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


Volume 18, Number 01

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

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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:

The Growth of the Local Church
Joe R. Price

The church in Jerusalem experienced amazing growth after its inception on Pentecost (Acts 2). The number of disciples grew from about three thousand souls to about five thousand men, to "multitudes of both men and women" (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14). They did not allow the obstacles of displacement from their homes, threats, complaints and even sin in the church to prevent their growth in spirit and in number.

In a day when churches place great emphasis on "growing numbers" by various man-made ways and means (the social gospel, the "feel-good" gospel, etc.), the Jerusalem church teaches us lessons about what leads to God-pleasing church growth.

1. The church grew because people gladly received the word of God (Acts 2:41). The church of Christ is composed of men and women who yearn for the word of God and obey it, and are saved (Acts 2:47). God-honoring growth (spiritual and numerical) occurs when hearts readily receive the word of God. Lives change when hearts receive God's word; sins are repented of and sinners are baptized for the remission of sins. When a church is filled up with people who do not gladly receive the word of God, its growth only honors men, not God. All such souls remain lost in sin.

2. The church grew because Christians continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). The Jerusalem church was united in the apostles' teaching concerning worship (v. 42), reverent living (v. 43) and mutual care for one another (v. 44-45). The apostles continued to preach the word in the face of growing hostilities from the Jewish leaders (Acts 4:17-21). Like this first congregation of disciples, we must be united in purpose and unwavering in our commitment to follow the apostolic doctrine.

3. The church grew because they continued to live faithfully (Acts 2:46-47). Worship was an integral part of their lives, not an inconvenience or the first casualty whenever something else came up (v. 46). Their interaction with fellow Christians caused other people to admire them (v. 47). A church that does not make time to worship God and to share life together will not grow in the Lord.

The Jerusalem church was not perfect. But, when spiritual problems arose they immediately addressed them by following the apostles' teaching (Acts 5, 6). Those problems did not stifle their growth. In fact, their faithful resolution turned out to produce more growth (Acts 5:14; 6:7). Doing God's work in God's way bears good fruit (Eph. 4:11-16).

Numbers for the sake of numbers do not honor God, but men. God will continue to give the increase, but we must plant and water (1 Cor. 3:6). The growth that follows belongs to the Lord, not us. 


Is There Not A Cause?
Joe R. Price

The giant's incredible size loomed over the valley as he hurled his insults toward the armies of Israel. He was a champion among the Philistine warriors, and everyone knew why: he was huge! Several feet taller than the average man, no one could hope to survive hand to hand combat with Goliath of Gath. No one, that is, except a youngster named David. Armed with faith in God, David displayed remarkable courage as he first challenged then defeated this giant of a man. His confrontation with Goliath is a truly remarkable display of faith, courage, conviction, and the victory God gives those who rely upon Him (Read 1 Samuel 17).

David's brothers scolded him when they heard of his proposal to fight Goliath. David's response: "Is there not a cause?" (1 Sam. 17:29). His declaration reminds us that even today there are many giants which defy the army of the living God. Causes still exist which move the faithful to action. We are in the Lord's army, and we must, in faith, be ready to fight His foes (Eph. 6:10-18). When the enemy seems much too large for us to battle, our faith must be strongly anchored in the power and truth of God. God assures victory to His people in Christ (Rev. 11:15; 17:14).

The enemy of false doctrine must be battled. Contending for the faith is not fashionable to many these days (Jude 3-4). When a soldier of the cross engages in a battle of faith with a false teacher over his false doctrine, the advocate of error often gets more sympathy, respect and encouragement than the one standing for the truth. Nevertheless, wherever error tries to infiltrate the church and hold men captive, a cause exists that compels the faithful to act (Gal. 2:4-5). Do you join David's brothers in the faithless rebuke of faithful and needful conflict against error? Or, in the day of battle, do you hold up the hands of those fighting the good fight of faith?

The enemy of worldliness is a formidable giant which we must engage in battle. Every day, the world defies the armies of the living God. Living amidst the enticements of the world induces some Christians to retreat from the high and holy ground they have gained with Christ as their Captain (Heb. 12:1-2). Soldiers of Christ can be intimidated into inaction by this giant enemy of faith, while others succumb to its power (1 Pet. 2:11-12; 2 Pet. 2:18-22; Rom. 13:12-14; Gal. 5:19-21). Like David, we must stand our ground and live holy lives, trusting in God to deliver us from the enemy's every assault (1 Cor. 10:13).

The enemy of complacency is an insidious giant. Infecting Christians with a lethargic approach to godliness, complacency is an intimidating opponent. Complacency leads to neglect, procrastination, toleration and compromise with sin. Complacency prevents the lost from becoming Christians. It causes the strong to grow weak and the weak to grow weaker. But, through faith, this giant can also be slain (Rom. 12:11).

David knew the urgency of stopping the mouth of Goliath. Like David, we must assess the causes for which we fight to be sure we are on the Lord's side (Matt. 12:30). As soldiers of Christ we engage the enemy, with faith in God's power to deliver us from the foe as we "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12; see 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-13). 

-The Spirit's Sword (VI:08)
May 19, 2002, edited


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

Become As I Am

Scripture Reading:  Acts 26:24-29

1. Paul held himself out as an example, 1 Cor. 11:1 (Phil. 3:17).
2. Now, he is imprisoned (Acts 21:33ff; 25:11).
3. Made his defense before King Herod Agrippa II by preaching the gospel, Acts 26.
4. What was there about this man that commended his condition to others?


  A. Herod Agrippa II and Company, Jno. 8:34-36; 2 Pet. 2:19; Rom. 6:16-18.
  B. Paul had been in Bondage to Sin, 1 Tim. 1:12-16; Acts 9:6; 22:16.

II. PAUL WAS FREE FROM THE GUILT OF HIS PAST. Acts 26:9-11; Phil. 3:13-14


  A. Keeping the LOM could not Save Sinners, Acts 26:4-7; Gal. 3:11-13; Col. 2:14.
  B. Many Religious Ceremonies are Offered to God, Gal. 4:8-12.


  A. This had not always been so, Titus 3:3 (Phil. 3:3-7); Gal. 6:14.
  B. Some Only Half-Heartedly Refrain from the World and do not Glory in the Cross.


  A. Indecisiveness did not Characterize Paul, Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 4:7. Could have doubted due to suffering, lies, abandonment, etc., Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:58.

Paul was not a perfect man, but he was a forgiven man. His life sets a standard of excellence in Christ. (Acts 26:28-29)


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

Where Two or Three are Gathered Together

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 18:18-20

1. Our text is often used to assure the Lord's presence whenever Christians are together in spiritual work.
  a. If that work is sanctioned by the apostolic word, then we heartily agree, Jno. 14:23-24.
  b. If that work is sanctioned only upon the premise that 2-3 Christians are acting in tandem, then that is not what this verse says.


  A. Broader Context: Forgiveness in the Kingdom, Matt. 18:15-35.
    1. Forgiveness of a sinning brother, 18:15-17.
    2. Authorization for forgiving or retention of sins, 18:18-20.
    3. Nature and breadth of forgiveness, 18:21-35.
  B. Immediate Context: Heaven's Authority Concerning the Forgiveness and Retention of Sins, Matt. 18:18-20.

II. APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY, Matt. 18:18-19 (16:19, kingdom entry).

  A. Apostolic Authority Expresses what has Already been Established in Heaven, 18:18.
  B. Context: The Forgiveness and Retention of Sins, 18:15-17; Acts 2:42 (Jno. 16:13); Jno. 20:21-23; 2 Thess. 3:6-7; Col. 3:17.


  A. It does not Define the Local Church as Wherever "Two or Three are Gathered Together", cf. 18:16-17. Acts 6:2; 1 Cor. 12:12f
  B. It does not Give the Local Church (or any part thereof) Authority to Decide Truth for Itself, 1 Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:8-9.
  C. It does not Describe Members of a Local Church as Agents of the Local Church (acting on behalf of/in place of l. church), Ac 20:7.
  D. It does not Teach that Jesus is with us Regardless of what we Do. (cf. 2 Jno. 9) cf. Acts 4:7; Matt. 12:46-50.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

God's Intelligent Design
Joe R. Price

Marvelous advances continue to be made in computer technology. "IBM showed off a prototype chip today that is being hailed as a technological breakthrough for the tiny transistors -- electrical switches that help power a computer -- that have been made so thin they're 1/10,000th the width of a human hair". The breakthrough -- the result of research at IBM and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Albany -- could allow as many as 20 billion transistors to be placed on a chip the size of a fingernail and is half the size of the current 14 nanometer standard, company officials said. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. ("IBM: What Makes This Tiny Chip a Breakthrough", Alyssa Newcomb, There is no doubt that intelligence produced the computer chip as well as this amazing reduction in its size. We know these every smaller chips did not evolve by themselves. Only through knowledge, wisdom and hard work were they created. 

Now, consider the neurons in your brain. "Your brain is made of approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons have the amazing ability to gather and transmit electrochemical signals -- think of them like the gates and wires in a computer" ("How Your Brain Works", Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. and Robynne Boyd, Neurons range in size from 4-100 microns (micron = millionth part of a meter).

Evolutionists would have us believe there was no intelligent design behind the development of your brain. They tell us (as fact) that organic life appeared from inorganic matter and evolved over billions of years. Should we conclude IBM can put transistors in a room and, given enough time, they will evolve into computers. (1 Tim. 6:20)

The old adage remains true: "There are none so blind as those who will not see". (cf. Jer. 5:21, 20-25)

The God of the Bible is the Intelligent Being who designed and created the neurons in your brain. He skillfully designed and created the entire universe and every living creature on the earth (Gen. 1:1).

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14) 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  07/13/2015

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