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


Volume 15, Number 14

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

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Testing Fellowship
Joe R. Price

Do you believe you must be in fellowship with God in order to be accepted by Him? If yes, then how do you know you are in fellowship with God? Is it because of what you feel? Is it because you are sincere? Is it because you are a member of the church? Is it because your name is in a church directory? Is it because you know and obey truth? (Jno. 8:31-32)

The New Testament unequivocally states that fellowship with God is based on following the teachings of the apostles of Christ. When one believes and obeys apostolic doctrine, he is in fellowship with the apostles and with God (Jno. 13:20). Conversely, when one violates apostolic doctrine he does not have fellowship with the apostles nor with the Father and the Son who sent them into the world with the gospel.

1 John 1:1-4 (especially verse 3) affirms this truth:

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (emphasis added, jrp)

It is not surprising that the apostle John would also write,

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (2 Jno. 9-11)

Fellowship with God is a wonderful spiritual blessing enjoyed in Christ (Eph. 1:3). The faithful child of God has a living hope of an eternal inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3-5). The Christian’s inheritance is assured if he is in fellowship with God; it does not exist if he is in fellowship with sin and sinners. Paul the apostle confirms this: 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. (Eph. 5:5-7) To partake with the sons of disobedience means to have fellowship with them (see Eph. 5:11). One cannot sin or endorse sinners and remain in fellowship with God.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are regularly reminded of brethren abandoning the Scriptures as their standard for determining fellowship with God and with brethren. More than once we have been acquainted with brethren who do not allow doctrinal and moral differences over NT teaching to get in their way of having fellowship with each other. “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” has lost its meaning for these (Eph. 5:11). Oh yes, we have heard the tale that made the rounds about how the Mt. Baker church won’t let you inside the building until they quiz you on your marriage, divorce and remarriage status. (Yeah, and we also kick all the orphans off the porch when they are left on the door step! How ridiculous!)

Such distorted misrepresentations serve to prejudice folks against the truth, but fail to advance righteousness. Our apostolic directive is to “test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Ths. 5:21-22). We take that seriously. Everything we say and do must be approved by Christ in His word, including marriage, divorce and remarriage – a subject over which unity in diversity increasingly prevails (Col. 3:17; Matt. 19:3-9; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:2-11; Heb. 13:4).

Before this local church accepts into our fellowship one that is known to have been divorced and remarried, our elders discuss the subject (as well as every other pertinent spiritual topic) with the person. This is done out of concern for the person’s soul (are they right with God?) and for the spiritual welfare of this church. Scriptural precedent for such careful concern and inquiry is abundant (Acts 9:26-28; 20:28-32; Rom. 16:1-2). Why do Christians besmirch such a Bible-based practice?

Preachers have been told that Mt. Baker is that church that asks you all kinds of questions about what you teach on MDR. Is that a bad thing? With so much error on the topic being preached, accepted and justified, why wouldn’t every church ask questions of those who preach for them in order to assure their fellowship with the truth and not error?

What is taught, accepted and practiced concerning the gospel affects fellowship with God and with brethren (Gal. 2:9; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).

And that is the rub. You see, some brethren believe and teach that MDR (and a growing list of other moral issues) should not determine fellowship. Yet, it affects fellowship with God.

An adulterer is not in fellowship with God (Heb. 13:4; Gal. 5:19, 21). Jesus said, “whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery” (Matt. 19:9, ASV). One who violates Matthew 19:9 is not in fellowship with God.

We cannot have fellowship with adulterers because adulterers are not in fellowship with God (2 Jno. 9; 1 Cor. 5:11-13). Neither may we give our approval to men whose doctrine approves adulterous conduct (2 Jno. 10-11). Brethren who refuse to have fellowship with sin’s error should not be vilified (1 John 1:1-4; 2 John 9-11; Eph. 5:11). Unfortunately, that is Satan’s tactic to keep eyes blinded (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

My dear brother and sister in Christ, if you refuse to use God’s word to test your fellowship with Him on the moral issue of divorce and remarriage, what other moral issues will you refuse to test? Will you believe fellowship with God and men is unaffected by social drinking? What about lying or other immorality? (Eph. 4:25-5:14; 1 Pet. 4:1-4; Eph. 5:11)

Fellowship with God is based on one faithfully practicing the truth (1 Jno. 1:3-7; 2:3-6). The NT is the only true basis of fellowship with God, from which fellowship with each other results. Teaching and practicing error is sin, causing the forfeiture of fellowship with God. To be accepted by God we cannot extend fellowship to one whom God refuses fellowship. 


