Volume VII, Number 18
October 12, 2003

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00

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

Web sites:

Editor................Joe R. Price

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

In this issue:

It is Better To...
Larry Hafley

--have only bread and honey than to have dread and money.
--be sick in love than to be healthy in hatred.
--crawl in light than to walk in darkness.
--be silent than to speak and be sorry.
--hear bad news that is true than good news that is false.
--to cry in repentance than to laugh in iniquity.
--accept a hard truth than to believe an easy lie.
--be inconvenienced by necessity than to seek comfort in luxury.
--be a slave in the Savior than to be a master in Satan.
--imprisoned for truth than to be free in error.
--be condemned for doing right than to be commended for doing wrong.
--sail a rough sea home than to float gently to a foreign shore.
--"honor thy father and thy mother" while they live than to mourn them when they die.
--be pricked by the sword of truth than to be protected by the shield of error.
--die in the arms of love than in the lap of luxury.
--grant mercy to the undeserving than to take vengeance on the deserving.
--lead one from darkness than to "punch his lights out."
--be born ugly than to live that way.
--pay a high price for truth than to buy a sin on sale.
--give grace than to sell favor.
--extend a hand than to swing a fist.
--war in a good cause than to enjoy peace in a bad one.
--die for right than to live for wrong.
--criticize kindly than to praise hypocritically.
--be sold out than to sell out.
--vainly love a good woman than to love a vain one.
--gain respect than revenge.
--pity an evil man than to envy him.
--be gifted in the Spirit than to be given to spirits.
--be considered fanatical in faithfulness than to be wise in worldliness.
--bless the cursed than to curse the blessed.
--see through the darkness than to be blind in the light.

-Larry Ray Hafley (Guardian of Truth, Jan. 5, 1995, 4)


Teaching as Doctrines the Commands of Men
Joe R. Price

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:  ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  (Matthew 15:7-9)

A fundamental problem of the Pharisees was their binding of human traditions upon men as essential in order to correctly obey the word of God.  By binding their traditions they thought they were obeying and serving God, and teaching others to do the same.  Let me illustrate.

The law of God said, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work…” (Exo. 20:8-10)  The Law of Moses gave limited regulations concerning the definition of “work” on the Sabbath day (cf. Exo. 20:8-11; 35:3); the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees greatly expanded these.  In their zeal to obey the law of God, the Pharisees constructed many binding traditions upon themselves and others concerning what it meant not to work on the Sabbath.  Consider the following:

(1) When the disciples of Jesus plucked grain and ate it on the Sabbath, the Pharisees charged them with “doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:2).  Yet, Jesus showed that they condemned the guiltless and failed to know the Scriptures that taught mercy (Matt. 12:7).  Keeping the Sabbath day holy by refraining from work did not restrict Israelites from showing kindness and mercy on that day.  But, the traditions of the Pharisees did.

 (2) Because a man carried his bed on the Sabbath he was told his action was “not lawful” (Jno. 5:10).  In truth, it was only unlawful because it violated the human traditions that had grown up around what constitutes “work” on the Sabbath! 

(3) Jesus was regarded as a Sabbath breaker worthy of death because He healed that same man on the Sabbath (Jno. 5:17-18).  He broke their traditions about the Sabbath; He did not break the Sabbath.  He exposed their hypocritical judging by appearance in John 7:22-24 by showing that the law of God allowed the work of circumcision on the Sabbath.  Plus, the law allowed the showing of mercy on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:7; Hos. 6:6).  They failed to judge righteously about Him and His work because they had exalted their traditions above the word of God. 

You see, the Pharisees demanded that the only way one could properly keep the Sabbath was to regulate their activities on the Sabbath according to the traditions they gradually developed about it.

This problem has not gone away.  There are still those who, in their zeal for God, have accepted human traditions and bound them as necessary in order to properly obey God.  Some, in their zeal for reverence toward God, press for the use of thee and thou when addressing God in prayer.  Some say that prayer is only approved when certain formulas are spoken or certain postures assumed.  Similar traditions have been bound by some concerning how to baptize a person “in the name of Jesus”.  Some bind one container when drinking “the cup” of the Lord’s Supper and no separate Bible classes.  Some bind the KJV as the only acceptable translation of the Bible to use today.

     Is insisting upon only vocal music in worship to God to be viewed in the same light as binding the traditions of men?  No, for God’s word has specified the kind of music He will accept from worshippers; vocal music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Jas. 5:13).  There is a Bible pattern that establishes approved music in worship, thereby disapproving all others (Gal. 1:6-9).  We are not binding human traditions when we insist on following the Scriptural pattern for approved music in worship (Col. 3:17; cf. Heb. 8:4).

     We must learn to distinguish between the traditions of men which may indeed “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion” but which “are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh,” and the doctrine of Christ which we must abide in to have fellowship with God (Col. 2:20-23; 2 Jno. 9).

     May we all offer up the prayer of the apostle, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Day of Christ's Return

Scripture Reading:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

2 Pet. 3:3-4 – The promise of His coming is mocked & scoffed at, minimized & rejected.  Its certainty rests upon the integrity of God’s word (3:5, 7) & Christ’s promise (Jno. 14:1-3).

I.  THE LAST DAY – Jno. 12:48.
  A.  Will Come Suddenly, Without Warning – 1 Ths. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:10.
  B.  The Day of His Appearing – 1 Ths. 4:16.
  C.  No More Days on Earth – 2 Pet. 3:10-11, 13; Matt. 25:1-13; 1 Ths. 5:1-9

II.  RESURRECTION DAY – Jno. 11:23-26.
  A.  Of All Humanity – Jno. 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Jno. 6:39-40, 44, 54.
  B.  Bodily Resurrection – 1 Cor. 15:20, 35-53.
  C.  Therefore, Put Your Faith in Christ! – 1 Cor. 15:19-22, 15:29-34, 54-58.

III.  THE JUDGMENT DAY – Acts 17:31.
  A.  An Answering Day – Rom. 14:12; 1 Pet. 4:5; Jno. 12:48; Rev. 20:12; Rom. 2:2, 5, 11.
  B.  Therefore, Obey the Word of God! – 1 Pet. 1:17 (Eccl. 12:13-14).

IV. THE RECKONING DAY – 2 Cor. 5:10.
  A.  We Reap as We have Sown – Gal. 6:7-8.
      -Rom. 2:6-10; Rev. 20:13 (Matt. 25:31-46); 2 Ths. 1:8-9 (Matt. 10:28; Mk. 9:43-48); 2 Tim. 4:7-8; Phil. 2:9-11

VI.  DESTRUCTION DAY–2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12
  A.  Therefore, Live Holy & Godly (3:11) - 3: 12-13; Tit. 2:12-13.

VII.  DELIVERY DAY – 1 Cor. 15:23-24.
  A.  The Kingdom will be Delivered to God the Father – 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9 (2 Cor. 11:2).

Are you ready for that day to come?


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Exhort the Young Men

Scripture Reading:  1 John 2:8-14

1.  Titus 2:6 – Young men exhorted to soberness.
2.  You are the future of the home & the church.
3.  Your potential, possibilities & place.

I.  THE BLESSINGS OF YOUTH – Prov. 20:29 (splendor, excellence).
  A.  Physical Strength – Jer. 9:23-24 (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 13:5).
  B.  Mental Strength - Lk. 2:52; Rom. 12:3 (16).
  C.  Spiritual Strength?
    1.  Flee fleshly lusts – 2 Tim. 2:22.
    2.  Use of time – Eccl. 12:1.
    3.  Accepting responsibilities – 1 Tim. 4:12.
      -Contrast Joseph & Samson; 1 Jno. 2:14, Prov. 24:10, 16.

  A.  Indulgence in the Flesh Will, Sooner or Later, Bring Ruin to Your Body & Soul – Lk. 15:13; 1 Pet. 4:1-5.
  B.  A Young Man Who will not Control Himself Gives Little Promise of Being Useful or Happy – 1 Tim. 5:6; Prov. 21:17; 1 Pet. 3:10-12 (Matt. 5:3-10; Heb. 11:25).
  C.  The Future of the Church Depends on You – Acts 20:29-32 (2 Tim. 1:13).
  D.  Like Those Before You, You Will Die (Maybe Soon) – Heb. 9:27.

  A.  Learn & Live the Bible – 1 Tim. 4:13.
  B.  Don’t Neglect Your Advantages & Blessings – 1 Tim. 4:14 (Heb. 12:16).
  C.  Devote Yourself to Spiritual Growth & Service – 1 Tim. 4:15 (2 Pet. 3:18).
  D.  Keep Proper Priorities in Your Life – Matt. 6:31-34.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Message Ignored due to Exaggeration
Joe R. Price 

     Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich, tried to express her disgust over the negative influence of entertainers on our youth.  Her off the cuff remark at a domestic violence prevention conference got a good deal of media attention over the past week when she said, “Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would.”  Needless to say, her exaggeration for emphasis was not well taken, and she has now apologized to Britney Spears.

     Let me be clear:  Britney Spears should not be shot.  We do agree with Mrs. Ehrlich’s intended point (which was lost in the outcry over her statement itself) that many entertainers contribute to the moral degradation of society; Britney Spears included.  Little girls should not be encouraged to dress, talk and dance like Spears or most other of the pop music icons of the day.  That goes for guys imitating male entertainers, too.  Messages of sex, violence and disrespect for life and authority are nothing new in the music and entertainment world.  But that does not mean we should ignore it.  It is not getting better.  We should see its real threat to society and souls instead of disregarding it or brushing its influence aside as inconsequential.  Satan uses power tools to influence, infect and infiltrate the hearts of young and old alike.  “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits (morals, ASV).  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.”  (1 Cor. 15:33-34)


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  10/18/2003

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