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


Volume 15, Number 41

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:

With the Wild Beasts

Joe R. Price

     The gospel of Mark tells us Jesus was “with the wild beasts” in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan (Mk. 1:13). While Jesus faced the fiercest of spiritual foes he was in close proximity to dangerous animals.

     As Creator, the Lord knows his creatures better than anyone else (Gen. 1:24-25; Jno. 1:3). Prophetically, David described the suffering of the Messiah as “the congregation of the wicked” encircled him like “strong bulls” and “dogs” (Psa. 22:12-13, 16). Christ and his apostles often figuratively used animals to teach important gospel lessons. Consider some of the animals Christ used to teach the gospel.

     “That serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan” (Rev. 12:9). As the serpent deceived Eve, Satan uses his craftiness to lure the unsuspecting into sin (2 Cor. 11:3). Like a roaring lion, Satan stalked Jesus for forty days in the wilderness (and throughout his life), but Jesus withstood every temptation (1 Pet. 5:8; Jno. 14:30; Heb. 4:15). We must be sober and watchful in order to resist this wild and evil beast (1 Pet. 5:8-9).

     “That fox”. Jesus described Herod as a fox in Luke 13:32. He knew the cunning and cowardice of the man who had beheaded John rather than protect an innocent man. This teaches us an important lesson: Jesus knows the real character of men. The Lord knows the hearts of all – none escape his sight (Mk. 3:5; Acts 1:24; Heb. 4:13). Cunning craftiness will not protect sinners in the day of the Lord (Rom. 2:16).

     Dogs and swine. Jesus did not use domesticated dogs to illustrate and emphasize spiritual lessons (see Matt. 15:26; Lk. 16:21). The dogs he spoke of were scavengers, running in packs to prey upon the weak while searching for carrion (cf. Exo. 22:31; 1 Kgs. 21:23-24; 22:38; 2 Kgs. 9:36-37). Dogs were synonymous with filth, uncleanness, danger and death. Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs…lest they…turn and tear you in pieces – an undeniable warning against unholy people who would harm those who value truth and honor righteous living (Matt. 7:6). We must use good judgment to discern when someone is in fact a “dog” who rejects the gospel through unrighteous living and false teaching. The apostle Paul warned the Philippians of such dogs – two-legged creatures who prey on the souls of men and women through immorality and false doctrine (Phil. 3:2-3). We must heed the divine warnings against these “dogs” lest they set upon us and consume us. And, we must be careful lest we become “dogs” who will not enter heaven (Gal. 5:15; Rev. 22:15).

     Swine were unclean animals to Jews who lived under the Law of Moses (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8). The New Testament mentions herds of swine in the Gentile regions of Galilee (Mk. 5:1, 11-17). The prodigal son found himself in such despair that he not only fed the swine but longed to be able to eat their food (Lk. 15:16). Swine can be fierce, quick and ill-tempered, as anyone who has hunted feral hogs can attest (cf. Mk. 5:13).

     Jesus warns us not to “cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet” (Matt. 7:6). Swine neither recognize nor regard the value of pearls as they forage for acorns; how much less a stampeding herd of hogs! Jesus says there are people who treat the truth and truth-followers that way. They do not value truth; they rail against it. We can avoid needlessly exposing ourselves to spiritual danger by discerning the traits of swine in those who couldn’t care less for the gospel.

     Sheep and wolves. The relationship of God with his people is often likened to that of a shepherd and his sheep (Psa. 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34; Jno. 10:1-29; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25). As sheep know their shepherd’s voice and follow him, disciples of Christ have salvation and safety by hearing and following him (Jno. 10:4-6, 9, 14, 27-28).

     Jesus prepared his apostles with this warning, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. 10:16). Jesus urged them to “endure to the end”, assuring them of the Spirit’s presence and inspiration in their moments of trial (Matt. 10:17-22).

     The Lord warns us of false prophets “who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). We can and must identify those who falsely claim God’s truth but whose teaching bears corrupt fruit (Matt. 7:16, 21-23). Such wolves can arise within an eldership as well as enter a church from outside: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30). Just as one in the wilderness is on guard against hungry wolves, we must constantly be watchful for false teachers who devour souls with their error (Acts 20:31; Rom. 16:17-18).

     Serpents and doves. The prophets as well as Christ portray the wicked as poisonous snakes (Psa. 58:3-4; Matt. 3:7; 23:33; Rom. 3:13). While the deadly nature of snakes is well known, Christ also used the snake’s cautiousness to teach his apostles to be “wise as serpents” (Matt. 10:16). When battling the devil prudent discretion and shrewdness are assets (cf. Paul, Acts 23:6-10).

     Being wise (prudent) as serpents is not a license for sin. Disciples must be “harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). “The wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful expedients to escape it” (Jamison, Fausset and Brown). Even so, our lives must combine wisdom and innocence to not compromise with sin.

     Brute beasts. False teachers are thus described and will perish in their corruption (2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 10). Both his character and the content of his teaching identify such “beasts” (2 Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 3-4). Such beasts must be fought against, and in Christ, they will be defeated (1 Cor. 15:32; 2 Pet. 2:9-11).

     Are you a fox, dog, pig, wolf, snake or brute beast? Or, are you a sheep and a dove? Christ knows. The first disobey Christ and hinder Christians. The second serve Christ in the purity of innocent faith. The choice is yours. 


Happy New Year - 2013

Joe R. Price

H ear God’s Word.................Romans 10:17

A nswer God’s call..............Matthew 11:28

P ardon Receive..............................Acts 2:38

P eace Possessed..................Romans 15:33

Y ield to God..............................Romans 6:13


N o Condemnation....................Romans 8:1

E ternal Life is a Gift…………Romans 6:23

W alk Uprightly......................Ephesians 5:2


Y outh is the time for service....Eccl. 12:1

E arly seek God............................Psalm 63:1

A ttend to God’s word…………...Psalm 1:2

R ejoice in the Lord……….Philippians 4:4


By now the New Year’s parties and parades are over and possibly, the resolutions made for 2013. If you resolved to follow Christ more fully and more faithfully in 2013, let me encourage you to press on. The dawn of each day brings us great blessings and great opportunities. Each day is a gift from God to use to His glory (Jas. 1:17). Although each day has its own share of troubles, by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, each day brings the blessed assurance of God’s overriding care and provisions (Matt. 6:25-34). God will keep His word to us and bless us in his Son. Remember in 2013 that God never forgets you, so never forget Him. Happy New Year! -Joe


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

Why Some Christians Keep Living in Sin (Part 2)

Scripture Reading:  John 15:1-8

1. Review: A Christian can fall away and be lost, Lk. 8:13; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:4-6.
2. Why do some Christians fall away and remain in sin? What are we to do?

I. Heb. 10:26-27: DUE TO WILLFUL SIN.

  A. Sin is not Forced Upon Us; Sin is the Result of Evil Thoughts of the Heart being Put into Action, Mk. 7:21-23; Jas. 1:14-15.
    -This is irreverence toward God, 10:31 (12:29).

  B. What Are We to Do?
    1. Church discipline, 1 Cor. 5:5.
    2. Individual withdrawal, 2 Ths. 3:6, 14-15.
      a. No ongoing fellowship, Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:9.
      b. Make opportunities to call the sinner to repentance, Lk. 15:4, 17-24.
      c. Do not be arrogant, Rom. 11:20.


  A. Having Previously Escaped the Contamination of the World, They are Again Entangled and Overcome, Eph. 5:8-12; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:4; Matt. 12:43-45.
  B. What Are We to Do?
    1. Identify those who lead saved ones into sin, 2 Pet. 2:18-19, 1-3; 2 Tim. 2:16-18.
    2. Pull them out of the fire! Jude 22-23
    3. Careful not to become defiled, Jude 23.


1. Christians fall away and keep living in sin due to unbelief, a failure to grow, willful sin and worldly entanglements.
2. We must remain diligent and helpful.


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

The Church: The Fullness of Christ (Ephesians 1)

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 1:3-10

1. The church is vitally important, Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; 3:10-11; 3:21.
2. Denominationalism, individualism and worldliness reject NT teaching of the church.
3. Ephesians: The glorious church.
4. The church of Christ is the fullness of Christ, Eph. 1:22-23.


  A. All Spiritual Blessings are “in Christ”, 1:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27; Acts 2:47.

  B. All Spiritual Blessings are in “Heavenly Places” in Christ, 1:3, 20; 2:6; 6:12.

  C. A Summary of the Blessings in Christ (His Church), 1:4-14.
    1. Chosen (1:4). Acts 2:21; 10:34-35
    2. Predestined (foreordained) to adoption, 1:5. Gal. 3:26-29; 1 Jno. 3:1
    3. Grace is abundantly given, 1:6-8.
    4. Redemption through His blood, 1:7. Rom. 6:3; Acts 22:16
    5. Revelation of divine purposes, 1:9-10. Col. 1:27-28
    6. Obtain an inheritance, 1:11. Acts 20:32
    7. Sealed with the Holy Spirit, 1:13-14. Rom. 8:16-17


  A. Understanding the Will of Christ is Vital to Faithfulness, 1:17-19.

  B. The Power of God in Our Lives is the Power that...
    1. Raised and exalted Christ, 1:20.
    2. Gave Christ all authority, 1:21-22.
    3. Gives all blessings to the church, 1:23 (3).
    4. We have the power of God, 1:19; 3:16-17.


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  01/06/2013

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: