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


Volume 18, Number 39

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

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Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

The Sin of Murmuring

Joe R. Price

Murmuring is a blight upon the people of God. It muffles the clear sound of God’s word with its incessant clamor for something “better” and “different.” The murmurer is dissatisfied with the things of God, and mistakenly thinks he will be satisfied by fulfilling his own, selfish desires (cf. Num. 11:1-6).

The murmurer fails to see God’s mercy and grace in his life. When this person considers his new life in Christ, he only sees restrictions (“what I cannot do”) instead of God’s merciful forgiveness of past transgressions, along with present spiritual blessings. Like Israel, who was not content with God’s blessing of manna, the murmurer in the church is not pleased with God’s pattern, provisions and ways. He does not trust in God and His truth. He trusts in himself (cf. Num. 16:3, 41).

Murmuring destroys unity among Christians (Phil. 2:1-4). It elevates self over others instead of being a humble servant one to another (Eph. 5:21). The murmurer is a complainer, not a problem solver (Phil. 2:14-15). Murmuring is a first cousin to bitterness and factiousness (Jas. 3:9-14). Feelings get hurt, bitterness sets in, and before you know it, brethren are complaining against each other instead of speaking with one another to resolve every dispute, whether real or imagined (read Eph. 4:29-32). Truly, “if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Gal. 5:15)

The result of murmuring is spiritual destruction (1 Cor. 10:10). It is not an accident that within this context of warning against murmuring we are also warned not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (1 Cor. 10:10-12). Murmuring is the fruit of an attitude of conceited self-importance and prideful self-righteousness.

The remedy for murmuring is a humble heart before God and toward each other (Phil. 2:5-8). Murmuring is overcome by having fervent love and kindness for one another (1 Pet. 4:8-9). When we are content to trust God, submit to His will and develop the mind of Christ, murmuring will cease. 


"Grace that is Greater than All My Sin"
Joe R. Price

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (1 Timothy 1:12–16)

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is a model for us all of the abundant grace and mercy of God which is offered and obtained in Christ. Christ’s complete forgiveness of Paul’s sins, great though they were, assures us Christ is willing and able to forgive all our sins.

Some would tell us God’s grace overcomes sin without the sinner’s obedient faith. This is false. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). And again, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jas. 2:17). Saul was saved “by grace, through faith” when he arose and obeyed the Lord’s command to be baptized (Acts 22:16; Mk. 16:16). While salvation is indeed God’s gift by grace, that gift is received through faith. God’s grace offers salvation from every sin. Through faith, we receive His gift of salvation.

Some believe they have sinned so much Christ cannot possibly forgive them. This too, is wrong. God’s forgiveness of Saul is sufficient proof Christ can forgive you. Do not doubt the power of God’s grace to forgive you; have faith in God (see verse 16).

God’s grace is indeed greater than sin (Rom. 5:20-21). Yet, God does not save by grace until one obeys in faith. Saul had to repent of his sins in order to obtain salvation by grace (Acts 9:9-11). Saul had to be baptized in order to obtain the blessing of grace (Acts 22:16). He had to discipline himself daily to be in subjection to Christ, else he would be lost (1 Cor. 9:24-27). He could not live in sin and expect God’s grace to abound in his life (Rom. 6:1-2, 12-14). Neither can we. He could not teach error and expect God’s grace to overlook it (Gal. 1:6-9). Neither can we.

Yes, God’s grace is greater than all our sins (Rom. 5:1-2). But God’s grace must never be viewed as giving us liberty to teach and practice error with freedom from God’s censure or condemnation (Titus 2:11-14). Beware of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude 4). 


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

Patterns to Follow

Scripture Reading:  Philippians 3:15-21

1. Patterns are valuable and save lives.
2. God has given patterns for individuals and the church. Blessed when followed, sin when we do not. Matter of eternal life and death.


  A. The Tabernacle was Built by an Exacting Pattern, Exo. 25:9, 40; 26:30; Num. 8:4 (Acts 7:44; Heb. 8:5).
  B. Adam was Used as a Type (Pattern) of Christ, Rom. 5:14.


  A. The New Testament of Christ, 2 Tim. 1:13.
  B. Apostolic Examples (Patterns), 1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9.
  C. Salvation Patterns: How to be Saved, Rom. 6:17-18; 1 Tim. 1:15-16.
  D. Moral and Ethical Patterns, Titus 2:11-12. Acts 20:33-35 (shown you)
  E. Doctrinal Patterns, 2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Cor. 14:37; Gal. 1:8-9.
  F. When You Follow God’s Patterns, You become a Pattern for Others, Phil. 3:17.
    1. Preachers, 1 Tim. 4:12.
    2. Elders, 1 Pet. 5:3.
    3. Faithful Christians, 1 Thess. 1:6-7.

1.  Some call us “legalists” for insisting on following NT patterns. They do not intend to be confined and restricted by a “thus saith the Lord” (Col. 3:17).
2. We must imitate the patterns God has given us, 3 Jno. 11; Heb. 6:12.


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

Have You Said it Lately?

Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 15:1-7

1. Communication is key in every relationship.
2. Good communication skills draw a couple closer together.
3. Lack of effective communication is a leading threat to successful, fulfilling marriages, Prov. 15:1-2, 4, 7; Jas. 3:5.
4. Some things that must be said and heard regularly in marriages.


  A. Love is a Decision of the Will, Col. 3:19; Eph. 5:25.
  B. Romance Ebbs and Flows, but Love Must be Constant, 1 Cor. 13:4-8; 1 Jno. 3:16-18.

II. "I WAS WRONG, I AM SORRY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME." Eph. 4:31-32 (Col. 3:12-13)

  A. Sins against Your Spouse Require Repentance and Forgiveness, Just like Any Other Sin. 2 Cor. 7:9-10.
  B. Application: Common Sins in Marriage.

III. "I FORGIVE YOU." Luke 11:4

  A. Holding Grudges is Devastating to a Marriage, Matt. 6:14-15; 5:7; Col. 3:19.


  A. Gratitude Strengthens Bonds, cf. Lk. 6:35.

V. "LET US PRAY." 1 Pet. 3:7

  A. Prayer in the Home: Faith-Strengthening Event, 1 Tim. 4:4-5; Jas. 5:16.

We honor our spouse and our marriage when we improve our communication with each other. Furthermore, we honor God, who gave it.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Law Against Abortion Performers
Joe R. Price

The Oklahoma state legislature passed a bill Thursday that would make it a felony to perform or induce an abortion in Oklahoma. It would revoke most physicians’ licenses who do so, and make the crime punishable by 1-3 years in the state penitentiary. Gov. Mary Fallin has five days to sign or reject the bill (“Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions,” Mark Berman, Expect a court battle if SB 1522 becomes law. Proponents of the bill see this as significant push back against Roe v. Wade, while opponents say such a law is unconstitutional.

We applaud this legal move by the Oklahoma legislature, and pray it becomes law. Government exists to protect human life, and the most vulnerable human beings among us, unborn babies, deserve that protection under the law (Rom. 13:3-4).

This is also a moral issue, one that has left a blood-stained trail of shame and guilt across this land. It is past time to speak out loud and long for the lives of the innocent. Murder cannot be legitimized. One’s own “reproductive rights” end when a new life begins. Those “rights” were wanted and used to produce unwanted pregnancies. New life does not want to die, it wants to live, and deserves to live. The right of the unborn to live is not eliminated by some perceived right of the woman to extinguish its life. For too long we have heard in defense of abortion that is the woman’s body to do with as she sees fit. No, her baby’s body is not her body. Her baby’s life is not her life. In fact, both her life and body and her baby’s life and body belongs to the Lord God, who gives life to both (Isa. 42:5; Acts 17:25). 

(Editor's Note: After this article was written, Gov. Mary Fallin refused to sign this bill into law, saying the bill was too "vague" and "ambiguous" to withstand judicial scrutiny. We reiterate: When laws allow and protect the taking of innocent life, those laws  they are immoral and will not long stand the scrutiny of our holy and righteous God.)


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  05/24/2016

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