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

Editor/Evangelist  Joe R. Price
Volume VII,  Number 39
March 07, 2004

Times of services:

Bible Classes............9:30 AM
Worship......10:30 & 6:00 PM
Bible Classes............7:00 PM

Web sites:

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

In this issue:

The Approved Workman (II)
Joe R. Price

We continue our study of God’s workman as presented in 2 Timothy 2:14-19.  In last week’s article we observed the workman’s duty from 2 Timothy 2:14.  He must remind brethren of the truth while warning them “not to strive about words to no profit.”  We now turn our attention to the next verse, 2 Timothy 2:15, and notice the diligence of the approved workman.

The diligence of a workman“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  (2 Tim. 2:15)  While the KJV renders the imperative “study”, the word means much more than book learning.  It means “to hasten, to make haste, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence” (Thayer, 585).    The idea of eagerness appears to be embedded in the word (Gal. 2:10; 1 Ths. 2:17).  The objective of this eager diligence is to present oneself approved or recognized before God.  Such a worthy goal ought to be the ambition of every disciple of Christ (Phil. 3:8-11). 

One must “rightly divide” the word of truth in order to be approved by God.  “Rightly divide” literally means, “to cut straight,” hence to “proceed by straight paths, hold a straight course” when teaching the word of God.  To be approved workmen we must to “teach the truth directly and correctly” (Thayer, 453).  On the figure of speech being used here, Robertson observes, “Paul was a tent-maker and knew how to cut straight the rough camel-hair cloth” (NT Word Pictures, IV:619).  We are immediately reminded of those who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16).  It makes an eternal difference how we handle (use and teach) the word of God!

The person who mishandles the word of God will be ashamed when he stands before God in judgment (Jas. 3:1).  The immediate context of this verse teaches us who it is that mishandles God’s word and who rightly divides it.

The person who strives about words (engages in contentious wrangling) mishandles the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:14).  One type of such strife is the pressing of personal opinions upon brethren.  For example, since “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking” it was wrong for the herb-eater to try to compel the meat-eater to give up meat for the sake of the kingdom (Rom. 14:17, 3-4, 10).  Likewise, it was sinful for the meat-eater to try to influence his brother to eat meat whose conscience would not allow him to do so (Rom. 14:2-5, 13-21).  The meat-eater could eat his meat, but not if by doing so he influenced his brother (whose conscience was weak) to violate his conscience, thereby sinning (Rom. 14:13, 22-23; 1 Cor. 8:7-13).  Instead of providing spiritual profit, contending over such things ruins those who hear it (2 Tim. 2:14).  So, Paul said to stop disputing over personal opinions where no sin is involved (Rom. 14:1, 5, 10-13, 22).

Let me give a present-day illustration.  Some brethren preach and promote the use of “thee” and “thou” when addressing Deity in prayer.  They do this by saying that failure to use “thee” and “thou” when addressing God shows a lack of reverence for Him.  While these brethren have the liberty to use these more ancient pronouns in prayer (or song), they do not have Bible authority to bind their conscience on others.  That is precisely the sort of striving we are charged not to do (2 Tim. 2:14, 23).  There ought to be no doubt that Romans 14 has many similar present-day applications.

The person who carefully teaches the word of God without deviating into the realm of human opinion, educated speculations and false teaching is “rightly dividing the word of truth” (1 Cor. 2:1; Col. 2:8).  The gospel of Christ will not produce “ungodliness” but the “profane and idle babblings” of those who “stray concerning the truth” always does (2 Tim. 2:16-18).

The discernment of a workman.  The diligent workman whom God approves will be careful to discern the difference between “foolish and ignorant disputes” that generate strife and “the faith once delivered” for which he must contend (2 Tim. 2:23; Jude 3).  Too often brethren contend over words to no profit and ruin many hearers.  Not every fight should be fought, and we must be able to tell the difference.  Paul said to “avoid” foolish and ignorant disputes because they produce the works of the flesh:  strife, quarrels, rivalry and factiousness (2 Tim. 2:23; Gal. 5:20).

When teaching contradicts the revealed truth of the gospel (like the message that said “the resurrection is already past” that Hymenaeus and Philetus taught), we must expose it as error and turn away from it (2 Tim. 2:16-18). 

We must not press needless things like opinions, personal preferences and the traditions of men when we preach the gospel; we must hold fast “the pattern of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).  God approves the workman who eagerly endeavors to know the difference so he can accurately teach God’s word of truth.


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

The Devil Doesn't Want It!

Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 5:1-11

1.  Matt. 16:21-23 – Jesus rebuked Peter because his mind was on the wrong things.
2.  Prov. 23:7 – We are what we think.  We must think on the things of God & pursue them with purpose.


  A.  God Does – Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5.
  B.  The Devil Doesn’t Want this Church to Have:
    1.  Scriptural organization & its blessings – Eph. 4:11-16.
    2.  Shepherds – 1 Pet. 5:1-2 (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; Tit. 1:9-11; (1 Pet. 5:2-3).
  C.  The Devil Tempts us to “Mind the Things of Men”:
    1.  The church is doing fine without elders.
    2.  Selecting & having elders will only cause problems.
    3.  “I hate to lose my place of honor in the business meeting.”  (Heb. 13:17; 3 Jno. 9)
    4.  Opposition without scriptural objection – Col. 2:8; Titus 1:5.


  A.  God Does – Psa. 133:1 (Prov. 6:19); Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3.
  B.  The Devil Doesn’t Want this Church to:
    1.  Respectfully submit to one another – 1 Pet. 5:5-6; 1 Tim. 5:1-2; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:3; Jno. 13:34-35; 1 Jno. 4:20-21.
    2.  Diligently guard our unity in Christ –
Eph. 4:1-3.


  A.  God Does – Eph. 2:10; Gal. 6:10.
  B.  The Devil Doesn’t Want this Church to be:
    1.  Steadfastly resist him in the faith – 1 Pet. 5:8-9.
    2.  Teaching the lost – 1 Ths. 1:8 (Mk. 16:15).
    3.  Teaching the saved – 2 Tim. 2:2 (Matt. 28:20).
  C.  Workers of Christ Will Persevere (patiently endure) – 1 Pet. 5:9-11.


1. The devil doesn’t want this church to have elders, unity or workers…do you?
2. What are you doing to help see that it does?
   a. Pray & work (Matt. 9:37-38).
   b. Sober vigilance in personal life (1 Pet. 5:8).


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

Works of the Flesh: Rivalry (I)

Scripture Reading:  1 John 4:17-5:3

1.  Freedom in Christ does not mean free to sin/do as we please (Gal. 5:1, 13-15).
2.  There is a general progression in the next group of words (Gal. 5:20):  attitudes, actions & results.
3.  These are works that destroy friendships, marriages, churches & the influence of the Spirit in our lives.


  A.  Hatred (enmities, ASV; quarrels, NEB) – [echthra].
    1.  “It is the opposite of agape, love.”  (Vine).
    2.  “Intense ill-will; enmity, hostility, malevolence; wishing evil upon another.”  It is feuding, hostility; hateful attitude – 1 Jno. 3:13-15; 4:20-21; Jno. 13:34-35.
  B.  Contentions (variance, KJV; strife, ASV; contentious temper, Moffatt translation) – [eris].  (Squabbling, quarrelsome, argument)
    1.  “The disposition to wrangle or quarrel.”
    2.  Hatred engenders strife – Prov. 10:12.
    3.     Used to describe contentions among brethren that indicates carnality – 1 Cor. 1:11; 3:3.
    4.  Trait of the pagan world the Christian is called out of – Rom. 1:29; 2 Cor. 12:20.
  C.  Jealousies (emulations, KJV) - [zelos].
    1.  Often associated with strife (Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 3:3; 2 Cor. 12:20).
    2.  Envious & contentious rivalry (the competitive spirit gone awry…one-upmanship).
    3.  “Jealousy desires to have the same or same sort of thing for itself.”  (Prov. 6:34; Jas. 3:14; 2 Cor. 10:12)
    4.  Present-day applications include:
      a.  Ambition to “keep up with the Jones.” – 2 Cor. 10:12
      b.  Preachers, elders, song leaders locked in bitter rivalry [cf. Phil. 1:15 – eris (strife) & phthonos (envy)].
      c.  When we become competitors against each other instead of co-workers! – 1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 4:16
      d.  When we cannot rejoice when one is honored, or weep together – Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:25-26.

1. So far, what we have considered are attitudes that reflect the control of the flesh over one’s heart.
2. Put the flesh to death & walk in the Spirit – Gal. 5:16, 24-26.
3. Next lesson: How the spirit of rivalry shows / displays itself in our actions toward others, & its inevitable results.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

False Accusations Land Girls in Jail
Joe R. Price

      The Associated Press reported Friday that three Orange, CA 12-year-old girls who falsely accused a homeless man of attacking them in a park have been sentenced to juvenile detention and nine years probation.  The man they accused spent eight months in jail until, during his trial, one of the girls admitted they made up the story to cover up for coming home late from school.  Prosecutor Mike Fell said, “We would just hope that people out there realize how serious it is when a person unlawfully accuses another of a crime, whether that person is homeless or not.”  An attorney for one of the girls said they now understand the seriousness of what they did and are remorseful for their conduct.  (, 3/5/2004)

      The Bible emphatically warns against bearing false witness:  “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exo. 20:16); “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish” (Prov. 19:9).  The gospel of Christ states it clearly, “let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25).

      Bearing false witness is a lie, and no amount of rationalization will change that fundamental truth.  The Lord will “destroy those who speak falsehood” because He does not take pleasure in wickedness (Psa. 5:6, 4-5).  God delights in those who deal truthfully with others (Prov. 12:22).  Liars will not enter heaven (Rev. 21:27, 8).

      Bearing false witness reveals a heart of deceit (Prov. 12:17).  It is borne of evil intent and self-preservation while presenting a façade of respectability.  Our Lord Jesus was a victim of it, and so were His early disciples (Matt. 26:59-62; Acts 6:11-14; 24:13).

      We truly hope these young girls have learned their lesson and that they never lie against another one again.  One of the girls wrote the court saying of the man she had accused, “I would kneel down in front of him and ask for his forgiveness.”  (Ibid.)  If you have spoken a lie against anyone, you need to plead for forgiveness from the offended as well as from God Himself.


Created by Chuck Sibbing - 03/11/2009

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