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

                        published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ
                  Bellingham, WA
Volume III, Number 03 · March 07, 1999
Editor..................Joe R. Price

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 In this issue:
-- Safe Preaching? (Robert Craig)
-- The Assembling of Ourselves Together (Joe R. Price)
----Jesus of Nazareth: From Resurrection to Ascension (Part 16) (Acts 1:1-8)
--Noteworthy News:  Dangerous fault found hidden under Los Angeles

Safe Preaching?
by: Robert Craig

It's not always safe to be a preacher.  That is, a preacher who preaches what people really need.  Herod the tetrarch was living in a state of adultery. Some say he was guilty of  incest.  Maybe a little of both. But he was living with his brother's wife, Herodias,  and John said to him, “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matthew 14:4).

Some of our present day preachers say, “John shouldn't have judged him.”  In fact, just down the street from me, a church advertises on their reader board, “Come.  We neither judge nor condemn.”  Well, Herod had judged himself.  He's the one who was the adulterer.  Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”  John taught, “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.” The fruits he saw here was rebellion to God's law of marriage.

There are so many today that are living in rebellion to God's law of marriage that it is not wise for preachers to say anything about it, so they remain silent and accept anything into their fellowship that comes along.

John had a mission.  That was to call people back to God. Preachers today have the same mission; call people back to God.  Herod laid hold of John and put him in prison.  He would have put him to death but he feared the people.  Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced before Herod and pleased him immensely. So much so, that he promised her anything.  At the instruction of Herodias, Salome requested the head of John.  Her request was granted and John lost his head all because he had enough courage to preach what he knew would please God. He could say with the apostle Paul, “Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel.”  I believe he could also say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight....henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”

It's not always safe to preach the truth and, sad to say, most present-day preachers have learned that lesson.

The Assembling of Ourselves Together
by: Joe R. Price

We need to talk plainly and think seriously about attendance at our worship services.  It is out of love for your soul that these comments are made.  The difference between how many are present for our Sunday morning Bible classes and worship, and the number present at our Sunday evening worship services has started to grow.  I fully understand (and everyone else should, too) that some of our brethren are not physically able to attend all of our services.  We believe God takes such limitations into account (2 Cor. 8:12).  At the same time, if physical ailment is not keeping you from attending our worship services, then what is?  As far as I know, our  Sunday night assembly (and for that matter, our Wednesday night meeting) is a scheduled part of this church’s work, and as such is not an optional consideration.

All of our scheduled assemblies fall under the exhortation of Hebrews 10:24-25:  “...And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Given this divine edict, should we not make every effort to be present at every one of our assemblies?  To “forsake” means “to leave behind, abandon” (Vine, II:126).  Are you choosing to “leave behind” some of our scheduled assemblies?  If so, this passage says you are sinning against God.  You need to repent in order to correct your current “manner” (habit, custom).  As we attempt to help urge faithful attendance, consider with me some reasons why we should attend every assembly of God’s children.

It is our RESPONSIBILITY to assemble to worship God.  God seeks true worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and truth (Jno. 4:23-24).  The true worshipper overcomes obstacles which would keep him from worshipping his God.  What obstacle stands in your way from assembling to worship with your brethren at the regularly scheduled meetings?  Distance?  Time?  Work? Exhaustion?  Recreation?  We must work hard to not allow hindrances to become stumbling blocks to our obedience.  Sacrifice is needed to be a disciple of Jesus (Lk. 9:23).  That may mean a few extra miles of travel.  Or getting up an hour earlier.  Or going to bed an hour earlier the night before.  Or changing our work schedule.  Remember, we must seek God's kingdom and His righteousness first (Matt. 6:33).  Shouldn't that include assembling with the saints to worship God?  After all, when we can always be present and on time for our jobs and social events, shouldn't we be doing the same for the Lord?

It is our PRIVILEGE to assemble to worship God.  Sadly, some Christians view attending worship services as a burden rather than a joy.  This is not an expression of loving God, but rather one of drudgery, compromise and complaint (1 Jno. 5:3).  David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of Jehovah” (Psa. 122:1).  What a privilege to worship our Creator and Redeemer!  When we forget the honor attached to worshipping God, we have turned our worship into cold formalism which will not be accepted by God (cf. Matt. 15:8-9). We must constantly assess our attitude toward worship in order to help us avoid forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.  It is not done to be seen of men or to be held in honor by men, but to give honor to God who saves us and gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ! (Matt. 6:1; Jno. 12:42-43)

It is a BLESSING to assemble to worship God.  If you consider yourself blessed by attending one worship service a week, would not attending all of them be an even greater blessing?  Every worship service offered to God “in spirit and truth” will bless those who faithfully participate in them (Jno. 4:24).  By such we are encouraged to “continue steadfastly” (Acts 2:42) while being “provoked unto love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).  Thus, we are blessed by God whenever we worship Him (Jno. 4:23).  And, by your presence at all of our assemblies, your influence is blessing someone else (Matt. 5:16)!  So, by not forsaking our assembling together you not only receive a blessing, you are also a blessing to others!  No blessing is being received or given when you are absent.

Let us all renew our commitment to fully participate in our worship services by being present for all of them.  We cannot please God while neglecting to obey Hebrews 10:24-25.  May we take to heart the responsibility, privilege and blessing of assembling together to worship our God.

Jesus of Nazareth: From Resurrection to Ascension (Part 16)
(Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-8)

-Acts 1:3:  Two stated purposes of this 40-day period.


  A.  Jesus Showed Himself To His Apostles & Many Disciples - Acts 1:2-3; 13:31; 1 Cor. 15:6-7.
  B.  What Kind Of Proofs Did He Give Them Of His Resurrection?  cf. 2 Pet. 1:16

II. JESUS TAUGHT HIS APOSTLES ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD - Acts 1:3;  Lk. 24:44-48; Jno. 21:15-23; Acts 1:4-8.

Noteworthy News
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Dangerous fault found hidden under Los Angeles
Copyright © 1999 Nando Media
Copyright © 1999 Reuters News Service 

      WASHINGTON (March 4, 1999 6:52 p.m. EST - Scientists said on Thursday they had found a hidden fault running under the city of Los Angeles that has probably cause quakes in the past and could cause bigger ones in the future.

      The fault runs 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles to the Coyote Hills in northern Orange County and toward Brea in the east, covering at least 324 square miles, John Shaw of Harvard University and Peter Shearer of the University of California San Diego reported.

      “A segment of this fault likely caused the 1987 Whittier Narrows (magnitude 6.0) earthquake,” they wrote in a report in the journal Science. “Mapped sizes of other fault segments suggest that the system is capable of much larger and more destructive earthquakes.”

      Shaw added in a statement, “This is an important earthquake source for Los Angeles, and one that we've been able to establish beyond inference.”

by:  Joe R. Price

        Like hidden fissures below the surface of the earth, false doctrine and its teachers can creep into the body of Christ (Jude 4).  Camouflaged by their “smooth and fair speech” which speak of “peace and safety,” false teachers are truly “hidden rocks in your love feasts” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing (Rom. 16:18; 1 Ths. 5:3; Jude 12; Matt. 7:).  We must be continually vigilant against the error of “false brethren” (Gal. 2:4-5).  Being protective of our relationships with friends or family must never overrule our devotion to the Lord and His truth “thus saith the Lord” (Col. 3:17; Matt. 10:37; Jno. 12:42-43).

        So, be careful!  (Eph. 5:15-17; 1 Pet. 5:8)  Doctrinal error will cause our souls to be lost (Gal. 1:8-9).  Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18).  Diligently study the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).  Sink deep roots into the sure bedrock of God’s revealed truth, the New Testament of Christ (Col. 2:6-7; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).  Serve God with reverence and godly fear, and you will be secure in the “kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28).

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

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