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


Volume 17, Number 51

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
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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:

Who We Are
Joe R. Price

"Watch your thoughts, for they become your words,
Choose your words, for they become your actions,
Understand your actions, for they become your habits,
Study your habits, for they become your character,
Develop your character for it becomes your destiny."

This anonymous verse outlines the essence of developing our character into the image of Christ (Col. 3:10).

Thoughts. We are created in the image of God, with the ability to think, to analyze and formulate concepts, and then to verbalize them. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" acknowledges that we are who we are because of what and how we think (Prov. 23:7).

Words. Thoughts become words that express what is in our hearts. The combining of thoughts and words forms our communication with others. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34). We cannot avoid this fundamental truth: Our speech identifies our character. So, "let your speech always be with grace" (Col. 4:6).

Actions. Our conduct does not occur in a vacuum. Our deeds give definition to what we say: "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 Jno. 3:18). Our actions give life to our words and demonstrate whether our words are genuine.

Habits. Any action regularly performed as one's normal routine is a habit. The gospel calls us to change our habits by arming ourselves with the mind of Christ and living "for the will of God" (1 Pet. 4:1-2). Let us set habits of faithfulness each day by maintaining holy thoughts, truthful words and obedient conduct.

Character. The essential qualities and attributes that define who we are (such things as our values, motives, goals, etc.) shape our choices throughout life. Our thoughts, words, actions and habits combine to mold us into who we are in the sight of men and in the sight of God. Our aim is summed up by Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).

Destiny. The result of a life lived by faith is eternal salvation (1 Pet. 1:4-9). Whatever we sow in life shall be reaped in eternity (Gal. 6:7-8). Therefore, choose godly thoughts, words, actions and habits. By doing so you will bear the image of Christ and prepare for the day when the Lord says to you, "well done, good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matt. 25:21). 


"Is There A Standard?"
Jarrod Jacobs

That’s your opinion.” “Who are you to tell me what to do?” “Who is to say _____ is right or wrong?” “I see nothing wrong with it.” Have we not heard or said such statements as these in the past? I am afraid we all have. The common theme in these statements is selfishness resulting in the abandonment of a standard of rule or authority in our lives.

This attitude is prevalent in our society. This is because many people either deny God’s existence (atheism), or they justify what they do by reasoning: “God wants it this way. He wants me to be happy.” Either extreme is spiritually fatal, and in either case, we have taken God off His throne and set ourselves up as king of our own lives! (A contradiction of Jer. 10:23.) Either extreme has the same effect. If we deny God’s existence, we have no objective standard for life. If we justify our actions based upon what we want, God is rendered impotent in our lives. In such a case, while some may profess faith in God’s existence, they allow Him no power, or control, or rule in their lives as He needs to have. This attitude has been with us for many years, and it leads to our ruin (Zeph. 1:12; Lk. 6:46).

An Objective Standard

Is there an objective standard for us in our daily lives? The answer is, “Yes.” Just as we have a standard in this nation to help us determine what is legal and illegal (the Constitution), so also we have a standard for our lives that has been given by God — His word, the Bible! In fact God’s standard transcends all others (Acts 5:29), for this standard is the one God will use to judge us one day (Jn. 12:48).

An Authoritative Standard

No man is a law unto himself. He is expected to comply with the revealed word of God. God’s word is inspired, with the ability to furnish us “completely to all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). In other words, if a word or deed is not authorized of God, then it is not a good work! Regardless of how many might say that they think it is a good work, it is not “good” unless God has authorized it within His word (Col. 3:17)!

A Living And Powerful Standard

Further, this same word is alive and powerful (Heb. 4:12). It can “pierce” through hearts and can “discern” even the “thoughts and intents of the heart.” No other book has this kind of power! In fact, Romans 1:16-17 reveals that God’s word has the power to save. This is true power — power to show folks the truth and to lead them to salvation before it is everlastingly too late. Yes, this is the standard. No other book reveals what is necessary to be saved.

A Wise Standard

This same word provides wisdom, and is itself wisdom. When we consider what David said about the word of God, we gain a greater appreciation of what it means to possess a book which produces wisdom. He said, “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:98-100). Friend, I do not care who you are, how many colleges you have attended, or the degrees you may hold. No one is truly educated if he does not have a knowledge of the Bible! Yes, there is a standard, and this standard is available to the “PhD”, to the “ditch-digger”, to the young, to the old, and everyone in-between. God’s word will make us all a better people, a people who are preparing for an eternity in Heaven.

A Productive Standard

God’s word is also called “seed” (Lk. 8:11). This seed, when allowed to germinate in the “honest and good heart” (Lk. 8:15) will produce good fruit. We can be saved from our sin, and then continue to live faithfully to God (Rev. 2:10). Jesus told His disciples to abide in Him so we can produce much fruit (Jn. 15:4-5). In the production of this fruit, we grow spiritually, and strengthen our relationship to God. By bearing spiritual fruit, we can lead others to Christ as well.


Yes, we have an objective standard in life, and we need to respect it and obey it. The standard is not our thoughts, or experiences; it is the revealed word of God! Yes, the will of the God of Heaven who loves us, who redeemed us, and who wants us to be in Heaven one day with Him for eternity. The question is will we accept that standard? Will we follow the standard and submit to it? Too many people are rejecting this standard for selfish interests. We will answer for that if we do not repent. Therefore, let us make sure that we do what the Lord says (Rev. 22:14). Follow the revealed word of God so that we may see Heaven one day.

-The Old Paths
May 10, 2015


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

Wisdom Cries Out

Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 8:1-7

1. God is the source of wisdom, Job 28:20-27.
2. Key word of Proverbs is wisdom, "the ability to live life skillfully", Prov. 1:1-4; Jas. 3:13.
3. Proverbs 8 personifies wisdom and her appeal to humanity. We are wise to hear and heed her call; fools despise wisdom. Prov. 4:7


  A. The Naive and Foolish Must Want to Hear Wise Counsel, Prov. 1:5; 8:17; 1:28-33; 2:10-11.
  B. Wisdom brings Understanding and Strength, 8:12, 14-16; Col. 2:3.


  A. Fear the Lord and Hate Evil, 8:13 (1:7; 9:10); Job 28:28; Psa. 111:10; Prov. 1:22, 29.
  B. Wisdom Uses Discretion (care) toward God and Men, 8:12; 3:21-26; Matt. 10:16.


  A. Understanding the Lord's Will develops Wisdom, Eph. 5:17; 1:7-9; Col. 1:9-10.
  B. Wisdom brings Bold Confidence in God's Truth, 2 Cor. 3:12; 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 4:20.

IV. WE MUST VALUE WISDOM TO BECOME WISE, 8:10-11 (18-21). Job 28:1-11.

  A. Devalue Our Wisdom and Magnify God's Wisdom, 1 Cor. 3:18-21.
  B. Why We Must Value Wisdom from Above, Prov. 8:22-35 (3:13-18) Matt. 7:24-25


  A. To Reject God's Wisdom is Sin against God and Oneself, Rom. 1:21-22.
  B. To Hate God's Wisdom is to Love Death. Prov. 1:32-33; Matt. 7:26-27.

"The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple", Psa. 19:7 (1 Cor. 1:18-25).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Symbols and Substance
Joe R. Price

The removal of the Confederate battle flag from state government grounds and facilities in the south picked up steam this week in the aftermath of the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, SC church. Major retailers are pulling the flag from their websites even as The New York Times reports the sale of Confederate flags has soared ( What are we to make of this?

First, God rejects and opposes racism and so should we. We all share "one blood" regardless of our race (Acts 17:26). To define people and discriminate on the basis of race offends the sensibility and decency of God's people. Holding bias toward others is sin: "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality" (Jas. 2:1). Truth-lovers reject racism.

Flying a flag, per se, is not sin. It is the symbolism attached to it that matters. Symbols can mean different things to different people. (To assign the single template of racial bigotry to every person who flies a Confederate flag reveals a bias that does not acknowledge this truth.) Also, the meaning of symbols change over time. The swastika was a positive symbol for millennia (it still is in Hinduism). Its use by the Nazis turned it into a symbol of hate. Our point is that we must look beyond symbols and get to the substance of the problem. The heart of the racist is the problem, not the flag he flies (just as the heart of the murderer is the problem, not the gun he uses). Most who fly the Confederate flag do not do so to advance racism. It is their symbol of southern heritage, pride and independence. Still, the historic link of this flag to slavery (the practical issue of states' rights that led to the civil war) is undeniable. What should we do? Ban every flag some see as offensive? Hardly.

The solution is to love God and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39). Christians "pursue things that make for peace and the things by which one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19). Our responsibility, as much as it depends on us, is to "live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:18).

Those who fear God live under His banner of truth: "You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Psa. 60:4). We must move beyond human symbols and achieve the godly substance of hearts and lives that fear God and love others. God's flag of truth under which we live demands it. The substance of truth must prevail over the perception of hate that may be attached to any physical object


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  06/28/2015

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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