Volume VII, Number 15
September 07, 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:

Strange Fire
Joe R. Price

     Leviticus 10:1-2 is plain enough.  The people are named, their action is stated, their sin is identified and their punishment is described.  Nadab and Abihu “offered profane (strange, kjv) fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.  So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”  Yet, some deny the obvious when it comes to Nadab and Abihu.  These reject the principle that Bible patterns exist which we must follow, sarcastically chiding the use of Nadab and Abihu as proof of such Bible patterns.  One such critic stated, “‘Remember Nadab and Abihu!’ has been the mantra of rigid religiosity for generations” (Al Maxey, “Nadab and Abihu:  The Nature of their Fatal Error,” Reflections, #62, 8/18/03).  Maxey applies his opinion that there is no Biblical “Law of Silence” by adding many of his own personal assumptions to the inspired text concerning these two sons of Aaron.  He thereby concludes that one of their sins was drunkenness.  When one is not constrained by what the text says and does not say he can weave any fanciful theory that supports his views.

     But, what does the text say was the sin of Nadab and Abihu?  Consider first their earlier faithfulness in Leviticus 8:36:  “So Aaron and his sons did all the things that the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses.”  Prior to their sin and death, Nadab and Abihu were following the pattern of the Lord’s commands.  A careful reading of Leviticus 9 shows that Nadab and Abihu assisted their High Priest father (Aaron) in offering sacrifices unto God “according to the prescribed manner” (Lev. 9:16).  It sounds like a pattern was being followed, doesn’t it?  (If their sin was drunkenness, when did they get drunk:  While assisting Aaron offer sacrifices to the Lord “according to the prescribed manner”?  Who can believe it!  Evidently one can come to such a conclusion when he disposes of Bible patterns.)

     All was going well.  Aaron had concluded the offerings (Lev. 9:22).  Moses and Aaron entered the tabernacle of meeting, exited and blessed the people (Lev. 9:23).  Next, the glory of the Lord appeared “and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar.  When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Lev. 9:23-24).

     Then, Nadab and Abihu (who had previously been serving “according to the prescribed manner”) offered “strange fire” on their incense-filled censers “which He had not commanded them” (Lev. 10:1).  They failed to use approved fire (from the altar, Lev. 6:12-13; 16:12).  God called their fire “strange” (“to turn aside; hence to be a foreigner, strange, profane,” Strong).  It was foreign to what the Lord approved.  He had “not commanded” it (nothing said about the fire they used).

Thus, they sinned when they changed the “prescribed manner” (the fire God had commanded).  They changed the divine pattern and because of their irreverent disobedience, they lost their lives.

     We hold God in reverence when we follow the pattern He commands of us.  We cannot alter His “pattern of sound words” (by doing things the Lord has not spoken), we must hold it fast (2 Tim. 1:13).  To do so is to dishonor God:  “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Lev. 10:3).  That which is holy and clean conforms to the divine pattern; that which violates it is unholy and unclean (Lev. 10:10).

     Rigid religiosity?  No.  Careful conformity to God’s revealed pattern (Heb. 8:5; 2 Tim. 3:10).  Following God’s pattern – His “prescribed” ways – honors Him.  We sin when we add to what God has said.  By presuming upon what God has not said, we choose silence over substance.  For instance:

     When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add the instrument of music to God’s command to sing, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

     When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add social activities to the work of the local church, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (1 Cor. 11:22, 34).

     When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add Thursday night to the first day of the week on which we come together to eat the Lord’s Supper, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (Acts 20:7).

     The Bible establishes the boundaries of approved worship, service and morality for God’s people.  When we go beyond it by saying, “it doesn’t say not to”, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (1 Cor. 4:6).

     Oh, yes.  “Remember Nadab and Abihu!”


Church of Christ
Robert Wayne LaCoste

The church of Christ is the church established by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, nearly 2000 years ago.  It antecedes all denominations and “so-called Christian” religious movements.  To be the same church today it must of necessity be the same in organization, faith and practice as revealed in the New Testament. With Jesus as its head (Col. 1:18), all of its doctrines and practices are only heaven-directed (authorized by the Bible). Free from all the human creeds and speculation, we call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways.  (1 Peter 4:11)

You are invited to meet with us and investigate us.  We stand ready to give an answer for our existence and practice. (I Peter 3:15)  God’s Truth never fears investigation.

“COME, LET US REASON TOGETHER … To the Law and to the Testimony (Scriptures)!  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 1:18, 8:20)

-Robert Wayne LaCoste

·    Our faith may be measured by what we do in our solitude.   -Alfred North Whitehead

·    Kids aren’t just an inconvenience that you deal with.  Kids are something you give your life to.   -Michael Card

·    The hardening of men’s hearts is much more serious than the hardening of their arteries.


