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


Volume 21, Number 41

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:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rich Brooks

Aaron Bass
Shane Bass
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Gospel Meeting September 13 - 18, 2019

The Mt. Baker
Church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Highway • Bellingham WA

Invites you to our
With Evangelist

Brett Hogland
(Blue Springs, Missouri)

SEPTEMBER 13 - 18, 2019

Friday, Saturday, Monday–Wednesday at 7:00 pm
(Sunday Sept. 15th at 9:30 and 10:30 am; 6:00 pm)

Bring your Bible and join us for a period of Bible study

(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
For more information please call (360) 752-2692


Measuring Themselves by Themselves
Stan Cox

In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul addressed the sentiments of his opponents. It appears that some had said unkind things about the great apostle, and it is probable that some in Corinth had a negative view of the great man of God.

Paul’s appeal to be heard by them was centered in the authority he derived from Christ. He belonged to the Lord (vs. 7); the authority he exercised in edifying them came from the Lord (vs. 8); and as such he promised to come to them with weight and power in his words of admonition (vs. 9-11).

Paul’s concern was always to please Christ. He knew that as long as he did what the Lord told him to do that he would be in the right, and pleasing to Him. In his previous letter to the Corinthians he wrote, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

This perspective of Paul is discussed by him here in our text by contrasting it with a view that others held. He wrote, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12). The idea that I am good because I am better than someone else is common, but untrue and dangerous.

Why? Because it is full of assumptions. First, it commonly employs a subjective standard. I am better than my fellow man because I am busier? More successful? More dynamic? More popular? More reviled? If I get to define success, I will tend to tailor it to suit myself. This kind of prideful approach will give a false sense of superiority.

Second, because others are not the standard. God is. My being better than any man, or all men, has no bearing on whether I have accomplished what God requires. If my focus is on others, I miss the point. As the Pharisee who said, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Lk. 18:11-12), my self-exaltation does not impress God.

The first lesson here is that such comparisons promote pride. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). Our standing with God is not based upon our being better than others, it is based upon humble obedience to Him.

This final truth, the need to humble ourselves in obedience to God, is the thrust of Paul’s words in our text. Paul wrote, “We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere that includes you” (2 Cor. 10:13). Paul’s concern was with what God instructed him to do. He knew that he would be judged by whether he had fulfilled his stewardship.

Consider Paul’s conclusion: “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (10:17-18). Think of all the religious people who measure their acceptance with God based upon their own definitions of success. “Look at our numbers.” “Look at the ‘good’ we are doing.” Look how big we are, how enthusiastic we are, how much more successful than ‘you’.”

All that matters is that you are commended by the Lord. For this to be so, you must limit yourself to the “sphere which God appointed” (10:13). Without the approval of God, no other approval is of any consequence. (The Patternists)

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

Ears to Hear (Part 1)
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 22:17-21

1. Jesus warns us about how we listen, Lk. 8:18. This is the essential message of the parable of the sower/seed, Lk. 8:8-15, 16-17.
2. Listening requires the right heart, Eccl. 5:1; Prov. 20:12; Matt. 13:9, 13, 18 (1 Sam. 3:10).
3. Hear and do: Exo. 15:26; Deut. 4:1-2; Matt. 7:24-25.


  A. To God by Listening to His Word, Heb. 1:1-2; Lk. 19:48; 21:38.
    1. To have faith in God, Rom. 10:17 (Acts 17:11-12).
    2. To follow after righteousness, Isa. 51:1, His law and justice (4, 7).

  B. To the Reproof of Our Sin, Prov. 15:31; 25:12 (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 4:2; Lk. 17:3).
    1. To stay in the narrow way, Prov. 10:17.
    2. To avoid being stupid, Prov. 12:1.
    3. To be wise (not stubborn), Prov. 17:10.
    4. To avoid spiritual death, cf. Prov. 15:10.
    5. When you are reproved because of your sin–accept it, repent and rejoice that you are saved–do not resent, hate, oppose, reject it.

  C. To Wise Counsel, Prov. 8:34-36 (2:1-2; 5:1).
    1. Who is your counselor? Prov. 18:15; 29:1
    2. Sources of wise counsel: Those who point us to God and His word and will.
    3. Jesus, Isa. 9:6. Counselor: “advise…to deliberate or resolve” (determine), Jno. 6:68.

1. Ears to hear are open to listening to God’s word, to examining ourselves in light of the truth, and to correcting ourselves to conform to God’s will, Matt. 13:9.
2. If we don’t have ears to hear, then Matthew 13:13-15 describes us.


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

Ears to Hear (Part 2)
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 4:11-16

1. Listening to God’s word is essential to doing His will and being in fellowship with Him (Lk. 6:46).
2. A major part of keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” is listening to one another, Eph. 4:3, 15-16.

I. THINGS THAT KEEP US FROM LISTENING (Understanding what we hear), Jno. 8:43.

  A. One of the Biggest Problems Achieving Good Communication is Poor Listening Skills, Eccl. 5:1-3. (“We don’t listen to understand, we listen to reply.”)
  B. Our Sin Hinders Opening Our Ears to Hear, Jno. 8:44-47; Acts 7:54-58; Rom. 8:7; Ezek. 33:30-33; Acts 16:32-33; 22:16.
  C. A Hard, Unrepentant Heart Closes Our Ears, Matt. 13:14-16; Lk. 11:52-54; Heb. 3:7-8, 12-13; Acts 22:21-23; 17:11-12; Rom. 2:5-6.
  D. Spiritual Shallowness and Self-Interest Closes Our Ears, Matt. 13:19-22 (6:33); Eph. 4:11-16.
  E. Anger Prevents Effective Listening, Jas. 1:19-20.
-Unable to listen to God’s word, to reproof, or to wise counsel when our temper controls us, Prov. 12:15-16.
  F. Pride Refuses to Listen and Learn, Prov. 4:5-8; 11:2; 18:12-13; 15:31-33; 1 Pet. 5:5-6.
-Humility is essential for successful listening, 1 Pet. 5:5-6.

1. Love listens, 1 Cor. 13:4-8 (cf. Matt. 22:37).
2. We must be hearers and doers of God’s word, Jas. 1:21-25 (Matt. 7:24-25).
3. We must listen to each other in order to help each other follow God’s word and fulfill His will for us (1 Cor. 1:10).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Stormy Waters
Joe R. Price

At this writing Hurricane Dorian is building strength in the Atlantic Ocean with Florida in its crosshairs. Preparations are being made for what could be a Category 4 storm by landfall Monday.

Meantime, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg completed a two-week sailing journey across the Atlantic Ocean ahead of a U.N. conference on climate change (“Teen completes two-week ocean voyage,” USA Today, Miller and Sanchez, August 29, 2019, A2).

Both of these headlines remind us of stormy seas, an oft-used metaphor for life itself. Perhaps we should be reminded of some practical spiritual lessons.

1) The storms of life are often unavoidable. We are wrong to conclude that if someone is going through a trial or crisis that is must be of their own doing. Remember God’s servant Job (Job 1:8). Remember the man born blind (Jno. 9:1-3). We all do well to avoid unrighteously judging others when storms assail us (see Jno. 7:24; Jas. 4:11-12).

2) We can prepare for some storms, while others come upon us suddenly (Matt. 8:24). Surely, Christ’s exhortation to “watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” is a call to prepare for the squalls of temptations and worldly allurements that lull us to sleep and destroy our faith and our lives (Matt. 26:41).

3) Christ will see us safely through every storm of life. As He calmed the sea in Galilee and protected the lives of Paul and 275 other souls in the Mediterranean Sea, He will not forsake us when the gale blows (Matt. 8:26-27; Acts 27:30-38, 43-44; Heb. 13:5-6).

Our faith is not put in men who build ships that sail the seas of life (Col. 2:8). We put our faith in God who created the seas and our lives. He will see us through the stormy waters of life and land us safely on heaven’s shore (2 Tim. 4:6-8). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  09/02/2019

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