And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 23, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15, NKJV)
God strictly commanded Israel not to make carved images to bow down before and serve (Exo. 20:4-5). Through Moses, God explained He did not show them any form or image when He spoke from Mt. Sinai, lest they make carved images and worship them (Deut. 4:15-18). Humans have frequently changed God’s incorruptible glory “into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:23).
God gave us an image of Himself when He sent His Son to the world. Just as a coin bore Caesar’s image (whom most had never personally seen, Mk. 12:16), Jesus is the image of the invisible God (whom none of us have seen).
Jesus is the image of the character and will of God. He is not the image of the Father’s physical features and fleshly appearance (like face, hair, eyes, etc.), since God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24).
Jesus is the image (likeness) of the Father in moral character, attitudes, motives, thoughts, words, and actions. This is why Jesus could say, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Not understanding, Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” To which Jesus answered, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen men has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (Jn. 14:7-9).
To know God, we must learn about and know Jesus. To go to God, we must follow Jesus (Jn. 14:6). -Sword Tips #1769
Joe R. Price
Did you know the Bible talks about the hole in the ozone layer? Or that the apostle Paul predicted Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost? Neither did I! But, back in 1990, I received a notice from “The Omega-Letter,” which set me straight. According to that organization, Revelation 16:8 tells of the hole in our atmosphere, and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 foretells a speech given by Mikhail Gorbachev in November 1987.
These illustrate the numerous distortions of God’s word that bombard us daily. No wonder people ridicule the Bible and those who order their lives by it. What can we learn from these examples of false teaching?
Rest assured, we can understand the Bible. God has revealed His will to man; it is no longer a mystery (Eph. 3:3-5).
When we understand the Bible the way God wants us to, we will understand it alike. That is not a popular view of God’s word these days, but the logic is sound and scriptural: “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17); “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
Many conclude you can prove anything by the Bible because it is used to teach many conflicting things. Many try to prove many things by the Bible, but that does not mean they succeed. No, you cannot prove anything by the Bible. Assert and speculate, yes. Prove? No. The Bible calls this twisting the Scriptures and warns it causes souls to be lost (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Do not let what others say the Bible teaches keep you from studying the Bible to learn and obey what it actually teaches.
How can you be sure what you are being taught is what the Bible says? Be careful not to depend on someone else’s Bible study as the measure of your faith. While God wants us to teach His word, He does not want us to blindly follow teachers (Acts 8:30-35; Matt. 15:14). Like the ancient Bereans, you must “search the Scriptures daily to find out whether” the things you hear are so (Acts 17:11). Many of them believed the gospel when they examined the Scriptures (Acts 17:12). You can do the same thing.
To understand the Bible, you need to read it. Bible reading and study are essential to “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). You must spend time with God’s word if your goal is to use it properly. If your time with the Bible consists only of listening to sermons and attending Bible classes a couple of times a week, you are ripe fruit for a false teacher to pick. The apostle John warned of many false prophets in the world. He said to test their teachings with the apostles’ doctrine (1 Jn. 4:1, 6). As Paul said, we must give “attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” to accurately use God’s word (1 Tim. 4:13).
How do you approach Bible study? Do you study with your mind already made up? That is not an open mind ready to do God’s will. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jn. 7:17). Do you approach Bible study determined to prove what you already believe or with the willingness to obey whatever you learn from your study (even if it refutes your present belief and practice)? Jesus rebuked those who rejected Him, saying, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me” (Jn. 5:39). The Jews had made up their minds Jesus was not the Savior. They thought they had found eternal life in the Scriptures. But by rejecting Jesus, those very Scriptures exposed their spiritual death. As Jesus said, “for if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (Jn. 5:46). They went to the Scriptures with a preconceived notion. They set out to uphold their preconception regardless of the evidence to the contrary. What a shame, for by doing so, they remained in unbelief.
We must keep an “honest and good heart” to listen to God’s word, examine it, believe it, and obey it (Lk. 8:15). Open Bibles and hearts bring souls to faith and salvation in Jesus (Rom. 1:16; 10:13-17; Acts 17:11-12; Jas. 1:21-22).
-Reprint (edited) The Spirit’s Sword, 04July04
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
"You Can't Take it With You"
Scripture Reading: Luke 12:13-21
Sometimes this is used to rationalize self-indulgence and extravagance.
I. WE CANNOT TAKE ANYTHING MATERIAL WITH US BEYOND THE GRAVE, Lk. 12:20 (Job 1:21).
We Brought Nothing With Us into Life, Eccl. 5:15 (12-14); 1 Tim. 6:7-8
(Phil. 4:13, 19).
II. WE WILL TAKE SOME THINGS WITH US BEYOND THE GRAVE.
A. We Will Take Our Identity, Lk. 16:22-24; Matt. 25:34-40, 21.
We Will Take Our Memory, Love, Emotion, and
Awareness, Lk. 16:27-28 (limited, cf. Eccl. 9:5; Job 14:21).
III. OUR PRESENT IMPACTS OUR ETERNAL FUTURE (Rom. 14:12).
Hope Beyond Death is Unique to Mankind, Eccl. 9:5-6; 12:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:3-4.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Thankfulness in Trying Times
Joe R. Price
This week brought frigid cold, loss of electrical power, and loss of life to Texas and other parts of the US. It has been a tough week for millions.
This reminded us of Hebrews 11:35-38 and the horrible things God’s people have endured. “Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”
These faithful people of God faced daily deprivation and danger. They lived and died in a cancel culture we have not faced. Their peers drove them to the outskirts of society because they dared to live their faith in a world of moral chaos and religious corruption. They deliberately choose to follow God and His will instead of the prevailing winds of the world. The world was not worthy of them. Their homeland was above (Heb. 11:13-16).
We do not wish to minimize the hardships fellow citizens have suffered this past week. We pray for them and a swift resolution to their troubles. Let us remember to count our blessings every day, including days of trial and adversity. Someone has had it worse than us, and someone still does at this moment. People of faith will “pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:17-18). While doing so, let us “comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thess. 5:14).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 02/21/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA