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
25 These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:25-26, NKJV).
Jesus taught His apostles the commands of God. They were to keep them because they loved Jesus, as must we (John 14:15). By doing so His abiding presence was assured, even as it is to us when we obey His word (John 14:19-24).
Jesus had just promised He would not abandon the apostles as orphans, but would come to them by the Spirit of truth (“another Helper”) whom the Father would give them (John 14:15-18). Today’s passage assured the apostles that what Jesus taught them in person would continue with them through the work of the Helper (the Holy Spirit) whom the Father would send. The Spirit would reveal “all truth” to the apostles as well as give them reliable recall of all that Jesus had taught them (John 16:12-13).
We are reading and keeping the word of Jesus when we read and obey what the apostles taught (John 14:23). Jesus promised the apostles the Father would send them the Holy Spirit, and He did (Acts 1:4, 5, 8; 2:1-4). Jesus promised the Spirit would empower the apostles to know all Jesus taught them, and He did (Hebrews 2:3; Galatians 1:11-12).
When we read what they wrote we can understand what they knew about God’s plan to us in His Son (Ephesians 3:3-5). Now, by keeping what the apostles taught we love Jesus and have His fellowship (John 13:20; 14:23-24).
Joe R. Price
A Baptist preacher once asked me “how I viewed the Apocalypse (the book of Revelation).” I replied that the book’s meaning and message is found in its historical setting as it yields eternal principles of truth (Rev. 1:1-3). Although he understood what I said, it was obvious he did not agree that the Revelation should be interpreted from an historical perspective. His asked next, “You are looking for the coming of Christ, aren’t you?” I said, “Yes, but not in the way the premillennial speculators do.” Little progress was made to change his view of the Apocalypse and Christ’s return.
There are and have been many predictions of the Lord’s return. Every one of them has failed. This should give pause to the speculators who diligently comb through Biblical prophecies hoping to pin down with certainty the time of Christ’s return. We are not alarmed or deceived by such false prophets (2 Thess. 2:1-5).
There are others who cast disdain upon the very thought that Jesus Christ shall one day return in glory to judge the world. The apostle Peter rightly noted that these skeptics are “walking according to their own lusts” as they deny the evidence supporting His return (2 Pet. 3:3). Peter observed two approaches used by unbelievers to persuade themselves and others not to believe in the return of Christ. First, there is the time argument: “Where is the promise of his coming?” Secondly, there is the continuity argument: “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). Peter answered the continuity argument in 2 Peter 3:5-7, then addressed the time argument in 2 Peter 3:8-9. Briefly stated, the view that Christ will not come back because “all things are continuing as they always have” fails to acknowledge the historical fact of the worldwide flood. Things have not always been as they are now (Gen. 7:21-23). As in Noah’s day, God’s word will initiate His day of judgment at Christ’s return.
Concerning when Christ will return, Peter reminds the skeptic God is not limited by time as we are: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). God inhabits eternity (Ps. 90:2, 4). The fact that Christ has not yet returned is evidence of God’s longsuffering toward sinful men and women, not of God’s failure to keep His word (2 Pet. 3:9, 15). God is not “slack” in His promise; He does not delay in discharging His purposes. Rather, He gives us time to repent. A judgment day is prepared and God will keep His promise to send Jesus to judge the world (Acts 17:31).
When Jesus returns He will not come to the earth to establish a kingdom and to sit on a throne in Jerusalem. The apostle Peter describes the nature of Christ’s return in 2 Peter 3:10-13 as he speaks of ”the day of the Lord” (signifying divine judgment, Zeph. 1:14-18. The phrase is interchangeable with “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Thess. 2:1-2). Christ’s return includes these events:
(1) The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (2 Pet. 3:10). A thief comes suddenly and unexpectedly, without warning (1 Thess. 5:2-3, 4-6; Matt. 24:40-41). Please note the emphatic nature of that day’s appearing: it ”will come.”
(2) This universe will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10). Oh what power will be exerted that great day! Inasmuch as “both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up,” one cannot rightly conclude that Jesus is coming to the earth to establish a kingdom lasting 1000 years.
(3) The new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13). This stands in contrast to the heavens and earth that will “melt” and be “dissolved” with fervent heat (2 Pet. 3:10, 12). The word Peter uses for “new” speaks of newness in quality, that which is fresh and unworn. Since this present heaven and earth will be completely consumed, he can only be describing the sphere of abode for the righteous – the eternal abiding place of heaven. We shall “...meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
Yes, Christians look forward to the return of Jesus (Phil. 3:20-21). Through holy living and godliness we earnestly desire the day of God (2 Pet. 3:11-12). If we are not faithful and wise servants of God, the day of the Lord will overtake us and devour us in His righteous judgment against our sin (Matt. 24:45-51). Are you looking forward to Christ’s return? If not, then repent, obey the gospel, and faithfully serve Him (Heb. 3:13). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
-Reprint and edited The Spirit’s Sword, January 1, 2012
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Common to All
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:13-20
person is unique; There is only one of you. World focuses on our
differences, comparing and commending themselves (wealth, gender, race,
politics…), 2 Cor. 10:12.
I. GOD CREATED US ALL, Gen. 1:1, 26-27.
All Live on God’s Good Earth, Acts 17:25; Gen. 1:28-29; 9:3 (3:21).
II. WE ARE ALL INHERENTLY EQUAL BEFORE GOD.
Created in God’s Image, Gen. 1:27.
III. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US.
Your Neighbor as Yourself, Matt. 22:39; Matt. 7:12; 5:38-39 (Rom. 12:19).
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"A Famine on the Land"
Joe R. Price
The governor of California “declared a drought emergency Wednesday in two Northern California counties” (mynorthwest.com). The declaration targeted Mendocino and Sonoma counties, and the governor said a broader declaration could be coming if conditions worsen (Ibid). The report went on the say, “About three-quarters of the American West is in what is called a megadrought, with critical waterways like the Colorado River and Rio Grande that supply millions of people and farms expected to have dismally low flows this year” (Ibid).
This report reminded me of Amos and God’s judgment against the northern tribes of Israel. Early in his book, the prophecy told how God had used drought and famine as disciplinary signals to prompt Israel to repent, yet Israel did not return to Him (Amos 4:7-8). So, God’s prophet warned them, “prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12)! Judgment was coming when there would be a famine in the land of “hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Then they would seek the word of the Lord but not find it (Amos 8:12). Vital lessons are here for us to learn and heed.
(1) Trials are opportunities to assess, repent, and turn to the Lord (Heb. 12:3-11).
(2) Seek the Lord while He may be found (Isa. 55:6). He is near; now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
(3) God’s word is available, so avail yourself of it (Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). His words give life (John 6:63, 68).
(4) God will judge His people (Deut. 32:36; Heb. 10:30-31). Time has come “for judgment to begin at the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). We will not escape His judgment if we practice sin (Rom. 2:1-3).
(5) Prepare to meet your God (Amos 4:12). God’s judgment follows calls to repent. Do not be unprepared; aim to please God (2 Cor. 5:9-10).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/25/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA