt Artie. Thank you, brother Ralph, for giving us this good example to consider (Phil. 3:17).]
11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. (Psalm 34:11-16, NKJV)
Fear of the Lord is not theoretical. It is practical and reveals itself in how we live. Here, the inspired psalmist David teaches how to respect and reverence God. We will know the fear of the Lord if we listen to his instruction, and our lives will be blessed. Living a full life that delights in its joy is realized when we 1) Control our language (v. 13). Our words reveal our hearts. 2) Turn away from evil and practice good things that advance peace (v. 14). Pursue peace with God and with others, and you will it replaces chaos with tranquility. 3) Remember that the Lord attends to the needs of the righteous (v. 15). God has promised to provide our needs when we prioritize His will in our lives (Matt. 6:31-33). He hears and responds to the prayers of righteous people. 4) Remember that the Lord opposes those who practice evil (v. 16). Pursuing evil does not bring happiness now or in eternity; only pain and eternal death. God and others see whether the “fear of the Lord” is in our lives. When it is, whatever life brings our way becomes a blessing (1 Pet. 3:8-13). -Sword Tips #2007
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Should You Not Also Forgive?
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:35-38
Forgive: primarily, “to send forth, send away.” Debts (Matt. 18:32); Sins
I. TO BE FORGIVEN, Lk. 6:37.
A. Our Forgiveness is Conditioned Upon Forgiving Others, Matt. 6:12, 14-15; 18:21-35; Lk. 17:3-4.
We Must Have an Abiding Faith in and Submission to God in Order to Forgive.
III. BECAUSE FORGIVING OTHERS BRINGS BLESSINGS, Lk. 6:36-38.
Spiritual Blessings from Thinking and Acting Like God, Acts 20:35.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Skidding off the Path
Joe R. Price
The nose wheel of a Spirit Airlines jet from Las Vegas to Baltimore skidded of the taxiway in Baltimore Thursday morning due to slick conditions from a winter storm. 111 passengers were bused to the terminal without injury (“Spirit Airlines plane skids off taxiway at Baltimore airport,” foxnews.com). Some life lessons seem appropriate.
1) Expect the unexpected. Accidents happen. Life does not run on a straight line; it is unpredictable (Jas. 4:13-15). “Time and chance” reminds Christians always to do God’s will (Eccl. 9:11-12). Don’t develop a “fire escape” faith that only turns to God in the moment of crisis, then quickly forgets His will.
2) Conditions change, so be prepared. There was no snow storm in Las Vegas when this flight departed, but trouble was ahead. The gospel warns us to be watchful and live carefully, morally, and faithfully (Eph. 5:14-17; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Pet. 5:7).
3) Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12). Experienced pilots can slide off the path. Christians can fall, whether they are new converts are seasoned saints (Acts 8:18-23; Gal. 5:4, 7).
4) Be thankful for life’s blessings. One blessing is the opportunity to correct our spiritual condition. Become a Christian without delay (Acts 2:37-38). Repent and pray God’s forgiveness of sin as His child (Acts 8:24). God’s rich blessings are always available to us. May we thank Him for His grace and favor, always living for heaven as we walk this earth.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/20/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA