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


Volume 15, Number 18

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

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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

The Day is at Hand
Joe R. Price

   The approaching evening implies rest from labor. The work day over; the calm of night offers its promise of peaceful rest.

     Yet, the night does not always bring rest. Whether it is physical ailments, emotional distress or spiritual burdens, many things rob us of a restful night’s sleep. For example, Job knew this from firsthand experience: “And now my soul is poured out because of my plight; The days of affliction take hold of me. My bones are pierced in me at night, and my gnawing pains take no rest” (Job 30:16-17).

     As darkness gives way to dawn the night is “far spent” and we arise to a new day’s work. With this in mind the apostle exhorts us to meet the responsibilities of faith.

     The day of Christ’s return approaches. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). A spiritual awakening is needed today as then; a time of personal renewal and devotion to faithfulness (Rom. 12:1-2). Christians who go to sleep instead of living for Christ have forgotten the promise of the Lord’s return. The “praise, honor and glory” to be obtained when Christ returns compels us to live faithfully, willing to have our faith purified in the crucible of trials (1 Pet. 1:6-9). Whatever is presently challenging your faith can be overcome by faith in Christ; He will not fail you (Rom. 8:31-39; Heb. 13:5-6; 1 Jno. 5:4). Christian, wake up and meet the challenge!

     The day of spiritual purity is here. Paul added, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). Having “died to sin” we choose to no longer live in it (Rom. 6:1-2, 6-7). Sin is dark and loves the darkness (Jno. 3:19-21; Eph. 4:17-19). Christians must clean up our lives by repenting of sin and wearing the armor of light. Christian, walk decently in this dark world of sin (Rom. 13:12-13; Eph. 4:1; 5:1-7)!

     The day of spiritual growth is here (Rom. 13:14). “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts”. We must grow up in Christ and refuse the lusts of the flesh. Now is the time to live what we have learned from Christ and put off the corruption of sin and fight the devil by withstanding temptation (Eph. 4:20-24). Christian, use God’s ways of escape and so stand with Christ now and in the last day (1 Cor. 10:12-13; Eph. 6:10-13)!


Trusting Christ's Promise
Joe R. Price

Jesus summarized a lengthy statement on laying up treasure in heaven in Matthew 6:33-34. He assured His disciples and the multitude that 1) Our heart is where our treasure is (6:19-21), 2) No one can serve two masters without compromise (6:22-24), and 3) A servant of God refuses to be anxious for the cares of this life (6:25-32). Being distracted by the cares of this world expresses little faith in God’s ability to know and provide our needs.

Christ’s summary includes a promise that disciples should take to heart and by which we must live:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:33-34)

Christ urges us to know that when our fundamental priority is the pursuit of the rule and reign of God over us and a life of righteous living, our heavenly Father will provide our material needs.

Seeking first the kingdom of God implies a conversion to Christ. Conversion to Christ means becoming and remaining a disciple of the Lord (Rom. 12:2; Gal. 2:20). When one obeys the gospel in faith and becomes a Christian he is saved from his past sins and voluntarily submits his will to the will of God.

Seeking first the righteousness of God means living by faith and conducting ourselves in ways that are consistent with the gospel of Christ. God’s grace teaches us to deny worldly lusts and to live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present age” (Tit. 2:11-12). Instruction for righteous living is available to us in the inspired Scriptures, so we studiously learn from them in order to be approved to God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2:15). As disciples of Jesus we must live in harmony with truth; that must be our priority in life.

No one said this would be easy. Jesus said it requires self-denial, sacrifice and commitment (Lk. 9:23). It is important here to understand what it means not to be “anxious” (Matt. 6:25-34). Doesn’t the Bible say we are to provide for our own and to work with our hands (1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Ths. 4:11)? Why then does Jesus say “take no thought for” (KJV; “do not worry about”, NKJV) such things as what you will eat, drink or wear (Matt. 6:25)? Jesus did not contradict what the Holy Spirit later revealed through His apostles. To be “anxious” over such things is to “have a distracting care” (Vine). Jesus warns against being distracted from our task of laying up treasures in heaven and serving God (Matt. 6:19-23). By placing undue stress upon the cares of this world we become distracted or “anxious”. We try to serve two masters, which is impossible (Matt. 6:24). Having a greater desire and interest in pursuing earthly goals distracts us from obeying God. Consequently, we are not trusting God to provide; we trust in ourselves  (Matt. 6:30-32).

How do we overcome the temptation to put other things ahead of obeying Christ? Jesus teaches that as His disciples we must...

     1) Develop singleness of heart (Matt. 6:22-24). That is, we must make up our mind to obey Christ, come what may.

     2) Trust Christ to keep His promise (Matt. 6:33). Have faith; He promised to sustain us - not make us rich or give us all the comforts of life. We must learn the difference. 

     3) Do not let tomorrow’s uncertainties distract you from obeying Christ today (Matt. 6:34). Obey Him with all your heart and soul. If the Lord wills we shall live another day (Jas. 4:15). And on that day the Lord gives you – just like today – seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

We can apply Matthew 6:33 to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness in many ways, including the following:

     1) Regularly attend worship and enthusiastically participate in the worship of God (Jno. 4:23-24; Heb. 10:24-25; Psa. 122:1; 1 Cor. 14:26).

     2) Give purposely and liberally (2 Cor. 9:6-7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

     3) Study God’s word regularly (2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:15).

     4) Be a zealous worker for Christ (1 Cor. 15:58; Rom. 12:11).

     5) Make time to pray (Eph. 5:16; 1 Ths. 5:17).

     6) Tell someone the good news of Christ (Acts 8:4).

     7) Live a morally pure and holy life (1 Pet. 1:15-16).

May our faith increase without distraction from the world to fulfill our calling: to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33; Eph. 4:1). If we will do this, all we need in life will be granted us. That is what Jesus promised. Will we trust His word? Will we have faith? If so, then we are living by faith and living for heaven (Phil. 3:7-11).

-Revised and reprinted, The Spirit’s Sword, X:27, Sept. 30, 2001


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

A Time to Hate

Scripture Reading:   Psalms 139:18-24

1. Taught from childhood not to hate others -- Even enemies (Lk. 6:27-28; Matt. 5:43-44). Yet... Eccl. 3:8. “Set against”, hence, to set oneself against; Lk. 14:26; Prov. 6:16; Psa. 139:21-24.
2. Hate: "To hate (personally): -enemy, foe, ...odious" (Strong's H&G Dict.,119); Prov. 3:32; 11:20; Heb. 1:9.
3. Sin is loathsome, detestable, reprehensible and repulsive to God (Hab. 1:13); 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rom. 12:9. Must be to us, too.

I. OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN MUST BE LIKE GOD'S, Psa. 97:10; 119:104; 139:20-24

  A. Fear of God is Lacking when we do not Hate Sin, Prov. 8:13 (cf. Acts 10:35).
  B. Our Hatred of Sin Reveals Itself in our Conduct, Jer. 44:4-5.
  C. We must have a Corresponding Love for what is Good, Amos 5:14-15; Rom.12:9.


  A. A True Commitment not to Love the World, 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; 1 Pet. 4:1-5.
  B. Refuse Fellowship with Error (sin), Psa. 26:1-5; Eph. 5:7-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18.
  C. A Genuine Aversion to Sin, Psa. 101: 3-4; 31:6; Gal. 2:4-5; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 4:2; Jude 3.


1. Some will say this lesson is hateful and negative; too narrow, too strict, too judgmental.
2. But, like God, we are to have no friendship with and take no delight in sin - in any of its forms.
3. Like God, there is a "time to hate" (Eccl. 3:8).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Baptists Clash over Calvinism
Joe R. Price

Southern Baptists are convulsing as a push by New Calvinists in their ranks is being answered with a counterpunch by non-Calvinists. “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” affirms traditional Southern Baptist beliefs on the doctrine of salvation while denying Calvinist views. Most Southern Baptists are not theological Calvinists, but change is taking place: “…16 percent of Southern Baptist pastors say they are five-point Calvinists, up from 10 percent in 2006”. Bryant Wright, the outgoing President of the Southern Baptist Convention called for a cease-fire, urging unity in diversity: “Let us understand that these two views on election and salvation can co-exist as long as we stay Christ-centered and biblically-based in our theology” (“Outgoing SBC Head Calls on Southern Baptists to Repent of Theological Idolatry”,

     Why should Southern Baptist infighting over Calvinism interest us? Well, God’s people have typically followed the path of the denominations (cf. 1 Sam. 8). Churches of Christ are not free from the influences of Calvinism. The effects of the 1970’s grace-unity heresy (with its gospel-doctrine distinction, unity in diversity, etc.) are still among us. The equating of careful obedience with perfectionism, the mantra to “preach Christ not the church” and the minimizing of doctrinal error while maximizing grace – all these and more are traceable in part to Calvinism’s influence among us. We would do well to revisit this topic in order to be Biblically grounded against its destructive doctrines concerning God, man, sin and salvation (2 Tim. 2:15; Tit. 2:11-12; Gal. 1:6-10; 5:1-7; Jude 3-4).

     For more study on Calvinism let me recommend Neo-Calvinism in the Church of Christ (Tom Roberts, editor, Cogdill Foundation), Set for the Defense, Thomas O’Neal, and the websites of Truth Magazine and Watchman Magazine (search “Calvinism”).


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  06/24/2012

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