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


Volume 23, Number 29

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


In this issue:

Unlawful Marriages
Joe R. Price

17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife”

(Mark 6:17–18, NKJV).

Marriage is a stabilizing force of society. Any society cannot long endure when it devalues and distorts the marriage relationship between man and woman. God inaugurated marriage as a blessing for humanity in Eden (Gen. 2:18-25). It is not the product of the cultural development of societies through the ages. Jesus acknowledged the abiding truth that marriage is from God and for life (Mark 10:6-8). The divine arrangement of marriage is one man and one woman for life (Matt. 19:4-5; Rom. 7:2-3). History records marriage’s disfigurement and destruction by such sins as polygamy, concubinage, divorce for every cause, and cohabiting without marriage (Gen. 4:19; Mal. 2:13-16; Matt. 19:3, 6-8; Rom. 1:24-29).

Today’s passage reminds us that not every marriage is lawful and good in God’s sight. Herod’s marriage to Herodias (his brother Philip’s wife) was unlawful. Herod and Herodias had divorced their spouses to enter this unholy union (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18.5.1; 18.5.4). John would be beheaded because he rebuked their sin (Mark 6:19-29).

Marriage is a commitment for life (Rom. 7:2-3). God gives one cause for ending a marriage with approval to remarry (Matt. 19:9). Let us uphold God-approved marriages but never approve relationships God’s word defines as sin (Matt. 5:32; Heb. 13:4). 

-Sword Tips #2308


"Do I Have To?"
Joe R. Price

Most parents have heard their children ask this question. Children have a way of testing parents to see if they really mean what they say. Parents must teach children they do indeed mean what they say, and they are expected to obey their instruction (Eph. 6:1). Parents have their children’s best interest at heart (or should) when they teach them obedience (Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:20). They want them to learn responsibility, reliability, and respect.

God’s teachings are in our best interests. God commands us for our eternal good. We must not be like little children and say to God, “Do I have to?” when He commands us. He wants to keep us out of spiritual danger by saving our souls from sin and teaching us to be faithful, responsible, reliable, respectful children of God. For example:

Do I have to be baptized to be saved?” Nobody asked that question in the New Testament. Instead, people asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:6), and “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Christ has commanded us to be baptized into Him for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21). It is His way of washing away our sins by His blood (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4). It is not our place to say, “Do I have to?” It is our place to believe and obey reverently (Acts 10:34-35).

Do I have to attend every worship service of the church?” Early Christians had the habit of assembling together to worship God and edify each other (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20). Although some made a habit of forsaking their assembling, this was a willful sin against God (Heb. 10:24-26). We should be thankful for the spiritual benefits and blessings of worshiping God, not approach it with begrudging compliance (1 John 5:3). God who has saved us from our sins should not receive from us the unthinking response, “Do I have to go to all the worship services?”

Do I have to read my Bible regularly?” It is a blessing to have a Bible to read (John. 8:32; Acts 17:11; Eph. 3:3-5; Heb. 4:12). By doing so, we understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17). God, who saves us, has revealed His mind to us through the apostles and prophets of Christ (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). Every person who wants God’s approval sees the benefit of learning God’s word of truth to conform to the will of God (2 Tim. 2:15). Christians who rarely open the Holy Scriptures are ill-equipped to do God’s work. In effect, this says, “No, I do not have to read the word of God to be a mature Christian” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Do I have to?” No, you do not have to obey God. You choose whether to obey or disobey Him (Josh. 24:15). But be advised, God promises eternal salvation to those who obey Jesus in faith. He does not promise it to those who disobey Him (Heb. 5:8-9). So instead of asking, “Do I have to?” we ought to ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” 

-The Spirit’s Sword (8/26/2012)


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


Call on the Name of the Lord
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Romans 10:6-17

1. What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? Is it prayer? Is it only prayer? It is always prayer? Are other things involved?
2. Questions of salvation (Rom. 10:13).


  A. Men Began to Call on the Name of the Lord, Gen. 4:26. Call: To encounter, to call out to, to address, Gen. 6:2; 4:16; Acts 9:14.


