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

Editor/Evangelist  Joe R. Price
Volume VIII,  Number 23
Dec 12, 2004

"All material is written by Joe R. Price, unless otherwise noted."

Times of services:

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

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

Web sites:

"...Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers..." (1 Peter 5:2)
Morris Bass, Rick Holt , Joe Price

"...let them serve as deacons, being found blameless..." (1 Tim. 3:10)
Aaron Bass, Rich Brooks, Mike Finn
John Hague, Dan Head

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

In this issue:

The Balanced Christian
Joe R. Price

   Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (Matt. 23:23).  The Pharisees had neglected (lit. “leave, send away”) the elements of character and conduct which validate one’s service to God and others.  Their enthusiasm for correctness was not rebuked by Jesus.  It was their failure to ground their zeal in the fundamental traits commanded in the law – justice, mercy and faith – that brought Jesus’ rebuke.

   These attributes must define our heart and conduct before men and God.  The law commanded the very elements they neglected:  justice (Exo. 23:2, 6; Micah 6:8); mercy (Lev. 19:10) and faith (Deut. 10:12-13).  But, because of their spiritual blindness, their lives were out of balance.  Consequently, the failure of the scribes and Pharisees to have these qualities caused them to disobey God’s word by binding man-made traditions as doctrine (Matt. 15:3, 6-9). 

   Like the scribes and Pharisees, it is also possible for us to be out of balance.  The balanced Christian is mature in his responsibilities toward God and men.  Justice, mercy and faith in one’s life shows a measure of maturity.  To “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” means much more than just knowing things about Jesus (2 Pet. 3:18).  A person may grow in “knowing” the Bible, but he is still immature if his knowledge does not move him to live with justice, mercy and faith. 

   The balanced Christian serves others.  He is fair and equitable in all his dealings with others.  He is merciful to those who need compassion, because he has come to realize his own need for mercy (Matt. 18:32-35; 5:7; Jas. 2:13).  His judgments are fair, not a façade for evil (Jno. 7:24).  He helps those who are in need, not because he is forced to, but because of justice, mercy and faith.  His character is reflected in all of his relationships (family, the local church, on the job, the community, etc.) because this is who he is and what he is about; he lives for others and not himself.

   The balanced Christian lives by faith (2 Cor. 5:7).  He listens to, believes and obeys the New Testament of Jesus Christ.  His will is to do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21).  Therefore, he does not compromise truth or accommodate error (Gal. 2:5, 11-14).  He will not be a blind guide, straining out gnats and swallowing camels.  He will trust the Lord’s word and be directed by it, and not lean on his own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6)

      “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”  Now, that’s the balance Jesus approves.


Enemies of the Cross of Christ
Joe R. Price

Not everyone who wears the name of Christ has the interests of Christ at heart.  Unfortunately, there are Christians who deny the power of godliness by appearing to be godly while being inwardly filled with the corruption of sin (2 Tim. 3:5; Matt. 23:27).  The servants of Satan often appear to be angels of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15).  If we are not alert we will be deceived and our faith will be damaged (Rom. 16:17-18).  The Bible helps us understand the enemies of the cross.

     “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-19).  This describes people who walk contrary to the example of the apostles and the truth they preached (3:17).  Paul weeps over their lost state and the soul-damning influence they have on others.  Paul specifically describes these “enemies of the cross of Christ” as those:

     (1)  whose end is perdition.  When one accepts error and rejects the truth of the gospel (here the Judaizers are especially in view, 3:1-6), his soul will be destroyed.  Advocating false doctrine brings swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).  For this reason we must resist the intrusion of error and demand truth be preached among us (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; Jude 3-4).

     (2)  whose god is their belly.  Those who serve sensual and selfish desires are enemies of the cross of Christ (Eph. 2:1-3).  Who is your god?  Self-indulgence is the god of the glutton; money is the god of the covetous.  That which we adore, honor, long for and devote our time and attention to is our god.  The very real question for every Christian to ask himself is, “who is my god?”

     (3) whose glory is in their shame.  Enemies of the cross of Christ find their glory, their renown, their fulfillment, in shameful things.  The world is their realm of existence (see Eph. 5:12).  Sin can give you fulfillment, but only for a season (Heb. 11:25).  Sin will ultimately cause your eternal death.  To share in the glory of Christ, on the other hand, will be the eternal reward and satisfaction of the righteous (Phil. 3:21; 2 Ths. 1:10).

     (4)  who set their mind on earthly things.  This is in direct contrast to the mind of the converted person who sets his mind on heavenly things (Col. 3:1-2).  Since the Christians lay up treasures in heaven because that is where their place of citizenship (Phil. 3:21; Matt. 6:19-21).