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

The Nature of Divine Revelation

Scripture Reading:   1 Corinthians 2:6-13

1. God has revealed His mind to mankind, Heb. 1:1-2; Eph. 3:3.
2. Revelation is necessary to know the mind of God, 1 Cor. 2:7-12.
3. The nature of God’s revelation assures us that our faith in it as the word of God is sound, 1 Ths. 2:13.


  A. God’s Revealed Word is Truth, Jno. 17:17 (18:38; 14:6); Gal. 1:11-12; Col. 1:5.
  B. God’s Revealed Word is Verbally Inspired, 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Matt. 10:16-20; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:12-13.
  C. God’s Revealed Word has been Miraculously Confirmed, 1 Cor. 2:4-5; Heb. 2:3-4 (Mk. 16:17-20); Acts 14:3.
  D. God’s Revealed Word is Adequate, 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; Jno. 16:13-15.
  E. God’s Revealed Word is Incorruptible, Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 2 Jno. 2.
  F. God’s Revealed Word is Once for all Delivered, Jude 3; cf. Heb. 7:27; 10:10; 1 Cor. 13:8-10; Jas. 1:25.
  G. God’s Revealed Word is Authoritative, Jno. 13:20 (Matt. 18:18); 10:35.
  H. God’s Word is Understandable, Eph. 3:3-4; Jno. 8:31-32; Col. 2:1-3.


  A. God’s Revealed Word is Powerful to Accomplish the Purposes of God, Heb. 4:12 (Jno. 16:8; Acts 2:37; Rom. 6:17-18; 1:16).

Conclusion  God’s revelation of truth restrains us from sin and strengthens our obedience, Prov. 29:18; Rom. 16:25-26.


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

The Necessity of Authority Bible Authority (2)

Scripture Reading:   Psalm 119:124-128

1. God has spoken to man (Heb. 1:1-2).
2. God has revealed Himself and will for mankind in His word, the Bible.
3. Why we need divine authority in our lives.


  -Denotes freedom of action and the power that approves the action, Matt. 21:23; Acts 1:7; cf. Jno. 1:12 (permission and the power to give that permission).


  A. Authority is Exercised and Submitted to Daily, Eph. 5:22-24; 6:1; Rom. 13:1-3; Eph. 6:5-9; Acts 22:3.
  B. Authority Exists and Must Be Submitted to in the Most Important Area of Life:  Salvation of the Soul, Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23; 5:24 (cf. the local church, Heb. 13:7, 17).


  A. Authority in Life is Necessary Due to the Nature of God, Acts 17:24-28; Psa. 115:3.
  B. Authority in Life is Necessary Due to the Nature and Needs of Man, Prov. 14:12.
  C. Authority in Life is Necessary because Reconciliation w/ God Impossible without it, Eph. 1:3-11; 1 Cor. 15:1-2 (Matt. 7:21).
  D. We Need an Objective Standard of Authority, Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:16, 20-21; Matt. 15:6-9.
  E. We Need a Standard of Authority that… Secures fellowship with God, unity with believers and heaven for the faithful, 1 Jno. 1:6-7; Jno. 17:20-21; 14:6.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

A Cup of Joe
Joe R. Price

I enjoy a good cup of coffee. Actually, I enjoy several cups throughout the day. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health links coffee to a lower risk of death. “‘The results offer some reassurance that it’s not a risk factor for future disease’, said study leader Neal Freedman, an epidemiologist with the National Cancer Institute.” (“Coffee linked to lower risk of death”, Finally, an admission of what coffee lovers knew all along; coffee is the elixir of life!

Okay. Well, the study does not say coffee helps you live longer. But, it showed coffee does not put one at a greater risk of death. All right, I get it. That means the coffee drinker is still going to die, it’s just that the coffee won’t kill him. (I can live with that!)

This got me thinking about the way we sometimes look at sin. We may conclude, through our convoluted reasoning and self-serving rationalization, that a little sin won’t hurt us – it certainly won’t kill us! (Sinning in moderation; now that’s the ticket! But, do you remember the serpent’s lie to Eve in Genesis 3:4?)

Thinking about sin this way is vain and deadly. All sin, whether overtly violating God’s will or failing to keep it, is destructive; “the wages of sin is death” (whether a little or a lot, Rom. 6:23; 1 Jno. 3:4; Jas. 5;17). “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10). No sin in any amount is good for you.

Sin presents itself to us as pleasurable (like that cup of Joe). But unlike coffee, sin produces death – eternal death. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Be careful! “Let no one deceive you with empty words” – God’s wrath will come upon all who sin and do not repent (Rom. 2:5-11).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  05/21/2012

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: