Volume VII, Number 30
January 04, 2004

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:

The Progression of Sin
Joe R. Price

In Romans 1:18-32 the inspired apostle Paul describes the progression of sin among the Gentiles which put them under the wrath of God.  Sin always does that, you know.  Sin always places one under God’s wrath and it will certainly “increase to more ungodliness” until and unless one repents of it (Rom. 2:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:16; Luke 13:1-5).  The Gentile world as depicted in Romans 1 is a sobering reminder to us all of the furious and soul destroying nature of sin.

The evidence that universally exists of God’s eternal power and deity removes every vestige of excuse for those who ignore God and indulge in their sin (Rom. 1:20).  Not only has God revealed Himself in His creation; He has also revealed Himself through His word of truth (Rom. 1:16-19).  Yet, people often refuse the evidence of God’s power and presence, choosing instead to sin against the will of the Almighty.  The destructive power of sin takes over in the sinner’s life because he has chosen not to acknowledge and obey God (Rom. 1:21).  Look closely at the progression of the Gentiles’ sin and see that things have not changed to this present hour (Rom.1:18-32).  The progression of sin will always happen when one refuses to honor God and obey His will.  Look at what we mean:

1.  People choose to disregard God and to live in unrigh­teousness.  As a result, sin begins to occupy the prominent place in one’s life (Rom. 1:18-20).
2.  The sinner stops worshipping and thanking God.  His foolish heart is darkened and it only produces futile thoughts concerning life (Rom. 1:21).
3.  The sinner turns to human wisdom, but that invariably changes the glory of God into profane things.  Man becomes an idolater and worships his own creations rather than the true and living God (Rom. 1:22-23).
4.  Instead of following the truth of God, the sinner follows the lying lusts of his heart that produce more shameful uncleanness (Rom. 1:24-25).
5.  Sin continues to consume the sinner, often leading him into shameful, vile and unnatural passions (Rom. 1:26-28).
6.  As the sinner refuses to retain God in his knowledge (refusing to be guided by a knowledge of God), his life is filled with all sorts of unrigh­teousness thoughts and deeds (Rom. 1:28-31).
7.  The person who lives in sin rather than repenting of it is worthy of death (Rom. 1:32).

When sin is ignored in one’s life it inevitably drowns one in the depths of its wickedness and spiritual death (Rom. 6:23).  Sin never turns a person toward God.  We, being sinners, cannot provide a remedy for our sin (Rom. 3:23; Jer. 10:23; Acts 4:12).  Only Jesus Christ can save us from “the wrath to come” (1 Ths. 1:10; Rom. 3:21-26).  Salvation in Christ is obtained when one believes, repents and obeys His gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; Matt. 7:21-23; Acts 17:30; Gal. 3:26-27; Heb. 5:9).

God calls on you to repent if sin is causing you to progress farther away from Him.  Choose to obey God instead of living a life that is worthy of death.  Do not let sin destroy your soul!


God, be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!
Joe R. Price


he words of the publican who humbled himself before God as he recognized his sin resounds in the hearts of every likeminded sinner who has approached the throne of grace seeking divine mercy (Lk. 18:9-14).  He was a man who needed mercy.  But, so did the Pharisee of Jesus’ parable.  What, then, set them apart?  The publican knew that he needed God’s mercy; the Pharisee could only see his righteousness (?) in contrast to others.  They were sinners; he was righteous.  He was blinded to his personal sin and his own need for mercy, and his self-righteousness kept him from being merciful toward others.  When we are unimpressed with our own need for mercy we have very little of it to give to others.

Mercy is the outward manifestation of pity or compassion.  It assumes need on the part of the one who receives it as well as the resources adequate to meet that need on the part of him who shows it. 

God has shown compassion toward sinful man.  We need His mercy, for as sinners we stand condemned before Him (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).  And God, who is rich in mercy, has abundantly supplied salvation to sinners in His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:5-7).  God’s great love and richness of mercy brings us to humble gratitude, reverence and faith in Him for His grace by which he brings us back to life out of our spiritual death!  Only when one compre­hends the weight of his own sins will he begin to obey God in faith to receive His merciful salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).

Are you aware of your sins before God?  Or, are you only concerned about somebody else’s sins being greater and more monumental than yours?  Beware of self-righteousness:  It keeps one from obtaining the mercy of God (Lk. 18:9, 14).

Christ not only calls upon us to recognize our personal need for God’s mercy, He also calls upon us to show mercy to others (Matt. 5:7).  It ought to be apparent by now that being merciful grows out of one’s humble gratitude for having received mercy.  We will not show mercy unless we are humble enough to truly admit that we need mercy, too.  It is vitally important to remember that unless we show mercy to others we will not receive mercy from God (Matt. 5:7; 18:21-35).

For instance, being merciful prompts us to work patiently with the sinner to help him overcome his sin (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).  We must not be quick to condemn and cast aside the sinner.  Instead, we must have sufficient humility before God and compassion for sinners in order to try to restore those overtaken in sin (Matt. 9:36-38).  God has dealt mercifully with us.  We must deal mercifully with each other.  Humble, compassionate and merciful Christians undertake the task of teaching the lost, of urging him to repent and obey the gospel, and of fully forgiving him when he repents (Lk. 17:3-4).  No other kind of Christian will succeed in saving souls.  And, no other kind of heart will be worthy to receive mercy from God.


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

Perfect Peace

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 26:1-9

1.  Peace with God must exist for peace among God’s people to be approved & flourish.
2.  When one is not at peace with God, peace with God’s people is adversely affected.


  A.  Dual Nature of Peace (difference between “cease fire” & peace).
    1.  Absence of conflict – 1 Cor. 14:33.
    2.  Presence of tranquility, serenity, con­tentment – Isa. 32:16-19.
  B.  The Gospel’s Relationship to Peace.
    1.  Jesus is our peace – Eph. 2:14 (Isa. 9:6-7); Acts 10:36; Eph. 2:17;
    2.  Yet, Christ & His gospel often brings conflict!  Matt. 10:34-36, 21-22 (Psa. 119:165).


  A.  Must Pursue Peace With God – Col. 1:19-22.
    1.  Obtained “in” Jesus – Jno. 16:33 (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4; Acts 22:16).
    2.  Our faith is necessary – Isa. 26:3, 12; Rom. 5:1; 8:6-8.
  B.  Must Pursue Peace with Brethren – Jn. 14:27; Isa. 2:4; 6-9; Rom. 14:17; 2 Tim. 2:22.
  C.  Must Pursue Peace with Everyone – Heb. 12:14; Rom. 12:18; Jas. 3:13-18.


  A.  Peace is Preserved by having Right Hearts & Basis – Eph. 4:1-6; Col. 3:15-16.
  B.  Peace is Preserved by Humility – Mk. 9:33-37
  C.  By Properly Viewing & Using Our Liberties – Rom. 14:19, 10-23; 15:1-2.
    1.  Strong in conscience:  Don’t despise the weak & use liberty in a way that presses him to violate his conscience – 14:14-23; 15:1-2.
    2.  Weak in conscience:  Don’t condemn strong & disrupt peace (14:1, 10, 13).


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

Elders in Every Church

Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 34:23-31

1.  God promised & delivered “one shepherd” to feed His sheep:  Christ (Jno. 10:11, 14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).
2.  The Chief Shepherd has revealed His will that there be elders in each church doing His work as shepherds of His sheep – 1 Pet. 5:1-3 (Acts 14:23).

I.  EACH CHURCH NEEDS TO BE ORGANIZED AS THE LORD WOULD HAVE IT.   The authority for elders is established by…

  A.  Commanded – Titus 1:5.
  B.  Approved Example – Phil. 1:1.
  C.  Necessary Inference – Acts 14:23 (1 Cor. 4:16; 1 Ths. 2:14).

II. EACH CHURCH NEEDS SHEPHERDS –Eph. 4:11 (cf. Jno. 10:1-6, 11-15).

  A.  To Lead Us – Heb. 13:7, 17 (cf. Acts 11:30; 15:4, 6, 22-23; 21:18-26; Jas. 5:14); 1 Pet. 5:3.
  B.  To Feed Us – 1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28 (Heb. 5:12-14; 1 Ths. 5:14.
  C.  To Watch for Our Spiritual Safety – Heb. 13:17; Acts 15:23-24; Titus 1:9-11; Acts 20:29-31.


  A.  Men Must be Qualified & Willing to Serve – 1 Tim. 3:1, 2-7, 11; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17.
  B.  We Must not Expect (Demand) Men to be Sinless in Order to Qualify – 1 Pet. 5:1; Lk. 5:8. 
  C.  Men who Serve Must be Honored for their Work – 1 Ths. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17.


1.  Need for elders exists & should be met with faith in the Lord’s will and ways.
2.  Will this church work together out of love for Jesus, His truth & one another to appoint qualified men to serve as elders (& thus accomplish this part of our work as a congregation)? – Eph. 4:2-6, 11-12


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Better Safe than Sorry

During the past week several airline flights from Europe to the United States were cancelled due to security concerns.  The safety of passengers as well as the population at large convinced governments to err on the side of caution.


When it comes to the Bible and spiritual concerns the same caution is not always practiced.  Many people take an approach toward the Bible that says, “If it doesn’t say not to (believe or do something) then we are free to do what we decide is best for us.”  It appears to be of no great concern that God has already said what He wants in His inspired word, and that people have no business adding to His revealed will (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19).


“The Bible doesn’t say not to baptize babies;” or “the Bible doesn’t say not to use instrumental music to worship God;” or “the Bible doesn’t say not to have a church fellowship hall;” and so it goes.  True, the Bible doesn’t say not to do these things in so many words.  But, the Bible does say who is to be baptized:  believing, repentant sinners who have confessed their faith that Jesus is the Son of God (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:36-37); the Bible does say we are to sing (use vocal music) in our worship of God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); the Bible does say the work of the local church is spiritual in nature (Acts 6:1-6; 1:27-30; 1 Ths. 1:8; 1 Cor. 11:22, 34). 


What God says is enough and will satisfy the person of faith.  “Speak, for your servant hears” will be the response of all who desire God’s will above their own (1 Sam. 3:10).  It is rebellion to add to God’s stated will:  “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22).  Rest assured, we do not err when we obey what God says.  The error is to go beyond what God says to do what we desire (see 1 Sam. 15 and Saul’s sin).


When God is silent we must be silent.  Some say, “it’s no big deal as long as you’re sincere.” But, there is no doubt we are safe accepting what the Bible actually says.  (Lev.10:1-2; Gal.1:6-9)


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  01/06/2004

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