And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 09 December 10, 2006
In this issue:
Among the signs Jesus gave of God’s destructive judgment upon Jerusalem (because of her rejection of Messiah) was the persecution of His disciples (Matt. 24:9-10; 23:38). Jesus prophesied that during this period of persecution “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:10-13).
Jesus predicted a pronounced lack of love (1) Toward brethren, in the form of betrayal (verse 10), (2) Toward truth, in the form of false prophets (verse 11), and (3) Toward God, in the form of increased lawlessness (iniquity, verse 12). Only by enduring to the end would one be saved from Jerusalem’s destruction, for only that person would have the faith to trust the signs Jesus gave and “flee to the mountains” for escape (Matt. 24:15-16). Living by the principle of patient endurance in the face of trials not only enabled faithful disciples to escape divine wrath against Jerusalem in A.D. 70, it also enables faithful Christians to escape eternal wrath on the final day of judgment (Rom. 2:7).
Keeping love alive is the result of a conscious decision. Loving God, loving His truth and loving our brethren doesn’t “just happen” – it is a choice we make to serve the interests of others instead of ourselves (1 Jno. 4:7-11, 21; Matt. 22:37-39).
In addition to the items noted by Jesus in Matthew 24:10-12, we must diligently prevent our love from growing cold for…
1. Our spouse. Instead of living joyfully with one’s husband or wife, many are deceived into thinking that the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” It isn’t – God said so (Prov. 5:1-6). The sin of adultery will reduce you “to a crust of bread,” bringing with it pain, dishonor, reproach, and the destruction of your soul (Prov. 6:25-27, 32-33).
Friend, do not neglect your spouse! Husbands and wives often turn to the arms of another because they believe (whether real or imagined) they are being neglected by their mate. The constant concern and loving sacrifice of Christ for His church teaches every husband of faith to nurture and cherish his wife (Eph. 5:25-29). Furthermore, the loving service of the church to Christ reminds every wife who respects Jesus to also respect her husband (Eph. 5:22-24, 33). The best protection against unfaithfulness is to always faithfully love your husband or your wife.
2. The church. The church of Christ continues to face perilous times in this dark world of sin (2 Tim. 3:1). Love for brethren continues to “grow cold” as Satan makes war against the people of God (Rev. 12:17). Some Christians are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money…unloving… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4). We deceive ourselves and others when we present a “form of godliness” to the world while our selfish heart and sinful behavior betrays the true power of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5). We must “turn away” from such conduct and such people (2 Tim. 3:5; 2 Jno. 9-11).
The gospel teaches us to “love the brotherhood” (1 Pet. 2:17). A brotherhood implies the existence of a family; here, the family of God. We are the house of God with Jesus, the Son of God, over His house (Heb. 3:1-6; Eph. 1:22). It is our responsibility to “hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of our hope” to the end. A failure to love the brotherhood cannot be thought of as holding fast the confidence of our hope.
Loving our brethren is a commandment from the Lord (Jno. 13:34). Jesus said our love for fellow disciples gives evidence to the world that we are His disciples (Jno. 13:35). We can and must do a better job of loving the brotherhood with all sincerity, constancy, compassion, humility and unity (Rom. 12:9-16).
Perhaps we have trouble loving the brotherhood because we have forgotten that the church is people (the redeemed, the “called out” ones who belong to Christ), not an ecclesiastical institution operated by people (Heb. 12:23; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; 1 Pet. 2:9-10). Only by keeping the Bible concept of the church before us will we keep a fervent love for the church in our hearts and our lives.
3. The lost. God does not love sin, but He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” to save sinners (Jno. 3:16). In our zeal to hate sin we may find ourselves guilty of hating the sinner, thus forfeiting our claim of being like Christ. Sin should disgust us; to think otherwise is to miss the point. Though Jesus hated sin, He loved the lost and came to save them (including me and you, Lk. 19:10). Yet, when He taught sinners the gospel He was unjustly accused because He ate with them (Matt. 9:10-13; Lk. 15:1-2). This did not deter the Lord; He was moved with compassion for the lost and so must we (Matt. 9:35-38). The fields are white for harvest. Loving the lost compels us to preach the saving gospel to them (Rom. 1:15-17). Let us do what we can to ring out the message of salvation. The love of Christ compels us to save those we can with His gospel (2 Cor. 5:14; Col. 1:28-29).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-5
1. Disciple is a
learner & adherent, Matt. 28:19; Lk. 6:40 (Acts 11:26).
I. DOUBTING DISCIPLES, Lk. 24:36-38.
Results from Little Faith, Matt. 6:30; 14:31; Jas. 1:6.
II. FEARFUL DISCIPLES, Matt. 25:24-30.
A. Disciples of
Jesus Find Rest, not Fear, Matt. 11:29 (Heb. 2:14-15; Lk. 12:4-5; Matt.
25:25, 29; Lk. 9:43-45).
III. WEAK DISCIPLES, 1 Ths. 5:14.
A. Solution, 1 Cor. 14:31 (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:7); Matt. 9:37-38; 2 Tim. 3:14; Titus 3:14.
IV. SECRET DISCIPLES (Jno. 3:1-2; 12:42; 19:38).
A. Solution, Mk. 8:38 (2 Tim. 1:8); Jno. 8:12 (Eph. 5:8-17).
V. FAITHFUL & FRUITFUL DISCIPLES, Jno. 15:4-8.
A. By Learning & Living Christ (Jno. 6:44-45), Eph. 4:20-21; Gal. 2:20; Jno. 8:31; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Tim. 3:14.
1. Disciples do
the will of the Father and are in fellowship with Jesus,
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:8-14
1. Dread of
eternal punishment is a compelling reason to obey God, Rom. 2:3, 6-11.
I. GOD IS LIGHT, NO DARKNESS AT ALL, 1 Jno. 1:5 (1 Tim. 6:16; Dan. 2:22).
A. Sons of the
Kingdom are Children of Light, 1 Ths. 5:4-8 (1 Pet. 2:9-10); Jno. 3:19-21; 1
II. DIVINE JUSTICE & WRATH AGAINST SINNERS WHO WILL NOT REPENT (Rom. 2:3-4, 8-9): Outer Darkness.
Outside of Heaven (Eternal Kingdom), Matt. 22:13; Rev. 22:15; 1 Cor. 6:9-11;
2 Pe. 1:10-11; Ro.2:3 (Mt. 8:11-12).
III. ESCAPE ETERNAL DARKNESS!
A. Walk in Light of Truth…Follow Jesus, Jno. 8:12; 9:5 (1 Jno. 1:7); Jno. 12:32-36; Matt. 5:14-16; Eph. 5:8-14.
1. Jesus Christ
gives life that lights our way, to overcome sin & death, Jno. 1:4-5.
Man is forever presenting a corrupted, perverted view of the living God. As I was catching up on some reading I came across a couple of examples that serve as warnings and exhortations to us: warnings, lest we are deceived by the false and foolish rationale of human wisdom; and exhortations, that we will always be vigilant to defend the truth, since “many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jno. 4:1).
First, atheist Richard Dawkins, who believes Darwin’s evolutionary theory has “exterminated any possibility that God exists.” Dawkins says the God of the Old Testament is “a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (The God Delusion, cited by Richard N. Ostling, ‘Most prominent atheist’ in world tackles biblical God, AP, 04Nov06). A better example cannot be found of the darkness of man’s foolish heart when he refuses to have God in his knowledge (Rom. 1:18-28). Do not be deceived by such diatribe.
Then, there is Katharine Jefferts Schori (presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church), who evidently does not think there is only true path to God. This leader of 2.3 million Episcopalians said in a recent interview, “If we insist we know the one way to God, we’re putting God in a very small box” (“Risk Taker,” Rachel Zoll, AP). Whereas Dawkins thinks mankind can do without God, Schori thinks Jesus is not the only way for mankind to find their way to God (Jer. 10:23). Jesus said He is the only way to the Father (Jno. 14:6). This is the same woman who said, “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation – and you and I are His children” (Ibid.)
Blasphemy is speaking reproachfully or railing against God. Jesus warned, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/11/2006
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA