And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 49, 01/09/2011
In this issue:
Many people have the mistaken view that doing anything “by faith” means taking a blind leap in the dark. Nothing is farther from the truth. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith is substantive, not superstitious.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-11, the apostle of Christ speaks with firm assurance as he urges Christians to “walk by faith, not by sight”. Briefly see the firm knowledge and assurance that abides in the heart of one who lives by faith. Then, ask yourself, “Am I confidently walking by faith?”
1) We know we have an eternal home. “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1). Christ and the Holy Spirit assure us that in spite of present pains and physical suffering, a heavenly habitation awaits those who live by faith (2 Cor 5:2-5; Jno 14:1-3).
2) We know that while we are in the flesh we are absent from the Lord, so, we walk by faith and not by sight. “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6-8). We do not yet see Jesus, but when we do we will be like Him (1 Jno 3:2). As we await that day of glory we walk by faith, trusting His truth to lead us home.
3) We make it our aim to please the Lord. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor 5:9). Christians do not live for themselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again (2 Cor 5:14-15).
4) We must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). Our lives will be judged by God. Better to live by faith than in unbelief. All unbelievers will “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev 20:8). Following judgment, those who did not live by faith will be eternally lost in hell.
5) We know the terror of the Lord. “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11). God will punish sin. It is a fearful thing to come under God’s judgment being unprepared (Heb 11:31). Let the gospel persuade you to repent and be baptized to be saved by Jesus (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). Then, confidently walk by faith, hearing and obeying the word of Christ (Rom 10:17; Matt 7:24-27).
Too many churches are dwindling, instead of growing. What are some occasions when churches do not grow?
When Leaders Do Not Lead. The Lord has provided the church with proper leadership – “elders in every church” (Acts 14:23). Elders have “the rule” over the local church (Heb. 13:17), and to “rule” is to “lead” (Thayer). Many churches suffer from a woeful lack of leadership! Either they do not have elders or have unqualified men trying to serve as elders. Most organizations do not rise above their leadership!
When Deacons Do Not Serve. Deacons have a place in the organization of the local church (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). Is it any wonder churches do not grow, when men are appointed as deacons who have the slightest idea what they are to be doing? Deacons need to be busy serving.
When Preachers Do Not Preach. Preaching plays a significant role in man’s calling upon the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:14-15). Paul taught, “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). The church will grow as the Lord intends when it has men in the pulpit committed to keeping their charge to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).
When Members Do Not Work. Too many church members take a back seat to the work of the Lord, and this hinders the growth of the church. Every member has a part to supply. “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16, NKJV). If you want to see the church of which you are a member grow, make sure you are doing your share. If more church members had the mind of the Jerusalem wall-builders (Neh. 4:6), no doubt churches would see more growth!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 77:7-15
At the start of this new year let us resolve to develop a better memory as the people of God. The gospel teaches us things Christians should always remember…
I. ALWAYS REMEMBER OUR CLEANSING FROM PAST SINS. 2 Pet 1:9
A. Remember the Price of our Redemption. Eph 1:6-7; 1 Tim 2:6; Rom 5:6-8; 2 Cor 5:17
II. ALWAYS REMEMBER GOD’S WORD OF TRUTH. 2 Pet 1:12-15; 3:1-2; Jude 17
A. The World
Says: “Forget the Bible”!
III. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO DO GOOD AND TO SHARE. Heb 13:16
A. World Says
get Ahead of the Next Person. 2 Tim 3:1-5
IV. ALWAYS REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE YOU. Heb 13:3
A. Those that
Taught you and Stood for the Truth. Jno 4:35-38
V. ALWAYS REMEMBER GOD’S POWER AND PROMISES. 2 Pet 3:5, 8-9
Forget God’s Powerful Judgments of the Past. 2 Pet 3:3-7
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
1. When peace is misunderstood there is a false sense of security, Jer
I. WHAT IS PEACE?
A. Peace has a Dual Nature, 1 Cor 14:33; Isa 32:17-19; Heb 12:14; Col 3:15.
II. SOME THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PEACE OF GOD (Col 3:15).
A. God is the Source of
Peace, Rom 1:7. Gal 5:19-21; Heb 13:20; 2 Ths 3:16; Phil 4:7-9; Rom 5:1.
III. DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN PEACE IN ALL OUR RELATIONSHIPS.
A. Our Peace with God must
be Guarded, Rom 5:1-5; Jas 4:4-7.
1. Are you at peace with God?
You can be.
Catholics, Creation and the Bible
The universe is not the result of chance. The Roman Catholic pope agrees: “Contemplating it (the universe) we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God” (“God was behind Big Bang, universe not accident: Pope”, Philip Pullella, Jan 6, Yahoo!News.com). Yet, the Pope will not read the Bible and let it be the final answer to the questions concerning the creative work of God.
“The Catholic Church no longer teaches creationism – the belief that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible – and says that the account in the book of Genesis is an allegory for the way God created the world” (Ibid.). While trying to convince unbelievers that God created the heavens and the earth, the pope rejects Genesis 1 and 2 as the literal account of God’s six-day creative period.
Of course, we know the Catholic Church long ago relegated the Bible to an inferior position of authority. Church tradition and papal fiat take the place of a “thus saith the Lord” for the Catholic faithful.
Why do some members of the Lord’s church who accept and/or advance such corruptions of God’s word as the “gap-theory” and the “day-age” interpretation of Genesis 1? What evidence exists in the biblical text that compels a figurative reading of the time references? There is none. All such attempts seek only to accommodate divine writ to human wisdom. Brethren should see through the façade. It is faithlessness on the one hand, to accept God as our Creator, while on the other to reject His record of creation. The evidence of God’s creative work abounds; His record of it is equally clear (Rom 1:20; Gen 1).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 01/10/2011
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA