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


Volume 18, Number 20

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

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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:

The True Grace of God
Joe R. Price

An understanding of God’s grace is vital as we apply God’s principles of fellowship and unity. We have no right to assure one of God’s grace when He has not done so. We must be careful to define God's grace as it has been explained in the holy, inspired Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The Scriptures teach that “the true grace of God” includes the commands of God. “By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (1 Pet. 5:12). Peter affirmed his brief letter to the saints (the epistle of 1 Peter) gave exhortation and testimony of "the true grace of God.” Therefore, by observing what the apostle wrote we too can understand "the true grace of God”.

The epistle of First Peter shows God’s grace includes obedience in holy living (1 Pet. 1:13-16); abstaining from fleshly lusts (1 Pet. 2:11-12); submitting to civil government (1 Pet. 2:13-17); husbandly and wifely responsibilities (1 Pet. 3:1-7); putting away worldliness (including sexual immorality, drinking intoxicating beverages socially and to excess, along with associated riotous conduct, 1 Pet. 4:1-3); abstinence from idolatry (1 Pet. 4:3); hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9); and the oversight of local churches (1 Pet. 5:1-3). These are but some of the instructions the grace of God teaches that we may stand in "the true grace of God" (Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 5:12). It is evident that one cannot violate “the word of His grace” and continue to abide in “the true grace of God" (Acts 20:32; 1 Pet. 5:12; Gal. 5:4). Attempts to extend fellowship and unity beyond the boundary of revealed truth (and then to justify that broadened fellowship on the basis of God’s grace) fails to correctly define "the true grace of God”. One cannot disobey the will of the Lord and rightly claim His grace (Rom. 5:21-6:1). Furthermore, we do not have God’s approval to sustain fellowship with those go beyond the teaching of Christ (2 Jno. 9-11; Eph. 5:8-11).

When we obey Jesus in faith, we are not establishing our own righteousness. Noah did not do so when he obeyed and built the ark (Heb. 11:7). Abraham did not do so when he prepared to offer Isaac in obedience to God’s command (Heb. 11:17; Jas. 2:22-24). These men obtained God’s grace by faithfully obeying God’s word.

Now, let us consider an application that draws much attention among brethren; marriage, divorce and remarriage. According to the principles of truth noted above, the Christian who disobeys Christ’s teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage is not living by faith and has forfeited fellowship with Christ (2 Jno. 9). This disobedient Christian is not standing in "the true grace of God”; he has "fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4). When one moves away from obeying and teaching the gospel he removes himself from the grace of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9). This includes what one teaches and practices on marriage, divorce and remarriage. (Remember, Peter wrote about marriage when he exhorted and testified concerning "the true grace of God”, 1 Peter 3:1-7.) Standing in grace does not mean God accepts us in spite of our sin (see 1 Jno. 2:1-2; 1:9). We cannot “agree to disagree” with God on marriage, divorce and remarriage and still walk in fellowship with Him (Amos 3:3). Nor can we have fellowship with those who continue to teach, endorse and/or practice error on this God-revealed subject (2 Jno. 10-11).

We stand in "the true grace of God” when we trust God and obey His commands (cf. Acts 20:32; Rom. 5:1-2). This does not mean we are saved by our own righteousness, for that would require sinless perfection (Rom. 3:10, 19; 23). We are unprofitable servants who have only done our duty before our Master (Lk. 17:10). Like Abraham, we are sinners saved by grace through faith (Rom. 4:1-5). Since we are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” we will not deceive ourselves into thinking that God's grace saves us regardless of what we know, believe and do (2 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 6:1-2, 14-16; Tit. 2:11-12). God's grace does not mean He accepts us and saves us in spite of us continuing to sin.

Some brethren have a distorted view of God’s grace, charging that what we teach here about grace requires perfect knowledge and amounts to self-defined righteousness. As one brother wrote, “your kind of righteousness... says I may have sinned in the past and so I need grace for that, but I am so perfectly knowledgeable now that I don’t need it for my present life. Or at the very least it says that while I may need grace in the areas of my actions (i.e., to live up to that which I believe), I don't need any grace in the area of knowledge, for I am perfect in knowledge.”

This false charge is built on a faulty view that grace saves even as you continue practicing sin and error). We all need grace, but not so we can continue to sin (Tit. 2:11-12).

2 Peter 3:18 does not pit knowledge against grace. Neither do we when we teach God's grace is obtained “through faith” (that is, by faithful obedience, Jas. 2:21-24; Rom. 4:1-5). The brother's statement above begs the question. The question is not whether grace and knowledge are opposed to each other; they are not. The real question is whether or not God overlooks our sin (conduct that violates His truth and the false teaching that supports it) and saves us anyway.

The people in Matthew 7:21-23 pleaded for salvation in spite of their "lawlessness", but they did not receive it. Neither will we be saved if we practice lawlessness. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2) When Christians sin we must repent, confessing it to the Lord (Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9). 


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

The False Jesus Loved by the World  (Part 1)

Scripture Reading:  John 7:25-31

1. The real Jesus is not the Jesus the world thinks it knows, Jno. 1:10; Matt. 24:24.
2. Here are some of the attributes of the false Jesus loved by the world.

#1 Jesus will allow everyone into heaven. Matt. 7:21-23; Lk. 13:23-24

#2 Jesus came to bring peace, not division. Matt. 10:34-39; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jno. 2:18-19

#3 Jesus doesn't require obedience. Lk. 6:46; Jno. 14:15; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:22 (Jas. 2:24).

#4 Jesus doesn't require holiness. Lk. 11:33-36; Heb. 12:14; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 21:27.

1. If you are following a false Jesus, you should know his real name is "Satan" (deceiver, Rev. 12:9).
2. To be continued...


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

The False Jesus Loved by the World  (Part 2)

Scripture Reading:  John 7:10-18

1. Review Part 1.
2. Here are some more attributes of the false Jesus loved by the world.

#5 Jesus doesn't require repentance. Lk. 13:1-5; Rom. 6:1-2 (Col. 3:5-7; Matt. 5:32).

#6 Jesus only preaches on love. Jno. 14:15, 31; Matt. 5:44-48; cf. Psa. 26:5 (1-8); 139:19-24.

#7 Jesus never says anything offensive. Matt. 15:12-14; Acts 2:37-38.

#8 Jesus never tells anyone they’re wicked. Matt. 12:34; 23:33; Jno. 9:39-41; 8:11.

#9 Jesus calls everyone His children. Jno. 8:41-44; Jno. 1:10-12; Rom. 8:16; 1 Jno. 3:1-2.

#10 Jesus' commandments are suggestions. Matt. 7:24-27

1. We cannot fashion Jesus into our desired image; to do so amounts to having no faith in Jesus at all! Jno. 14:6
2. Give up your false Jesus for Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Matt. 16:16.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

"God Isn't Fixing This"
Joe R. Price

So said the Thursday headline of New York's Daily News after terrorism in San Bernardino, CA left 14 dead and 21 injured. The newspaper later said the headline was intended to "call out pols' empty rhetoric" over the gun-control debate. The editor-in-chief responded with the following statement:

The Daily News' front page is not, in any way, shape or form, condemning prayer or religion,” said Jim Rich. “Anyone suggesting otherwise is either — intentionally or unintentionally — misconstruing the point, which is that most GOP politicians have offered nothing but empty platitudes and angry rhetoric in response to the ongoing plague of gun violence in our country” (

Many saw the headline as mocking prayerful dependence on the Almighty, precisely at a moment when reliance upon God ought to be obvious.

We understand that God does not force His will upon anyone. Prayer to God does not remove a person's free will. If a terrorist is set on killing innocent lives, he or she will look for opportunities to do so. But, prayer can and does affect one's circumstances (Neh. 2:4; Acts 12:5, 12; Matt. 6:9-13). Prayers of the righteous work (Jas. 5:16).

The Daily News headline reminds us that God and prayer are pointless to faithless people. Why should we expect worldly unbelievers to trust the power of God to affect any changes in this world? They do not even acknowledge this is His world! God becomes a prop they use to advance a political agenda, instead of the object of reverential awe and trust when trials and adversities occur. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear..." (Psa. 46:1-2). Christians are comforted, but the faithless are confused. 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  12/07/2015

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