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published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy ∑ Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume VI, Number 15 - July 28, 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:


The Silence of the Scriptures

Joe R. Price

To be approved in Godís sight we must properly handle His word (2 Tim. 2:15). The twisting of the scriptures can occur with the best of intentions Ė or the worst (2 Pet. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:13; Tit. 1:10-11). Careless or self-serving methods of Bible interpretation may secure us in our own understanding, but they do nothing to aid us in coming to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 3:7).

The silence of the scriptures is one area of importance in properly understanding and using Godís word. Respecting the silence of the scriptures simply means that we are not at liberty to "go beyond" what is written in the word of God: "Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son" (2 Jno. 9, RSV). To do so is to act presumptuously upon oneís own authority rather than respecting and abiding in the authority of the word of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 4:6).

Many say the silence of the scriptures ("God didnít say not to") gives man divine permission to act (tell that to Nadab and Abihu, Lev. 10:1-2; 16:12; Num. 3:4!). In other words, they say where God does not speak man has the freedom to act. Many children try to escape the consequences of their actions by telling their mother "you didnít say not to" when failing to follow parental instructions. This is a faulty and futile attempt to justify doing what the child should not have done. Since the mother said what she wanted, she did not have to supply a lengthy list of "thou shalt nots" Ė those things were necessarily eliminated due to what was stated. Likewise, interpreting Biblical silence as divine consent to "do as we think best" will inevitably lead to the sin of adding to the word of God (Rev. 22:18).

Rather than presumptuously acting where the Lord has not spoken, He puts us under obligation to "test all things" so we may "hold fast what is good" and "abstain from every form of evil" (2 Ths. 3:21-22). We must test our actions against what God has said, not against what He has not said. His word is our measuring rod (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 4:6). If He has been silent, we must also be silent.

If we cannot provide positive Bible authority for what we teach and practice (book, chapter and verse), then we ought to give it up for the sake of truth and our soulís salvation (Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Tim. 2:15).


Can't Preach Him Into Heaven

J. S. Smith

Police in Loxley, Alabama are investigating claims that a funeral preacher was beaten during the service and then dragged out of the church building and beaten again.

Orlando Bethel apparently strayed from the traditional Protestant funeral in which the deceased is preached into Heaven, regardless of the way he lived his life. It was his wifeís uncle in the casket and Bethel unabashedly acknowledged that Lish Devan Taylor "was in hell and he was a drunkard and a fornicator." The dearly beloved who had gathered that day to bid fond farewell were even less pleased when Bethel began to warn them about their own fornication. "The fornicators didnít like what he said so they got up and beat him," Bethelís wife says.

Bethel simply had the nerve to do what thousands of preachers have considered doing before backing down and bowing to a hypocritical tradition. A man can only be saved by Godís grace, and certainly not posthumously by the efforts of funeral preachers and wailing mourners. Ignoring sin, especially at funerals, is a time-honored practice and one that God will surely hold us accountable for. That audience heard a sermon they desperately needed and they reacted in a predictable fashion. One might argue that Bethelís timing was poor or that it is bad form to speak ill of the dead, but the dead has bigger problems than worrying about his funeral anyway.

The Bible says that it is appointed for men to die once and then be judged (Heb. 9:27-28). The high court of the Almighty was not in recess until it heard from Taylorís eulogist. When he drew his final breath, his fate was sealed, even if it was yet unknown. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, "Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart." The deaths of other people should serve to wake up those who have settled into sin or perhaps, just complacency. "And do this, knowing the time, that it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Rom. 13:11-14).

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


Hell is Still Real!

Scripture Reading:  Mark 9:42-48

1. Although Jesus & His apostles taught about hell (Matt. 10:28), more & more it is being stricken from the pulpit & Bible class as one reason for our faith.

2. Why? What does this indicate? What did Jesus say?


A. Men Do Not Want To Hear About Hell Ė 2 Tim. 4:2-4.

B. A "This Life" Focus Has Emerged.

  1. Secular humanism (Col. 2:8; Matt. 7:21).
  2. Influence in the Lordís church, too. Cry for "positive preaching" & denunciation of "negative" preaching (doctrine) Ė 1 Cor. 2:2; Jer. 6:14.
  3. Need "next world" living - 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Heb. 11:13-16.


A. Many Are Not Content With Bible Teaching Ė Jno. 6:60, 66; 2 Tim. 4:2; 3:1-2, 5.

B. Man Perverts Truth to Please Himself Ė Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 3:16-18.

C. False Teaching Leads to Reckless & Sinful Living Ė 2 Tim. 4:3; Jude 4; 2 Pet. 2:19.


A. Jesus Says Hell is Real: Matt. 5:29-30; 8:12; 10:28; 23:33; 25:41, 46; Mk. 9:47-48.

B. His Apostles Say Hell is Real: Rev. 20:14-15.

C. Jesus & Apostles Use Hell as One Compelling Reason to Fear God Ė Matt. 10:28; Rom. 2:5-11; 11:22; Rev. 20:15.

D. Receive The Words of Jesus! Ė Jno. 12:47-48

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


Bible Question Box (July, 2002)

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 119:33-40

Oneís motive for asking Bible questions is crucial to understanding Ė Jno. 7:16-17 (Jno. 6:25-26; Matt. 22:15-18; Acts 17:10-12).

#1-A: "On the Lordís day, is the Lordís Supper more important than singing, prayers, lessons??"

1. At least two purposes: Honor God & strengthen us Ė Heb. 2:12; 10:24-25; 1 Co. 14:26

a. Same basic purposes for each act (although different specific purposes): Col. 3:16; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:33-34.

b. All acts of worship given the same importance in scriptures Ė Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:26.

2. To elevate one as more important than the others is to do so without scriptural authority!

#1-B: "When is it okay to miss it, and when is it not okay?"

-We should keep every part of worship (Heb. 10:22-25).

#2: "How much influence and impact do we really have on the younger and older brethren? What about those seeking truth?"

1. More than you realize - 1 Cor. 5:6-8.

2. On brethren: Tit. 2:1-8; 1 Tim. 4:12.

3. On truth-seekers: cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-25.

#3: "How much does character make an impact on others? How much does it please God?"

1. Impact on others - Gen. 39:2-6; Dan. 6:1-5.

2. Pleases God: Prov. 3:1-4; Heb. 12:14.

3. New heart of the new man Ė Col. 3:10-17.

#4: "Where did the women come from that Cain and Seth married?"

-From Adam & Eve - Gen. 3:20; 1:28; 5:4-5)



The Mt. Baker church of Christ

(1860 Mt. Baker Highway – Bellingham, WA)

invites you to a


with evangelist


(Lometa, TX)

August 4-9, 2002

Bible lessons presented nightly at 7:00 PM

Sunday, August 4th: 9:30 & 10:30 AM; 6:00 PM

(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go east 4.2 miles)

For more information, please call (360) 752-2692

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

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