     Who is your god?  In what do you find fulfillment?  Upon what is your mind set?  What will be your reward?  Are you a friend or an enemy of the cross of Christ?


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

On What are You Building Your Life?

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 7:24-29


1.  Wisdom is principle, Prov. 4:7 (5-9).
2.  Two choices:  Jas. 3:13-18.
3.  Matt. 7:24-27 – A simple contrast of wisdom & foolishness that applies to all.

I.  THE FOOLISH MAN:  BUILDING ON SAND – 7:26-27.  (Jas. 4:17; Lk. 8:14)

  A.  Rebellion - 1 Sam. 15:22-23.
    1.  By changing Christ’s words, 15:22, 3, 9; Gal. 1:6-7 (Isa. 5:20).
    2.  Disobedience is rejection of God’s word, 15:23; 13:13-14.
  B.  Ignorance (cf. Eph. 5:17); Lev. 5:17; Acts 3:17, 19.
    1.  Error – Matt. 22:29.
    2.  Alienation from God – Eph. 4:18.
    3.  Sinful lusts – 1 Pet. 1:14.
  C.  Apathy – Zeph. 1:12; Matt. 24:48-51; Rom. 12:11; Gal. 6:9.
  D.  Ritualism – Matt 15:6-9; Amos 5:21-24.
  E.  Feelings – Prov. 28:26 (14:12); Jas. 1:19f.


  A.  The Rock of Obedience – Lk. 8:8, 18 (Matt. 13:16, 23); Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jno. 5:1-4.


1.  Prov. 10:25; 12:7 – The house of the righteous shall stand (Rom. 1:16-17).
2.  Jas. 3:13 - Are you building your life upon the sand or the rock?


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

Do Not Fear 

Scripture Reading:  John 14:27-31

Do not fear…

I.  THERE ARE BLESSINGS IN THE JOURNEY OF LIFE – Gen. 26:24; Josh. 1:8-9.  {Jas. 1:17}

  A.  God Knows & Supplies our Needs, Matt. 6:31-32; Acts 14:17 (Deut. 8:2f)
  B.  In Christ Every Spiritual Need is Met, Eph. 1:3; Rom. 8:35-39.

II.     SUPPLIES IN FAMINE – 1 Kgs. 17:4, 13-14.

  A.  God can be Trusted in Times of Need, Matt. 12:44 (Ps. 37:25; Mt. 6:11, 33)
  B.  Those who Hunger for Righteousness are Filled, Matt. 5:6; Isa. 44:2-4 (4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17); Jno. 4:10.

III. PROTECTION IN PERIL – 2 Kgs. 6:16-17.

  A.  God’s Will is Done, Dan. 3:16-17.
  B.  God is Greater than Satan – 1 Pet. 3:14; 1 Jno. 4:4.


  A.  All Phys. Strength Fails – Eccl. 12:3-7; Mk. 2:2-5; 2 Cor. 12:9.
  B.  Strength of Faith, Isa. 40:29-31.

V.   COMPANIONSHIP IN TRIAL – Isa. 43:1-3, 5.

  A.  Trait of Faithful Friends – Eccl. 4:7-12.
  B.  Not Forsaken by Our Lord - 2 Tim. 4:17.

VI. GOD’S CARE – Matt. 10:30-31.

  A.  Remember God – Jas. 4:13-17 (10:30, 31)
  B.  God’s Purposes Achieved – Lk. 12:32.


  A.  Bodily Resurrection, 1Co.15:21-22,42-44
  B.  Eternal Life for Christians, Jno. 11:25-26; 5:28-29.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Death Deliberations
Joe R. Price

The guilty verdict has been rendered in the Scott Peterson double murder trial.  The jury is now deliberating his sentence:  life in prison without parole, or death.  No sentence has been reached at the time of this writing.

The Bible approves the punishment of criminals.  God has ordained the right of civil government to protect the innocent and punish those who do evil.  Romans 13:4 describes the governing authority as “God’s minister” to serve as a defender of good as well as His “avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”  As such, “he does not bear the sword in vain.”  Those who oppose the death penalty on the grounds that it is morally reprehensible have it wrong.

The just punishment of criminal is a deterrent against more crime (Eccl. 8:11).  This does not weaken the basic fact that when just punishment is executed it is because a transgression of the law has occurred:  “whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (Rom. 13:2).  The governing authority is not at fault when a criminal is convicted and sentenced for his crime, although this commonly happens.  Instead, we should be thankful that God has given us the means in society to maintain order and to live a quiet life (1 Tim. 2:1-2). 

Civil government has God’s blessing to attend to protecting its citizens against evil people and punishing those who do evil.  We are to respect those who serve us in this role (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).  It is a blessing from God.


Created by Chuck Sibbing - 12/10/2004

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