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


Volume 23, Number 34

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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Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

Kingdom Righteousness (1)
Joe R. Price

Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13). So, our righteousness must “exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” (Matt. 5:20). Christ taught this righteousness on a Galilean mountain (Matt. 5-7). Please meditate on His “instruction in righteousness” with me (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Matthew 5:21-22
Jesus challenges us to inspect our attitudes toward others and the words they prompt us to use (Matt. 12:33-37). Brotherly kindness and love (attributes Christians add to our faith, 2 Peter 1:5, 7) go far beyond not murdering a person. The apostle John assures us that “whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Jesus expects citizens of the kingdom to follow a path that leads from hate to harmony. Unjustified anger, contemptuous words, and hateful conduct bring a judgment that endangers souls. So, we must be careful how we speak to others (and speak of them to others). We must remove animosity, contempt, bitterness, malicious speech from our hearts and mouths (Eph. 4:31). Kindness must prevail to be a faithful follower of Jesus (Eph. 4:32). Remember, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Prov. 15:4). Furthermore, the perverse tongue condemns the soul.

Matthew 5:23-26
The ability to reconcile a problem begins with admitting our part in contributing to the problem. Without taking personal responsibility we cannot correct the wrong. That is what Jesus teaches here. Your “brother has something against you” – you have done something that caused a dispute. Accept your responsibility for the hostility between you and your brother (or parent, sibling, neighbor, etc.). Take the initiative to repent and reconcile. An unwillingness to correct our faults against another person prevents acceptable worship. We cannot mistreat others and expect God to accept our worship. Furthermore, eternal judgment awaits such unloving, stubborn obstinance.

Matthew 5:27-30
Jesus challenges us to get to the heart of the matter when identifying and turning away from sin. Of course, adultery remains a sin as it was under the Law of Moses (Exod. 20:14; Rom. 13:9). Even the first covenant called on Israel to love the Lord God with all their heart (Deut. 6:5). Jesus drills down to the root of this (and every) sin; the heart’s desires and impulses (1 John 2:15-17). Lustful looks at a woman are adultery in the heart, and so is the act. The heart is the source of sin. Sin lurks in the recesses of the heart’s desires, emotions, and motives (Gen. 4:7; Matt. 15:19-20). God’s word has the power to pierce the heart and reach its thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12). By doing so, it convicts us of our sins and calls us to repent (change our heart, Acts 2:37-38; 26:20). Jesus vividly described the severity of repentance: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell (Matt. 5:29–30).” Jesus will forgive our sins when we repent (Acts 17:30; Matt. 11:28-30). And drastic steps are necessary to repent to avoid sin’s eternal punishment.

Matthew 5:31-32
God created, arranged, and sanctified marriage for man and woman (Gen. 2:21-25). Over time, people failed to honor marriage by introducing all kinds of corruption that defiled this holy union, including polygamy (Gen. 4:19), homosexuality (Gen. 19:5), adultery (2 Sam. 11:2-4), and divorce (Mal. 2:13-16). God restrained man’s cheapened disregard for marriage through the Law of Moses, placing restrictions on plural wives, divorce, and remarriage (Exod. 21:10; Deut. 21:15-17; 24:1-4). Yet, in the days of Christ, marriage continued to be minimized as a relationship easily discarded and replaced with a legal document (Matt. 5:31; 19:7-8). Jesus applied His authority over marriage, affirming its sanctity and exclusivity. The person who divorces his (or her) spouse for “any reason except sexual immorality (fornication) bears responsibility for the sin of separating what God joined, and the future sin remarriage produces (Matt. 5:32; 19:6). Only the reason of sexual immorality (fornication) suffices to put away a spouse without causing her to commit adultery through remarriage (Matt. 5:32). And the person who marries one who has been divorced (put away) also commits adultery (Matt. 19:9). Jesus calls on everyone to honor marriage as God gave it instead of dishonoring it and losing our souls (Heb. 13:4).

Matthew 5:33-37
Citizens of the kingdom of heaven are people of integrity. They keep their word.
The Jews had invented ingenious ways to circumvent honesty while still claiming to be honest. They thought they could swear by the temple and free themselves from their pledge. But, they said an oath made by the temple’s gold obliged one to keep it (Matt. 23:16). Jesus said they were blind fools for making such false oaths (Matt. 26:17, 18-22). It is intriguing and pertinent that today’s passage (that emphasizes the integrity of keeping one’s word) immediately follows Christ’s declaration of the sanctity of marriage (Matt. 5:31-32). The marriage vow is for life (“until death we do part”), and yet too many break their vow and think they are freed from their obligation made to and before God (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2-3). The Christian’s word is trustworthy and dependable in all matters. Playing word games to evade the truth and our moral responsibility makes us no different from the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 5:20). Let your word be your bond. People notice, and so does the Lord (Matt. 5:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:12; Ps. 15:4).                                            (To be continued)

17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. -Jesus
(Matthew 5:17–20, NKJV)


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

The Search for Truth
Joe R. Price

Pilate’s retort, “What is truth?” dripped with sarcasm (John 18:38). Now as then, people dishonestly manipulate information into whatever “truth” they want to adopt, advocate, and advance. We are not immune to this temptation. Consider these examples in the news: Election outcomes, Covid-19, Afghanistan, and General Milley. All these prompt strong feelings and opinions. The same is true of Bible topics: Baptism for salvation, divorce and remarriage, immodest clothing, social drinking, etc. God’s word is truth, so it will guide Christians in assessing truth and fiction (John 17:17). Consider a few ways to “buy the truth” (Prov. 23:23).

(1) Don’t rush to judgment (Prov. 18:13). Partial information is not the proper basis for final decisions. Bias toward a person or topic leads to over-generalizations and unwarranted conclusions. Having a pat answer to every issue may belie a prejudiced heart unwilling to consider any alternative. An attitude that says, “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with the facts,” causes disruption, distrust, and division instead of knowledge, respect, and peace (Heb. 12:14).

(2) Get all sides of the story. “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17). The Bereans listened to Paul’s preaching, then confirmed it by searching the Scriptures for accuracy (Acts 17:11). When we refuse to hear and investigate we are bound to make serious mistakes in judgment.

(3) Reject hearsay (Prov. 16:28). Primary sources are essential for accuracy in journalism (and for every seeker of truth). Righteous judgment rejects appearances and demands objectivity from known facts (John 7:24). Private agendas hide key details that pervert justice while advancing a cause. Truth is open to all (2 Cor. 7:2).

Be a truth-seeker. It requires honesty, humility, and fairness. The result of acquiring the truth is “wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Prov. 23:23). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  09/17/2021

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