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


Volume 19, Number 09

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

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Suggested or Required?
Joe R. Price

Should we regard the New Testament acts of worship as suggestions, or as requirements? Some Christians evidently need to learn that the acts of worship we offer to God in our assembled worship are not optional. They are essential for us to worship “in spirit and truth” (Jno. 4:24). 

Singing is not suggested, it is required. Scripture says, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:18-19). Since it is required that we be “filled with the Spirit (v. 18), it is equally required that we speak to one another as we sing to the Lord (v. 19). If you do not sing, you are not worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

Praying is not suggested, it is required. Scripture says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Men lead these prayers in a way that all can say “Amen” (1 Tim. 2:8; 1 Cor. 14:16). If you do not pray, you are not worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

Eating the Lord’s supper is not suggested, it is required. Jesus said, “Take, eat,” and “drink it in remembrance of Me” (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). Christ teaches Christians to eat the supper “when you come together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:18). It is required worship that we eat the supper. If you do not eat the supper, you are not worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

Giving of our means is not suggested, it is required. Scripture says, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Cor. 16:2). Just as surely as we are expected to eat the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, we are also to give as we have been prospered. Giving or our means is an act of worship that acknowledges God and thankfully praises Him for His bountiful blessings. Additionally, it enables the local church to do its God-given work of evangelism, edification and benevolence. If you do not give, you are not worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

Preaching and hearing God’s word is not suggested, it is required. Scripture says, “Preach the word,” and the apostle’s example of doing so with the church in Troas is followed when we do (2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 20:7). When we come together, it is God’s word, not the words of men, that must be taught (1 Cor. 2:2-5; 14:5, 26). If you do not listen and learn when the word is preached, you are not worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

God’s worship is not merely suggested activities. Faith obeys God’s commands of worship out of love. It is not a burden to do what the Lord requires of us. It is our loving duty of faith (1 Jno. 5:4-5; Lk. 17:10). 


False Teachers Among You
Joe R. Price

Ezekiel was God’s prophet to “the captives” in Babylon (Ezek. 1:1). He spoke God’s word to “a rebellious house” that was filled with “impudent (stiff-faced, unyielding) and stubborn children” (Ezek. 2:3-4). They had been plundered and were now exiled to Babylonian captivity as punishment for their rebellion against God (Ezek. 5).

Israel was seduced by false prophets who led her away from God (Ezek. 13:1-16, esp. 10). The apostle Peter teaches us, “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1). In light of Peter’s warning, it is needful for us to understand the nature and the tactics of the false prophets of Israel in order to be adequately warned and prepared against false teachers among us today.

The false prophets of Israel spoke false messages as if they were from God. “Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken” (Ezek. 13:7). False prophets taught false doctrine. For instance, they said, “’Peace!’ when there is no peace” (Ezek. 13:10; cf. Jer. 6:13-14). Even so today, false teachers teach false doctrine. They are identified as false teachers because they “bring in destructive heresies.” What they teach is false (2 Pet. 2:1). Many brethren have been convinced that a man is not a false teacher unless it can be proved his heart is false (not genuine and sincere, willfully false, dishonest,  hypocritical, etc.). So, we are told that a brother whose teaching is false is not a false teacher – if he is sincerely mistaken (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jno. 9). This calls on us to be heart-readers instead of fruit-assessors: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:20). Like the false prophets, it is the nature of the teaching, not the nature of the teacher’s, that defines him (or her) to be a false teacher.

The false prophets of Israel were deceived in their hearts. Similar to Saul of Tarsus, they believed the lies they were teaching (Acts 23:1; 26:9). “And the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart’” (Jer. 14:14). Their “false visions” reflected they were deceived in heart. It was precisely because they claimed their message was God’s will (when it was not) that they are deemed false prophets; their message was false. “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die” (Deut. 18:20). They believed they were teaching the truth, even speaking quite sincerely, yet they spoke without divine authority. They were presumptuous in their speech, deceived by sin and error (cf. 2 Tim. 3:13). Israel was warned against following the error of false prophets, not because those prophets’ hearts were false, but because their teaching was false (see Deut. 13:1-5).

The sincerity of the teacher does not lessen the danger of his error. He is a false teacher because he teaches false doctrine. Peter said false teachers bring in “destructive heresies.” The nature of his teaching identifies the false teacher, just as surely as teaching truth identifies the true teacher of the gospel (Gal. 1:10, 20; 1 Cor. 14:37).

The false prophets of Israel were foolish in their hearts and in their messages. “And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” (Ezek. 13:1–3) The fool despises the wisdom and instruction of God’s truth (Prov. 1:7). The false prophets of Israel spoke from “their own spirit” instead of from the revelation of God. Out of foolish hearts they spoke foolish words:  “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings” (Jer. 23:21-22).

We do not deny that false teachers may indeed possess foolish hearts. False teachers show foolishness in heart as well as in doctrine. They forsake the right way of the Lord for the inferior and foolish ways of men (1 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11). But, we dare not excuse or defend as sincere, one who teaches error. Teaching what does not agree with apostolic truth and the wisdom of divine revelation is both false and foolish (1 Jno. 4:1, 6; 1 Cor. 1:18-25).

The false messages of the false prophets of Israel were futile. “They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ’Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.” Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you,” says the Lord God” (Ezek. 13:6-8). Of their vain and useless visions, the Lord said, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jer. 23:16).

Just as it was with the false prophets of Israel, worthless words define today’s false teachers. Their instruction is futile, powerless against sin and impotent to edify the body of Christ. Their false teachings promise liberty, but enslave brethren in the corruption of error (2 Pet. 2:18-19; Gal. 2:4-5).

There will be false teachers among you.” They must be identified and their teaching rejected, or the corruption of souls will surely occur (2 Pet. 2:1-3; Rom. 16:17). God commands the light of truth to shine out of darkness and expose false teachers (2 Cor. 4:5-6; Eph. 5:6-14). False teachers and their false teachings must be exposed, not excused. That means we must hold God, His truth and His approval in higher esteem than men (Gal. 1:10). 


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Role Models
Joe R. Price

I am old enough to remember the controversy years ago with NBA star Charles Barkley said, “I am not a role model.” While one would hope men and women in the public spotlight of sports, politics, education and media understood and took seriously the influence and impact they have on children (and adults), it is painfully obvious that many do not. (Some are serious about being good role models, and we are thankful for them.) It is abundantly clear that our presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are not godly role models. It will be a challenge to teach impressionable minds not to follow the ungodly examples of the next president of the United States.

Christians need look no farther than men and women of faith to find worthy role models (Heb. 6:12; 13:7). And, it is essential that we are good role models to others.

Be a role model in your home. Fathers and mothers are given the awesome responsibility of training their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 1:8). Your children look up to you, modeling their words and actions after what they see you do and hear you say.

Be a role model in the church. Young people, as well as older Christians, can and should be role models (examples) for other saints (1 Tim. 4:12). It is a great encouragement to see young Christians putting the Lord first in their lives by being active in worship and by being moral in their daily lives. Others are watching you; be sure they see Jesus in you.

Be a role model on the job. You may likely be the only Christian your co-workers know in their lives. Are they seeing a model of honesty, dependability and faith? If not, you become a reason for them to speak against God (see 1 Tim. 6:1).

Above all, make the Son of God your role model (Eph. 5:1-2). The example of Jesus is the path we must always follow (1 Pet. 2:21). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  11/02/2016

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