Volume VII, Number 04
June 01, 2003

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00

Bible Classes...........7:00 PM

Web sites:

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

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

In this issue:

At Ease in Zion
Joe R. Price

    The prophet Amos rebuked Israel for her corruption and complacency:  “Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria” (Amos 6:1).  Having forgotten God’s graciousness toward them, they became self-indulgent and failed to show mercy to their brethren (6:3-6).  Desiring Israel’s repentance, the longsuffering of God had shown mercy to Israel, but justice would soon roll down as a mighty flood (7:1-6; 5:24).

        Israel’s irreverence, neglect and injustice cause us to shake our heads in amaze­ment.  Yet we are tempted to follow in her footsteps.  Having received our redemption in Christ, we should express continual thanksgiving and service to Him (Eph. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:57; Col. 1:12).  But, we also become complacent and negligent.  Rest assured that if we are “at ease in Zion” our judgment will be worse than Israel’s national exile (Amos 5:27; 6:8; Matt. 24:45-51; Heb. 2:1-3; 10:26-31).

        Remembering Israel’s tragic end helps us keep from becoming complacent, self-indulgent and neglectful of God.  God had been wonderfully gracious­ to Israel, yet Israel forsook God for idols, turned away from His truth, oppressed the weak and indulged herself (Amos 2:4-8; 3:10; 5:10-12).  Shall we, too, forget God and follow the path that leads to destruction?

Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest – when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; “who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end – then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’  And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.  Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.  (Deut. 8:11-20)


Pursue Good Things
Joe R. Price

From the supermarket checkout line to TV commercials, advertisers are in hot pursuit of consumers to purchase their products. 

      Another sort of pursuit going on these days is the pursuit of sin.  The siren song of sinful pleasures and sensual satisfaction is heard throughout the land.  It is enticing, and many are seduced by its call (Jas. 1:14-15).  We must not think that Christians are immune to the lure of sin (1 Cor. 10:12-13).  But, by God’s grace we overcome (Heb. 4:14-16; Jas. 1:12).

      We must pursue what is good.  Why should evil be the only thing being pursued in this world?  It does not satisfy, and finally leads to eternal death (Rom. 6:23).  Like the predator stalking its prey, millions follow after evil only to become the hunted – consumed by what they sought (1 Pet. 5:8).  Those who know the futility of sin give themselves over to pursuing the will of God.  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22).  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11).  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things (Phil. 4:8).

      To pursue good things conveys the idea of pressing forward in order to obtain.  As the sprinter leans for the finish line, we endeavor to press forward to lay hold on the attributes of holiness.  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me (Phil. 3:12).

      Temporal and eternal benefits come to the person who is willing to pursue what is right.  He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.  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 (1 Pet. 3:10-12).  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Rom. 14:19).  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).  Good days, edification, seeing the Lord – these are some of the rewards of pursuing good things.

      The word of God teaches us what the good things are we must pursue.  With the Bible in hand we are “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).  God’s will, not the human will, defines what is good (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:21).

      In a world where so many pursue what is evil, dare to be different.  Pursue goodness and holiness, and go with God.


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

Followers of Christ

Scripture Reading:  Luke 9:57-62

1.  A disciple is a “learner who adheres to what he learns” – Jno. 8:31-32; 13:12-15; Lk. 14:27, 25.
2.  What kind of a follower of Christ are we?

·   Those who Follow from a Distance, Matt. 26:58.
  1.  Following from a distance leads to denial of Christ!  (Matt. 26:69-75)
  2.  Draw near to God! – Jas. 4:7-8

·   The Critical Follower, Jno. 12:1-6.
  1.  This Christian is always dissatisfied.
  2.  Criticism of others -
Jno. 12:6; Mk. 14:4-5.

·   The Fussy (factious) Follower, Gal. 5:15.
  1. Divisiveness costs souls!  (1 Cor. 1:10) 
  2.  Peace in the church – Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 3:14-15

·   The Fearful Follower, Matt. 8:23-27.
  1.  Wants to & begins to follow Jesus.
  2.  Storms of life challenge faith & fear overwhelms – 8:24-25.  [Little faith, 8:26] 2 Pet. 1:5; 1 Jno. 4:17-18; Heb. 13:6; Psa. 27:1.

·   The Obedient Follower, Matt. 4:19-20 (Jno. 8:12, 31); Jas. 1:21-22; Lk. 6:46.
  1.  Proof of our discipleship - Matt. 7:21.
  2.  All else secondary – Heb. 5:8-9.

·   The Sacrificial Follower, Lk. 5:11, 27-28.
  1.  Trait of disciples – Lk. 9:23; 14:25-27, 33."
  2.  Gain Christ, now and eternally - Phil. 3:7-8; Mk. 10:29-30.

·   The Enduring Follower, Matt. 10:22.
  1.  Engages the fight to prevail, enters the race to win, embraces the faith to keep it – 2 Tim. 4:6-8, Rom. 8:35-39.
  2.  Brings eternal rest – Heb. 10:36; Rev. 14:12-13.


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

The Murderous Tongue

Scripture Reading:  James 3:1-12

   The tongue can murder the good name & life of another:  “it is full of deadly poison”  (Jas. 3:8).  The tongue can be a deadly sword (Prov. 12:18).

  A.  Gossip - 1 Tim. 5:13.  (tattlers, KJV)
    -Gossip is:
      a.  Empty, idle words about others.
      b.  Accusations/ insinuations that discredit.
      c.  Idle talk that turns opinion against others.
      d.  Gossip can be true or false.
      e.  Encouraged by idleness (1 Tim. 5:13).
  B.  The Busybody – 1 Tim. 5:13; 2 Ths. 3:11.
    -To actively undertake to be involved in the matters of others - 1 Pet. 4:15.
  C.  Talebearer (scandal-monger) –Lev. 19:16.
    1.  The talebearer is:
      a.  Untrustworthy - Prov. 11:13; 20:19.
      b.  Stirs up strife - Prov. 26:20 (Prov. 6:19).
      c.  Hurtful - Prov. 18:8 (wounds, KJV).
    2.  A whisperer – Rom. 1:29; 2 Cor. 12:20; Psa. 41:7.
  D.  Slanderer – 2 Tim. 3:3; Prov. 10:18; Psa. 101:5.
    -Backbiting is a type of slander – Rom. 1:30; 2 Cor. 12:20; Prov. 15:23; Psa. 15:1, 3.

  A.  Refuse the Tasty Morsel! – Prov. 26:22
  B.  Guard Your Tongue – Prov. 13:3; 21:23.
  C.  Ask Yourself Some Questions.
  D.  Consider the Result of Such Sins - Prov. 18:8; 21:23; 18:21.

1.  Idle words bring condemnation – Matt. 12:36.
2.  Restrain our mouths! – Psa. 39:1


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Jurors use Bible - Judge Overturns Death Sentence

        On May 23 in Denver, CO, Adams County District Judge John J. Vigil overturned the death sentence of Robert Harlan, who was convicted in 1995 for the murder of Rhonda Maloney (Reuters, 5/25/2003).  The reason?  During their deliberation, the sequestered jurors used Bibles that were in their hotel rooms.  The judge ruled that court officials failed to properly sequester the jury.  Judge Vigil ruled, “The jury supervision performed in this case was extremely negligent and appallingly lax.  Jury resort to biblical code has no place in a constitutional death penalty proceeding.”  (Ibid.)  (Of course, the judge agreed that Harlan’s crimes “were among the most grievous, heinous and reprehensible” he had seen in 18 years on the bench!)

        The prosecutors in the murder case argued that jurors should be allowed to draw upon their personal moral code, including the Bible, when rendering a verdict.  Judge Vigil disagreed.

        So, because jurors read in the Bible that “whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:21), the sentence they reached is unconstitutional!  We wonder:  will jurors be allowed to draw upon any moral code to reach their verdicts?  What if one of the jurors found a copy of the Humanist Manifesto II and used it to decide the murderer should not be executed, but given a life sentence?  Would that constitute “extremely negligent and appallingly lax” jury supervision?  Would a life sentence be overturned under such circumstances? 

        Or, what about using the Koran?  Last week in Orlando, FL, a Muslim woman who refuses to unveil for a driver’s license photo read from the Koran in defense of her resistance.  To unveil would, she said, violate her religious rights.  Well, do jurors have the religious right to refer to the Bible when judging justice for a murderer?

        Better start working on memorizing the Bible…one day, just owning one may be a crime (much less referring to it as a moral code!).  Gratefully, Judge Vigil’s ruling is being appealed.


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  05/30/2003

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