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


Vol 13, Num 44, 12/05/2010

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

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Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Web sites:
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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
John Hague
Dan Head


In this issue:

Rumors and Reckless Hyperbole
Joe R. Price

An Al Qaeda training manual seized in the U.K. says “spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy” is one of its top missions (“Shamnesty International,” Melana Zyla Vickers, Tech Central Station, June 3, 2005).  Rumormongering is a device of the devil of which we must not be ignorant (2 Cor 2:11).

Amnesty International released its annual report on human rights abuses this week, calling the U.S. Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility “the gulag of our times.”  Today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial is right to describe this as “reckless hyperbole” (“The Amnesty International report: Reckless hyperbole,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jun 3, 05).

Shamefully, those who deal in rumors and reckless exaggerations do not see themselves as detractors from the truth, but as defenders of it. 

Consider “idle babblings” (2 Tim 2:14).  Like “reckless hyperbole,” empty chatter (without Scriptural context and content) harms reputations, influences and the progress of the gospel.  When we contend earnestly for the faith it is not necessary to turn up the rhetoric, generating heat but no light.  Amnesty International compares the Guantanamo camp of 540 detainees to, in the editor’s words, “communist slave labor and death camps where countless millions were brutalized and killed” (Ibid.).  Greatly exaggerated, wouldn’t you say?

Yet, sometimes that’s all it takes to “defeat the enemy.” Evil suspicions, name calling, innuendo and exaggerated pronouncements against brethren must stop or such biting and devouring will surely consume God’s people (Gal 5:13-15). Clear heads, humble hearts and open Bibles must prevail when Christians disagree on a Bible subject. Love “thinks no evil” and “hopes all things” (1 Cor 13:5, 7). If we are incapable of addressing disagreements without the infusion of idle babblings and evil suspicions we will ruin ourselves and our listeners with the strife we perceive as “defending the faith” (2 Tim 2:14; 1 Tim 6:4). So, contend for the faith (Jude 3). Do so with boldness using God’s word and not with rumors and reckless hyperboles.

-Reprinted with revisions, The Spirit’s Sword (VIII:46), June 5, 2005


Are You a Friend to Jesus?
Joe R. Price

Friendship is a great blessing. A true friend is not easily found. We know from God’s word as well as experience that we must be a friend to others before we can ever expect to have friends ourselves (“a man who has friends must himself be friendly”, Prov 18:24).

It is vitally important that we choose our friends wisely. Our souls (and theirs) are at stake. We can easily deceive ourselves that our friends have no influence over our spiritual condition when in fact they are among the most influential people in our lives. Unbelieving friends can lead us into sin. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” is not an idle warning. It is a vital assessment of the power of friends in our lives (1 Cor 15:33-34). Friends help friends go to heaven.

Jesus called His apostles His friends (Jno 15:15). He had great affection and love for them. We pose a question for us to ask ourselves: Am I a friend to Jesus? We each can answer that question by observing the qualities of friendship and whether we bear the marks of friendship (cf. 2 Cor 13:5).

1) Friends stick close to each other. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). Friends are companions; they spend time together. A friend of Jesus spends time with the Lord through prayer, through worship, through serving others and by reading, learning and meditating on his word. Are you sticking close to Jesus?

2) Friends sacrifice for each other. There is no greater love “than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jno 15:13). Jesus is that kind of friend to us. But our question is: Am I a friend to Jesus? Would you and I give up our lives for Jesus? What about giving up a concert, a dinner or a sporting event to do His will? Would I give up a job if it caused me to become weak in my faith and sporadic in my worship? Would you? (Matt 6:33-34)

3) Friends are loyal to each other. They are devoted as they care for one another’s well being. The love and loyalty of David and Jonathan for one another is a fitting example of a friendship forged out of common faith and mutual concern (1 Sam 18:1; 2 Sam 1:26).

Friends are “tight” – devoted and united (Prov 16:28). The devotion of friendship is notable in the agreement friends share – they are “soul mates”. Friends share similar values, goals and spirit (if not, they won’t remain friends for very long). Are we so devoted to Jesus that we will not allow anything to separate us from Him? Or do we make every excuse not to be loyal and faithful to Him? Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (Jno 15:14). We must obey Jesus to be His friend. Are you a friend to Jesus?

4) Friends have faith in each other. Abraham was called the friend of God because of his faith (Jas 2:23). Note that God called him “my friend” (Isa 41:8). Is your faith like Abraham’s so that Jesus calls you His friend? Stick close to Jesus. Sacrifice yourself for Him. Trust Him. Be loyal, faithful and obedient to Him. Then you will truly be a friend to Jesus.


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

Building Character: Humility (Part 4)

Scripture Reading:  Philippians 2:5-11

1. Col 3:12 (humbleness of mind, kjv): Low-lying; “not rising far from the ground...of a low degree, lowly in spirit...”the having a humble opinion  of oneself, a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness”. 2. God requires humility, Micah 6:8; 1 Pet 5:5-6; Eph 4:1-2.

I. THE MIND OF CHRIST: HUMILITY, Matt 11:29; Phil 2:5-8.

  A. Eliminate Selfish Ambition, Phil 2:3 (6-7).
  B. Eliminate Conceit, Phil 2:3 (6): Over-high estimation of Oneself, Rom 12:16, 3.
  C. Esteem Others Better than Ourselves, Phil 2:3 (7); 2 Cor 8:9.
  D. Look to the Interests of Others, Phil 2:4 (8).


  A. Worship of God Demands Humility, Lk 18:9-14; Matt 6:5-7; Psa 138:6 ( 95:6).
  B. Service of Man Requires Humility, Jno 13:12-17; 1 Pet 5:5; Eph 5:21; Acts 20:18-19.


  A. The Humble Person:
    1. Regarded by God, Isa 66:2 (Psa 34:18).
    2. Possesses the kingdom of God, Matt 5:3.
    3. Obtains grace, Jas 4:6 (1 Pet 5:5).
    4. Is lifted up by God, Jas 4:10.
    5. Is vindicated by God, Psa 9:11-12.
    6. Is honored, Prov 18:12.

Prov 21:4: “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.”


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

Moral Courage

Scripture Reading:  Mark 8:34-38

1. 2 Pet 1:5: “Virtue” in the moral excellence (courage) to stand for what is right against all opposition and every adversity. (Blessed, Matt 5:10-12) Rev 6:9-11; 20:4
2. A Christian must have a spiritual backbone, 1 Cor 16:13.

  A. Pilate: Failed to Use His Authority to Free the Innocent (Jesus).
    1. Moral cowardice knows what is right, but will not do it, Lk 23:4, 14-15, 20-25.
    2. Moral cowardice tries to justify itself before it peers, Matt 27:24.
  B. Peter: Knew the Truth but Failed to Acknowledge It.
    1. Moral cowardice values safety over truth, Matt 26:69-75.
    2. Moral cowardice fears consequences of standing for truth, Gal 2:12-14 (Jno 12:42-43).

  A. Paul: Publicly Resisted Sin, Gal 2:11, 14.
    1. Moral courage is public about its faith.
  B. Daniel and Companions: Commitment.
    1. Requires purpose of heart, Dan 1:8.
    2. Moral courage trusts in God, Dan 3:16-18.
    3. Does not compromise with sin, Dan 6:7-10.

  A. Christians with the Courage to Suffer Isolation because they Practice Moral Purity, 1 Pet 4:3-5. (1 Tim 4:12; 2 Tim 2:22)
  B. Preachers with the Courage to Preach the Truth when it is needed, 2 Tim 4:1-5.
  C. We all Need Moral Courage to Always Confess Jesus in Our Lives, Mk 8:38.

Conclusion  Have faithful conviction and dutiful action.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Church of Christ Shopping Spree
Joe R. Price

With the holiday season we hear a lot about shopping. But, the following announcement about a shopping spree offered by a Church of Christ in Russellville, AR caught our attention:

West Side Church of Christ will host a Christmas SHOPPING SPREE event from 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday at 201 N. Waco Ave. at its family center. There will be more than 20 vendors at the event which is free and open to the public. There will be several door prizes given away throughout the event.” (

     There is no Bible authority for a local church to raise money through business endeavors. First day of the week giving is approved for gathering funds for the church to use in its work (1 Cor 16:1-2). Nor is there even one Scripture that allows a local church to offer its facilities to vendors so they can make money (shades of the temple money-changers, Jno 2:14-17).

     You may ask, what is a family center? It is the social center for the West Side Church of Christ. But, there is no Bible authority for a local church to organize, arrange, facilitate and promote social events – whether they are pot luck dinners, quilting parties, basketball or volleyball games, shopping sprees, etc. 1 Corinthians 11:22, 34; 14:26 make it crystal clear that the work of the local church is to provide spiritual edification (feeding folks the word of God).

     We cannot forget the door prizes – material incentives to draw people to an unscriptural event. (At least they are being consistent – we say this to their shame!) The miracles of Jesus were not “door prizes” to incentivize crowds, so please do not claim “Jesus did the same thing” – He did not (Matt 14:13-21; Jno 6:14, 25-29).

     Churches of Christ that have social events as part of their work fail to respect Christ’s authority in the silence of the Scriptures (Col 3:17). He gave churches spiritual (not social) work to do (1 Cor 11:17-22). Do not add to it (Rev 22:18).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  12/06/2010

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