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

When the Lines of Communication Fail

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 11:1-9


  A.  To God in Prayer & Praise – Lk. 18:1; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Ths. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 4:2.
  B.  To the World by Teaching the Gospel – Matt. 28:19-20; Eph. 3:8-9; 6:19; Col. 4:4-6.
  C.  To Our Brethren – Eph. 4:29-32; Jas. 3:8-12; 1:19-20; 1 Pet. 3:8-9; Jas. 5:16.
  D.  In Our Families.
    1.  Marriage – 1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 5:22-25, 28-29.
    2.  Children – Eph. 6:4 (Col. 3:21); Heb. 12:9-10.
    3.  Parents – Eph. 6:1-3; Lev. 19:3.


  -(Languages were confused because men exalted themselves rather than honor & obey God, 9:1; 11:4).  If man had done so, his ability to communicate would not have been diminished.)

  A.  Confusion, Disputes & Division Reign – 11:8-9.
    1.  Disputes & divisions – 1 Tim. 6:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:10.
    2.  Speaking the same thing (unity) requires that we carefully listen to God’s word & each other!  (Jas. 1:19)
    3.  Marriages, families & churches disintegrate without communication.
  B.  Potential, Progress & Productivity are Disrupted – 11:3, 4, 6, 8.
    -Goals are more difficult to accomplish goals without communication – 1 Cor. 12:20-27; Eph. 4:15-16.
  C.  Isolation Results – 11:8.
    1.  Distrust & evil suspicions – 1 Tim. 6:4.
    2.  Selfishness – Phil. 2:3-4.
    3.  Exposed to more dangers w/ less help (Gen. 11:4, 9); cf. Gal. 6:1-2.
  D.  Misunderstanding Increases – 11:7; cf. 1 Pet. 3:7, Jno. 8:43; Lk. 8:8, 18 (Acts 13:16).


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

Does the Silence of the Scriptures Grant Permission or Set Limits?

Scripture Reading:  1 Chronicles 13:1-12

1.  We must have Christ’s authority for all we do (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). 
2.  Divine authority is established by direct statement or command, apostolic approved example or necessary inference (Acts 15:7-19).


  A.  Moving the Ark of the Covenant:  God’s Law Revealed – Num. 4:1-6, 15; 7:9. 
  B.  Moving the Ark to Jerusalem – 1 Chrn. 13:1-10.
  C.  God’s Displeasure – 13:9-14; 15:2, 11-15.
  D.  Adding to God’s Word Violates the Silence of the Scriptures (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18).
  -Silence of Scriptures restrains! (Heb. 8:5)


  A.  Nadab & Abihu – Lev. 8:36; 9:2-24; 10:1-2 (6:12-13; 16:12).
  -God’s judgment:  Death – 10:2.
  B.  Saul & the Amalekites – 1 Sam. 15:3, 9, 13-15, 22-23.
  -God’s judgment:  Disobedience / Rebellion (15:10, 22-23).
  C.  Priestly Tribe of the Law of Moses – Heb. 7:11-14 (8:4).
  -God’s judgment:  Only Levi.
  D.  Judaizers – Acts 15:1, 24; Gal. 2:5.
  -God’s judgment:  Error (15:24; Gal. 2:5).


  A.  Music in Worship (Eph. 5:19).
  B.  How to Baptize (Rom. 6:4).
  C.  Subject of Baptism (Mk. 16:16).
  D.  Cause for Divorce & Remarriage (Matt. 19:9).
  E.  When to Eat Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

God Was With Me in the End Zone!
Joe R. Price

     It’s football time in America again.  High school, college and pro athletes have donned their helmets – let the pigskin fly!
     As the season continues we will undoubtedly hear of a “miracle” catch or how God was “with” the player who scored the winning touchdown.  (Funny thing, God is never “with” the poor guy who played his heart out but lost the game on the one-yard line as time expires!)
     It is one thing to be thankful for the blessing of being an athlete.  If blessed with such abilities, one should humbly thank God.  It is another to inject God into the inconsequential outcome of sporting events.  As one essayist observed,

Praising God for success in sports can be not only grating but a form of self-flattery.  When an athlete says, in effect, “God helped me catch that touchdown pass,” he’s saying that in a world of poverty, inequality and war, higher powers thought his touchdown catch so vastly important that God intervened on Earth to make sure that both feet came down inbounds, while doing nothing to prevent slaughter in Africa or the Middle East.  Though meant to suggest humility, praising God for success in sports often becomes a form of vanity:  God wanted me to catch that pass!  When I hear athletes imply that this is what the divine is like, I think:  No thanks.  (Gregg Easterbrook, “Divine Intervention”,

     God has ordained that “time and chance” happens to everyone; “the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong” (Eccl. 9:11).  The hero of one football game often becomes the goat of the next. 
     We are not suggesting that God is not active in this world (Acts 17:26-28).  However, we can conclude that the Bible gives no assurance that God caused your team to kick the winning field goal anymore than it was He who opened up a parking space for you on the first row of the stadium parking lot!  Consider these closing comments:

God has a lot to do with our lives and hopes; God has nothing to do with who wins games, or throws or catches touchdowns.  God is neither honored by good performances nor dishonored by poor ones.  It’s just sports, a very minor concern compared to faith, a major concern.


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  09/09/2003

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