And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17


Volume 13, Number 51

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

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

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

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
John Hague
Dan Head


In this issue:

Confusion on the Covenants: “Covenant” and “Testament” (Part 1)
Joe R. Price

Some in churches of Christ are advocating that a covenant made by God with man should not be viewed as law from God. They urge us to believe that a covenant is a relationship of mercy rather than a law to be obeyed. They tell us that the new covenant of Christ is not a last will and testament (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8, 13; Heb. 12:24; 9:15). For instance, they say that a “covenant is not a law, but it has law.” And again, “Covenant is not a set of laws” (Jim Puterbaugh, Classes on “The Covenant,” Tape 1, 2/6/95, held at Issaquah church of Christ, Issaquah, Washington).

The practical effect of believing a “covenant” is not a “testament” (a law with conditions to be obeyed) is this: If a “covenant” speaks strictly of having a relationship with God (as some are defining it), and not also of law given by God to man, then until a person comes into a relationship with God he is not under the law of God. There is a specific reason for defining “covenant” so as to eliminate “testament” as its synonym. As the reasoning goes, a person who has divorced and remarried before becoming a Christian is not under Christ’s marriage law, because he is not “in covenant relationship” with God. The idea is that until you become a participant in the covenant of Christ (until you are in relationship with Christ) you are not answerable to the terms of the covenant. The effort is being made to convince us that those lost in the sin of adultery are not amenable (answerable) to Christ’s marriage law. Therefore, only if and when you become a Christian does Christ’s law on marriage, divorce and remarriage apply to your life.

The Bible teaches that marriage was ordained by God for all of mankind “at the beginning” (Matt. 19:4; Gen. 2:23-25). Therefore, all men are to hold marriage in honor, and those who do not face the judgment of God (Heb. 13:4). Whenever a man and woman marry each other, they come under the authority of God, who established marriage. We should remember that marriage is not a “church ordinance” which is validated by the church. Marriage existed long, long before Jesus built His church. People who are not Christians can and do enter marriage, and when they do, they will answer to God for their conduct in that relationship (Heb. 13:4; 2 Cor. 5:10).

Whosoever” (not just Christians) puts asunder what God has joined together and remarries another, commits adultery (Matt. 19:9; 5:32; Rom. 7:2-3).

Jesus provided an exception, namely, that one may put away their mate because of that mate’s sexual immorality. In such a case, the person who did not commit sexual immorality, but who put away (divorced) their mate for such conduct, is free to remarry with God’s approval (Matt. 19:9).

As we enter this study, it is crucial that we consider the definition and usage of “covenant” as it relates to the matter of law or testament. Is Christ’s covenant with man a “testament” which universally applies to all men? Is a divine covenant a divine law, or can it only be said that a covenant has law as a part of it? What did Jesus mediate through His blood: A covenant? A testament? Can we use the same word to define and describe the same thing? We will see that in fact we can do so, for God in His word has done so.

It has already been noted that some are teaching that “covenant is not a law, but it has law.” This sort of doublespeak clouds and confuses the subject. The fact is that the ten commandments which God spoke to Israel from Mount Sinai are described as “His covenant:” “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets” (Deut. 4:13). Clearly then, the Ten Commandments are called the “covenant” God established with Israel. He commanded His covenant to Israel. God’s covenants are indeed divine laws or regulations bound upon man by God for his good. When man obeys God’s law (God’s revealed will) he enjoys the blessings of that covenant. God “commanded” Israel to “perform” the covenant! Covenant and commandments are used as synonyms in this passage.

Take, for an example, the covenant of circumcision God made with Abraham in Genesis 17:2. God promised to make Abraham a “father of many nations” (Gen. 17:4, 6). Did the covenant of circumcision carry the force of law upon Abraham and his descendants? Yes it did, for in Genesis 17:9-11 God said, “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

When God bound Abraham to the covenant of circumcision He placed him under the requirement of law (to circumcise himself and his offspring) – to “keep My covenant.” If one of his descendants disobeyed and did not obey the covenant, that person had broken God’s covenant (God’s law) and was to be cut off from the people of God (Gen. 17:12-14).

In John 7:22-23 Jesus observed that the covenant of circumcision was also regarded as a part of the “law of Moses” (having originated with the fathers, namely, Abraham). So that the law was not broken, the Jews would perform circumcision on the Sabbath. They obeyed God’s commandment (His covenant, His law) to circumcise their sons according to the covenant God made with their father Abraham. From the very mouth of Jesus we learn that a covenant can rightly be termed a law which God placed men under and required men to obey. Jesus understood that a covenant can rightly be viewed as law from God. We would do well to have and apply the same understanding today. 

(Continued next week; Watchman Magazine)


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

"Don't Let It Bother You!"

Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 11:22-27

1. The plot to murder Uriah was hatched to cover up sin (2 Sam 11).
2. David’s reply to Joab after the news of Uriah’s death in battle is telling: “Do not let this bother you”, 2 Sam 11:25.
3. Similar attitude can infect our thinking today.
4. Hardening heart, Matt 15:8; 1 Tim 4:1-2.

I. GOSPEL PREACHERS:Don’t let it bother you”… 2 Tim 4:2

  A. When Brethren won’t Endure Sound Doctrine, 2 Tim 4:3-4 (2 Cor 11:4); Isa 30:8-11; Jer 20:7-10 (1 Tim 4:16; cf. Ezek 3:16-18).
  B. When You Make Room for Error, Gal 2:5 (Phil 1:17); Eccl 7:16; Matt 23:23; Gal 1:6-10.

II. ELDERS:Don’t let it bother you”… Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2; Heb 13:17

  A. When Members Fall Away, 1 Tim 4:1; Jno 10:11-13; Lk 15:4; 2 Cor 11:28-29.
  B. When Error Creeps into the Thinking of Members, 2 Cor 10:5; Psa 19:14; Matt 16:6.

III. CHRISTIAN:Don’t let it bother you”

  A. When You Commit Sin. Acts 8:20-23; Eph 5:7-8, 11; Rom 6:6-7, 11; 1 Jno 2:1-2; 3:4-10.
  B. That the Sins of Others can Hurt You and the Church, 1 Cor 5:7; 15:33; 2 Jno 10-11.
  C. When You Habitually Miss Worship Services, Heb 10:24-25 (Matt 6:33).
  D. When you are not Growing in the Lord, 1 Pet 3:18.


1. “Don’t let it bother you” is code for don’t feel responsible…when we are responsible!
2. Be sober, be watchful, and do not harden you heart! 1 Pet 5:8; Heb 3:7-8


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

Building Character: Reverent Obedience (Part 12)

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 64:6-12

1. Christian redeemed and now devoted to Christ in reverent, obedient faith, Acts 10:1-2, 22; 11:14; God’s elect, Col 3:12; 1 Pet 1:2.
2. Building character into the likeness of Christ depends on whether or not we are willing to be shaped and molded by the hand of God through our faithful obedience to His word, Col 3:16-17.
3. Character without reverent faith and submissive obedience to Christ is incomplete, Mt 28:18; 7:24f.


  A. We must have a Heart that Desires to Do God’s Will, Mk 4:13-20; 1 Ths 2:1.
  B. Those who are Reverent before God Put His Word in their Hearts in order to Obey it in their Lives, Psa 37:30-31; 119:11, 73-80.


  A. It Reflects Reverence for God, Col 1:9-10; Jno 6:67-68.
  B. It is our Means of Attaining Wisdom, Psa 119:96-100.
  C. We will be Teaching and Admonishing One Another, 1 Cor 14:26 (Eph 5:19).


  A. Insist on Positive Authority for Whatever We Do, Mk 11:27-33; 1 Ths 5:21-22.
  B. Righteous Character Respects Bible Authority. (Establish and apply, Matt 28:20; Phil 4:9; Rom 1:20, Acts 15:7-21)
  C. Obey Christ from Hearts of Thankfulness, Col 3:17; Lk 17:10; Phil 2:12-13.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Jesus: "Open Bartender"?
Joe R. Price

According to Pastor Ryan Meeks, EastLake Community Church, Bothell, WA, Jesus was a bartender when He attended the wedding in Cana (John 2). “Here’s the son of God playing open bartender at a weeklong party.” “It was a declaration of who he was and what he was about”, he said in defense of his church hosting a Seahawks playoff game party last Sunday (“Prayer, then pigskin pain”, The Seattle Times). His 9 a.m. sermon was titled, “Why Christians Should Be World-Class Partiers”. Then, they wheeled out the chili and the kegs of Redhook Ale. There were three 10’x20’ screens for viewing the game, and a DJ rocked the place with AD/DC and Guns N’ Roses. “For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to coming to church”, said Sandra Lamb, member of the EastLake church. (Ibid.)

     This is sinful on so many levels; all of which blasphemy the holy name of Jesus. Here are a couple of things to note:

   1. Jesus did not serve alcoholic beverage. If He did, then He greatly contributed to drunkenness since they had already drunk freely (Jno 2:3, 10). Scripture is clear: Wine is a mocker, and social drinking is sinful as well as drunkenness (not to mention revelry) (Prov 20:1; 23:29-35; 1 Pet 4:3; Gal 5:21). Jesus was not an “open bartender”! The wine (oinos) He created was unfermented juice.

   2. It is not the work of a church to plan, promote or provide social activities. People respond because their belly is filled with food and fun (Jno 6:24-26). God draws people to Christ with the gospel, not with gimmicks (sinful or otherwise), John 6:44-45. Churches of Christ that arrange, advertise and promote social activities should take a lesson and guard against sin. More and more “conservative” churches seem enamored with the social appeals of sectarianism. The plan events and promote it with corollary social events. Like the lady in the story, is the interest the gospel or the games? This reminds us of Israel offering sacrifices at the altar of the golden calf, and then rising up to play (Exo 32:6). Such is an abomination to God; then and now.


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  01/24/2011

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: