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


Volume 16, Number 29

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:

Sins of Omission

Joe R. Price

     James 4:17 says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” The context indicates that the “good” of which he speaks is the Lord’s will (Jas. 4:13-15). To live without ordering one’s life after the Lord’s will is sin against Almighty God. What the Lord commands us is “good”, and the very existence of His commandment obligates us to obey (Matt. 7:21-23). To omit the stated will of God from our life brings sin into our life.

     At times we hear folks comment on the Lord’s will by saying, “I can’t do that! God shouldn’t expect me to do what I can’t do!” But, the Lord does not expect of you anything that you are not able to do (2 Cor. 8:12). The One who knows our hearts expects to find in our hearts a willingness to do all that we are able to do. Even the one talent man was blessed with some ability – and his master expected him to use it (Matt. 25:15, 24-27).

     A part of spiritual growth is the increase of one’s spiritual capabilities. An adult can do many things that are beyond the ability of an infant. So it is in spiritual matters. The New Testament affirms that the spiritually mature have the capacity for greater service. They are held responsible for that service (Heb. 5:12-14; Jas. 3:1).

     Every Christian is expected to learn the Scriptures and apply God’s will to his life (2 Tim. 2:15; Matt. 7:21-27; 2 Pet. 3:18). The Bible warns against sins of ignorance (Lev. 5:17-19). We will not be able to plead “I didn’t know!” before the judgment seat of Christ. He has fully revealed His will and it is constantly available to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Instead of seeking comfort in ignorance, it is to our eternal advantage to “understand what the will of the Lord is” and do it (Eph. 5:17).

     Here are a few Scriptures that illustrate sins of omission (Jas. 4:17):

   1) Luke 10:30-37: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite sinned by not doing what they knew to be good and right. They sinned by failing to love their neighbor.

   2) Matthew 25:24-30: The man who received one talent from his master knew he was responsible for using it, but he chose to bury it instead of using it for his master’s profit. He knew to do good, but he did not do it. He sinned against his master and was cast into punishment.

   3) Matthew 25:41-46: Jesus warned that many will be delivered to everlasting fire because they failed to do what was right toward their brethren.

     Life is brief and uncertain. It is “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (Jas. 4:14-15). We must remember never to omit the Lord’s will from our lives. Every God-given responsibility is “good.”  We must “do” them. If we do not, we sin (Jas. 4:17). 


Election and Free Will

Joe R. Price

The Bible teaches both the free will of man and God’s election or predestination. The creeds and doctrines of men have misdefined these Biblical concepts, leaving an impression there is a conflict between the two. The “whole counsel of God” reveals the harmony of truth between God’s election and man’s free will (Acts 20:27; Gal. 1:6-10).

Many teach people either have no free will (fatalism) or limited amounts of it. The Bible teaches every person with moral capacity has the freedom of will to choose whether or not to obey God (Rom. 7:7-12).

God has elected (predestined or set in place) to save “whoever fears Him and works righteousness” (Acts 10:34-35). Before the world was created, God predestined that sinners would be saved “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3-4, 7-12). God set in place the plan of human redemption (Eph. 3:10-11).

God also determined human beings would have freewill; the ability to choose whether or not to obey God (Gen. 3:1-6; Josh. 24:15; Matt. 11:28). With free will comes responsibility for our choices (2 Cor. 5:10).

God did not predestine the man (which individuals are saved and which individuals are lost). God predestined the plan (how men are saved). “Whoever” fears God and works righteousness will be accepted by God (Acts 10:34-35; see also, Eph. 1:3-12; Rom. 8:28-30; 10:9-17).

Still, some refuse to accept the truth about predestination and free will. They believe if a person has not been personally selected for eternal life (they call this God’s election), then he is eternally damned. They tell us there is nothing he can do about it. But that is not what the Scriptures teach. God has chosen to save a particular group or class of people: those who are “in Christ’. It is now up to each person to choose to be a part of God’s elect by believing and obeying Christ (Acts 10:35; 13:48; Gal. 3:26-27; Titus 1:1).

We may illustrate it this way: When school begins a teacher tells his students that some in his class will pass and some will fail. He describes to them the things necessary in order to pass the class. Just as the teacher had said, at the end of the school year some passed and some failed. The teacher predetermined the outcome before the class began by giving the criteria for success. But, that did not mean the teacher selected which individual students would pass or fail (regardless of anything they did in the class). It was up to each student to decide whether or not to be in the passing group or the failing group. If a student fulfilled his responsibility, he passed the class. Similarly, God has elected (chosen) to save all who are “in Christ”. Now, it is up to each person to choose to be in Christ. A sinner chooses to be “in Christ” by exercising his free will and following Christ (by believing, confessing faith, repenting and being baptized, Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:37-41; Gal. 3:26-27). He is saved, and numbered among God’s elect (Acts 2:47; 1 Pet. 1:1-2).

God’s part in our salvation is His grace, the plan of redemption accomplished in the death of Christ (Eph. 1:4-6). Man’s part is faith in Christ (Jas. 2:14-26; Heb. 11:6). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” (Eph. 2:8) We have free will to chose to be counted among God’s elect. 


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

Militant Christians

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 10:34-39

1. Militant: “Engaged in warfare or combat… aggressively active (as in a cause)” (Webster).
2. Bible says, “Fight the good fight of faith,” 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7-8; 1 Tim. 6:14.
3. Phinehas, Num. 25:1-12 (11), 8; Jesus, Jno. 2:13-17.
4. Genuine faith, alert, watchful, Eph. 5:15.

I.  Be militant in obeying (applying) truth, Heb. 5:11-14; Jas. 1:21-22; 1 Jno. 2:3-6 (Phil. 2:12).

  a. In growth, Heb. 5:11-14; 6:3.
  b. In teaching, Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21.
  c. In moral living, 1 Cor. 15:33-34; Matt. 5:13-16; Rom. 13:13-14.

II.  Be militant in contending for the faith, Jude 3; 1 Cor. 16:8-9; 15:32; 1 Tim. 6:12 (Eph. 6:12); 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (Jno. 8:31-32); 2 Cor. 11:3; 2 Tim. 2:14-15, 23-26.

III.  Be militant in resisting the devil, Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:3-4.

  a. Give no place, Eph. 4:27; 6:13.
  b. Requires priority of faith, Dan. 3:17-18.
  c. Do not “put up with” sin and error or promoters, 2 Cor. 11:3-4, 16-20 (19-20).

IV.  Be militant in standing in the faith, 1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10-13, 14-17; 2 Ths. 2:15.

  a. Stand your ground, Rom. 8:31, 37.
  b. Steadfast in the faith, Col. 2:5-7; 1 Cor. 15:58 (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3-5).
  c. Be strong and take courage in the strength of the Lord, Eph. 6:10.

1. Good to always be zealous for what is right, Gal. 4:18.
2. We must militantly (aggressively) obey the truth, 2 Cor. 10:3-6. (1 Cor. 16:12-13)


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

Is it a Church of Christ?

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 16:13-18

1. A distressing trend has emerged among churches of Christ; more and more have removed or minimized “Christ” from their mode of identification.
2. Trend away from “church of Christ hastens the obscurity of God’s people instead of promoting our exclusive identity with Christ.
3. Out with the old “Church of Christ” and in with the New “Church”.


  A. Identification Requires Recognition.
  B. Church of Christ: Descriptive Term of Possession, Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16.
  C. No Name Churches of Christ.
    1. Why is Christ’s name removed from identifying His church?
    2. What scriptural reasons exist for erasing the name of Christ from how a church identifies itself? 1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 3:17


  A. Is it a church of Christ (“a church that belongs to Jesus Christ”) when…

   *   It does not wear His name? Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2 (cf. a bride, a family) Not identified with Jesus
   It does not speak of itself as His church? Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23
   It does not glory in His name? Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:16
   It does not distinguish itself from the churches of men? 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 28:22
   It tries to be non-confrontational by identifying itself as a “church” and not a “church of Christ”? Rom. 16:16; Mk. 8:38
*   It markets itself to the world instead of preaching the gospel to the world? Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Ths. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 4:2-4


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Come to the Table
Joe R. Price

The politicians squabble and the innocent suffer. That’s not new or particularly newsworthy. We are beginning to see signs of talking among the politicians in Washington over the government shutdown, debt-ceiling and associated issues. Calls to “come to the table” may finally start to be honored.

To come to the table can mean different things. In this context it means to have a conversation and/or negotiation about the affairs of the nation. Communication is vital to resolving differences, and Christians should be good listeners and good talkers (Jas. 1:19).

God urged Israel to “come now, and let us reason together” about her sins (Isa. 1:18). The Lord would forgive her and bless her if Israel would put away her evil by being “willing and obedient” (Isa. 1:16-19). But if she refused, she would be punished (Isa. 1:20). God knows our sins. Better to “come to the table” and lay them before the Lord to obtain His mercy, than to obstinately reject His grace (Matt. 11:28-30; Acts 2:38-41; 1 Jno. 1:9).

When I was a little boy, “come to the table” had another meaning. It meant it was suppertime – the food was ready – it was time to eat. I remember my brother and me begging for more time to play outside, but Mom would have none of it. The food had been prepared; it was time to come to the table and eat! Jesus likened redemption to a great supper ready for consumption in Luke 14:15-24. The invited guests made excuses why they could not “come to the table” of God’s kingdom. Great blessings are forfeited when you refuse the gospel. “Come to the table” the Lord has prepared. Refreshed and strengthen your soul with the spiritual nourishment of forgiveness and fellowship with God and His people.

Come to the table” for the eternal blessings God. 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  10/14/2013

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: