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published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume VI, Number 08 - May 19, 2002

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

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

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 In this issue:


In America, Yet Not Of America

Mike Thomas - Owensboro, KY

"Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, and say, Who is the Lord?" (Proverbs 30:8, 9). These are the thoughts that come to mind when I think of the blessings we have in the United States. We have so many ways of "growing fat" in heart that we would be fools to think we could not fall away from the Lord through the cares and riches of life (Deuteronomy 31:20, 21).

Fornication and materialism may not be done in the name of Baal, as with Israel when Moses wrote Deuteronomy, but these sins are just as much of a threat to God's people as ever before (1 Corinthians 10:7-11). They are inevitable in any land that flows with milk and honey.

How detached are we from the world as Christians living in America? Have we come out and made ourselves separate or are we just like all the other Gentiles around us? Have we let the liberal, fun-loving, materialistic, carnal spirit of America influence our approach to Christianity or are we truly pilgrims of God in a foreign land?

There has to be an explanation for the lowering standards of morality and the lack of conviction among God's people. It is reaching the point where those who speak out against immodest apparel, divorce, ungodly entertainment, false doctrine and the use of recreation in churches are becoming the enemy! It is no longer proper to teach the truth when it condemns denominationalism or to withdraw from brethren who leave to practice it. We are finding it easier to "not judge" as the world would have it, and to condemn those who do. But truth cannot be hidden (John 3:19-21), whether it deals with faith only for salvation (1 Peter 3:21) or church sponsored entertainment (1 Corinthians 11:22). God is holy. And those who have their faith in Him will stand with Him, even if it is against erring Christians (2 Corinthians 2:9).

I am thankful to live in this great land and always will be. We have many advantages and blessings, especially in religion that not all nations enjoy. But being full has its disadvantages as well. The sad reality is we have countless ways to ease and occupy our minds when we want to neglect God's will. We have an abundance of toys, luxuries, "responsibilities," activities and "kind and loving religious folk" to see us through. We can get on a boat to Tarshish in the comfort of our own home! "Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity'" (2 Timothy 2:19).   

 -Bible Matters, May 2, 2002 


Is There Not A Cause?

Joe R. Price

The giant's incredible size loomed over the valley as he hurled his insults toward the armies of Israel. He was a champion among the Philistine warriors, and everyone knew why: he was huge! Several feet taller than the average man, no one could hope to survive hand to hand combat with Goliath of Gath. No one, that is, except a youngster named David. Armed with faith in God, David displayed remarkable courage as he challenged and then defeated this giant of a man. His confrontation with Goliath is a truly remarkable display of faith, courage, convic­tion, and the victory God gives those who rely upon Him (Read 1 Samuel 17).

David's brothers scolded him when they heard of his proposal to fight Goliath. David's response: "Is there not a cause?" (1 Sam. 17:29). His declaration reminds us that even today there are many giants which defy the army of the living God. Causes still exist which move the faithful to action. We are in the Lord's army, and we must, in faith, be ready to fight His foes (Eph. 6:10-18). When the enemy seems much too large for us to battle, our faith must be strongly anchored in the power and truth of God. God assures victory to His people in Christ (Rev. 11:15; 17:14).

The enemy of false doctrine must be battled. Contending for the faith is not fashionable to many these days (Jude 3-4). When a soldier of the cross engages in a battle of faith with a false teacher over his false doctrine, the advocate of error often gets more sympathy, respect and encourage­ment than the one standing for the truth! Nevertheless, wherever error tries to infiltrate the church and hold men captive, a cause exists which compels the faithful to action (Gal. 2:4-5). Do you join the brothers of David in faithless rebuke of faithful and needful conflict against error? Or, in the day of battle, do you hold up the hands of those fighting the good fight of faith?

The enemy of worldliness is a formidable giant which we must engage in battle. Every day, the world defies the armies of the living God. Living amidst the enticements of the world induces some Chris­tians to retreat from the high and holy ground they have gained with Christ as their Captain (Heb. 12:1-2). Soldiers of Christ can be intimidated into inaction by this giant enemy of faith, while others succumb to its power (1 Pet. 2:11-12; 2 Pet. 2:18-22; Rom. 13:12-14; Gal. 5:19-21). Like David, we must stand our ground and live holy lives, trusting in God to deliver us from the enemy's every assault (1 Cor. 10:13).

The enemy of complacency is an insidious giant. Infecting Chris­tians with a lethargic approach to godliness, complacency is an intimidating oppo­nent. Compla­cency leads to neglect, procrastination, toleration and compromise with sin. Complacency prevents the lost from becoming Christians. It causes the strong to grow weak and the weak to grow weaker. But, through faith, this giant can also be slain (Rom. 12:11).

David knew the urgency of stopping the mouth of Goliath. Like David, we must assess the causes for which we fight to be sure we are on the Lord's side (Matt. 12:30). As soldiers of Christ we engage the enemy, with faith in God's power to deliver us from the foe as we "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12; see 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-13). 

You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS



Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:18-19
1. Spiritual perception is crucial to successful Christian living!
   a. For conversion & discipleship - Matt. 13:14-16
   b. Chose right things, avoid sin & be approved - Phil. 1:9-11
   c. Live worthy & please God, being fruitful & strong - Col. 1:9-12
   d. Test ourselves to see if we are acceptable to God - 2 Cor. 13:5
2. Eph. 1:15-19 (v. 18) - That you may know (eido: perceive, discern, discover, and give attention to)

    · Saved in hope - Rom. 8:24
    · Laid up for you in heaven - Col. 1:5
        o Heard of it through the gospel - Col. 1:5
        o Hope promotes living by faith & love - Col. 1:4
    · A living hope - 1 Pet. 1:3 (Christ's resurrection - cf. Acts 24:15)
    · Rejoice in our hope, without disappointment (shame) - Rom. 5:1-2, 3-5
        o Drives our faith - Rom. 4:18
        o Anchors our soul - Heb. 6:18-19
    · Eagerly wait for our hope to be obtained - Rom. 8:24-25; Tit. 2:13

    · His inheritance: In Christ - Eph. 1:11 (His blood - Heb. 9:14-15)
    · In the saints: The sanctified - Col. 1:12; Acts 20:32
        o Not in the world - Eph. 5:5
        o Among the saved - We share heavenly riches together - Acts 26:18
    · Heirs: Privilege of childhood - Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:4-7; 3:26-29
    · Its Glory: Heavenly splendor - 1 Pet. 1:3-5:
        o Incorruptible - not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable
        o Undefiled - Unsoiled, free of contaminants, not deformed, debased
        o Does not fade away - Immortal, enduring in its original state
        o Reserved in heaven - Preserved & prepared for the faithful (1:5)

    · His power which saved us - Col. 2:11-13 (His operative power)
    · His power to complete His purposes & work in us - Phil. 1:6; Eph. 3:20-21
        o By the power which raised & exalted Christ - Eph. 1:20-21
        o By the power of Christ who now reigns - Eph. 1:22-23
        o By the power of faith & truth - Eph. 3:20, 16-17
   · His power to supply our needs - Phil. 4:19
   · His power to keep us safe from - Jno. 10:27-29

    · When we understand & perceive our hope, the glory of our inheritance & the power God uses on our behalf, we are equipped through our faith to:
        o Hear & heed the word of Christ (Matt. 13:14-15)
        o Make the right moral choices in our lives (Phil. 1:9-10)
        o Live worthy of Christ & His gospel (Eph. 4:1)
        o Be fruitful and strong in His service (Col. 1:9-10)
        o Be vigilant to test ourselves & remain in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5)

You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS



Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 3
1. The appeal of human philosophy & worldly wisdom in Corinth had infiltrated the church & promoted contentions among saints (1:10-13).
2. In l Cor. 3, Paul deals with the Grecian social tendency of rally around great philosophers - This was occurring in the church toward
3. Reminds the brethren who they are & what they should be doing.

    · Carnal disposition in Corinth - 3:1.
        o Paul taught them as undeveloped babes in Christ - 3:1:
    - 3:1 - As to carnal (sarkinos) - "Unspiritual", "consisting of flesh, fleshy".
        o Paul had "wisdom" for the "mature" (2:6) - But he had to teach them milk due to their carnal disposition.
    - Not experienced in the word - Heb. 5:12-14
    - Children are not grounded in doctrine - in danger! (Eph. 4:14)
    · We all begin as babes in Christ - 1 Cor. 4:15; Jno. 3:3
        o Born into God's family - Gal. 3:26-27
        o New experiences & relationships - 2 Cor. 5:17
    · But, babes in Christ must not remain immature - 3:1-4
        o Cease being carnal (unspiritual)! - 3:1, 3 (Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:1-2)
    - Do not be the natural man of 2:14 who rejects revelation - Accepted revelation from God.
    - Be the spiritual man of 2:15 who, be­cause he accepts revelation, has spiritual discernment. (They were not using spiritual discernment!)
    · They were under the control of the flesh - 3:3-4
        o They were allowing the flesh to control them -- Still not ready for solid food! - 3:2c-4
    - 3:3 - Carnal (sarkikos) - "Anti-spiritual". (Rom. 8:5-8)
    - 3:3-4 - Seen in their envy, strife & divisions!
    - They were too attached to one "parent" - Forgot they all belong to God! - 3:4 (Family shouldn't be jealous of each other!)

