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


Volume 14, Number 48

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

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

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All sing last Wednesday

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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

The Public Invitation
Joe R. Price

It would seem some Christians, including elders and gospel preachers, are becoming increasingly comfortable with not extending a public invitation to obey the gospel when concluding a gospel sermon. Some tell us the practice of offering a public invitation is a relatively recent phenomenon. This is so within the context of an historical analysis of denominations and their "altar call". But, what establishes truth is not the historical practices of American denominations (or the practices within Restoration  history over the past 200 years). The question we wish to find the Bible answer to is whether we have Bible authority to offer a public invitation? Is it scriptural to urge sinners to "come forward" in response to the gospel we preach and their need to reply to it? If such exists, should we not do so? Put another way, what if we do not offer the gospel invitation when we preach? Are we following the Bible pattern by not doing so? And if so, which Scripture(s) provide such a pattern of abstinence?

I am not aware of any brethren who currently say we should not offer a gospel invitation when we preach. To my knowledge, no one is saying the public invitation is unauthorized and against the will of God. Yet, we do hear of more and more preaching that ends without extending any kind of invitation to the audience to obey the gospel. Many others conclude with the general summation, "if you have a need, come forward while we stand and sing" (with either explaining the "need" or what will happen if one comes forward). Why the growing absence of the gospel invitation in our preaching?

Some brethren are being convinced that the public invitation to obey the gospel is optional; a late arrival on the preaching scene. And, one that is designed more as an emotional display rather than a genuine response of faith and obedience to Christ. While the "origin of the 'public invitation'" among the denominations was no doubt associated with unbiblical emotionalism and other false teachings (including how to be saved), the public invitation to be saved did not originate in frontier America.

     Could it be that the gospel invitation is becoming extinct in some pulpits because preaching has taken on an air of academia that is void of pressing appeals to "repent or perish"? Preaching has become giving a lecture, presenting a paper, offering a viewpoint and analyzing a position instead of heralding forth the gospel with its needed and necessary reproof, rebuke and exhortations that call sinners to urgent repentance (2 Tim. 4:2-4; 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:12-13; Acts 2:40). We would do well to recall that telling or hearing some new thing is not gospel preaching, but the ruminations of this-world oriented philosophers (Acts 17:21, 30-34). Such exercises do not typically lend themselves to declaring absolute truth and obedience to it in order to be saved (Acts 17:30). When preachers are advertised for their Ph.D.'s and academic achievements, is it God's word or man's accomplishments being offered up as proof of credibility? These are not the identifying marks of an evangelist (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Why then are they used to identify preachers today?

     What does the Scripture say about the origin of the public invitation to obey the gospel? The first gospel sermons preached after the ascension of Jesus made public appeals to sinners, inviting them to "call on the name of the Lord" in order to be saved (Acts 2:21-22, 36-39). "And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation'" (Acts 2:40). That is the origin of the public gospel invitation.

     Our Master said, "Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). Jesus publicly invited people to come to Him. We may confidently follow His example and invite sinners to come to Him to be saved. We must.

     The 3,000 souls who gladly received the word of God on Pentecost had to identify themselves to the apostles in some way, else they would not have known who wanted to be baptized (Acts 2:41). Whether by raising their hand, "coming forward" or "going to the rear", it makes no difference. They identified themselves as believers who wanted to be saved (repent and be baptized) by publicly responding to the apostles' public call to be saved.

     Other gospel invitations (both public and private) could be noted: Acts 3:19-26; 8:5-8; 8:35-37; 13:43; 22:15-16; 24:24-25; 26:20; 28:27-29. These show the gospel being preached with a plea being made to sinners to respond. Sinners were invited (urged, persuaded, exhorted, instructed) to immediately obey the gospel. Do we?

     We are not binding a "church of Christ tradition" or mimicking American evangelicalism when we publicly invite sinners to come to Christ. Preaching the gospel demands that we do so (2 Tim. 4:2). When we preach the word we must identify the sin (reprove), present the need for change (rebuke), and urge sinners to obey the gospel plan of salvation (exhort). Do not let any preaching opportunity pass without inviting sinners to obey the gospel. "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men"(2 Cor. 5:11).


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

God Saw

Scripture Reading:   Psalm 33:8-22

1. That God sees everything is a compelling reason to live with an abiding knowledge of His presence, Heb. 4:13; Psa. 139:1-7.
2. Consider things "God saw" that provokes our wonder, praise, faith and devotion, as well as an urgent turning to Him for mercy.


  A. His Wisdom and Judgment is Seen in Everything Around Us, Psa. 8:3-9. cf. Isa. 40:26.
    1. Provisions for mankind, Matt. 5:45.
    2. Promotion of faith, Acts 14:15-17.
    3. Promises of something better, 2Pet.3:13.


  A. The Growth of Sin, Gen. 6:1-4 (Rom. 5:14); 4:26; Rom. 1:24-28; Matt. 5:28-29.
  B. The Proliferation and Punishment of Sin, Gen. 6:5-8; Eph. 4:17-19; Rom. 2:2-3.


  A. Faith Prompts Repentance, Jonah 3:6-9; 1 Tim. 1:13-16. -What is God seeing?-
    1. Hardened acknowledgement? Heb. 3:12
    2. Disregarding delay? Acts 24:25
    3. Defensive excuses? Hab. 2:20
    4. Urgent repentance and obedience? Acts 2:40; 22:16; Heb. 3:13


1. Life is worth living when our eyes are on the One whose eyes are always on us, 1 Pet. 3:10-12.
2. We hope and trust in God, whose eyes are on those who fear Him, Psa. 33:18-22.


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

Dangers of Pride

Scripture Reading:   Proverbs 16:16-20

1. Jesus was the most humble man who ever lived, Phil. 2:5-8.
2. Christians must be humble in heart and life, Matt. 18:1-4.
3. Danger of pride is its self-deceiving nature:


  A. Pride is the Way of the World, 1 Jno. 2:15-16; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
  B. Pride Develops in a Heart that has Turned to Evil, Mk. 7:21, 23; Heb. 3:12.
  C. Pride Produces:
    1. Strife and shame, Prov. 13:10; 11:2.
    2. Rude and cruel speech, Prov. 14:3.
    3. Greedy spirit, Prov. 28:25.


  A. Pride is Haughty in its View and Treatment of Others, Prov. 6:17; 30:11-13; Rom. 1:30; 12:16 (Job 38:1-4; 42:1-6).
  B. Pride Deceives Us by Leading us to Trust in Personal Knowledge Instead of Loving God and being Known by God, 1 Cor. 8:1-3; Prov. 21:24 ("Scoffer").

III. PRIDE IS DESTRUCTIVE, Prov. 16:18; 18:12.

  A. Pride Destroys a Proper View of Self, Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:20; 29:23.
  B. Pride Destroys a Proper View of Others, cf. Lk. 18:9, 11, 14; Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:5-8.
  C. Pride Destroys Respect for Christ and His Word, 1 Tim. 6:3-5; Psa. 19:9.


1. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, 1 Pet. 5:5-7 (Jas. 4:6).
2. Pride refuses to submit to God and men where humble submissiveness is needed.
3. Obtain grace: Humble obedience, Isa. 57:15.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

The Debt of Sin
Joe R. Price

President Obama formally notified Congress on Thursday that the U.S. government needs another $1.2 trillion in borrowing authority. "The written certification to raise the debt ceiling to $16.394 trillion starts a 15-day clock for Congress to consider and vote on a joint resolution disapproving of the increase" ("Obama Sends Congress Notice to Raise Federal Debt Ceiling",

Our debt of sin is even greater than the U.S. national debt. We have no ability, no strength, to pay the debt of sin we owe (cf. Matt. 18:23-27). But thanks be to God, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6).

In spite of our sin (indeed, because of it), God's love offers us escape from sin's crushing debt. "But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Mercifully, God forgives our debt of sin in Christ.

Sinners must respond to God's grace through faith in order to be forgiven their debt of sin (Eph. 2:8-9). The gracious offering of Jesus provides all sinners the way to be forgiven sin's debt. Yet, not all sinners will be saved (Acts 10:34-35; Matt. 7:13-14). It is apparent, then, that the  actual forgiveness of our debt of sin is conditional. Just as escaping financial debt requires following a financial plan, escaping sin requires following a plan of salvation (Heb. 5:8-9; Matt. 7:21-23).

God's conditions to escape the debt of sin is to hear the gospel and believe Jesus is the Son of God (Jno. 6:44-45; 8:24; Rom. 10:17); to confess faith and repent of sins (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 17:30); and to be baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Once saved from past sins, live faithfully every day (Rom. 6:11; 12:1-2).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  01/16/2012

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