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


Vol 13, Num 40, 11/07/2010

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
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
John Hague
Dan Head


In this issue:

Who Gave You This Authority?
Joe R. Price

Jesus was often confronted by opponents whose intent was to trap him in his words (Lk 11:53-54). Without exception, he answered them “well” (Mk 12:28; Lk 20:39).

One such attempt was made by the chief priests and scribes after Jesus drove out the profiteers from the temple and healed the blind and lame (Matt 21:12-14). Such miracles demonstrated his heavenly endorsement and power, yet the enemies of righteousness objected and confronted him as he was teaching. Although their motive was sinister, their questions were legitimate. They asked, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” (Matt 21:23) The miracles of Jesus (which they could not deny, Jno 11:47) confirmed his heavenly authority.

Jesus replied with a question and by it teaches there are only two possible sources for our moral, spiritual and religious authority: heaven or men (Matt 21:24-25). The question you and I must ask is, by what authority do we believe and practice our faith: heaven or men?

1) The plan of salvation. Heaven’s plan to save sinners is to hear and believe the gospel of Christ Jesus, confess faith, repent of sins and be baptized for the remission of sins (Mk 16:15-16; Rom 10:9-10; Acts 2:37-41). Men’s plans include faith only, pray the sinner’s prayer, and other false plans supported by their doctrines and commands rather than God’s word.

2) The work of the local church. The local church has heaven’s authority to preach the word, to edify the saints in truth through worship and Bible instruction, and to care for needy saints (Acts 2:42-26; 4:32-35; 11:27-30; 11:22-23; 13:1-2; 20:7; 1 Cor 14:26; 1 Ths 1:8; Phil 4:15-16). Who gave churches of Christ the authority to promote a social agenda of recreational activities and secular education? Not the Lord, for his word is silent about such areas of work (1 Cor 4:6). They have been added and approved by men and must be refused and resisted (Gal 1:6-10).

3) The organization of the local church. By what authority do churches of Christ organize beyond the local level? Heaven authorizes elders in every church to oversee the flock among them, not elders overseeing the work of many churches through sponsoring churches or some other arrangement (Acts 14:23; 1 Pet 5:2). In the New Testament a church never sent money to another church to fund that church’s work of evangelism or edification. That is a new development authorized by men and not heaven’s word.

This list is not exhaustive; it can and must be extended to all we say and do (Col 3:17). Heaven’s authority is revealed in God’s word. Without the approval of Scripture we sin against the Lord who has all authority (Matt 28:18).


They Continued Steadfastly In Prayer
Harry Osborne

The New Testament church engaged in prayer to worship God. Jesus taught the disciples that prayer was an act of worship and reverence to God (Matt. 6:5-13). Our Lord’s example in public and private prayer is instructive to us as well (Matt. 11:25f; Lk. 3:21; Jn. 11:41f; 17:1f; Lk. 5:16; 9:18; 22:41f). In Colossians 4:2-4, the church is commanded to pray. The Bible says the early church prayed together in worship (Acts 2:42; 4:24-31). Churches following the approved example as a pattern in their worship will give attention to do as they did. But what do we know about 1st century churches and prayer?

1) They “continued” in prayer (Acts 2:42). This suggests that prayer was not an occasional act with them, but a continual practice. Jesus taught His disciples that “they ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Lk. 18:1). By inspiration, Paul instructed the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). If Christian men must be “lifting up holy hands in every place,” they must do so in the assembly of the saints (1 Tim. 2:8). The remainder of Acts as well as the epistles show clearly that Christians assembling to worship God in places other than Jerusalem and long after the first Pentecost following the resurrection also engaged in the practice of prayer as they gathered.

2) They were steadfast in prayer (Col. 4:2; Rom. 12:12). Steadfastness not only implies continuation of a practice, but also an unwavering effort that abides regardless of the situation, surroundings or opposition faced. This characterized all work commanded of Christians (1 Cor. 15:58). It was done “at all seasons” and with “all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Even when civil powers were persecuting saints, the inspired writer said it was “good and acceptable” to keep on praying for them and all men (1 Tim. 2:1-4).

3) Their prayers addressed the deep needs of the time (Eph. 6:18-19). They prayed for the furtherance of the gospel and for the boldness of those who preached it (Col. 4:3). In sending men to preach that gospel, they prayed (Acts 13:3). By prayer, they were “helping together” with those who preached the word (2 Cor. 1:11). They gathered expressly to pray for Peter when he was imprisoned for preaching the truth (Acts 12:5,12). In appointing both elders and deacons, they prayed (Acts 14:23; 6:6). Elders prayed and wept when the beloved apostle left them saying he would see them no more (Acts 20:36-38). In all needs and blessings, they prayed (Phil 4:6).

4) They prayed for the forgiveness of sins on behalf of their brethren (Jas. 5:16). Notice the instruction to “confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another” is followed by a promise: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Prayer by the church on behalf of brethren guilty of sin was both authorized and effective in N.T. times.

5) They prayed in faith (Jas. 1:5-8). Since faith comes from the word of God (Rom. 10:17), their prayers were in harmony with truth. Faith also dispels doubt which makes any act of worship, prayer included, unacceptable to God.

When first century saints prayed acceptably to God, their prayers went up as sweet incense to His throne (Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4). We have the same opportunity today if we pray acceptably as they did. Let us never look lightly upon approaching God in prayer as we assemble together. We come before the Almighty when we do so. Let us address Him in reverence and praise, casting our needs and petitions before the heavenly Father knowing that He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7).

Reason for Hope, Oct 31, 2010


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

Obedience is Not…

Scripture Reading:  Micah 6:6-8

1. Obedience to the commands of God has been demonized by the false doctrines and false views of love, 1 Jno 5:2-3.
2. Also a temptation to turn genuine obedience into ceremony, ritual, rote and routine, Mk 12:28-30; Deut 28:45-47.


-Obey God rather than men, Acts 5:29
-Spirit was given to obedient, Acts 5:32
-Obedient escape hell, Rom 2:7-8; 2 Ths 1:8
-Frees from sin, Rom 6:16-18
-The obedient are not bewitched, Gal 3:1
-Prevents being disorderly conduct, 2 Ths 3:14
-Respects authority, Titus 3:1 (Matt 28:18)
-Obedient enter God’s rest, Heb 3:18
-Obtain eternal salvation, Heb 5:9
-Obey the word = won over to Christ, 1 Pet 3:1
-Saved with struggles (difficulty), 1 Pet 4:17-18


  A. Is Not Earning Salvation, Lk 17:10. Col 3:23-24; Eph 2:9; 2 Tim 1:9; Rom 3:23; 4:1-5; Gal 5:6.
  B. Is Not Defined by Each Person (self-defined), Matt 15:3-9; Phil 2:12-13; Rom 3:8.
  C. Is Not an Attack on the Sovereignty and Grace of God, Eph 2:8 (4-5); Tit 3:4-5; Rom 9:19f


  A. Obedience is the Free Will Actions of our Faith, Heb 11:6; Jas 2:17; Lk 6:46.
  B. We Choose to be Saved by Believing and Obeying Jesus, Matt 11:28; Acts 2:21; 10:34-35.


1. False doctrines minimize obedience, keeping many from Christ and His salvation, Matt 7:21.


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

Duty toward Disorderly

Scripture Reading:  2 Thessalonians 3:1-6

1. “Those who are spiritual” try to restore the fallen, Gal 6:1-2; Jas 5:19-20.
2. Individual and congregational responsibilities.
  a. Sin between individuals, Matt 18:15-17.
  b. Sin publicly known, 1 Cor 5:1-5. (Church and individual action, 5:9-13)
  c. False teachers: Mark and avoid, Ro 16:17-18.
  d. Factious: Warn and reject, Titus 3:10-11.
3. 2 Ths 3:6-15: Our responsibilities.


  A. The Christian who Walks Disorderly. Unruly, disobedient, 3:7, 9; 2:15; 3:4, 11, 14; 1 Ths 4:11f.
  B. Withdraw from Every Brother Who Walks Disorderly, 3:6, 14. Remove social interaction, 1 Cor 5:11. Reason: “That he may be ashamed” of sin and repent, 2 Ths 3:14.


  A. Before Withdrawing Yourselves: Warn the Disorderly, 1 Ths 5:14; 2 Tim 4:2; Jas 5:19-20.
  B. After Withdrawing Yourselves: Continue to Warn, 2 Ths 3:15.
  C. What about Family Members? Matt 10:37 (1 Pet 3:1-2; Eph 6:1-2); 1 Cor 5:11, 13
    -Question: Do we have the faith to do what Christ commands, even in our families? 2 Ths 3:6  Would Paul be confident in us? 2 Ths 3:4


  A. Without Congregational Action, Sin Infiltrates the Church, 1 Cor 5:6-7 (2).
  B. Without Individual Action, No Pressure and Urgency for Sinner to repent, 2 Ths 3:14-15.


   Will we be obedient in all things? 2 Cor 2:9


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Reminders from the US Elections
Joe R. Price

The US elections are now history. We do well to recall some fundamental expectations our Ruler Jesus Christ has of us, regardless of the form of government under which we live.

1) Civil government derives it power from God.For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom 13:1). Since God is over civil authority, wise leaders humble themselves before God and respect Him as Sovereign (Dan 4:25, 34-35). When rulers are evil God removes them and raises up others in their place (Jer 18:7-9; 27:5-7; 50:1-3).

2) No nation endures that fails to honor God.Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov 14:34). Faithless secularism has swept our nation. The light of truth must shine brightly, for unless this nation returns to honoring God we cannot expect it to escape God’s judgment (Matt 5:14-16).

3) Render to the civil authority what is due. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” refers to paying the taxes we owe (Matt 22:17-22; Rom 13:7). Tax evasion is not only criminal, it is sinful (Rom 13:2; 1 Pet 2:13).

4) Give due honor to our rulers.Honor the king” was commanded when treacherous Nero sat on the throne (1 Pet 2:17). We must not dishonor ourselves and our God with displays of dishonor toward God-given authority. God will judge evil rulers; give place to His wrath (Rom 12:17-21).

5) Christians are citizens of the heavenly kingdom. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jno 18:36). This gives us solace and hope as we witness the turmoil of politics, rebellion and revolution. Whether we live under oppression or liberty, we are free in Christ (Matt 17:26; 1 Cor 7:22). Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  11/08/2010

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: