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


Volume 20, Number 03

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
Rich Brooks
Rick Holt

Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

The True Grace of God
Joe R. Price

According to the Scriptures, “true grace of God” includes the commands of God. For instance: 

“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 Peter 5:12)

Peter affirmed that what he briefly wrote to the saints (the epistle of 1 Peter) expressed the “true grace of God.” Therefore, by observing what the apostle wrote in his inspired epistle, we can determine what comprises the “true grace of God.” 

A study of 1 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 (sexual immorality, social drinking, drunkenness, its associated riotous conduct, 1 Pet. 4:1-3), abstinence from idolatry (1 Pet. 4:3), hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9), and the autonomy of local churches and their oversight (1 Pet. 5:1-3). 

God’s grace is lived in as Christians rejoice in trials and willing suffer as Christians (1 Pet. 1:6-7; 3:13-17; 4:12-16), obey the truth (1 Pet. 2:22-25), offer spiritual sacrifices as priests in God’s house (1 Pet. 2:4-5), practice brotherly love (1 Pet. 3:8; 5:5), humble ourselves to God and resist the devil (1 Pet. 5:5-9). By such lives, “may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10). God’s grace saves us, and instructs us how to live to stand in the true grace of God (Eph. 2:8; Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 5:12). 

We cannot violate “the word of His grace” and continue to abide in “the true grace of God" (Acts 20:32; 1 Pet. 5:12). Any attempt to maintain fellowship with God and keep unity with His people, while going beyond the boundary of revealed truth, is destined for failure (2 John 9-11; Gal. 1:6-10). God’s grace does not save us despite transgressions against God’s truth. To suggest it does is not the “true grace of God” in which we stand (Rom. 5:1-2; 1 Pet. 5:12). We cannot be disobeying the commands and instructions of the Lord, and claim that because His grace is greater than our sin, God accepts us. “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) 

To stand in grace we must live by faith (Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:7). 


Our Need to Be Distinctive
Randy Blackaby

In every generation, Christians undergo pressure to appear less out of the mainstream, less odd, and less peculiar. Often, the thing that makes us feel compelled to change is our perception that we won’t grow if we don’t become more like other groups that are growing in number.

But God’s people are supposed to be unique, that is, distinguishable from the world. We are not to be conformed to this world; rather, we should be transformed (Romans 12:2). Jesus said we should be as salt and light for the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt has a distinct taste; and light influences that which it contacts. They are distinctly and noticeably different from sugar and darkness. Sugar has a different taste, and darkness influences in a completely different way.

It is not, however, a matter of being different for the sake of being different. The Lord’s church is one of a kind. It is separate from the denominational churches. This latter conglomeration of churches is identified by the fact that it teaches human traditions in place of God’s commandments. Jesus condemned such traditions and said that the associated worship is vain, or useless (Mark 7:7-9).

Members of denominational churches cannot be saved from their sins. Denominations don’t even teach people what the Bible says they must do to have their sins forgiven. Why would we want to be like such groups? God’s people have the duty and mission and purpose of teaching the lost and bringing them to salvation through Christ Jesus. To accomplish these, we need pulpits that resonate with the distinctive message of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament. If we modify the message to make it more popular and palatable, we may indeed increase our numbers, but we will not have increased the number of people who are free from their sins.

As we individually talk to people about the gospel, we must speak the truth in love. Honest searchers who have been reading their Bibles will recognize that what we are saying to them concurs with what they have been reading. They will realize that there are people who believe and practice what they’ve read about in their Bibles.

We must be careful not to leave the impression that there are Christians in many different denominations, because there are not. We must not leave our denominational friends with the impression that we are just different kinds of Christians, because there are only believers and unbelievers. “There is one body, one hope, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Think about it. If there is only one of a thing, that thing is unique, distinctive, peculiar, and in a class by itself.

Read the gospel sermons of Peter, Paul, and others in the book of Acts. The messages of the first preachers didn’t seek a common ground and ignore differences. Their messages convicted men of sin and laid down the singular means—Jesus’ blood--through which they could receive forgiveness. Those who gladly received the word obeyed, and those who didn’t gladly receive the word rejected it, fought it, and persecuted those who preached it. That pattern will continue until Christ returns.

If we want to be popular, we’ll have to forsake the narrow way. But if we want to be a part of Christ’s kingdom we must stand out from the crowd by adhering to his commandments (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus made this clear when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and  done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

In the judgment day, being distinctive will be much more comfortable than it is today. Keep that in mind.


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

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage
The Bible Pattern v. A False Pattern (#1)


Scripture Reading:  Matthew 19:1-6

  A. All People are Under One Marriage Law, Gen. 2:22-24; Heb. 13:4.
  B. One Man, One Woman for Life, Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39.
  C. Only One Exception for Approved Divorce and Remarriage, Matt. 19:6, 9.
    1. No remarriage when marriage did not end for the cause of fornication.
    2. No remarriage when fornication occurs after marriage ends.
  D. Rebuttal to this Bible Pattern.
    “This forbids marriage & commands divorce.” 

  A. “Every marriage is good” (1 Cor. 7:2).
  B. “It is better to marry than to burn,” 1 Cor. 7:9.
  C. “Remain in the marriage in which you were called,” 1 Cor. 7:24.

  A. “Every marriage is good” (1 Cor. 7:2).
    -But, some not “good,” Matt. 19:9; Mk. 6:17-18; Rom. 7:1-3.
  B. “It is better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor. 7:9).
    -But, some marriages are not “better,” 1 Cor. 7:11; cf. Ezra 9:1-2; 10:3, 10.
  C. “Remain in the marriage in which you were called” (1 Cor. 7:24).
    -But, one cannot “remain” in an unlawful marriage, Mk. 6:17-18; Rom. 7:3.


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

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage
The Bible Pattern v. A False Pattern (#2)


Scripture Reading:  Galatians 1:6-12


#1: “One law for unbelievers (“universal moral law;” “law of the heart”), and another law for believers (the gospel).”
  Bible: Universality, Mk. 10:6; Matt. 19:4-6, 9

#2: “Jesus was only teaching Jews how to obey the Law of Moses in Matt. 19:3-9.”
  Bible: From beginning…, Mk. 10:6-9; Matt. 19:8.
-“Male and female…whosoever,” Matt. 19:4, 9 

#3A: “Remain in the marriage in which you were called (1 Cor. 7:24).”
  Bible: Repentance, Acts 26:20; Rev. 9:20-21.

#3B: “Husband and wife cannot commit adultery together.”
  Bible: Violates Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:3-4 

#4A: “When one is loosed, both are loosed.”
  Bible: One-way obligations exist, Rom. 7:2-3; Matt. 19:9

#4B: “1 Cor. 7:15 adds another cause for remarriage: Desertion of the unbeliever.”
  Bible: Violates “except” in Matt. 19:9.
  •Can’t continue to live in sin, Rom. 6:1-2, 11-18
  •All men are under and amenable to the gospel of Christ.

The Gospel is how Christ exercises His authority in all things, incl. MDR


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Bold Language
Joe R. Price

I just heard President Trump speak before the United Nations. It was a bold, decisive speech, using clear, plain language. There was little doubt what he meant as he spoke to the representatives of the nations. It reminds us that clarity and plainness are great assets to good, godly communication.

Marriages need clear, plain language. Husbands and wives must work on effective communication. That means listening, as well as speaking (Jas. 1:19-20). They must learn to speak plainly, getting their feelings hurt. Not an easy task, to be sure. But, love speaks with words easy to be understood, and love listens with an ear toward understanding and forbearing one another. 

Bible teaching needs to use clear, plain language. Political correctness kills gospel teaching and preaching (2 Tim. 2:2; 4:2). The gospel teacher cannot be more concerned with hurting someone’s feelings and sensibilities, than he is with being sure the truth is clearly taught and understood.

Clear, plain language is needed to settle disputes. Sometimes we say and do things that damage our relationship with others. Christ expects us to resolve these problems, being “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). To accomplish this, we must speak plainly, so the offending issues are identified, sin is specified, and repentance can be properly expressed. We cannot solve problems without communication. And, we cannot communicate without using clear language that is free of hostility, and committed to conciliatory conduct. 

Clear and plain speech should not be rude (Col. 4:6). Its goals are understanding, constructive conduct, and peaceful outcomes (Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:11).


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  10/02/2017

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