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
28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for” (Acts 10:28–29, NKJV).
God separated Israel from the nations and codified that distinction in the Law of Moses (Exod. 19:5-6; Deut. 7:1-11). This “middle wall of separation” was broken down in Christ (Eph. 2:14).
God taught Peter the nations (Gentiles) were included in His redemptive plan by a dramatic vision. Clean and unclean animals were lowered in a sheet from heaven, and a voice told Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:9-17). Peter drew the necessary conclusion not to call people “common or unclean.”
That truth should permeate our thinking, words, and treatment of others. Here are some lessons to ponder and apply.
(1) The gospel is for all. Sin has defiled all of us (Rom. 3:23). Everyone needs sin’s stain cleansed by Christ (Rom. 1:16; Acts 22:16). Let us share the gospel so others may believe and turn to the Lord (Acts 11:21).
(2) Prejudice has no place in the heart and life of Christians. God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (skin color, ethnicity, gender, culture, caste, etc.) (1 Sam. 16:7). Grievous errors in judgment and sin happen when based on appearance (John 7:24; Prov. 18:13).
(3) Obey God without objection (v. 29). When God has spoken, we listen and obey without resistance and complaint (1 Sam. 3:10). Christians must not murmur against the Lord’s will like Israel did in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:10).
Peter’s example of learning and obeying God’s will toward others encourages us to live above bias and spread the gospel to all. -Sword Tips #2194
Joe R. Price
A friend identified a brilliant red ornamental bush in a photo of Debbie and me as a burning bush (euonymus alata). His knowledge of botany was impressive. Even more impressive than the fiery red display of euonymus alata is the burning bush of Exodus 3:2-3. A bush burning but not consumed; what a “great sight” (v. 3)! It got Moses’ attention, and it gets ours, too.
The burning bush reminds us of the presence of God. God was present as He spoke to Moses from the midst of the bush (Exod. 3:4). God could have made His presence known another way, but he used a burning bush on that occasion. He had previously made His presence known through visions and dreams (Gen. 28:10-22; Heb. 1:1). Even as God’s word announced His presence to Moses, His inspired word announces His presence to us today (Heb. 1:2). God is everywhere, seeing and knowing all things: “‘Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD” (Jer. 23:23-24). Jonah learned it is impossible to flee from God’s presence and His will (Jonah 1). Do not run from God’s presence; run to Him and abide with Him in Christ (Matt 11:28-30).
The burning reminds us of the holiness of God. Because God is holy, when we approach Him, it must be in holiness (symbolized by the removal of shoes, Exod. 3:5). Christians stand on holy ground, communing with God. Therefore, God calls us to “come out and be separate” and to “touch no unclean thing” for Him to receive us (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1). We must be holy “in all our conduct” because God is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). We cannot live in the presence of God if we are living in sin.
The burning bush reminds us that Scripture is the word of God. Concerning God’s message to Moses from the burning bush, Jesus said, “have you not read what was spoken to you by God” (Matt. 22:31-32; Acts 7:31). But, those Sadducees did not “know the Scriptures” and, as a result, twisted them to suit their false teaching of no resurrection (Matt. 22:29). We must get this point: Jesus said God is speaking to you when you read the Scriptures. One cannot successfully claim faith in Jesus while rejecting what the Scriptures say. To deny and reject the Scriptures is to deny and reject the very word spoken to us by God. Moses tried unsuccessfully to resist the word of God by offering excuses why he was not the one to lead Israel out of Egypt, but God had spoken (Exod. 3:11-4:17). We will not succeed resisting God’s word, either. We must submit and obey God in faith (Matt. 7:21-23; Lk. 6:46).
The burning bush reminds us of the deliverance of God. God was about to free His people from their bondage (Exod. 3:7-10). Israel’s deliverance foreshadowed God’s salvation of sinners from sin’s bondage by the blood of Christ. Sinners are “freed from sin” when they “obey from the heart” the gospel (Rom. 6:17-18). Salvation by “faith only” is false. Obedience from the heart is the occasion when God will “see the blood” and forgive sins by the death of Jesus (Exod. 12:12-13; Rom. 6:3; Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:5).
The burning bush teaches us lessons of truth and holiness. May we remove every defilement of sin and obey God “in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
-Edited reprint, The Spirit’s Sword, July 12, 2009
Joe R. Price
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (Col. 3:18–21, NKJV).
A growing number of educators, societal-influencers, and politicians are vigorously undermining the God-given family structure with their transgender ideology. One writer noted, “Nancy Pelosi and her fellow gender-inclusive enthusiasts have taken a bold and much-disparaged move to erase language that expresses the reality of familial relationships. In the name of inclusivity, words like “father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law” have been targeted for erasure from House proceedings” (Kimberly Ells, “The endgame of transgender ideology is to dismantle the family,” mercatornet.com). Wives (feminine gender) and husbands (masculine gender) form marriages, not the fornication of same-sex unions (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Gender is natural and biological. It is not fluid; a personal perception of oneself. Children are the natural result of marriage’s union of male and female (Gen. 1:28; 2:24; 4:1-2). It is not bigotry to recognize these fundamental truths. Sin and moral chaos result when God’s truth is discarded, not the utopia offered by refusing to retain God and His truth in our knowledge (Rom. 1:21-32). -Sword Tips #2167
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
The Good News of the Resurrection
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-8
Announced by angels, told by women, and confirmed by the empty tomb and post-death appearances, the good news (gospel) of Jesus’s resurrection is the keystone of the gospel, the linchpin of faith and salvation, 1 Cor. 15:14-20.
I. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS MEANS HE IS LORD.
Declared Jesus is the Son of God, Rom. 1:3-4; Ps. 2:7; 110:1-2; Acts 2:32-36
II. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS VALIDATES HIS CLAIMS.
Without It, He Was Just Another Zealot, Acts 5:35-38.
III. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS MEANS GOD HAS NOT GIVEN UP ON US.
Death, Jesus Was the Sacrifice for Sins, 1 John 2:2 (Heb. 2:9).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
For a Drop of Water
Joe R. Price
Ethiopia completed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2019, Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, on the Nile River’s main tributary, the Blue Nile. Tensions continue to build between Egypt and Ethiopia over water availability downstream. In 2018, Egypt’s minister of irrigation and water resources said, “Egypt cannot live without the Nile.” Ethiopia is moving closer to filling the reservoir with 19.5 trillion gallons (74 billion cubic meters) of water. Egyptian President Al Sisi ominously replied, “I say to our brothers in Ethiopia, don’t touch a drop of Egypt’s water, because all options are open” (WSJ, January 17, 2018, and April 7, 2021). People go to war over water.
Water sustains life. The Nile supports hundreds of millions of lives. The average human body is about 60% water (thoughtco.com). Without water, we die.
Water’s life-giving properties illustrate the eternal life Jesus gives. He told the woman at the well of “living water” that springs up into “everlasting life” (John 4:10-14). Isaiah foretold of “water from the wells of salvation” enjoyed by the remnant of grace (Isa. 12:1-3; 11:11-16; Rom. 11:5; 15:12). Messiah’s salvation quenches the thirst of all who come to Him for “living water” (Isa. 55:1-3; John 7:37-39). “Showers of blessings,” like welcomed rain on parched land, give life to souls that come to Jesus out of the desert of sin (Ezek. 34:26; Acts 3:19).
A scene of water deprivation occurs in Luke 16:24. Even one drop of cooling water could not fall on the rich man’s tongue in the torment of unquenched flames. Why? Not because God is a monster, ignoring his plea. He had loved money more than his neighbor while on earth (Luke 16:25, 14-15, 19-21). Besides, no one could give him relief; a great gulf prevented it (Luke 16:26).
Remember its life-sustaining value the next time you take a drink of water. And, remember to drink and be thankful for the living water Christ gives you.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/11/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA