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 and His gospel (2 Tim. 2:8-10)? -Sword Tips #2124
Like Peter sinking in the sea, sinners cry out, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30) And, because Jesus came to “seek and save the lost,” we are confident He saves all who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9; Acts 22:16). Salvation is obtained “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).
While Jesus saves those who call on His name, we are not without responsibility to save ourselves (Acts 2:40). We call on Him for salvation from our past sins by believing and obeying the gospel (which includes confession of faith, repentance, and baptism, Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:37-38, 40-41).
We know the remission of sins is a salvation issue (Lk. 1:77). But, what about all the other teachings in “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5)? Does all the teaching of the gospel of the kingdom impact our salvation? Are we on our own to figure out what issue affects our salvation and which does not? Do the Scriptures guide us on this matter?
Yes, the Scriptures give clear guidance on this subject. We discover that all of the gospel’s truth impacts our salvation in Christ (Jno. 17:17; 8:31-32). To accept variations of the apostolic gospel corrupts the nature of the gospel and the souls captured by the error (Gal. 1:6-10). If you do not believe this is true, then please inform us what New Testament teaching(s) we may change (pervert, v. 7) without producing a different gospel leading to being cursed by God (v. 8-9). The Scriptures teach us matters that God reveals as indifferent to Him are not salvation issues. Romans 14 explains this while charging us not to bind things God has not bound (Rom. 14:1-5, 13).
Circumcision serves as a perfect illustration of turning something into a salvation issue when the gospel does not say it is. Paul applied the warning of condemnation to those who were binding circumcision for salvation on Gentiles (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:1-4). Paul would not yield to that error; therefore, Titus was not circumcised (Gal. 2:1-5). Yet, on a different occasion, to avoid becoming a stumbling block to the gospel’s progress, Paul had Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:1-3). Allowed, but not required.
The Scriptures show circumcision to be a matter of indifference to God that was not (is not) forced on others.
Where God has revealed a “pattern of sound words,” we are to submit to it in faith, not take from it, add to it, or otherwise alter it (2 Tim. 1:13).
We cannot let others distort following the pattern of God for our lives and the local church. Consider these examples of issues that impact salvation.
1) Faithful endurance is a salvation issue (Matt. 10:21-22). Our eternal salvation is affected by whether we endure to the end. The impossibility of apostasy is patently false (1 Tim. 4:1; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12-13; 4:11; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). We keep having fellowship with God when we “walk in the light,” which means we “practice the truth” (1 Jno. 1:6-7). Faithfully living is a salvation issue.
2) Faithful marriage, ending marriage, and remarriages are salvation issues (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:10-11). Jesus said to put away one’s wife for “any reason except sexual immorality (fornication) causes her to commit adultery.” Why one puts away a spouse is a salvation issue. And “whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Whom you marry (or remarry) is a salvation issue. Thus, Christ commands, “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). Marriage, divorce, and remarriage are salvation issues.
3) The organization and work of a local church are salvation issues (Acts 14:22; Tit. 1:5; Heb. 13:17; Heb. 4:11-12). We are not free to arrange God’s house as we please, but as He pleases. Even the physical tabernacle (and later, the temple) was built and arranged according to a divine pattern (Exo. 25:9, 40; 26:30; 27:8). Even so, a divine pattern exists for the organization of churches of Christ. His arrangement of leaders in the local church sufficiently oversees the saints and directs the church’s God-given work. Elders watch for our souls as they oversee the local church’s work (1 Pet. 5:2-4). We benefit from obeying them (Heb. 13:17). The local church’s organization and work are salvation issues.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Do Not Neglect Our Salvation
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:1-4
I. OUR SALVATION IS GREAT, Lk. 19:10; Acts 4:12. (Deliverance, preservation)
It has a Superior Mediator, Heb. 2:2-3 (over angels, Heb. 1:4-14).
II. NO ESCAPE IF WE NEGLECT OUR GREAT SALVATION, Heb. 2:3.
We Neglect Our Great Salvation When We…
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Rich Man, Poor Man
Joe R. Price
Elon Musk now ranks as the world’s richest person, with a total worth of $188.7 billion, moving ahead of Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, whose worth is almost $187 billion (nypost.com). We do not begrudge their wealth or covet their riches (Col. 3:5).
The world measures wealth in hard currency, physical assets, and material possessions. Jesus teaches us to measure wealth in spiritual and eternal terms. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)
Neither Musk, Bezos, nor other uber-wealthy people are Christians. Their souls are lost. When measured by that reality, they are poor, indeed. They need the riches of God’s mercy and grace in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:7, 18; 2:4, 7; Col. 2:2). One is impoverished without the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).
Musk has been married three times, and the woman he lives with is not his wife. Sound familiar (Jno. 4:17-18)? Bezos was married for twenty-five years before he and his wife divorced in 2019. Jesus spoke clearly about the permanency of marriage and the sin of divorce without the cause of fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:3-9). Rich or poor?
Accepting the “reproach of Christ” was greater wealth to Moses than the “treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:26). After all, riches are deceitful (Mk. 4:19). If we are “rich in this present age,” we must not “trust in uncertain riches but in the living God” who richly blesses us. Such faith compels using wealth to do good, give, and share, thereby laying up treasures in heaven (1 Tim. 6:9, 17-19; Matt. 6:19-21).
Christians are the richest people on earth.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/10/2021
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