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


Volume 18, Number 42

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

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

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

The Christian's Wisdom

Joe R. Price

Wisdom is a precious commodity. By it we can escape many of life’s pains and pitfalls. Wisdom does not insulate us from life’s tragedies, but it enables us to maintain a godly perspective as we face them. Yes, wisdom’s value is great.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.” (Prov. 3:13-18)

Wisdom is the correct use of knowledge. Proverbs 14:16 illustrates its definition: “A wise man fears and departs from evil. But a fool rages and is self-confident.” The wise man, because he understands the nature of evil, will fear it and flee from it. But, the fool fails to give evil a wide berth, believing himself immune to its disastrous effects. Hence, the wise man uses his knowledge correctly (to his spiritual protection and benefit), while the fool barrels ahead, arrogantly trusting himself instead of the Lord. His foolish conduct proves harmful. Wisdom is not so much what you know, as it is the prudent, righteous use of what you know.

To grow in wisdom we must first grow in our knowledge of God’s will, for “the knowledge of the Holy One is under­standing” (Prov. 9:10). In Ephesians 5:15-18, the apostle teaches us how to be wise. We are wise when we...

1) Live carefully, examining our conduct in the light of God’s will (v. 15). We must watch our step, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). The fool has little concern for such matters.

2) Redeem our time (v. 16). Wisdom teaches us that an opportunity lost cannot be regained. Wisdom seizes its opportu­nities to do good (Gal. 6:10).

3) Are careful to understand the will of the Lord (v. 17). God’s will is revealed in His word. God’s word is the wise person’s source of guidance. He uses it to gain understanding so his decisions please God (2 Tim. 2:15).

4) Live under the control of the Holy Spirit (v. 18). This is not a call to mysticism or miracles. The wise person submits his will to God’s will. He is led by the Spirit of God by obeying the truth (Jno. 16:13; 1 Pet. 1: 21; Gal. 5:16, 18). It is wise to live under the respectful, obedient control of Deity. The fool, however, refuses to obey God’s truth.

We do not have limitless time to start living wisely; “the days are evil,” (v. 16). Use each day to be wise, obey truth, and possess spiritual enrichment (Prov. 3:13-18). Be wise, not foolish. 


The Doctrine of Illumination
Joe R. Price

Those under the influence of Reformation theology (John Calvin, etc.) believe in the doctrine of Illumination as a part of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing, direct work upon the heart. Only this direct action of illumination by the Holy Spirit on the sin-darkened heart, it is said, allows us to understand and comprehend truth. (See “Illumination: The Holy Spirit Gives Spiritual Understanding,” Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, J. I. Packer.) As stated in The Baptist Faith and Message,

Illumination is the Holy Spirit’s work as he enlightens the human mind with spiritual understanding in order that man might grasp the revealed truth...The Spirit still illumines the mind and heart of every serious student of God’s Word so that he may discover truths hitherto unknown to him” (Hershel Hobbs, page 21).

We are told one can only have spiritual understanding when the Holy Spirit directly enables and enlightens the mind with spiritual understanding. Thus, this doctrine says the Holy Spirit leads a person to understand the Bible in a direct, personal way (via an enabling grace) that is in addition to hearing, reading and learning the Bible.

The LDS Church also teaches a version of the Illumination doctrine. As one Mormon stated,

It is my contention that Timothy could not have ‘rightly divided the word of truth’ without revelation through the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Allred-Price Exchange on the Nature of Revelation, Alma Allred).

Mormonism teaches one must receive a personal revelation from the Holy Spirit in order to understand God’s written revelation, the Bible.

Both of these approaches to understanding the Bible makes God responsible for enlightening a person – and for keeping him in the dark. Man’s ability and responsibility to understand truth is correspondingly minimized, while fostering a false hope in direct guidance from the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit’s work in bringing us to an understanding of divine truth is accomplished in the revelation of truth, the miraculous confirmation of that truth, and the inspiration of its proclamation (Jno. 16:13; Gal. 1:12; Mk. 16:20; 1 Cor. 2:4-5; Heb. 2:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). As we learn God’s word (attain knowledge), the Holy Spirit is working through that word to convict us of sin and to “enlighten the eyes of your understanding” (Jno. 16:8; Eph. 1:17-18). Not a single Scripture teaches a separate, direct work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart that enables us to then grasp the meaning of God’s truth (the doctrine of Illumination).

God brings us to an understanding of His word through education, not by a supernatural enabling grace of illumination. God obliges us to hear, to study and to learn in order to understand His word, the Bible (Rom. 10:17; Jno.  20:30-31; 2 Tim. 2:15; Acts 8:30-35; 17:11-12; Eph. 3:3-4; Neh. 8:8).

As revealed by God, the Bible is understandable by everyone whose heart is open to it. God calls on us to educate ourselves in His truth, obey Him in faith and be blessed (Matt. 7:24-27; Jas. 1:25). We do not yearn for an enabling grace of Divine Illumination before we can know and obey the truth. God’s word is a “lamp” and a “light” (Psa. 119:105). We do not need another light (Illumination) in order to be illuminated by God’s light. 


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

Keeping the Church Pure

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 5:25-29

1. Christ’s love for His church compelled His sacrifice of death, Eph. 5:25-27.
2. Cleansed (new birth), Jno. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22.
3. Church must maintain its purity and holiness, 5:27 (Tit. 2:14; Jas. 1:27).
  a. Each Christian, 2 Cor. 7:1.
  b. Pure church delivered to God, 1 Cor. 15:24


  A. God’s Word is Pure, Psa. 119:140; 19:8; Eph. 5:26; Jno. 15:1-3; 17:17.
  B. Truth’s Power to Purify is Jeopardized by Error, 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:15-16.
  C. We Must Guard and Maintain the Purity of God’s Doctrine, Jude 3; 1 Tim. 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Jno. 9.


  A. The Church is Pure When Our Lives are Pure, cf. Rev. 3:4. Matt. 5:8; Phil. 4:8; Jas. 1:26; 2 Cor. 7;1; Eph. 5:27; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 21:27.
  B. Purity of Life is Constantly Threatened:
    1. By indifference, Heb. 2:2-3.
    2. By worldliness, 1 Jno. 2:15.
    3. By evil influences, 1 Cor. 15:33.
  C. Christians must Maintain Purity of Life; 1 Jno. 3:9 (Eph. 5:26; Psa. 119:11), 2-3.


  A. Christian Love is a Tremendous Responsibility, Matt. 22:37; 1 Jno. 5:3.
  B. Pure Love is Always in Danger, 1 Jno. 3:17-18; Eph. 5:2; Rom. 12:9-10.
  C. Pure Love is Learned and Developed.
     -By obeying the word of Christ, Jno. 14:15

Christ intends for His church to be pure in doctrine, life and love, Jas. 4:8.


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

Your Adversary, the Devil: Who is He?  (Part 1)

Scripture Reading:  Job 1:6-12

1. We are warned of our most deadly enemy, 1 Pet. 5:8.
2. We need a working knowledge of Satan to be on guard against him.

I. WHO IS SATAN? (Where did he come from? What kind of power does he possess? What can we do about him?)

  A. There are False Doctrines about the Devil, 1 Tim. 1:3-4. Be careful.
  B. Bible Tells the Truth about the Devil.
    1. Real and active, Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9, 12
    2. “Ruler of this world,” Jno. 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4.


  A. Satan: Adversary, Job 1:6.
    1. Of God and Christ, cf. Mk. 1:13; Lk. 4:8.
    2. Of God’s people, 1 Chron. 21:1; Zech. 3:1-2; Lk. 22:31; 1 Thess. 2:18 (1 Pet. 5:8).
    3. Of mankind, Acts 26:18.
  B. Devil: Accuser, slanderer, Jno. 8:44; Rev. 12:9-10.
    1. God to mankind, Gen. 3:4-5.
    2. Man to God, Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6.
  C. Satan is not the Biblical Lucifer, Isa. 14:12.  


  A. Devil does not Want You to Understand Him or Know His Tactics, Eph. 6:11; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:14 (Gal. 1:8). Matt. 4:1-11; Job 2:9-10; Rom. 16:17-20; 1 Cor. 2:1-4.
  B. We Can Overcome the Devil, 1 Pet. 5:9 (Rev. 12:10-11). Jas. 4:7; 1 Jno. 3:8; 4:4; Eph. 4:27; 6:11

Reality of Satan compels us to put our faith and dependency in God and not ourselves, Isa. 65:25.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Allah and Jehovah are Not the Same
Joe R. Price

The Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church in Hood River, Oregon recently drew opposition to the messages on its sign. One side said, “Wake up Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad not greater than Jesus,” and the other side, “Only the Bible is God’s Word. Koran is just another book” (“Baptist church signs point out that ‘Allah is not our God’ and that ‘Muhammad is not greater than Jesus,’” Jonah Hicap, “Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn said he was ‘really annoyed and sad,’” and one biker who passed by said he was “profoundly offended” and the message was making it “okay to be a bigot now” (Ibid). The pastor, Michael Harrington, said, “I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m biblically correct, and that’s what matters to me” (Ibid).

Are Allah and Jehovah (the God of the Bible) the same? Absolutely not! A cursory study of Islam and the Quran in comparison to the Bible reveals stark differences: Their nature is not the same, their message is not the same, their purposes are not the same, their works are not the same (Exo. 3:13-15; Isa. 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:17; Jno. 1:1-3). Islam says Allah “is the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus and all others, including those who do not even believe in Him. Muslims worship God, and put their trust in Him as they seek His help and guidance” (Introduction to Islam, They are not the same!

It is not bigoted to point out this truth. Truth frees us and sanctifies us (Jno. 17:17; 8:32). Yes, people get offended by the truth. They were offended by the words of Jesus; we do not expect better treatment today (Matt. 15:12; Jno. 6:61). Some say we must be more positive and not offend others. Truth is indeed positive, and it will positively offend those who do not love it. Truth also exposes sin and error. If and when men command us to be silent, we must say, as did Peter, “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  06/13/2016

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