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published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume V, Number 30 - October 21, 2001

Editor..................Joe R. Price

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 In this issue:

Spiritual Joy

Roy E. Cogdill

One of the major characteristics of the Philippian letter is its vibrant undertone of spiritual joy. It could be said that the sum of the whole letter is "I rejoice -- you rejoice." The words, joy and rejoice, are the most common words in the letter. They were, perhaps, upon Paul's part, the result of the peace and contentment that he speaks of in the statement:

But I rejoice in the Lord greatly . . . for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased and I know also how to abound: in everything and all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me (4:10-13).

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi, bleeding from the stripes that were placed upon their backs and fast in stocks and bonds, they were able to sing songs of praises to God in the night. We see him in the Philippian letter a patient prisoner for the sake of Christ, feeble in frame, suffering from severity of circumstances, deserted by some who had professed to be his friends, literally in hunger and want, suffering from the vile schemes of bitter opponents, and with the sentence of execution by the chopping block hanging by a thread over him, but he could still rejoice in the Lord always. This was indeed "the, peace that passeth understanding" and a wonderful example of the fact when that peace and joy is generally established in our hearts, it not only shines forth, but is unquenched even in time of storm. Paul could be glad in adversity, rich in poverty and calmly comforted in the face of death. He had reasons for rejoicing which he pointed out to the Philippians: a. His bonds and imprisonment had "fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel" (1:12); b. he could rejoice that Christ was preached even though by some in envy and in strife (1:15); c. he could rejoice, though he was being sacrificed, because of the fruit that such sacrifice had borne in the faithfulness of such disciples as the Philippians (2:16-18); d. he could rejoice in the calm confidence of a faith that gave him the, assurance "the Lord is at hand" (4:5); e. he could rejoice in the strength and satisfaction which the fellowship of the Philippians had brought to him in the preaching of the gospel (4:14-17).

-TRUTH IN LIFE, NT Survey, Part 1, Senior High, Year 3 - Book 1, pp. 81-82, Used by permission

Why John The Baptist Was Killed

Joe R. Price

You remember the story. John preached something king Herod and Herodias didn't like. John said Herod should not have married Herodias, for you see, she was "his brother Philip's wife." So, Herod put John in jail. While John was in prison, Herod held a birthday party. Due to a promise made to the daughter of Herodias, and her demand that she have John's head on a platter, the forerunner of Christ was executed (Mark 6:17-29). Many lessons can be learned from the life of John. If you haven't studied his life lately, do so. You will be blessed, for as Jesus said, "Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist" (Matt. 11:11). Let us consider some lessons from his death. Why was John killed?

John was killed for rebuking sin and preaching repentance (Mk. 6:17-20). The work of John from start to finish was to warn of sin, urge repentance, and thereby prepare people for the Messiah's kingdom (Lk. 3:2-14). John got specific with the sinner about his sin. Sometimes people repented at such preaching, while others rejected it (Matt. 21:31-32; Lk. 7:29-30). Too often we play "ring around the rosy" with the sinner and his sin. "You might hurt his feelings," "we cannot afford to lose him," "imagine how it will affect his family" and similar objections are given today in opposition to the kind of preaching John did. Would we have opposed John and his preaching?!

Herod and Herodias did! They were in adultery and were unwilling to cease their sin. Instead, Herodias urged his arrest and wanted him dead (Mk. 6:17, 19). Why didn't John just back off? Why not just "live and let live?" Today, many continue to respond like Herodias and Herod when the same sin of adultery is rebuked and repentance is sought. Still others take the attitude that we ought to just say nothing and let each person "work out his own salvation." Well, working out one's salvation does not mean ignoring sin, it means obeying the gospel (Phil. 2:12). We cannot ignore sin. John died because he loved truth and souls more than himself.

John died because of a rash oath (Mk. 6:21-26). The culprit was Herod. Spellbound by the dancing of Herodias' daughter, he rashly promised her up to half of his kingdom. Seeking and obtaining her mother's advice she demanded John's head on a platter. Rash though it was, Herod kept his promise and killed the prophet.

Our words can have far reaching consequences. The wise man warns "Do not be rash with your mouth" and to "let your words be few" (Eccl. 5:2-3). Further, he said to pay the vow you make, concluding it is better not to vow that to vow and not pay (5:4-5). Too often we say more than we should. Tongue control would keep us and others out of a great deal of trouble (Jas. 3:2-6). Our word should be our bond, but be careful what you bind yourself to with your words! "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (Jas. 1:19). John died because Herod could not control his passions or his tongue! Be careful, lest your rash speech cause the death of souls -- yours and others'!

John died because of peer pressure (Mk. 6:26-28). All of a sudden, Herod was under a lot of pressure to kill John! The woman he was married to wanted him dead. And, Herod had promised much before many. Now he had to deliver in order to save face (v. 26). So, with sorrow, he killed a righteous man (v. 27-28).

That is how peer pressure works. It often presses us to do something we know is wrong, but in order to please those around us we give in and commit the sin. This needs to stop. After all, who must we be most interested in pleasing, our worldly peers or our Lord (Gal. 1:10)? Giving in to peer pressure corrupts souls and defiles consciences. Often, at the very moment we give in, our conscience is telling us we are sinning (Rom. 14:23). "Evil companionship corrupts good morals," and since evil companions are not interested in righteous conduct, wisdom demands that we sever ties with those whose influence will only drag us down into the depths of sin (1 Cor. 15:33-34; Prov. 1:10-19). John died because Herod surrounded himself with people to whom he could not say "no." Surround yourself with people who will help you say "yes" to God and His will. Do not put your soul to death by giving in to evil peer pressure.

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS


Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

1. Christianity is not for the faint-hearted - 1 Pet. 4:16 (Gal. 6:9).
2. Strive (agonizomai) - "to be a combatant in the public games; to contend, fight" (Moulton, 6).

  A. Strenuous Zeal To Obtain Salvation - Jno. 10:9; Matt. 7:13-14; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 4:18.
  B. Entrance Into The Kingdom Of God Requires Genuine:
    1. Self-denial - Lk. 9:23.
    2. Earnest endeavor - Lk. 16:16.
    3. Untiring energy - 1 Cor. 9:27.
    4. Utmost devotion - Matt. 13:44-46.

II. STRIVE ACCORDING TO THE WORKING OF GOD - Col. 1:29. - ("to put forth every effort, involving toil," Vine, II:94).
  A. Christians Give Themselves To Doing The Work Of God - cf. Eph. 2:10.
    1. According to God's will - Phil. 2:12-13.
    2. With all diligence - 2 Pet. 1:5 (Rom. 12:11)
  B. Because Of Our Hope - 1 Tim. 4:10.

III. STRIVE IN OUR PRAYERS - Col. 4:12-13 ("To wrestle earnestly in prayer" Ibid.).
  A. Examples Of Such Prayer: Jacob (Gen. 32:24-29); Jesus (Lk. 22:42-44).
  B. Earnest Prayer Will Receive Our Father's Answer - Lk. 11:5-10; Jas. 5:16-18; 4:1-3. Heb. 4:16 - Be bold in prayer!

IV. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH - 1 Tim. 6:12 ("To contend perseveringly against opposition & temptation" Ibid.).
  A. Against Satan - Eph. 6:10-18.
  B. Against Self - 1 Cor. 9:25-27 (Gal. 2:20).
  C. Against Error (For The Faith) - Jude 3-4; 2 Tim. 4:2-4.

For the complete text of this sermon, visit BIBLE ANSWERS


(1 Pet. 3:18-4:6)

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-4:6


1 Pet. 3:18-4:6 - Why we must remain faithful to Christ in the face of opposition & suffering.

  A. Like Noah Entered A New World When Saved Through Water, You Entered A New World In Christ When You Were Baptized.
    1. New life in Christ (salvation) - Eph. 2:1.
    2. New creature in Christ - 2 Cor. 5:17.
    3. New relationships in Christ - Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4-5.
    4. You have new life (spiritual) - Rom. 6:4.
  B. Therefore, Do Not Live In The Old World Of Sin! - Eph. 4:17

II. YOU HAVE A NEW MIND - 1 Pet. 4:1.
  A. Christ Had A Mind To Suffer For The Sake Of Righteousness - 1 Pet. 2:21-24.
  B. We Must Arm (Equip) Ourselves With The Same Mind - 1 Pet. 3:14; Matt. 5:10-12.
    1. Our previous mind - Eph. 4:17-19.
    2. Our present mind - Eph. 4:20-24.
  C. The Person With The Mind Of Christ Has Ceased From Sin - 4:1.

  A. No Longer Live For The Lusts Of Men - 4:2-3; 1 Jno. 2:15-17.
  B. You Now Live For The Will Of God - 4:2 (Heb. 13:21).
  C. You Will Be Considered Evil & Spoken Evil Of (Suffer For Doing Good, 3:17) - 4:4.
    1. Peer pressure - Eph. 5:6 (empty words).
    2. Evil companionships (1 Cor. 15:33-34).
    3. Stay away from such influences! - Eph. 5:7


(Current events in the light of Scripture)


Health Officials Review Smallpox Plan

Friday, October 19, 2001 9:04 a.m. EDT


WASHINGTON (AP) - A single case of smallpox would trigger a federal emergency plan to vaccinate people close to the victim while detectives retraced the patient's every step over the previous three weeks.

Despite the likely panic over a disease not seen in the United States in half a century, the government would not resort to citywide mass vaccinations unless absolutely necessary.

The plan, obtained by The Associated Press, is a long-awaited set of step-by-step instructions for state health workers who would have to battle the highly contagious disease if bioterrorists ever unleashed smallpox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is putting final touches on the plan, work that was accelerated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Officials say they consider the plan already operational, and have begun sending it to state health departments, who are supposed to begin the requested preparations now. Copyright (c) 2001 Associated Press

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Joe R. Price

Some brethren think that if a doctrinal error does not exist in a congregation one of the worst things you can do is start preaching against it. They are heard to say, "Don't preach on _____ (fill in the blank) - we don't have that problem!" I wonder if that is how we should think about the potential of smallpox??

False doctrine is a disease which infects and destroys the soul (2 Tim. 2:17-18). The mouths of those who spew it must be stopped (Titus 1:9-11). "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If the ungodly can see this regarding material things, why is it a strange thing when it comes to spiritual things? Truly, "the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light" (Lk. 16:8)!

We must preach the whole counsel of God, even if at this precise moment all are firmly assured in it and there appears to be no eminent danger (Acts 20:27). Even faithful men can fall, therefore, everyone needs to be warned against error and armed with the word of truth (Acts 20:28-32).

Be watchful, gospel preacher (2 Tim. 4:2-5). Protect and feed the flock, faithful elders (Acts 20:28). Support faithful preaching, beloved saints (Phil. 1:3-7). Do not grow weary in doing good, dear brother and sister (Gal. 6:9). Be prepared and watchful in all things (Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:18; 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Pet. 5:8).

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA

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