published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 40 December 10, 2000

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

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Joe R. Price


I saw it on a license plate. It seemed to be simultaneously offering an advertisement and issuing a command. The license plate shared the sentiment of its owner with the world. It simply said "LUST" as it swiftly past my car. I do not know what the owner is lusting after (perhaps speed), but I do know his license plate is a commentary on our society's mindset. Like the Gentile world described in Romans 1:24, our present world seems bent upon rushing headlong into satisfying the "lusts of their hearts." And, we are now reaping the whirlwind of lustful living - AIDS, abortion, broken homes, crime and gang violence, drug abuse, spousal abuse, ad infinitum.

We have all been there - living in the lusts of our flesh. The apostle Paul says so (Eph. 2:3). None who sin have escaped the
strong desire to satisfy the flesh rather than the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18; Rom. 3:23). Giving in to such lust produces sin, and sin causes spiritual death (Jas. 1:14-15). Sin reigns in the body when we allow lust to dictate our actions (Rom. 6:12). Christians, though, have "crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof" (Gal. 5:24). We have "escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Pet. 1:4). Therefore, we must remain free of such worldly contamination (Titus 2:12).

Another area defined as satisfying lust is that of accepting false teachers and their teachings. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns us against
rejecting sound doctrine in favor of teachings which soothe our own desires. The acceptance and/or promotion of error is a lust which must be refused (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 3:1-3). Turning away from truth in favor of a more pleasing course of life satisfies many, but it leaves the soul starving and lost. We must not lust after error.

We are called to a higher plane of living than the lusts of this world (1 Jno. 2:15-17). We are called to spiritual excellence. We
are partakers of the divine nature. We must not partake in the corruption of lust (2 Pet. 1:4). Let us abstain from fleshly lusts
and walk worthily of our calling (1 Pet. 2:11; Eph. 4:1).


Larry Ray Hafley

During December we are reminded to, "Keep Christ In Christmas." Who, though, put him there in the first place?

Did God? We know "the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 Jn. 4:14). Jesus said that he neither acted or spoke of his own will, but that he said and did only those things authorized by his Father (Jn. 6:38; 12:49). Is the celebration of Jesus' birth a thing spoken by the Father to the Son?

We are not saying the birth of Jesus was not the Father's will. It was. To God the Father, Jesus said, "A body hast thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5). "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman" (Gal. 4:4). About Jesus' birth, as related by Matthew and Luke, there can be no dispute. However, we are asking a separate question; namely, did God put Christ in the tradition that we know as Christmas? What Scripture shows that God placed Christ in Christmas and put Christmas in the worship of the church? Does anyone know? If not, how can we say that God put Christ in Christmas?

Did Jesus? Jesus was given all authority (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23). Did he place himself in Christmas? Since he is the founder and the foundation of our faith, if his Father did not put him in Christmas, perhaps, as head of the church, he did so himself (Eph. 5:23, 24). If he did, where might we find this information? Surely, in the New Testament, but do we find it there? Do we have a source which shows that Jesus taught his disciples to keep a tradition called Christmas, or an annual remembrance of his birth? If so, where is it? If it cannot be found, is it correct to say that Christ put himself in Christmas and that he set Christmas in the church?

Did The Holy Spirit? Jesus promised the apostles the Spirit would guide them "into all truth," revealing to them things he had not spoken to them directly (Jn. 16:12-15). So, then, did the Spirit design the Christmas season as we know it, and did he put Christ in Christmas? If he did, we must accept his word and "keep Christ in Christmas," for to reject the Spirit is to reject God (1 Cor. 2:10-13; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:13; 5:19; Cf. Acts 5:3, 4, 9). Where has the Spirit revealed that he is the one who put Christ in Christmas and Christmas in the church?

Did The Apostles? To reject the word of the apostles is to reject the word of Christ and God (Lk. 10:16; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 4:1, 2, 8). The "apostles' doctrine" is "the doctrine of the Lord" (Acts 2:42; 13:12). Thus, if we can find the apostles putting and keeping Christ in Christmas, we may do likewise with the approval of heaven. Do we read of disciples who, at the behest of the apostles, observed the Christmas tradition, or who noted the birth of Jesus in any manner? Since keeping Christ in Christmas allegedly is an important duty, we should expect to find the first fervent and devout disciples of the Lord doing so. But, is that what we find?

"December 25 is...observed as the...birth of Christ. In early times this day was not one of the feasts of the Christian Church. In fact, the church fathers frowned upon the celebration of birthdays and thought them a heathen custom. It is thought that Christmas was not celebrated until some 300 years after the birth of Christ.

"No one is certain why December 25 was chosen. There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that this is the date of the Nativity" (The New Book Of Knowledge, Vol. 3, p. 289).

Since neither God, nor Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles put Christ in Christmas, why should we? If your preacher encourages you to "keep Christ in Christmas," show him this article and ask him to answer it.

For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS:


Scripture Reading: Psalms 34:11-19


1 Peter 3:10-12:
10 For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain
his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him
turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are
open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who
do evil."

A. The One Who Understands The Promises & Limitations Of Life (Ecclesiastes).
B. The One Who Is Can Properly Define The "Good" Days. - Col. 1:9-10; 1 Cor.15:32-34; Heb. 11:24-26; 12:1-2; Rom. 16:19.

A. Stop Evil Speech & The Evil Heart Which Causes It - 1 Pet. 3:10; Jas. 3:8-10 (Prov. 6:17); Matt. 12:34-37 (1 Pet. 2:1, 22).
B. Turn Away From Evil - 1 Pet. 3:11; cf. Rom. 3:9-18; Rom. 6:1, 15-18, 23; Prov. 3:7.
C. Do Good - 1 Pet. 3:11; Lk. 6:33-35; 1 Tim. 6:18; Heb. 13:16 (Matt. 17:4); Eph. 2:10; Heb. 13:20-21 (3 Jno. 11); Jas. 4:17.
D. Seek Peace & Pursue It - 1 Pet. 3:11; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 2:14-18; Matt. 5:23-24.

A. Because The Eyes Of The Lord Are On The Righteous - Prov. 5:21; 15:3; 2 Chrn. 16:9 (Heb. 13:5-6).
B. Because His Ears Are Open To His Prayers - Prov. 15:8, 29; 28:9.
C. Because To Do Evil Is To Fight Against God (Isa. 59:2); Rom. 6:23; 2:1-6.

For the complete outline of this sermon please visit BIBLE ANSWERS: 07.htm

(Part 7)


Autonomy of the Local Church

Scripture Reading:  2 Corinthians 8:8-15


Two fundamental, scriptural principles which define & describe autonomy: Independence & Equality.

A. Elders In Every Church - Acts 14:23.
1. Local rule & oversight - Acts 20:17, 28.
2. Among you - l Pet. 5:2; Heb. 13:17.
3. Without elders - cf. Acts 6:5 (Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:3).
B. Pattern Is Set Of Independent Congregations, Not Interdependent Ones (Heb. 8:5).

A. Equality: Each Church Is Independent, Each Has The Same
Relationship To The Work Given Them By Christ - Eph. 4:11-12; 2 Cor. 8:10-14.
1. Edification - cf. Heb.10:24-25.
2. Benevolence - Acts 4:34-35.
3. Evangelism - cf. 2 Cor. 11:8.
B. No "Mother Church" Or "Sponsoring Church" In The NT.

A. Edification (l Ths. 5:12-15; Acts 20:7).
B. Benevolence (l Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor. 8:18-23; Acts 11:29-30.
C. Evangelism (Acts 11:22; Phil. 4:15-16).
D. Fellowship (Acts 9:26-27; l Cor 5:13).

Independent & Equal -- Autonomous



(Current events in the light of Scripture)


Electrocuted Man Rises From The Dead

Thursday, December 07, 2000

ALMATY (Reuters) - A Kazakh man who was electrocuted and buried shocked his friends and family by turning up for his own funeral feast.

The man was wrapped in a cloth shroud according to Muslim tradition and buried in a shallow grave after apparently dying while trying to steal power cables in eastern Kazakhstan, local media reported Wednesday.

But two days later he regained consciousness and rose naked from the ground, Express K daily said.

The paper said he had difficulty flagging down a vehicle to take him home.




Joe R. Price


One thing is certain, this man, though buried, was never really dead!

But, long ago there was another man whose death was beyond doubt. He had been dead for four days and the body had already started to decay. His family and friends greatly mourned his passing. Jesus wept.  With a loud voice Jesus cried out, "Lazarus, come forth!" The man who had been dead walked out of the tomb, still wrapped in his grave-clothes! (John 11:17-44) Astonishing! Astounding! Amazing!

Like Lazarus, all of us will one day be freed from the clutches of death, raised upon hearing the command of Jesus' voice (Jno. 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:51-53). For the righteous it will be a resurrection unto eternal life. For the sinful, it will be a resurrection unto eternal condemnation (Jno. 5:29; 11:25).

The question is not whether you will be resurrected from the dead.  The question is, will you be raised unto eternal life or eternal death? By believing and obeying the gospel you will escape eternal punishment on that great resurrection day to instead bask in His glory (2 Thess. 1:8-10; Col. 3:4). Are you ready to die and live again? (Jno. 11:25-26)

Faithfully serve Jesus!

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

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