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


Volume 19, Number 13

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:

Is the Gospel of Christ Different from the Doctrine of Christ?
Joe R. Price

For decades, there have been those in churches of Christ promoting a broader tolerance for doctrinal and moral differences. One approach they use it telling us there is a difference between the gospel and doctrine. Gospel, they say, is strictly the message of the death, burial resurrection, ascension and coronation of Jesus Christ; We must agree and unite on this. Doctrine, they say, is instruction to the church on such things as church organization, worship and work. It includes an increasing number of moral subjects, too (like divorce and remarriage, social consumption of alcohol and other drugs, modern, social dancing, immodest clothing, etc.). They say the gospel is the good news about Jesus, but not all of the teachings from Jesus and His apostles are the gospel. They say the “gospel” is for lost sinners, but “doctrine” is for Christians. Consequently, this view of gospel and doctrine promotes unity in the “gospel” while it feels perfectly at ease with the existence of contradictory doctrines (a.k.a. unity in doctrinal and moral diversity).

We do not dispute the gospel includes and is built upon the truth that Jesus is Christ, that He died for our sins, was buried, arose from the dead and is exalted at God’s right hand, thereby offering salvation to sinners (1 Cor. 15:1-4). This good news was preached to the whole world, beginning from Jerusalem (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:22-41). Of course the lost need this good news. That is not under dispute.

The question before us is whether or not the life, death, burial, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus is the totality of the gospel. Do the teachings of the New Testament that concern personal faith, for example, deserve to be considered as part of the gospel? Or, are these teachings from the Master relegated to a secondary position of “doctrine” that ebbs and flows depending on culture, personal opinion and experience?

The inspired Scriptures do not distinguish between “gospel” and “doctrine.” Neither do they reveal that gospel is exclusively for the lost, while doctrine is reserved for Christians only. This false doctrine was invented in the hearts of men, intended (in part, at least) to blunt the force of absolute truth and the unity which must grow out of “all truth” (Jno. 17:20-21; 16:13; Eph. 4:3).

Those who distinguish between gospel and doctrine say the gospel produces faith (and therefore, essential for salvation), while doctrine produces different faith traditions (worthy of respect, if not inclusion). “Preach the Man, not the Plan,” which has been heard from Baptists and others for many years, illustrates this view (and its ecumenical results). Brethren took up this banner during the New Unity Movement of the 1970’s and the New Hermeneutics push of the 1980’s and 90’s, undermining respect for establishing and applying Bible authority among Christians (via commands, approved examples and necessary inferences) as they enlarged their fellowship to include those “with whom we disagree” as long as they judge them to be sincere in heart (as though “we” set the standard and boundary of fellowship or judge hearts, cf. 2 Jno 9-11; Matt. 7:15-20).

Today, the same gospel/doctrine error is being reshaped to fit into a post-modern view of the Bible (not absolute truth) and a perverted view of God’s mercy and grace. Grace is becoming a catch-word to justify ongoing sin among Christians, while pleas for absolute truth are being marginalized as an arrogant approach to God’s word (Jno. 8:31-32; 17:17; Eph. 3:3-5). Jude warned of those who would “turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4). This threat is real, and wrecking spiritual havoc on brethren who compromise Bible authority (Col. 3:17).

The Bible does not separate gospel and doctrine. The word doctrine means “teaching,” and gospel means “good news.” One of the benefits of the inspired Scriptures is “doctrine” (2 Tim. 3:16). (Since the Scriptures are profitable “for doctrine,” are they only for the saved?) 1 Timothy 1:10-11 uses “doctrine” and “gospel” interchangeably. 1 Timothy 6:3 identifies the words of Jesus as “doctrine which accords with godliness.” Doctrine affects godliness, and godliness is “essential.” Therefore, doctrine is essential to godliness.

The words of Jesus Christ constitute doctrine that produces godliness. When Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom” He preached such a doctrine (Matt. 4:23). Will anyone assert that the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 (in which Jesus preached how to live as citizens of the kingdom) is not the gospel? Of course it is. It was the very gospel He was preaching as He went “about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues” (Matt. 4:23). Yet, where in Matthew 5-7 does Jesus preach His death, burial, resurrection and ascension? However, He repeatedly spoke of the heart we must have and the life we must live as citizens of the kingdom. Is the sermon on the mount gospel? Yes. Is it doctrine? Yes. The attempt to separate gospel and doctrine is without Biblical support.

Furthermore, “gospel” was preached to Christians in Romans 1:15, while “doctrine” saves the lost in Romans 6:17. When Philip “preached Christ” (the gospel) to the lost he told them about the kingdom, the authority of Christ and how to be saved (Acts 8:4-5, 12). The gospel includes what we must do to be saved, as well as who it is that saves us.

The attempt to sever doctrine from gospel is a transparent attempt to diminish violations of the word of God (Gal. 1:6-12; 2 Jno. 9-11). All of God’s word is truth, and demands our reverent respect and obedience (Psa. 119:160). 


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

In the Hour of Trial

Scripture Reading: Psalm 94:12-19

1. Some things are out of our control, Eccl. 9:11-12; Matt. 6:27.
2. Ultimately, matters of life and death, as well as many other things, are in the overruling hand of God, Prov. 16:33.
3. Does God know our trials? Does He act on our behalf? Does He abandon us?
4. What are we to do in the hour of trial?


  A. We All Suffer in this Life because Sin is in the World, Gen. 3:16-19. (1 Pet. 1:6)
  B. We have Brethren Who Care for Us, Pray for us and Encourage Us in Our Trials and Struggles, Rom. 12:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:26.


  A. God is Righteous in All His Works, Psa. 145:17. Matt. 11:28-30; 26:28; Heb. 5:7-8; Lk. 22:43-44; Job 16:1-7, 11-14, 17; 42:1-6.
  B. The Lord is Near, Psa. 145:18-20; 50:15; 1 Sam. 7:7-13 (2 Tim. 4:16-18).


  A. “Be Still, and Know that I am God,” Psa. 46:10; Rom. 8:35-39; Hab. 2:20; Psa. 11:4-5; Jas. 1:2-4.
  B. Pray, Jas. 5:13-16. Lk. 18:1, 8
  C. Live! Jas. 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 3:7-8, 13.

1. In the hour of trial...
  a. God is still in control. Heb. 13:5-6
  b. God still cares about you. 1 Pet. 5:6-7
  c. Still have a place in kingdom. Matt. 10:42


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

The Holy Spirit  (2)

Scripture Reading: John 16:8-15

1. Review Part 1.
2. This lesson will study what the Holy Spirit is doing and not doing today.


  A. He is Using the Word He Gave the World to Help Accomplish Human Redemption. The agency of the word.)
    1. To convict the world, Jno. 16:8-13.
    2. To guide (lead) Christians, Rom. 8:14; 1:16; Gal. 5:16, 18, 25 (22-23) Jas. 1:21-22.
    3. To testify to our sonship, Rom. 8:16.
    4. Every action of the HS in conviction and conversion is accomplished by the word He revealed (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; Eph. 6:17).
  B. Has Fellowship with Christians, Phil. 2:1.
    1. Spirit dwells in you = Christ in you. How? Eph. 3:17; Jno. 14:23; Eph. 5:15-18; Col. 3:16.
    2. Holy Spirit communes with Christians, 1 Jno. 3:23-24; 4:12-13.


  A. He is Not Baptizing People with Himself, Eph. 4:5.
  B. He is Not Distributing Miraculous Spiritual Gifts, 1 Cor. 12:11; 13:8-10.
  C. He is Not Revealing New Truth, Jn. 16:13.
  D. He is Not Enlightening People Apart from the Word, Rom. 1:16 (Psa. 119:105).
  E. He is Not Actually or Literally Indwelling People’s Bodies, 1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 8:9-11.

1. Divine promise of understanding God’s plan of human redemption, Eph. 3:3-5.
2. His work is central to our salvation in Christ.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Our Fast Food Culture
Joe R. Price

98-year-old Jim Delligatti died November 28. Since he created the iconic Big Mac hamburger near Pittsburg, PA, in 1967, the “twoallbeefpattiesspecialsauce-lettucecheesepicklesonionona-sesameseedbun” burger has been an American icon, and also “a synonym — the prototype — for junk food,” said Marion Nestle, New York University nutrition and public health professor” (“Jim Delligatti, who gave the world the Big Mac sandwich, dies at 98,” Adam Bernstein, Fast food. Cheap food. Good tasting food, but not particularly good for you at 540 calories. The sodium and fat help set the addiction for wanting another Big Mac. Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials – we all indulged our Big Mac Attacks.

Fast-food worship is also in style these days. A 45-minute Bible sermon is just too long  for many to endure. Clamoring for a 20-minute vignette, more elderships and preachers appear to be accommodating this fast-worship craving for spiritual junk food. Paul’s sermon until midnight and Ezra’s reading of the Book of the Law all morning would never do in today’s fast food worship environment (Acts 20:7; Neh. 8:1-8).

Not that the length of a sermon necessarily means a better sermon. My point is this: Have we been so shaped by our culture that we cannot give the Lord our full attention for even three hours on His day to worship Him? Is an additional hour of Bible study each week just too burdensome a load for you to carry? For our fast food society, it appears so. (Then again, if the church gave away Big Macs, maybe folks would be more inclined to come and stay a while! cf. John 6:26-27)

Do you worship God based on your own convenience, or out of your loving devotion to put Him first in your life? It makes a difference to God, you know (Matt. 6:33; Lk. 9:23; Mic. 6:6-8). It should make a difference with us. 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  12/07/2016

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: