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published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume VI, Number 17 - August 11, 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:


So This Is The Work Of The Church?

Joe R. Price

     The social gospel, designed to minister to the social needs of man, is one of the dominate features of this country’s religious landscape.  Baseball, basketball, volleyball, bowling teams and hiking are just a few of the offerings churches around us provide their members and the “unchurched” alike.  Many churches of Christ long ago joined this modern digression. 

     In addition to the social gospel, another trend is toward ministering to the emotional and psychological needs of members.  Twelve-step programs to overcome addictions, single’s groups, divorcee groups, seniors groups and more are established to “support” those with emotional trials, low self-esteem, etc.  The overriding emphasis of churches today is humanistic in its appeal.  There is no time for the gospel.  Indeed, the “whole counsel of God” is not being preached or heard (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2-4).  Such churches are not worshipping God “in spirit and truth” (Jno. 4:24).

     No doubt some good is accomplished in the lives of some people through such programs.  But, whose definition of “good” will we use?  Good works are only spiritually beneficial if they conform to God’s revealed will.  Then, they please Him (Heb. 13:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).  And, pleasing God must be our first priority (Matt. 6:33; 7:21-23; Lk. 6:46; Col. 3:17).  God’s word nowhere authorizes the local church to participate in the social gospel or modern psychological techniques.  Let the home see to these needs of men (1 Cor. 11:22, 34; 1 Tim. 5:8).  “But, the family is not doing this work, so the local church must do it!” is the reply.  “Must”?  Says who, God or man?  Too many are trying to please men rather than God (Gal. 1:10-12). 

     The work of the local church centers upon “the ministry of the word” and serving the needs of the saints (Acts 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 5:16).  Will we never learn that the wisdom of men does not meet with the approval of God (1 Cor. 1:21; Jer. 10:23; Prov. 3:6)?

     God calls us to totally depend upon Christ and obey His gospel, not the ways of men (1 Cor. 1:26-31; Rom. 1:16-17).  Will we ever learn?


About the Church of Christ

 We Strive to be the Same Church
Described in the New Testament

It is our purpose to be completely identified with the Christians of the first century. We believe this to be possible to all who will learn, believe and be guided by the plain teaching of the word of God. Jesus declared such to be “the seed of the kingdom” (Luke 8:11). A fundamental truth in nature is that a specific kind of seed, when planted, will always produce after its kind. The word of God when planted in the hearts of honest people, and obeyed will produce Christians - just as it did in the first century - nothing more and nothing less. We are human, and therefore subject to error, so we recognize the possibility that we may be wrong in our application of the Scriptures. If we can be shown where we are wrong, by the Scriptures, we are willing and ready to change.

 Our Emphasis is Spiritual,
not Material or Social

Our building is designed to facilitate our work and worship. We place little emphasis on luxurious surroundings. While as individuals Christians we seek each others’ association socially, the church is not a social club or agency and therefore the Lord’s money is not used to promote social functions or works. Our aim is spiritual (1 Pet. 2:5; 1 Tim. 3:15).

 We Have No Human Authority

There is no man, or group of men who legislate for the church. We have no one to answer to but Christ. He is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22). As was true in the first century, there is no intercongregational organization, but rather independent congregations in different locations with Christ as Lord and Master. According to the authority of Christ, when a congregation matures to the point where men meet the qualifications, overseers (also called bishops, elders, or pastors) are appointed to look after the spiritual welfare of the congregation such men are appointed only when the congregation determines that they meet all of the qualifications listed by Paul in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They then have the responsibility to “feed the flock” with the spiritual food found in the Scriptures, and to be living examples for others to see (1 Pet. 5:1-3).

 The Bible is Our Guide in Serving God

Therefore we have no man-written creed books to follow. We are governed in faith and conduct by the Bible alone. While recognizing and heeding the guiding principles of the Old Testament, we seek to conform to the teachings of the New Testament (1 Cor. 10:4; Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:11). We accept the Bible as being both verbally inspired and infallible in content (2 Pet. 1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:11-13). Consequently, when the Bible speaks upon any given subject, its pronouncement is accepted as final. By its own testimony, no one may with impunity alter a single word of it (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).

 Our Plea for Unity

We plead for unity among all who obediently respond to the doctrines and commandments given in the New Testament. Such is in harmony with the prayer of Jesus and the pleadings of the apostle (John. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6). We consider such unity to be possible, or Jesus would not have prayed for it. We also note that unity and love for each other was a mark of discipleship in the early churches (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:32). And since division has always been the result of departure from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), we believe that division can be healed by a return to the revealed word of God.

-The Rogers Reflector (4/21/2002)

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


Is the church of Christ a Cult?

Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 4:12-19

1.  This charge is often made.
2.  We want & will give a Bible answer to this question - 1 Pet. 3:15.

  1.  JESUS SAID IT WOULD BE SO - Jno. 15:18-21; Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 4:12-16.

  2.  CHRISTIANS ARE FALSELY CHARGED - Acts 24:13-15; 28:22; Jno. 16:1-3.


  1.   A Charismatic Leader Who Indoctrinates Members With Unorthodox or Extremist Views.
      -Jesus Christ!  (Matt. 21:6-11; Col. 1:18; 3:17)

  2.   Unorthodox or Extremist Views - Matt. 15:1-2; Acts 11:2-3; Jno. 8:23-24; 11:25-26.

  3.   Claims to be the Only True Church - Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; 5:23; 1 Tim. 3:15.

  4.   Teaches Doctrines Which Differ From "Historic Christianity" - 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Matt. 15:7-9; Col. 2:8.

  1. "CULT" IS A PREJUDICIAL LABEL - Phil. 3:17-19; Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16.  The church of Christ is not a denom. or a cult.


  1. Understandable, Universal & Divine - Eph. 3:3-5; Matt. 28:18-19; Gal. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

  2. The Gospel Produces:  True Christians, the true church, true worship, true doctrine, true living - Mk. 16:15-16; Matt. 7:21-23; Jno. 4:23-24; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Jno. 9; Matt. 28:20; 2 Cor. 5:7.

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


Sin in the Church

Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 5


  1. Eph. 5:25-27 - The purity of the church.

  2. 1 Cor. 5-6 - Addresses moral impurity & the church’s attitude toward it.


  1.  Congregations Can Be Guilty Of Sin - cf. Rev. 2:4-5; 3:16, 19.  (2 Cor. 7:10-11–Repented.)

  2.  Toleration of Sin in a Church Produces Arrogance – 5:2, 6; Heb. 3:12-13.


  1. Such Action Is Not Unloving or Wrong - It Is Entirely Appropriate – 5:3.

  2. Congregational Action – 5:4-5; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:13, 9-11; 2 Ths. 3:14.


  1. To Destroy the Flesh – 5:5; Rom. 8:5-8; Gal. 5:24 (cf. l Tim. 1:20).

  2. To Save the Soul – 5:5 (Acts 8:22); 2 Ths. 3:14-15.

  3. To Protect the Church from Sin – 5:6-8; Rom. 1:32 (Acts 20:26-27).


1.  Acts 5:1-11 – God’s attitude toward sin in His church!  (5:11)
2.  1 Cor. 5 - God’s attitude toward tolerating sin in the church -- Discipline it!
3.  Correctly applied discipline works – 2 Cor. 2:6-8; 7:9-11.



The New Testament Church

Joe R. Price

 There are many churches in the world, all claiming allegiance to Christ. Yet, their differences in doctrine and practice are not only confusing, but also against Christ's prayer for unity among believers (John 17:20-21).

The Bible says there is "one body" (Ephesians 4:4). Since the "body" of Christ is the church" of Christ, we may rightly conclude that there is only one church which pleases God (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). The church built by Christ pleases Christ (Matthew 16:18). We can read of and learn about that church in the New Testament.

The "church" is not a building or an ecclesiastical organization, it is the "called out ones" - those who have been saved from their sins (read Acts 2:47).

God has not commanded man to "choose the church of his choice." God wants you to choose HIS church, the church we read about in the Bible.  Christ calls upon us to renounce the doctrines and traditions of men and obey only the commandments of God (Matt. 15:3, 6-9; 7:21-23).  Will you?

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

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