  A. Seek God’s Blessings, Gen. 4:26.
  B. Acts of Reverence and Thankful Worship, Gen. 12:8; 13:4; Ps. 105:1; 116:16-17.
  C. Implore/Petition God for Help, Ps. 99:6.
  D. Cry to God for Deliverance from Enemies and Distress, Ps. 18:1-3; 118:5-6 (trust, 118:8-9). Expression of faith in Lord.
  E. For the Salvation of Our Soul, Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13.


  A. Not by Prayer Alone, Acts 9:11; 22:16.
  B. Not by Faith Alone, Acts 26:14-16.
  C. By Obeying the Lord’s Command to Repent and Be Baptized, Acts 2:21, 37-41.


  A. Prayerful Appeals to the Lord for Favor and Relief, Acts 7:59.
  B. Obedient Faith Compels Persistent, Prayerful Appeals to the Lord, Phil. 4:4-7.
  C. Living in Fellowship with the Lord, 1 John 1:6-7 (Col. 3:17); Heb. 12:28.


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


Eagerly Waiting
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  2 Peter 3:10-15

1. Christians ought to live with eager anticipation as we look beyond this vale of tears into eternity, 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
2. Christians eagerly wait (expect fully)…


  A. Our Hope Rests in the Assurance of Righteousness by Faith, Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-24.
    1. Hope prevails against present sufferings, Rom. 8:18-19.
    2. Hope prevails until the resurrection, Rom. 8:23-25 (17).
    3. Hope secures us to Christ, Heb. 6:18-19 (1 Pet. 1:3-5).


  A. The Day of Our Lord Jesus is the Christian’s Expectant Hope, 2 Thess. 1:10-12.
  B. “I Am Coming Quickly” (unhindered, soon, without delay), Rev. 22:20 (Ans. 22:17).
    1. In response to our needs, Rev. 3:10-11.
    2. In retribution against enemies, Rev. 2:5, 16.
    3. We eagerly look for to the day of the Lord, 2 Pet. 3:12 (11-14), His longsuffering, 3:15 (9).


  A. Because Our Citizenship is in Heaven, Heb. 11:14.
  B. Because Christ Will Transform Us Mortals into Immortality, Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 John 3:2-3.
  C. Because Christ Will Bring Salvation to Those Who Wait for Him, Heb. 9:27-28; 2 Tim. 2:10-13; Heb. 10:31 (Matt. 10:28).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

"McDonald's Made Me Do It!"
Joe R. Price

Russian Ksenia Ovchinnikova is suing McDonald’s, “claiming that seeing a mouthwatering cheeseburger commercial made her break her fast during Lent” (Woman Sues McDonald’s, “For Orthodox Christians (like Ovchinnikova, JRP) following the Julian calendar, Lent is a strict period as they are expected to stay away from meat, meat by-products, poultry, eggs, and dairy for the entire period” ( She couldn’t resist the McDonald’s ad, visited a McDonald’s, and bought a cheeseburger. It is reported that “In the actions of McDonald’s, I see a violation of the consumer protection law,” fumed the wrathful worshipper. “I ask the court to investigate and, if a violation has taken place, to oblige McDonald’s LLC to compensate me for moral damage in the amount of one thousand rubles ($14)” (

People used to say, “The devil made me do it,” to excuse their sin. Now, “McDonald’s made me do it!”

This is another example of not accepting personal responsibility for one’s decisions and actions. This lady decided to go to McDonald’s. She decided to order a cheeseburger, pay for it, and eat it. Did advertising play a part? Probably. But, she chose to act on McDonald’s enticement to eat a burger. She exercised free will.

The Bible is very clear. “Each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). We cannot blame God when we choose to sin and escape accountability. Likewise, we cannot blame others and escape accountability even when they entice us. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent” (Prov. 1:10). “Submit to God” and “resist the devil” (James 4:7). They will answer for their enticement. We will answer for our decision to yield or resist. 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  08/16/2021

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: