Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

Mount
Baker
Beacon

Volume 02, Number 43
10/22/2023

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY

Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

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Editor......John Bass


 

In this issue:


"YOU ARE THE MAN!"
David A. Cox

"Nathan, said to David, 'You are the man!'"  -- (2 Samuel 12:7)

In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan confronts David for the sins he had committed and tries desperately to cover up.  Nathan makes it very clear to David that he is the man who is responsible.  We have become a society of victims.  Today, people will not accept personal responsibility for the wrongs they commit in life.   It is rare to hear someone say to another, "I am sorry, I was wrong or I have sinned.  Will you forgive me?" The unwillingness to accept responsibility for our wrongs, sins presents a real problem in having a relationship with God.  Blaming others or claiming to be the victim of circumstances is unacceptable to God.  Everyone needs to accept responsibility for their actions.  They must admit their failure and take corrective action so that God will be pleased.

Casting Blame On Others
In Genesis 3, the first sin was committed in the Garden of Eden.  After eating the forbidden fruit, God called for Adam, who was hiding because he was naked.  God then asked, "Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" (Genesis 3:11).  Adam's response was to blame Eve, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." God then inquires of Eve, "'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate'" (Genesis 3:12-13).  Adam and Eve were asked a question that required a simple "yes" or "no" answer, but Adam and Eve placed the blame on someone rather than on themselves.

Another example is King Saul of Israel.  God instructed Saul, "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all they have and do not spare them.  But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey" (1 Samuel 15:3).  Saul failed in doing what God said, the text records, "But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them.  But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed" (1 Samuel 15:9).  There is no doubt that Saul disobeyed God's command.  However the next day, Samuel, the prophet of God, went to Saul and Saul declared, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord" (1 Samuel 15:13).  Samuel replied to Saul, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" (1 Samuel 15:14).  Saul's reply was to blame others as he said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed" (1 Samuel 15:15).  When Saul's claim to obeying God was shown to be wrong, he cast the blame on the people for sparing the Amalekites and not destroying them.

How God Responded To Blaming Others
How did God view Adam, Eve, and Saul for casting the blame on others?  In the case of Adam and Eve falling into sin, God still held each of them accountable for their sin, and they suffered the consequences of their actions (Genesis 3:14-24).  The response to Saul is the same.  God was not pleased with Saul's disobedience, regardless of how he might have reasoned within himself to be justified in his sin.  Because of Saul's disobedience, God rejected him as king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:17-24).

The Responsibility God Desires
The attitude toward sin that God desires is the attitude David displayed when Nathan said, "You are the man."  David was the king of Israel and should have been desiring to please God. Rather, he committed the sin of fornication with Bathsheba.  The sin resulted in Bathsheba becoming pregnant.  David made significant efforts to cover up his sin even to the killing of Uriah and taking Bathsheba to be his wife.  The sin of David is unmasked, it is no longer hidden and it really never was to God.  What David did is not what Adam, Eve or Saul did.  The reaction of David is entirely different.  David responded to Nathan saying, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13).  Yes, David accepted his responsibility for his sins.  David accepted the responsibility for his sin and humbly pleaded for mercy and forgiveness (Psalm 51).  What a different reaction!

May we all take the responsibility for our actions as David did and find the forgiveness and spiritual healing we all need.  By accepting that we are the one who is responsible for what we do will help us to take the corrective steps to please God.

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THE ISSUE OF CIRCUMCISION AND KEEPING OF THE LAW
Jim McDonald

The acceptance of the Gentiles into the church did not occur without controversy. Peter was censored for entering into Cornelius’ house and preaching to him (Acts 11:1-3). Judaizing teachers sought to bind circumcision and the law upon Gentile Christians in Antioch. Acts 15 tells how this issue was carried to Jerusalem and was settled.

Peter was the first to speak on that occasion. He showed how that God approved of the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit as He had given the Spirit earlier to the Jews (Acts 11:15; 2:1-4). God had accepted them in their uncircumcised state. At the same meeting in which Peter had spoken, James, the brother of Jesus, also spoke and agreed with Peter’s conclusion, adding an Old Testament prophecy which had spoken of God’s acceptance of the Gentiles. The prophet was Amos (we know this by the prophecy James quoted, not by his calling the prophet by name). The prophecy reads, “After these things I will return and I will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who maketh these things known from of all” (Acts 15:16-18; cp. Amos 9:11-12).

Amos was one of the twelve minor prophets. He lived after the division of the kingdom of Israel, but before the northern kingdom was defeated by Assyrians and taken into exile. James quoted Amos’ prophecy as proof that neither circumcision nor the Law was bound upon the Gentiles, so it is important that we study that prophecy to understand why James used it the way he did.

First, Amos had said that God would return and build up the ruins of the tabernacle of David. Amos had reference to God restoring the Davidic rule to the eminence it once possessed in the “heyday” of David and Solomon. It’s glory was badly damaged when the ten northern tribes seceded from the rule of the Davidic monarchy to become an independent kingdom. When Nebuchadnezzar’s armies leveled Jerusalem to the ground and carried Zedekiah, who was the king of Judah, captive to Babylon after killing his sons and putting out his eyes (2 Kings 25:7) — that was the end of the earthly monarchy of David. However, God built up again the tabernacle of David when Jesus, the seed of David (Romans 1:1-3), was given David’s throne just as the angel Gabriel had promised Mary His mother that He would (Luke 1:31-33). That Son still reigns in heaven seated at the right hand of God — a promise God also had given David (Psalm 110:1). Amos’ prophecy was fulfilled. The “tabernacle of David” has been built up; its ruins repaired.

Amos also prophesied that when God had built again the ruin of the tabernacle of David, the residue of men (Israel and Judah) would seek after the Lord, as well as all the Gentiles. Christ’s rule was to be universal and since God had shown that He had given the Holy Spirit to all, whether circumcised or uncircumcised, then all were to submit to the rule, the dictates of David’s Son.

The arguments of Peter and James were sufficient to settle the matter, for they had spoken the word of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:29-30). Circumcision was an inconsequential matter: a man was no better if he was circumcised and no worse if he wasn’t (1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6; 6:15). The Law also was broken down (Ephesians 2:14), abolished (Ephesians 2:15), slain (Ephesians 2:16), blotted out, and nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Not only were the Gentiles not bound to keep the Law; the Jews were made dead to it by the body of Christ (Romans 7:1-4) that they also might be joined to another, to Him who had been raised from the dead.

There is no doctrine taught any more clearly than that Jews and Gentiles are made one new man in Christ and this occurred when Christ, by His death, removed the middle wall of partition (the Law) from between them.

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Created by John Bass, last updated.  10/29/2023

The Mount Baker Beacon is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149 or johnbass2468@gmail.com