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


Volume 16, Number 35

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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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:

Endings and Beginnings

Joe R. Price

     The end of the calendar year is a good time for reflection and resolution; for remembering and pledging to do better and be better in the coming year.

     It is right to evaluate where we are and where we are headed. The word of God says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5).

     Are you still living in sin? If so, now is the best time to put away your sin, obey Jesus in faith, and be saved. If you are not a Christian you are living in sin – you are walking in darkness (Jno. 8:12). It takes more than saying you are in fellowship with God; it takes practicing the truth of Christ Jesus (1 Jno. 1:6; Jno. 12:35; Jas. 1:22). Why are you waiting? End the darkness of sin in your life; become a Christian today (Acts 2:37-41; 22:16).

     Are you becoming a better husband or wife? If not, it is past time to start. We must improve ourselves as husbands and wives. Each person in marriage has a responsibility to the other – before God – to honor and serve one another (Eph. 5:22-29; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; 1 Cor. 5:3-5). Love is shown by actions of unselfish service and sacrifice in marriage as well as all other relationships (1 Jno. 3:16-18). Husbands and wives must not only say “I love you”, they must also show their love by how they treat each other.

     Are you doing the things you know will please God? Or, do you know God’s will for your life, but choose to do your own will instead? “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). Are you putting Christ and His will first in your life (Matt. 6:33)? Do pure thoughts fill your mind and come out of your mouth (Matt. 12:34-37)? Are you determined to do the will of God and no longer live for the lusts of the flesh (1 Pet. 4:1-2)?

     These are just a sample of the things to consider as we end 2013 and begin 2014. By the way, we must never forget that God is not defined by the ending of one year and the beginning of another; He inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15; 2 Pet. 3:8).

     For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) 

-Adapted and reprinted: The Spirit’s Sword (X:12), Dec. 31, 2006


Spiritual Exercise

Joe R. Price

With the New Year approaching, people will make resolutions about all sorts of things like losing weight, eating right, reading more, etc. One resolution often made at this time of year is to exercise more.

Resolutions help us set and define goals. Unfortunately, many (if not most) New Year’s resolutions last only a few days, a week or two, or maybe a couple of months. Something always seems to get in the way of keeping the resolution. Why is that? And, what can we do about it?

What is true of New Year’s resolutions is also true of our spiritual resolutions. We sing “I am Resolved”, but too often we live an “I am Undecided” life. We can all talk a great game, but the benefit of any resolution comes not from talking about it, but from actually doing it. James warned of being “hearers only” instead of being “doers of the word”, saying we must “lay aside all” forms of sin and continue to do God’s word (Jas. 1:21-25). This takes resolve. When it comes to God’s word, we must remember it is sinful to “say, and do not do” (Matt. 23:3; Jas. 4:17).

We fail to keep a resolution when we fail to make up our mind to keep it. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” is a call to make a resolution and keep it (Josh. 24:15). Both “choosing” and “serving” were required of Israel in order to please God.

What do you say we each resolve to exercise ourselves spiritually this year? Let us examine ourselves and honestly assess how we can improve ourselves as Christians (2 Cor. 13:5). In order to be a wise doer of the word, each Christian is commanded to “…exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

Resolve means “to make a definite and serious decision to do something” (Merriam-Webster). Once you prayerfully consider your spiritual health in the light of God’s word, resolve to practice the spiritual exercise you need in order to improve your spiritual health. What must you do to keep your resolution to “exercise yourself toward godliness”?

1. You must make up your mind to exercise. It helps that you know you need the exercise. That is why you must first examine your faith. The ability to make a decision and stick to it is a defining difference between knowing what one ought to do – and actually doing it. This decision began when we made up your mind to be a Christian, but it did not end there. Every day you must face and overcome temptations that are intended to weaken your resolve to be faithful and true to Christ.

But, knowing you need spiritual exercise will not help you get stronger. You must also desire the benefits of spiritual exercise. A full life now and eternal life to come are incentives for spiritual exercise (1 Tim. 4:8). Keep your eye on the goal. Live for it. Plan for it. Make up your mind to do whatever it takes to be faithful to Christ now so heaven is your forever home.

2. You must eat right for your spiritual exercise to help. A well-balanced diet is essential for your spiritual health. Just as the body needs the right kind of food to benefit from exercise, the soul must be fed the right kind of spiritual nutrition for spiritual exercise to be successful. Jesus is the “bread of God” who gives life to the world (Jno. 6:33-35). By coming to Him and believing in Him you will be nourished with the spiritual food of truth. The milk of the word will start you growing in Christ, and the meat of the word will help you mature as a Christian. Using God’s word in your life exercises your senses to know the difference between good and evil so you can choose what is right in God’s sight (Heb. 5:12-14; 1 Pet. 2:1-2).

3. Your spiritual exercise must be consistent for it to be effective. Just as regular exercise helps your body, regular spiritual exercise strengthens your faith. Be a “pattern of good works”, not a pattern of lukewarm spiritual commitment (Titus 2:7). To accomplish this regularity you must deny yourself everything that delays or destroys your faithful spiritual exercise. The apostle Paul disciplined his body in order to be spiritually strong (1 Cor. 9:27). Like Paul, you must deny the temptations to be distracted from your faithfulness (Lk. 9:23).

4. Turn your resolution into action. When you resolve to engage in spiritual exercise, work toward definable, achievable goals. Set a routine that becomes a habit that becomes a way of life. Whether it is more prayer, Bible study, faithfully attending worship, moral purity, teaching someone the gospel, greater kindness, etc. – start doing and keep at it.

What resolution  is more important than the decision to exercise yourself toward greater godliness every day? 


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

Take Heed Lest You Fall

Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 10:5-13

1. The possibility of falling away from God is a real threat to every child of God, 1 Cor. 10:12.
2. Israel’s history warns us.

I. ISRAEL IS OUR EXAMPLE, 1 Cor. 10:1-11.

  A. Of Our Relationship with God, 1 Cor. 10:2; Gal. 3:27.
  B. As God’s Chosen People, Exo. 19:5-6; Psa. 135:4; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.
  C. Israel’s Unbelief, Heb. 3:15-19.
  D. Therefore, Take Heed Lest You Fall, 10:12; Matt. 3:8-9; Psa. 106:13-15, 19-22, 24-25; Psa. 106:26-27; Num. 14:26-35.
  -What About Christians? 2 Cor. 13:5; Heb. 3:12-13 (4:12)


  -We can Deceive Ourselves that our Faith is Stronger than it is...
  A. By Equating Men’s Estimation of our Faithfulness with God’s Approval, Lk. 6:26; Rev. 3:1.
  B. By Minimizing the Corrupting Effect of Evil Companions, 1 Cor. 15:33; Exo. 23:2; Num. 25:1-2; 31:16; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; Jas. 4:4.
  C. By becoming Spiritually Complacent, Neglectful and Apathetic, Rev. 3:17; Rom. 12:11 (Jas. 4:17).
  D. By Thinking we are Above Temptation and Sin, Jas. 1:12-16; 1 Pet. 5:8; Prov. 16:18.
  E. By Relying on our Past Faithfulness, 1 Tim. 6:12 (Eph. 6:10-13); Phil. 3:12-14.
  F. By Equating Believing with Obeying, Lk. 6:46; Jas. 2:14-20; Gal. 5:5-6.

Conclusion – Israel’s fall is our warning.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Frozen in Place
Joe R. Price

A Russian-operated ship with over 70 souls on board has been frozen in an ice-flow off the coast of Antarctica since Christmas Day. A Chinese ice-breaker, The Snow Dragon, failed to reach the stranded ship due to heavy ice. There are plenty of supplies onboard for the Australian scientists, explorers and tourists, but the timing of their rescue and how it will occur is uncertain at this time.

     Being frozen in place illustrates the result of a faltering and failed faith. For example, as the three and one-half year famine was almost over, the prophet Elijah challenged the children of Israel at Mt. Carmel with words of rebuke for their indecisiveness: “‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow Him.’ But the people answered him not a word” (1 Kgs. 18:21). They were frozen in place; faithless, doubting and bewildered. They were unwilling to make a choice and take a stand of faith. Perhaps they feared King Ahab. Perhaps they had simply lost hope due to the famine that gripped the land. One thing is clear: they had lost faith in the true God; false gods filled their land.

     Serving others gods rather than the true God causes spiritual death. There is no spiritual life – no spiritual movement – as long as one serves other gods (like materialism, false religions, fleshly lusts, immorality). Repentance must occur to begin living by faith instead of being stranded in sin.

     Venturing near danger ensnares us. Christians must not defend sin, excuse sin or try to live close to it. We must flee from all sin and its lusts (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). Sin deceives and corrupts. It renders one lifeless; frozen in the grip of spiritual death. Do not “sail your ship” near sin; take a wide berth and avoid its eternal danger – death (Rom. 6:23). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  12/29/2013

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