    · Not to be to be exalted: Who worships a servant?! - 3:5-7
        o Not saviors - 1:13; Not authorities over us that we should be named from them - 1:13
        o Ministers - Not lords! - 3:5
    - Each preacher has different abilities (God-given) - 3:5 
    - Some, gospel meetings; others, private studies; others, establish new congregations; others, edification/encouragement; etc.
    - Use gift given you, with thanksgiving - 3:6-7 (not with envy.)
    · United in purpose - 3:8-9.
        o Illus. - War between planter of a garden & the one who waters the same garden. Absurd!
        o Results are in God's hands - 3:8 (3:6)
        o Worker is rewarded on basis of his labor, not on the results!
        o God's fellow-workers! - 3:9a

    · You are a spiritual house, built by God - 1 Pet. 2:5
        o The church belongs to God, not man - 3:9-11
    - We help establish & strengthen a church - 3:10
    - Christ must remain the foundation - 3:11 (Matt. 16:18)
    · A strong building (church) must have:
        o Solid foundation - Christ (3:11)
        o Skilled, experienced architect (cf. Paul, 3:10)
        o Capable, concerned, cooperative co-workers - 3:9, 10-15
        o Solid materials - 3:12 (Those converted - cf. Acts 2:41-42). Why?
    - 3:13 - Work tested in day of testing (trial)
    - 3:14 - When Christians are strong (abide), reward of joy & glory for the builder, too! - 1 Ths. 2:19-20; Phil. 4:1
    - 3:15 - When some are unfaithful, a loss (cf. Gal. 4:11)
    - 3:15 - Builder saved if he endures - 3:8, Acts 20:26-27
    · We (the local church) are the temple of God - 3:16-17
        o Church is holy (cf. Psa. 74:3-8; 79:1 - Those who defile God's temple are His enemies)
        o Be careful how you build! - 3:10 (Acts 7:44; Heb. 8:5)
        o Warning: Those who damage the church (division, false teaching, immorality, etc.) will be destroyed! - cf. Rev. 2:20-23

    · Human wisdom is brought to nothing by God - 3:18-21a.
        o Human wisdom fails to build God's house!
        o So, do not boast in your relation to a man 3:21 (1:12).
    · All things exist for our usefulness because we belong to Christ - 3:21b-23. (Preachers, world, life & death) - Rom. 8:28

    -We must live mature lives by remembering who we are!
    · Children of God (brethren)
    · Fellow-workers, God's field.
    · God's house / temple (builders, priests)
    · Heirs of all things
    -Develop spiritual maturity & live in God's blessings



(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Elk Acts Like a Bull in a China Shop
(Friday, May 17, 2002)

HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish woman got the fright of her life when her morning coffee was upset by a young 450-pound elk that jumped through her kitchen window and plowed past her into the living room, police said on Friday.

The one-year-old elk calf, which had panicked after wandering into a residential area in central Finland on Thursday, broke furniture and splattered blood across the room.

"He must have run fast!" police officer Eero Koskinen said. "Maybe he felt trapped by all the buildings around him. Maybe he saw his image in the window, which in relation to his size was small, and then jumped in with force and speed." Police and an animal keeper tried to cajole the beast out of the living room for four hours, but the elk would not budge. He was then tranquilized, dragged out of the house and taken to a near-by forest to recover, but was later found dead.

"We worked hard to get the elk back into nature where he belongs, but this game was too rough for him, and it was probably his heart that failed," Koskinen said.

The 75-year-old woman was taken to hospital to be treated for shock, but was otherwise unhurt. Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. 

Bible Commentary
Joe R. Price

Like a bull (elk) in a china shop, we may rage into a situation without considering why we are there or what we intend to accomplish. It may be that we fail to adequately assess whether a "cause" is a battle of faith or not (see article on page 2; 1 Tim. 6:12; Jude 3). If we cannot judge the difference between a battle for the faith and one arising out of lesser (and even sinful) motives and causes, then we will be like a bull in a china shop (Phil. 1:9-10, 15-16). We will do great harm and the cause of truth will suffer. As the Lord's servants, we must couple spiritual discernment and meekness with the courage of faith to contend for the faith (2 Tim. 2:24-26; 4:2-5; Jude 3-4). Let us pray for wisdom and walk in faith (Jas. 1:5-8; Matt. 10:16).

Like this bull elk, it can be difficult to bring the impetuous brother out of his reckless mode and his hasty treatment of others. He thinks he is fighting the Lord's battle! But, the war is lost when one fights over private interpretations or from impure motives rather than a cause of truth (Gal. 5:13-15). We must be able to distinguish between revealed truth and personal conscience, lest appropriate "fighting" deteriorate into wrangling and strife (2 Tim. 2:15-18, 23; Rom. 14:10-13). 

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