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


Volume 21, Number 37

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

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Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
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All sing last Wednesday

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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rich Brooks

Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Neglecting the Purpose of the Commandment
Joe R. Price

The commands of God are not beyond our ability to know and to obey. They are neither mysterious nor oppressive. Moses said to Israel, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deut. 30:11-14, NKJV). Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46, NKJV). We can know and obey God’s commands (Eph. 5:17).

The commandments of God are for our good. God revealed to Israel this purpose of His commands when Moses said, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deut. 10:12-13, NKJV). Israel thrived in the blessings of God when it was carefully obeyed His commandments. But, the nation fell into trouble and disintegration when it rebelled against keeping God’s commands (Deut. 28-29; 30:15-20; 2 Kgs. 17:5-23; 2 Chron. 36:15-21).

Now, as then, a fear of the Lord is the basis for obeying His commands (Deut. 10:12; Phil. 2:12). Reverent regard for the God is foundational to faithful obedience. Without it, one will not walk in His ways, love Him, or serve Him with the whole heart (Mk. 12:30).

Love Motivates Obedience

Love motivates reverent obedience. Love is described as our motive to obey when Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments” (Jno. 14:15). “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10, 8).

At the same time, love itself is a command of God. God commands us to shape and mold love in our hearts for Him and for our fellow man (Matt. 22:36-40; Col. 3:14).
Obeying God’s commands is how we develop love in our hearts and lives. The apostle John explained, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 Jno. 2:5, NKJV). Love is made whole by keeping God’s commands. Obedience expresses our faith in God that His way is right and that He blesses us when we diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Loving God does not give us the right to lay aside the commands of God. Just the opposite is true: “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 Jno. 6, NKJV).

The Purpose of God’s Commandment

The gospel of Christ reveals the purpose or goal of God’s commandment in 1 Timothy 1:5: “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” “Purpose” (telos) is “from tellō…to set out for a definite point or goal…the conclusion of an act or state (termination… result)” (Strong’s, I:71). Scripture says the purpose of God’s commandment is love. Although men attempt to pit law (commands) and love against each other, God inseparably links them. For instance, careful obedience of commands is loving the Lord (Josh. 22:5). God’s law is the object of love and daily meditation (Psa. 119:97). Loving God’s law brings “great peace” and hope of salvation because of obedience to it (Psa. 119:165-166).

God is love, and His commands are aimed at instilling love in our lives. Love (agape) is active good will toward its object (1 Jno. 4:7-11). 1 Timothy 1:5 explains the nature of the love that is the goal of the commandment.

1) Love from a pure heart. The heart is the seat of our will, intentions, emotions, and motives (Heb. 4:12). Without question, our words and deeds reflect our heart (Prov. 23:7; Matt. 12:34-35; Jas. 3:13-16).

The pure in heart are blessed by God (Matt. 5:8). The pure-hearted call on the Lord and draw near to God (2 Tim. 2:22; Heb. 10:22). God’s commands guide us in purifying our hearts so we can love Him and others properly.

God commands, “cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jas. 4:8). Purification of the soul comes by obeying the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). Obeying God purges our heart of sin’s impurities and implants God’s word within us so we can love as we have been loved (Jas. 1:21-22).

Love from a pure heart is fervent (1 Pet. 1:22). A pure heart expresses the motives and character of love (1 Cor. 13:1-8). Keeping God’s commands expresses this love, and assures our hearts before Him (1 Jno. 3:16-23).

2) Love from a good conscience. The conscience is to serve as a moral compass. To operate dependably, it must be calibrated to God’s word as its true north. The commands of God train our conscience in truth and love, rendering it useful. When trained by obeying God’s commands, our conscience becomes a reliable monitor of our thoughts, words and deeds, helping us remain faithful to the Lord (Jno. 8:9; Acts 23:1; 24:16; 2 Tim. 1:3). When we keep God’s commands we are being careful to maintain a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:18-19).

