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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 12 · May 09, 1999
Editor..................Joe R. Price

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 In this issue:

-- The Sin of Murmuring  (Earl Fly)
-- Applying Bible Authority (Joe R. Price)
-- WWJD vs. WWF (Simon Harris)
--Noteworthy News: New York Times to ban cigarette ads

The Sin of Murmuring
by Earl Fly

The word “murmur” is defined as “low, muttered complaints; grumbling.” (Webster)  It is a soul-condemning sin to be avoided by all Christians.  The apostle Paul warns Christians to beware of this sin which destroyed many of the Jews (1 Cor. 10:10).  Korah, Dothan, Abiram and others rebelled and murmured against God's servants, Moses and Aaron, and were swallowed by the earth (Num. 16:1-33).  God used fire to kill two hundred fifty of them (v. 35).  Then, some of the Jews then murmured that Moses and Aaron were responsible for those deaths, and God used a plague to kill 14,700 more.  This adequately shows the sinfulness of murmuring and how God regards it.

A murmurer can do great harm and irreparable damage to a congregation by creating discontent, discouragement and apathy among its members, by sowing discord among the brethren (which God hates, Prov. 6:19), and by undermining the work of the preacher, teachers, deacons and rule of elders.  It often creates a general attitude

of dissatisfaction and loss of interest in the work of the church.  In turn, this results in decreased attendance, contribution, participation and general impairment of the church’s work.  Murmuring harms God’s people!

The murmurer does not truly love God and is not really interested in the welfare of the church.  He is a dangerous threat to the cause of Christ.  Christians should not lend receptive ears to the murmurer.  Nor should we endorse his murmurings.  Instead, we must exhort the guilty one to take his complaint either to the person or persons directly involved.  These are the ones who can properly address the matter and work at improving it.  Remember, if one will murmur TO you about someone else, he will eventually murmur ABOUT you to someone else!

We exhort all murmurers everywhere, in the name of Christ, to repent of this sin.  If anyone should persist in this sin after proper warnings and efforts to restore, scriptural discipline should be brought about to protect the flock and its work.  The work of God is too important to allow murmurers to RUN and RUIN the church.  (edited)

Applying Bible Authority
by Joe R. Price

More and more Christians are not grounded in how to establish and apply Bible authority.  While most Christians agree that we must "have Bible authority for all that we believe and do," many do not know where to go from there.  This has led to many unauthorized (and therefore sinful, 1 Jno. 3:4) doctrines and practices within churches of Christ.  Saying we must have Bible authority is one thing, but being able to properly establish and apply that Bible authority is another.

The inspired scriptures are our authoritative source for doctrine and conduct (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  They fully equip us "unto every good work" because they are inspired of God ("God-breathed").  The only way to hear Christ today is through the message preached by His apostles and prophets (Matt. 17:5; Heb. 1:1-2; Lk. 10:16; Jno. 13:20).

Once we understand that our authority to act with God's approval is found only in the New Testament of Christ, we must then set out to apply that authority in our lives.  To do so, we must know how God's authority is revealed within the scriptures.  Three ways of establishing divine authority in the New Testament:  direct statements (commands), apostolic approved examples and necessary implications.  All three of these ways of establishing authority must be applied, from time to time, to what we believe and practice (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Thess. 5:21-22).

We should also understand that one way of establishing authority is not greater or more important that another.  For example, a direct command does not carry more weight than an approved example.  Neither is an approved example more important than a necessary implication.  For instance, Christ directly commanded that His disciples partake of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:24-25).  When it should be observed (the first day of the week) is established by an example in Acts 20:7, approved by the participation of the apostle Paul.  While there is no commandment that the first day of the week is the proper day of observance we do not conclude that the time of its partaking is unimportant. Partaking the Lord’s Supper was the stated purpose for their first day of the week assembly (Acts 20:7).  To change the day is to go where Bible authority does not go (1 Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:8-9).

At the same time, the only way to establish the frequency of the Supper (how often should it be observed) is a necessary conclusion which is inferred from Acts 20:7.  Since there is one first day of the week every week, we may necessarily conclude that every first day of the week is an occasion to partake of the Supper (cf. Exo.  20:8; 1 Cor. 16:2). 

It has been said by some that we do many things for which we have no authority.  If this is true, then we are doing many things which are sinful!  Acting without divine authority is iniquity (lawlessness), and will cause eternal death (Matt. 7:21-23, 24-27; 1 Jno. 3:4).  To “do the will of the Father” our authority must be established by direct commands, approved examples and necessary implications.  Acts 15:7-21 is an occasion when all three (apostolic example, 15:7-11; necessary inference, 15:12; and direct statement, 15:13-21)were used to affirm the freedom of Gentiles from the law of Moses.  We must and can use the same ways to establish divine authority today for all we say and do (Col. 3:17)

Simon Harris)

A man on stage offers the use of his prostitutes to any in the audience who will help him meet his objective. Another man on stage spouts profanity faster than a censor can bleep it out.  Scantily clad women parade around the stage. A three year old child sits in the audience taking it all in, all the while a large foam hand posed in an obscene gesture extends from his right hand. You may think the description fits a typical episode of the Jerry Springer Show, but it is not. It is a description of a show far more popular, especially among our children, it's professional wrestling.

The professional wrestling many of us know from our youth was anything but innocent. The men were mean and nasty. This week's bad guy would be next week's good guy. The matches were violent and the interviews disrespectful.  Today’s pro wrestling goes much further in its violence and disrespect.  No longer to they speak of simply defeating one another in the "squared circle," now they speak of killing one another at the first opportune time.  The disrespect has changed into irreverence, one wrestlers slogan is AUSTIN 3:16. It is blasphemous!

Vince McMahon, president of the World Wrestling Federation, has tried to justify this behavior by saying, “It’s just entertainment.”  It might be “just entertainment,” but is it entertainment that Jesus would enjoy?  I ask you to consider the question:  What Would Jesus Do?  Jesus has told us what He would do, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29).  Jesus would have no part in the sinful behavior that many of our young people, and adults, call entertainment. One would have to put Jesus in the group described by Jim Byrne, a marketing executive for the WWF, “... people who take themselves way too serious and are extremely vocal.”

What Jesus would do is what we should do. Paul wrote, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33).  Examine Philippians 4:8 and see if professional wrestling fits into the things on which Christians should be thinking. Also, look at the long list of sins of which the Gentiles were guilty in Romans 1:24-32, then notice particularly verse 32 which says, “...they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  How many of those sins are we using to entertain ourselves?  Have we become so callous and rebellious that we no longer abhor evil, but enjoy it? It is not “just entertainment,” it is sinful, evil, and disgusting!  This and all other forms of vile entertainment needs to be put off, rejected, and abhored by the disciples of Christ.  The battle of good vs. evil was won long ago by our Lord Jesus Christ.  The only question that remains is which side you will be on. The winners abhor evil, and the losers are entertained by it.        -(Take from garyslist, 4.28.99)

“There is never any peace for those who resist God.”      ... Francois Fenelon (1651-1715)

Noteworthy News
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

New York Times to ban cigarette ads
     Copyright © 1999 Nando Media
     Copyright © 1999 Associated Press

   NEW YORK (April 28, 1999 8:59 a.m. EDT - The New York Times plans to turn away advertisements for cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products in its pages. The ban will take effect Saturday.

   The Times decided on the ban, the first by a national newspaper, because of concerns about the harmful effects of smoking, New York Times Co. spokeswoman Nancy Nielsen said.

   “We don’t want to expose our readers to advertising that may be dangerous to their health," Nielsen said.

   Tobacco advertising last year accounted for less than 1 percent of the newspaper's $1 billion in ad revenues.

   More than a dozen other U.S. newspapers refuse to publish tobacco ads.

   The Seattle Times refuses ads for tobacco, handguns and pornographic movies, while The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., refuses ads for bingo, fortune tellers and 900 telephone numbers, according to the industry's Editor & Publisher International Yearbook.

   The New York Times likely has already run its last cigarette ad. A full-page color ad for Carlton cigarettes ran Monday, and no others were scheduled before the ban takes effect. The Times, which also shuns ads for handguns and tear gas, will continue to accept tobacco company ads that don't promote smoking.

   Last year, the tobacco industry reached a $206 billion deal with 46 states that had sued to recover health costs associated with smoking. The deal bans outdoor cigarette ads and forbids ads targeting children.

 by:  Joe R. Price

        Smoking kills.  Those who are not Christians understand it.  Most Christians do, too.  But still, there are brethren who are controlled by the habit, addicted to the nicotine.  We implore you to decide to quit.  Seek help and use it.  Not only does your physical health depend upon it, so does your spiritual health (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  Christ calls us to use self-control in all things (Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet. 1:6).

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

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