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


Volume 22, Number 39

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

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Mailing Address:

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  Bellingham, WA 98228
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Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

Do You Believe?
Joe R. Price

13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”  (John 9:13–15, NKJV)

The healed man had already told the Pharisees how he received his sight (Jno. 9:10-11). Their interest in Jesus and His miracle was not to believe in Him; it was to accuse Him as a Sabbath-breaker (Jno. 9:16).

Let’s draw our attention to the particulars of this event. The man said 1) Jesus did something (“put clay on my eyes”), then 2) Jesus told him to do something (“I washed”), and then 3) The man received his sight (“I see”), John 9:6-7.

A similar sequence occurs when God saves sinners. 1) Jesus did something (died for our sins and arose from death). 2) Jesus tells us to do something (“arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). 3) When we believe and do what He tells us to do, we are saved (Mk. 16:15-16).

Like the faithless Pharisees, many religious leaders reject and deny this God-revealed sequence of salvation. Yet, like the blind man’s healing, receiving God’s gift of salvation blends God’s grace and our faith (Eph. 2:8). The blind man did not merit his gift of sight when he obeyed Jesus. Neither do we merit our gift of salvation when we obey Him (Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 5:9; Rom. 6:3-5, 17). But unless we have the faith to obey, we remain blind, lost in sin.

So, will we choose to have faith like the blind man and obey Jesus? Or will we join the Pharisees and faithlessly resist Jesus and His salvation?   -Sword Tips #2069 


Go Up This Mountain
Joe R. Price

The Lord told Moses he would not be allowed to enter the land of promise “because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel” (Deut. 32:51). Yet, in His mercy, the Lord allowed Moses to see the land He was giving Israel (Deut. 32:52). Come now with Moses and let us “go up this mountain” to the top of Pisgah and there lift up our eyes to see the depth and breadth of the divine purposes and plans for the people of God (Deut. 32:49; 34:1).

From the top of Pisgah we see God keeping His promises. With Moses, can you see the hills of Ephraim and the coastal plains as they slope to the Mediterranean? From the heights of Naphtali to the southern plains of Judah, see with Moses the “exceedingly good land” traversed by Joshua and Caleb in the day the spies passed through it (Num. 14:7). From the top of Pisgah we see God keeping the land promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’ (Deut. 34:4). Under the leadership of Joshua God would cause Israel to enter and inherit the land promised to their fathers (Deut. 31:7, 23; 4:21-22; Josh. 11:23; 21:43). Similarly, under the leadership of Christ, the Lord God will lead Christians into a heavenly country of eternal rest (Heb. 4:8-10). Since God’s faithful ones will certainly cross Jordan into the heavenly land, let us be “diligent to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11; 3:6, 14; 5:9; 11:13-16).

From the top of Pisgah we see the power of God. By His might, the Almighty would “cast out many nations before” Israel that were “greater and mightier than you” (Deut. 7:1). Even before the first battle was set, the victory was assured: “Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel” (Num. 27:12).  But, although “the Lord fought for Israel” and graciously gave Israel her inheritance, Israel would have to courageously engage the enemy and obediently wield the sword of faith (Josh. 10:14, 42; 1:7-9; 10:28-43). As in those ancient days, it is the Lord our God “who goes before you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). So, in the boldness of faith, let us take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” and with it fight the good fight of faith against sin and error and lay hold of eternal life (Eph. 6:17; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7-8). God’s grace will give victory to those of humble faith (Heb. 11:30-40; Jas. 4:6).

From the top of Pisgah we see punishment and redemption from God. Look in the distance and you can make out God’s eventual judgment upon a rebellious people. Israel would “turn aside from the way” commanded by Moses and provoke God with evil works (Deut. 31:29). With prophetic certainty and sadness Moses denounced Israel as “a perverse and crooked generation” who repaid God’s goodness with corruption (Deut. 32:4-6). God would attempt to restore Israel to repentance as He rendered just vengeance upon His enemies and provided atonement for His land and His people (Deut. 32:34-43). 

In the Lord Jesus Christ, the nations rejoice with Israel, for “all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Deut. 32:43; Rom. 15:10; 10:11-13). What will you and I reap: Redemption or retribution? 

Can you see the promised land? We will enter that rest through diligent, obedient faith (Heb. 4:1-13). 

-Reprint with editing
The Spirit’s Sword, June 29, 2003


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

"If You Are the Son of God"
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 4:1-7

1. We resist temptation at least two ways:
  a. By choosing not to do what is in our power to do, 1 Jno. 3:4.
  b. By choosing to do what is in our power not to do, Jas. 4:17.
2. Understanding the proposals the devil (and his servants) made to Jesus helps us resist temptations to sin.

I. “IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD…,” Matt. 4:3, 6; Lk. 4:9.

  A. Satan Challenges Truth with Doubt.
  B. Satan Challenges Trust in God’s Provisions by Enticing Us With Selfish Impulses (bread).
  C. Satan Uses God’s Promises to Entice Us to Test God, Matt. 4:6-7.
  D. Satan Uses Immediate Fulfillment to Tempt Our Devotion to the Enduring Purposes of God, Matt. 4:8-10.

II. “IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, TELL US,” Jno. 10:24; Lk. 22:67; 23:39.

  A. Hard Hearts Refuse to See, Jno. 12:37-40; Jno. 10:25; Lk. 22:67; Matt. 13:13-15.


  A. The King Came to Save Sinners, Not Himself! Jer. 23:5-6; Zech. 14:10; Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 2:10-13; Heb. 12:22-23, 28.
  B. Has All Authority, Matt. 28:18.

Jno. 20:30-31; Acts 4:12; 1 Jno. 5:4-5


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Who Checks the Fact-Checkers?
Joe R. Price

Social media is driving the current phenomenon of fact-checking political claims. Journalist John Stossel explained recently that Facebook “fact-checked” his video in which he called the California wildfires “government fueled.” They inserted a warning that his video “could mislead,” and limited viewers (“Fake Fact-Checking,” The Epoch Times, Oct. 7, 2020).

Our question is simple: Who is checking the fact-checkers? Why should we believe the fact-checker without knowing their credentials, biases, etc.? Censorship under the guise of fact-checking (always for the common good) is nothing new. Propaganda is an effective tool still used to shape minds and societies.

We should not naively think religious bias and the censorship of fact-checking never happens when it comes to Bible teaching. It does, and when done with dishonest motives, it can silence opposition. False teachers will try to divert attention from their error using false charges and baseless attacks (Acts 6:8-14). They can sway many souls if they say they “have the facts” long enough and loud enough (2 Cor. 11:12-15).

We should fact-check Bible teachers, not as a “gotcha” moment or intimidation to silence disagreement, but to discern truth and avoid error (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Jno. 4:1). To do this, we must go to the proper source of truth, the Scriptures. Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to know the certainty of the apostolic message. There they found confirmation of the gospel, and many became believers (Acts 17:10-12).

Fact-checking seeks agreement with God’s word, not the advancement of personal agendas. Do your own fact-checking by using God’s word. It is the truth. Remember, He is the final fact-checker (2 Cor. 5:10). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  10/11/2020

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