3) Love from sincere faith. Faith is the expression of our trust in God. It is an active response to God’s word in our lives. Without obedience, faith is profitless, dead, unseen and barren (Jas. 2:14-20). Genuine love proceeds from unfeigned, unhypocritical faith. The genuine faith in Timothy dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). Now, Timothy was to teach others that God’s commandment cannot be kept (it cannot fulfill its purpose of love) when faith is held in pretense and hypocrisy. Christ often addressed and rebuked hypocritical attempts at obedience because they displayed hearts void of genuine faith (Matt. 6:1-18; 15:7-9; Matt. 23:1-36). Without sincere faith in the heart, obedience becomes a display of self-righteousness (Lk. 18:9-14).


The goal of God’s commandment is not to enslave and oppress us. Just the opposite. When we abide in the word of Christ we are freed from sin’s bondage to live in the love of God (Jno. 8:31-36; 14:21, 23-24). Being careful to keep God’s commands is not self-righteousness, nor it is an attempt to earn one’s way to heaven. We obey Christ as loyal servants doing our duty (Lk. 17:10). We commit ourselves to God’s truth that obeying His commands fulfills His will that we love Him with all our being, and our neighbor as ourselves. God knows our hearts (Lk. 16:15). He knows whether our obedience expresses love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Let us not neglect to obey God. The goal of His commands is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. In our obedience we fulfill the purpose of the commandment of God. 


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

Seek the Lord
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:6-11

1. It is possible for it to become too late to seek the Lord, Heb. 9:27; Matt. 25:10-13 (Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11-12); Heb. 6:4-6 (1 Tim. 4:1).
2. God withdraws Himself from His people who reject Him, Hosea 5:6-7 (6:6).


  A. God Will be Found by Those who Inquire after Him and Desire to Serve Him, cf. Acts 17:27; Jno. 7:17; 8:43-44.
  B. God Will have Mercy on Us When We Forsake Sin and Return to Him, Isa. 55:7.
  C. Seek the Lord for Holy Reasons, Jno. 6: 26; Acts 5:1-4, 7-8, 11, 13; Matt. 11:28-30.


  A. God’s Thoughts and Ways are Infinitely Superior to Ours, Jer. 29:11-12.
  B. We Must Humble Our Thoughts and Ways to God’s, 1 Cor. 4:6; 2 Cor. 10:5-6.


  A. God's Word Accomplishes His Intended Purposes, Jno. 8:31-32; 12:48-50; 17:17.
  B. Love of Truth Leads to Salvation, 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Psa. 119:97; Jno. 6:60-66.

1. Come to God and His Christ (55:1, 3-4). The people of God are blessed with joy, peace and security, Isa. 55:12-13.
2. You will find God’s mercy in repentance (7); Not in your ways (8-9), but by following His word (10-11).


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

Open My Eyes That I May See Part 2
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:17-24

1. Review Part 1: No one is so blind as the one who will not see, Jno. 9:39-41.
2. The invisible God has made His presence visible to us through His creation (Rom. 1:20), and His character and will visible through His Son (Col. 1:15).
3. Open our eyes to see the army of God, 2 Kgs. 6:13-17.


  A. Its Unity (2 Tim. 3:16).
  B. Its Fulfilled Prophecy, Isa. 41:21-24; Lk. 24:44-45; Acts 3:18 (2 Pet. 2:20-21).
  C. Its Plan of Salvation, Gal. 4:4; Matt. 28:19.
  D. Its Protection against Sin, Psa. 119:9-11.
  E. Its Truth Leads to Eternal Life, Psa. 119: 160; Jno. 1:14, 17; 14:6 (8:31-32).


  A. By His Word, Jno. 20:14-16. (Rom. 10:17)
  B. Fix Our Eyes on Jesus, cf. Lk. 4:20.


  A. When Our Spiritual Enemies Threaten Us.
  B. When Sickness Comes and Death Approaches, Isa. 38:1-6; Jas. 5:13.

1. Like Balaam, the rebellious should fall down before God “with eyes wide open,” Num. 24:4, 16.
2. Our faith is secure in Christ and His holy word to walk by faith, not by (human) sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We know, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jno. 20:29).


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  08/05/2019

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