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


Volume 23, Number 35

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 (2)
Joe R. Price

Matthew 5:38-42

The scribes and Pharisees perverted the Law’s stated penalty against crime by turning it into their justification to return in kind when personally wronged (Exod. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). The Law’s just punishment became their excuse to retaliate against others out of personal vengeance. Thus, they misapplied the Law’s prescribed treatment of wrong doers while ignoring the Law also said, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord (Lev. 19:18).” Jesus rejected their manipulation of the Law of God to claim personal retaliation. The righteousness of the kingdom compels us to do the following: (1) Be generous when others mistreat us (do not resist, turn the other cheek, relinquish instead of litigating, go the extra mile, and “give to him who asks,” Matt. 5:39-42). (2) Help those who seek our assistance (“from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away,” Matt. 5:42). Our righteousness must exceed the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 5:20). So, seek peace and pursue it (1 Pet. 3:11). Love your neighbors instead of retaliating against them. Be a peacemaker, and be blessed as a child of God (Matt. 5:9).

Matthew 5:43-47

The Law of Moses did not say, “Hate your enemy.” The scribes and Pharisees omitted “as yourself” when teaching its command to “love your neighbor.” (They also had trouble identifying their neighbor, Luke 10:29-37). Jesus had already warned against hate and its judgment in this sermon (Matt. 5:21-26). Now, He corrects the “righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” by teaching the very essence of love. Love shows goodwill toward its enemies as well as toward those with whom it agrees (Matt. 5:46-47). This comprehensive and selfless trait of love is the embodiment of God’s love for all humanity (Matt. 5:45). We cannot claim to be a child of God and hate our enemy. Love is “unconquerable benevolence, undefeatable goodwill” (Wm. Barclay). We must not allow the world to define love for us. God is love, and in love, He gave His Son for us when we were His enemies in our sin (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8, 10). Love does not overlook sin, truth, and justice. At the same time, love refuses to be driven by hateful motives and vengeful conduct toward its abusers (Matt. 5:38-42). The perfecting of our character “as your Father in heaven is perfect” includes loving everyone like God (Matt. 5:48; 1 John 4:20). 

Matthew 5:48

Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, which included preaching the gospel of the kingdom (of which His sermon on the mount is typical, Matt. 5:17-19; 4:23; 5:1). In Matthew 5:20-48, He contrasted the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus did far more than just teaching Jews how to be faithful Jews. He taught Jews (and subsequently, Gentiles, Matt. 28:18-20) how to be “perfect” (complete) as citizens of the kingdom, His church. Today’s verse speaks explicitly to the nature of our love toward others, whether friend and foe (Matt. 5:43-47). In the Scriptures, the word “perfect” (teleios) means “complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.)” (G5046). The Father is complete in every respect, including His love (Matt. 5:45). He is the ultimate example for His children’s character and conduct. Would you please notice we must choose to “be perfect” like the Father? Jesus calls us to willingly choose to be like the Father in word and deed toward (1) Our brother (Matt. 5:21-26), (2) Lust (Matt. 5:27-30), (3) One’s spouse (Matt. 5:31-32), (4) Our integrity (Matt. 5:33-37), (5) Retaliation (Matt. 5:38-42), and (6) Our love of others (Matt. 5:43-47). May we devote ourselves daily to this worthy endeavor.

Matthew 6:1-4

Acts of charity ought to be driven by compassion, not by seeking the accolades of men. Jesus addressed the motive of helping the needy by contrasting the public displays of the hypocrites with acts of kindness that escape the attention of others. If our motive for helping others is to be seen and honored, that is the only reward we will have. On the other hand, we will not seek attention when compassion moves us to help the needy. We will not go around telling people what we did; We just do it. People may not see our acts of compassion, and that’s okay. The Father in heaven does, and He will reward us. The good Samaritan, who unhesitatingly helped a stranger, sets the example for us (Luke 10:29-37). Moved with compassion, he was a neighbor to the man in need, caring for him immediately and arranging for his ongoing needs. Compassion for those in distress moves citizens of the kingdom to act, not for men’s praise, but to relieve suffering and honor God.

Matthew 6:5-6

Why do you pray? The Lord knows the reasons and motives of our prayers; He is the One who “knows the hearts of all” (Acts 1:24). Jesus knew many people pray so others will view them as religious and pious. They choose conspicuous places to petition heaven’s throne. Their desire (to be seen by men), once achieved, is their only reward. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven understand prayer to be intimate communication with their heavenly Father. It is a time to pour out thanks, adoration, petitions, and pleas to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). There we find the divine assurance of mercy, solace, and peace. Our Father is in private places. He sees, hears, and openly rewards our humble prayers (Phil. 4:6-7). Prayer is not a ritual; it is a retreat to commune with our Father. Keep pure motives when you pray. God sees the purpose of our prayers, so seek His approval when praying to Him. Remember, it is God who answers our prayers, not people. So pray to be seen by your heavenly Father.       (Continued next week)


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


A Little is Better
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 37:16-20

1. The desire to be rich and the love of money lead many souls to destruction, 1 Tim. 6:9-10.
2. Conversely, Scripture praises the advantages of having “a little” when coupled with traits of wisdom and faith.

I. “Better is a Little with the Fear of the Lord, than Great Treasure With Trouble,” Prov. 15:16.

  A. Wealth Does Not Secure Contentment, Luke 12:18-20; Eccl. 5:10-17; 1 Tim. 4:7, 17-19.
  B. Fear of the Lord Gives Refuge in Times of Trouble, Prov. 14:26 (9:10); 19:23; 22:4-5.
  C. Failure to Fear God Leads to Trouble, Prov. 28:14; 1:9-10, 24-27.


  A. Contentment is Marked by Love, not Self-Indulgent Lavishness, Amos 6:3-7.
  B. Apply Principle to Church, Gal. 5:13-15.
  C. Apply Principle to Family, Prov. 21:9 (25:24); 1 Pet. 3:1-2, 7; Eph. 5:22, 25-29.


  A. Sources of Unrighteous Revenue, 1 Cor. 6:8-10; James 5:1-6; Prov. 11:1 (16:11); Micah 6:9-14.
  B. When Unjust Revenue is Acquired, Luke 19:8 (Exod. 22:1-15).
  C. Righteous Person is Wealthier than the Wicked Rich, Ps. 37:16; 1 Tim. 6:6-10.

Conclusion: Micah 6:6-8 (justice, mercy, humility)


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


Have You Lost Your Bible?
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  2 Chronicles 34:14-19

1. Have you ever lost your Bible?
2. Imagine an entire nation, one that claimed to be God’s special people, losing the Bible; It has happened, 2 Chron. 34:14-19.
3. We are in danger of losing the Bible, too.


  A. When it is Not Learned and Lived, Matt. 19:6; Heb. 13:4; Eph. 5:3-7; 6:1-4.
  B. Make Room in Your Home for the Bible.

II. BIBLE LOST IN DIVISION, 1 Cor. 1:12; 4:6.

  A. Twisted to Satisfy Carnal Impulses of Selfishness and Pride, 1 Cor. 3:3-4; 3 John 10.
  B. Be Committed to God’s Truth and Committed to Serving Others, Eph 4:1-6.


  A. Apathy Prepares the Heart to Drift Away from God and His Word, Heb 2:1-3.
  B. Apathy and Neglect Shows Misplaced Values, Mark 8:36-38 (Ps. 19:10-11).


  A. Following Men and Causes the Bible to be Lost on Personalities.
  B. Gospel is a Sensational Message Based on Divine Wisdom, 1 Cor. 1:18-21; 2:1-5.


  A. God Calls with Gospel, 2 Thess. 2:14; Titus 2:11-12; Acts 2:37-38.


  A. To Motivational Speaking.

Conclusion: If we lose the Bible we lose heaven.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Seeing What We Want to See
Joe R. Price

A controversy erupted this week on the U.S.-Mexico border when U.S. Border Patrol horse agents were accused of whipping Hattians trying to enter the U.S. illegally. One U.S. Representative said what occurred was worse than past events of slavery. “Those people will pay,” said President Biden, speaking of the agents. Others explained twirling the long reins is not whipping people. Instead, the rein-twirling helps riders be safe, preventing people from coming near the horses and being injured.

Reactions to this incident illustrate how firmly held convictions coupled with partial information can easily cause us to see what we want to see without objectively assessing all the facts. The scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus as a lawbreaker, a blasphemer, and a threat to their power (Jn. 5:16-18; 11:47-53). People yearning for liberation from Roman rule and fleshly sustenance saw Jesus as their prospective king (Jn. 6:14-15). Others saw Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Jn. 6:69).

Such reactions and responses to Jesus reflect attitudes of heart. Hardened hearts refuse to see objective truth. They see everything through the prism of bias and prejudice. Truth cannot penetrate such hearts (Matt. 13:13-15; Jn. 8:43-44).

Conversely, open hearts accept evidence and use reason rather than inflammatory rhetoric. God called Israel to come and reason together about her sins (Isa. 1:18-20). Apostles reasoned from the Scriptures with the lost, and some were persuaded (Acts 17:2-4). Fair-minded Bereans “received the word with all readiness,” examining the Scriptures (God’s revelation of truth) to be assured of the truth of the gospel (Acts 17:11-12).

Solomon advised his son to “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). That’s godly counsel. Truth is not self-defined (i.e., “my truth”); God reveals it. Let us know and obey truth with open hearts. Then, we will escape sin (Jn. 8:31-32). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  09/27/2021

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