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


Volume 21, Number 06

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

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

Morris Bass
Rich Brooks

Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

"It is Not Lawful"
Joe R. Price

John was in prison because of the message he preached. It was pointed, provocative, and unyielding in its application. “For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. For John said unto Herod, ‘It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife’” (Mark 6:17-18).

Some say we should not discuss the marital situation of conversion prospects when teaching them the gospel to save their souls. They say to wait until after their conversion. Several scriptural problems arise for the person who takes this approach to converting the lost.

1) It ignores the fact that God’s marriage law applies to all people who get married. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” has application to every legitimate marriage (Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Heb. 13:4). “It is not lawful” to marry another man’s “wife” as Herod did by marrying Herodias, the divorced wife of Philip (Mk. 6:17-18). Their sin was adultery (Rom. 7:2-3). John thought it crucial to rebuke the sinners’ sin if they were to reform their lives and obey the law of God. How can we ignore the unlawful marriages of the lost while at the same time trying to save their souls in Christ? The lost cannot be saved by ignoring the sin that causes them to be lost (Acts 2:36).

2) The necessity of repentance is corrupted when the sin of adultery is ignored or redefined for gospel prospects. The sinner must repent before being baptized to be saved (Acts 2:37-38). We cannot say, “We won’t address (certain) sins until after the sinner is baptized. That can be addressed later.” Would we take the same approach with the polygamist, the thief, the child molester, or the rapist? Failure to address and repent of any sin before baptism is not the gospel plan of salvation. We deceive ourselves if we think otherwise (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2 Cor. 7:10).

3) We join hands with the Pharisees by baptizing a person who has not repented of his sins. The Pharisees compassed sea and land to make a disciple, yet their tradition-bound doctrines succeeded only in making another son of hell (Matt. 23:15). We are to be about the business of making “sons of God” by teaching and urging obedience to the gospel (Gal. 3:26-27). We must follow the example of John instead of trying to find loopholes through which to fit sinners. When a marriage violates God’s word we must try to persuade the sinners to repent. Will everyone repent? Sadly, no (Matt. 7:13-14). John lost his life for telling the truth to sinners. Can we do any less and be faithful to Jesus? 


A Child is Born
Joe R. Price

Yes, the prophesy of a child born of a virgin and of a Son being given to the world, was fulfilled when Jesus was born (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7). “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:22-23). We thank God for Christ’s birth and for the redemption He accomplished through His death and resurrection (Rom. 5:6-11). However, this does not mean or demand that we religiously celebrate His birth. Here are a few things that deserve our attention.

The Child that was given was not born on December 25th. Scripture does not record the date of Christ’s birth. Debated for centuries, this date was appointed by Liberius, Bishop of Rome, who declared December 25 be celebrated as Christ’s birthday in 354 A.D. Christmas began through the teachings and practices of an apostate church (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

The Child’s church was never instructed to have a holy day to celebrate His birth. The Bible is completely silent concerning the church worshiping the birth of Jesus with a holy day of celebration. “There is no historical evidence that our Lord’s birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early post-apostolic times” (Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, III:47). Again, “There is no evidence of the existence of a Feast of the Nativity before the 4th century” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, III:601). Christmas (“Mass of Christ”) is a religious holiday added to the gospel by men without God’s authority. No matter how well-intended, such additions do not please God (Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Jno. 9; 1 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:17). If we can do one thing without Bible authority, then we can do whatever else we please (2 Jno. 9).

The religious celebration of Christ’s birth began as an alternative to pagan celebrations of the Roman gods Saturnalia and Mithrand. “There can be little doubt that the Church was anxious to distract the attention of Christians from the old heathen feast days by celebrating Christian festivals on the same days” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, III:607). “The indications are, that the Church in this way grasped the opportunity to turn the people away from a purely pagan observance of the winter solstice to a day of adoration of Christ the Lord” (Collier's Encyclopedia).

The celebration of the Child’s birth originated from the wisdom of men, not from the revelation of God. In the absence of any Scripture approving a Christmas celebration of Jesus, we will join the angels in praising God with God-revealed and endorsed worship (Lk. 2:13-14). We will not offer worship to the Child that is not “in truth” (Jno. 4:23-24).

We have a simple yet pertinent question to ask about the religious observance of Christ’s birth: “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” (Matt. 21:23) We dare not devise worship that originates in our own heart. Such corrupts worship and brings judgment (cf. Jeroboam, 1 Kgs. 12:25-33; 13:1-6).

Those who believe the silence of the Scriptures gives consent for their doctrines and practices should pause and take a lesson from how the religious observance of Christ’s Birth developed. When humans begin to confidently assert they can do things religiously without a God-revealed Bible pattern approving it, there is no stopping place (2 Tim. 1:13). Then man, not God, is honored and followed. That will never please the Son who is called, Immanuel. 


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

The Sword of the Spirit
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 119:153-160

1. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, Eph. 6:17.
2. A Christian without the sword of the Spirit is ill-equipped to stand, Eph. 6:10-13.


  A. Revelation and Inspiration, Jno. 16:8-13; Mk. 16:15-20; Heb. 2:3-4.
  B. Separating the Spirit from the Sword (Word) He Supplies Dishonors the Spirit, the Father and the Son, Jno. 16:13-15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 4:3 (Jude 3).


  A. It Cuts to the Heart, Heb. 4:12; Jno. 16:8; Acts 2:37; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:16 (2 Tim. 2:15).
  B. It Defeats Error, 1 Tim. 6:12 (Jude 3); 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
    1. By extraction, Jas. 1:21-22. (Heb. 4:12)
    2. With reason, Acts 17:2-3.
    3. Through understanding, Eph. 5:17-18.
  C. It Defends Christians from Sin and Its Temptations, Psa. 1:1-3; 119:11, 28-32.
* We must become skilled in using the Spirit’s sword (word) to benefit from its power, Eph. 6:17; Col. 1:9-11; Heb. 5:13-14.

1. A Christian without the Spirit’s sword is ill-equipped to stand against the devil, Eph. 6:13.
2. “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psa.119:133)


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

Blunting the Sword of the Spirit
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 119:169-176

1. Our life is a spiritual warfare, 2 Cor. 10:3-4; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7.
2.The Spirit has equipped us with a sword to attack and defeat the devil, Eph. 6:10-13, 17.
3. By faith, we are victors through God’s strength, grace and love, 1 Cor. 15:57; Rom. 8:37.
4. God’s word is always sharp, but our sinful, selfish choices dull and diminish our ability to effectively use it to conquer sin and Satan.


  A. Spiritual Indifference, Lk. 9:23; Rom. 12:11; 1 Pet. 3:14-15. (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10)
  B. Worldliness, Jas. 4:4; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Jno. 18:36; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 1 Pet. 2:11; 2 Cor. 6:17; Tit. 2:11-12; Gal. 5:16 (Eph. 5:11).
  C. Immorality, 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 4:2-3; Gal. 5:19-21, 24.
  D. Compromise, 2 Pet. 1:5; Gal. 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:13; Acts 4:29, 31; Acts 2:37 (Jude 3).
  E. Lack of Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, Matt. 5:6; Psa. 42:1; Jas. 4:1-3. (Treasure, Matt. 6:19-23; Priorities, Matt. 6:33); Psa. 119:129-131.


  A. Spirit’s Sword Only Effective When Used, Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:8; Rev. 13:9-10; 14:11-13.

1. Equip yourself with the sword of the Spirit and use it to be victorious in the spiritual battle for your soul, Matt. 5:29-30.
2. Stand in strength of God’s power, Eph. 6:10.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

The Poison of False Doctrine
Joe R. Price

Thallium “is a toxic metal that is colorless, odorless and tasteless and can be fatal if consumed.” 22-year-old Yukai Yang, former student at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, turned himself in this week for poisoning his roommate, Juwan Royal. Yang was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment (“Former Lehigh University student charged with poisoning roommate,” Janelle Griffith, “Yang allegedly mixed the chemicals into his roommate’s food, drinks and mouthwash. Royal became ill multiple times in March and his symptoms, which included dizziness, shaking and vomiting, became progressively worse. Royal’s blood tested positive for the chemical and he was treated for thallium poisoning.”

False doctrine poisons the soul. It doesn’t take a lot. Small doses of error contain enough spiritual toxicity to cause spiritual weakness, illness and fatality (Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:14-18).

False doctrine can be fed to us by close associates, family and friends. Royal believed he and Yang had a “fairly cordial relationship as roommates” (Ibid). False teachers prey on unsuspecting victims (Rom. 16:18; Jude 4). Promising liberty, their false teaching is destructive (2 Pet. 2:1-2).

Testing doctrine with the Scriptures is how to identify and remedy the poison of error. Blood tests revealed the presence of poison in Royal’s blood. We must test all things by God’s truth, the Scriptures, and turn away from error to be spiritually healthy (1 Thess. 5:21-22; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6).

Poisoning souls with false teaching will not go unpunished. Yang faces punishment, if convicted. God does not hold the false teacher guiltless (2 Pet. 2:3, 9). Those who lie about God’s word face eternal death (Rev. 21:8). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  12/24/2018

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