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


Volume 21, Number 12

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
Rich Brooks

Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Will You Help Me?
Joe R. Price

The ability to ask for spiritual help is commendable. Paul’s vision of the Macedonian pleading, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” not only calls attention to the need of the gospel throughout the world, it also reminds us we need to be able to admit our need for spiritual help (Acts 16:9). Yet, any number of factors can and do impede our willingness and ability to ask for spiritual help in our lives. We should identify and remove the barriers that prevent us from obtaining God’s mercy and grace to “help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Here are three such barriers.

Pride. Let’s face it. Many of us have a hard time asking for spiritual help, even when we desperately need it. Pride can blind us from seeing our need for biblical guidance and spiritual encouragement. Pride can disguise itself as “self-reliance.” It can convince me to say, “I’m doing fine,” when in fact, I am not doing fine. Pride is over confidence in ourselves. It is unwilling to admit sin, faults and struggles. Since “pride goes before destruction,” isn’t it wise to remove pride from our hearts to avoid the fall (Prov. 16:18)? Arrogant confidence refuses spiritual help, while humility prepares us to accept the help we need to overcome sin. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility” (Prov. 18:12). The Ethiopian was not ashamed to say he needed help understanding the Scriptures, and neither should we (Acts 8:30-31).

Uncertainty. It may be that we are uncertain about who to ask for help. Scripture clears that up for us. The spiritually mature are the ones to whom we should turn (Gal. 6:1-2). The elders (Jas. 5:14-16) and a good person of faith (like Barnabas and Timothy, Acts 11:22-24; Phil. 2:19-21) are obvious answers. We certainly will not find solid spiritual exhortation from the unspiritual people of the world (1 Cor. 1:18). You may not even know you need to be “pulled out of the fire,” but the mature Christian will do that (Jude 20-23). They are ready to help you in your time of need.

Little faith. The man whose son was demon-possessed said to Jesus, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us,” to which Jesus replied, “‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mk. 9:22-24). We must trust the help the Lord provides us, including the help of faithful brethren who love us and want only what is best for us – now and eternally. When we need spiritual help, let us put our faith in the Lord and the help He provides, which includes His word, prayer, and the encouragement of our brethren. 


Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Joe R. Price

Scripture says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

To “rightly divide” means to cut a straight course or “cut along a straight path” (BDAG, 722), “to make straight and smooth” (Thayer, 453). Like taking a road that goes straight to its destination without a detour, we must avoid striving “about words to no profit” that ruins the hearers (2 Tim. 2:14, 16). Instead, we are to be diligent workers of God who properly use His word so that it carries us, without shame, straight to our destination of God’s approval.

The way we choose to handle the Bible is exactly the way we choose to treat God. After all, in these last days God speaks to us “in His Son” through His apostles and prophets who were inspired by the Holy Spirit (Heb. 1:1-2; 2:1-4; Jno. 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). We go to the inspired Scripture to hear, believe, and obey God (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Here are some practical ways to “cut a straight course” when we use God’s word.

1. Do not read into the Scriptures what you have already decided to believe and do. That is, do not come to the Bible with your mind already made up. Handling the Bible this way is called eisegesis, “the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one’s own ideas” (Merriam-Webster). It is twisting God’s word to say what we want it to say. Doing this results in our destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). We can do this in any number of ways. We can force definitions upon words that are incorrect (like forcing the instrument of music into the word “psallo”). We can discount and exclude additional passages of Scripture because they fail to sustain our predisposed view (like minimizing James 2:24 and the role of “works” in justification). If we intend to let the Bible guide us to God’s approval, then we must follow its truth wherever it takes us, not the other way around. And, that may mean giving up a false view and practice.

2. Take everything Scripture says on a topic to have a full understanding of God’s will. Picking and choosing some passages while refusing others that address the same subject is not rightly dividing the word of truth. All truth must be considered in order to know and abide in the truth that frees us from sin (Jno. 8:31-32). Careful, deliberate Bible study avoids rash conclusions while considering all God’s word has to say (Psa. 119:160). We can properly claim to declare the “whole counsel of God” only when we allow all of it to inform and shape our faith, and therefore, what we declare (Acts 20:27).

3. Be ready to accept correction from the Scriptures. When a map shows we are off course we will never get to where we want to go unless we change course. So it is with our study and use of the Bible. We must accept its corrections so we will arrive at our intended destination – God’s approval. We must study the Bible for our own spiritual growth and improvement. When we do that, change will be in order. We must be ready to radically change ourselves and our lives when the Scriptures show we are off course (2 Tim. 3:16). If we will not do so, then we have abandoned any real expectation of God’s approval for the sake of personal vindication. “Let God be true and every man a liar” persuades us that God’s word is always right, and nothing else will satisfy us (Rom. 3:4). Why? Because our goal is heaven. To get there, we must handle God’s word correctly (2 Tim. 2:15). 


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

"Give Me the Bible..."
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 8:1-3

Give me the Bible” is being replaced with, “Give me human wisdom” and, “give me my own will” (Col. 2:9).


  A. Except for When it Judges Me a Sinner, Acts 2:37; 7:54; 24:24-25.
  B. Except for What it Says about the One True Church, Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23; 1 Tim. 4:1-3.
  C. Except for What it Says about True Worship, Jno. 4:23-24; 2 Chron. 29:25; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16 (pattern); Heb. 10:24-25; Matt. 15:8-9.
  D. Except for What it Says about Marriage, Gen. 2:22-24; Heb. 13:4.
  E. Except for What it Says about Divorce and Remarriage, Matt. 19:6 (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11; Rom. 7:2-3); 1 Cor. 7:12-14 (1 Pet. 3:1-2), 15-16 (23).
  F. Except for What it Says about Drinking Alcohol, Gal. 5:21; Isa. 28:7; Hos. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:3.
  G. Except for What it Says about My Spiritual Growth; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; Heb. 5:12-14.

1. The word of God is a great blessing to all who walk in it, Psa. 119:105.
2. It exposes our sin and teaches us of God’s great love, mercy and grace. It tells us of a Savior by whom we are forgiven and who shows us the way to the Father (Jno. 14:6).
3. The Bible corrects our sins and teaches us how to live faithfully in Christ.
4. “Give me the Bible” – No other book has its power! (Rom. 1:16)


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

Why the New Testament Applies to Us
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 4:7-16

1. Jesus put apostles and prophets in His church, who wrote the NT, Eph. 4:11-12.
2. None of the NT was directly written to us. We apply it today because we necessarily infer it was also written for us and that it has authority over us. (Necessary inference)
3. The apostles claimed their words have heaven’s binding authority, Gal. 1:8-9. If true, we must yield to them. If false, we are deceived.


  A. Their Letters are the Commandments of the Lord, 1 Cor. 14:37; 4:17, 6; 2 Thess. 2:13-15.
  B. Jesus Said to Hear/Receive Them is to Hear/Receive Him, and Vice Versa, Lk. 10:16; Matt. 10:40; Jno. 13:20 (1 Thess. 2:13)
  C. Their Writings Circulated Due to their Universal Authority, Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27.
  D. We Can Understand what Apostles Knew When We Read What they Wrote, Eph. 3:3-5.
  E. The Salvation Jesus Began to Speak is Confirmed to Us by His Apostles, Heb. 2:1-4; 1 Jno. 1:1-4; 5:20 (18-20).
  F. Their Writings Completely Equip Us for Every Good Work, 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 3:16.
  G. What the Apostles Taught was to be Taught to Others Repeatedly, 2 Tim. 2:2.
  H. The Teachings of the Apostles and Prophets of Jesus (NT):
    1. Bring lost to faith and salvation, Jno. 20:31.
    2. Equip the church, Acts 2:42; Eph. 4:11-12.
    3. Equip us for unity in Christ, Jno. 17:21.

NT is the word of God, without which we could not be saved, 1 Thess. 2:13; Jno. 20:30-31.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Pepsi or Coke?
Joe R. Price

The debate between Pepsi or Coke has lived on since 1965 (the year Pepsi-Cola was introduced) with no sign of slowing down. Coca-Cola is headquartered in Atlanta GA, the host city for this year’s Super Bowl. So, Pepsi rolled out its ad campaign, “Look who’s in town for Super Bowl LIII.” Pepsi even tweeted, “Hey @CocaCola thanks for being such gracious hosts for #SBLIII this week,” Pepsi tweeted. “We agree #TogetherIsBeautiful so we’d like to get our founders together for a celebratory cheers to declare a temporary #ColaTruce for the day. See you at @WorldofCocaCola soon!” A Coke spokesperson said “it would welcome Pepsi ‘with a Coke and a smile.’”  (“Pepsi attempts a 'Cola Truce' with Coca-Cola ahead of Super Bowl LIII,”

When it comes to the word of God, “together is beautiful” (Psa. 133:1; Jno. 17:21). With godly attitudes we must ever be diligent to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” of divine truth (Eph. 4:1-6).

Scripture affirms we must contend for the faith (Jude 3). It also reveals some religious disputes are unworthy because they amount to nothing more than disputes “about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Tim. 2:14). Such “profane and idle babblings” are to be shunned because they “increase to more ungodliness” (2 Tim. 2:16).

Our task is to discern the difference (Phil. 1:9-11). That is not always easy, and requires active love at every turn (v. 9). A central concern in discerning the difference is whether the matter is one of divine revelation or one of personal conscience (Gal. 1:6-10; Rom. 14). If it concerns what God has revealed, then it is fitting to study (“be diligent”) and rightly divide the word of truth, to understand and to follow truth together (2 Tim. 2:15). This is achieved using humility, gentleness, longsuffering and love (Eph. 4:2).

On the other hand, when we find ourselves pushing a personal preference above other equally allowed choices, we are taught to end the strife (1 Cor. 8:7-13). To do so will produce “celebratory cheers” in heaven. 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  02/04/2019

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