And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17


Volume 24, Number 01

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

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

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
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Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Joe R. Price

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’”
(Luke 13:6–9, NKJV).

Jesus had just commanded repentance instead of rationalizing degrees of sin to escape personal accountability (Luke 13:1-5). The parable of the barren fig tree adds divine longsuffering and compassion to the necessity of repentance.

(1) God expects us to bear fruit (v. 6). Disciples of Christ will bear fruit (John 15:1-8).

(2) God is longsuffering, wanting sinners to repent (v. 7). The owner did not immediately cut down the fruitless tree. He searched three years for fruit. God seeks sinners’ repentance, not their demise (2 Pet. 3:9). So must we.

(3) The compassionate mercy of God teaches us not to give up on sinners (vv. 8-9). The vinedresser asked for another year to tend the tree to stimulate fruit. Like Jesus, let us not quickly dismiss and forget those overtaken by sin (Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20). They need our help, even as Christ helps us when we sin (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14-16).

(4) God will punish unrepented sin (v. 9). The owner would cut down the fruitless tree if it did not become productive (John 15:6). We will not escape accountability and punishment for our sins if we refuse to repent (Luke 13:3, 5).

Redeem your time. Repent and be faithful to the Lord. God is compassionate, patient, and merciful; A jealous God who punishes sin yet shows mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments (cf. Exod. 20:5-6).


The Church Christ Built
Joe R. Price

Matthew 16:13-20 records Simon Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was not John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets reincarnated (16:13-16). Jesus blessed Simon for his affirmation. He had correctly understood the Father’s revelation about Jesus (16:17; cf. John 5:36-39). In response, Jesus revealed a tremendous truth about His mission as the Son of God; He would build His church (16:18). As one commentator points out, “The emphasis is not on ‘Thou art Peter’ over against ‘Thou art the Christ,’ but on Kagō: ‘The Father hath revealed to thee one truth, and I also tell you another” (McNeile, cited by Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, I:131).  

When Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, the Lord said he would be called “Cephas” (John 1:41-42). The Greek equivalent is “Peter” (Petros) and means “a stone,” “a rock” (Thayer, 506). Now, Jesus makes a play on Peter’s name to reveal the great truth: “On this rock I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus did not say He would build His church on Peter (a single rock), but on the bedrock truth (petra, a massive ledge or outcropping of rock) just confessed by Peter, namely,  that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The church is not built on any man, but on Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

Church” is a collective noun that means an assembly (lit., called out ones). Jesus built an assembly of people that belongs to Him (“my church”). The church is important because it was built by and belongs to the Son of God. New Testament passages teach the composition of the church of Christ: “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The church of Christ is composed of sinners who are saved by the Son of God. Peter (a stone) would later write, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:4-5). Peter and all other Christians are “living stones” in the spiritual house (temple) of God, the church of Christ. It is essential to be a member of this saved assembly, the church that belongs to Christ. Otherwise, one remains lost in sin, away from the Savior (Eph. 1:13).

The church of Christ was purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). In death, Jesus “gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). The strength of death (“the gates of Hades”) did not prevail against the church (Matt. 16:18). His resurrection showed Jesus to be the Son of God (as Peter had confessed, Rom. 1:4). Jesus, the Son of God, gives victory over sin and death to sinners who believe He is the Son of God, confess faith in Him (like Peter did), repent of their sins, and are baptized in His name (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:36-41; Mark 16:15-16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Jesus adds every saved person to His church (Acts 2:47). The church of Christ is vital. He died for it, built it, and saves it (Eph. 5:23). The church is the body and fullness of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

Perilous Times
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 3:1-5

1. Throughout history, choosing wickedness has led mankind on a downward path to decadence and destruction (Rom. 1:20-32).
2. Perilous times (occasions, events, seasons): Troublesome, difficult, dangerous, furious, fierce (Matt. 8:28); “times of stress.”

I. A PROPHETIC PICTURE OF PERILOUS TIMES, 2 Tim. 3:1-9 (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

  A. God and His Truth are Rejected While Self is Exalted, 3:1-4.
  B. Godliness is for Show, but is Powerless in the Pretenders, 3:5-9; Matt. 15:7-9.
  C. Truth is Resisted and Condemned by the Faith (truth), 3:8-9; Acts 5:38-39.


  A. The Godly Will Suffer Persecution, 3:10-12 (Matt. 5:10-12); 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:4; Rev. 12:11.
  B. Evil People and Imposters Will Increase, 3:13; 2 Thess. 2:10-12.


  A. Prepare by Receiving and Continuing in the Scriptures, 3:14-15; Rom. 10:17.
  B. Prepare by Applying God’s Inspired Word of Truth, 3:16-1; 2 Pet. 1:3.

1. We can be prepared to face troublesome times.
2. Gospel invitation: Love God, not self, and not this present evil age (Gal. 1:4).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS


Troublers of Israel
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  1 Kings 16:29-33

1. Just as Israel was the people of God, the church is the Israel of God, 1 Pet. 2:9; Gal. 6:16.

2. Now, as then, there are troublers of Israel, 1 Kings 18:17-18 (Ahab, 16:30-33; Elijah, 17:1, 5).

I. WHO PROVOKES THE LORD? 1 Kings 16:33.

  A. Sufficiency of Local Church (Acts 11:22).
  B. Music in Worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
  C. Churches Relieve Saints (Acts 11:27-30).
  D. Divorce and Remarriage (Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:11-12).
  E. Salvation and Obedience (Matt. 7:21).
  F. Not of this World (1 Pet. 4:2-3; Eph. 5:8).

II. TROUBLER OF ISRAEL (1 Kings 18:17-18):

  A. Conforms to False Doctrine (Rom. 12:2).
  B. Commends False Doctrine (Eph. 6:17).
  C. Condones False Doctrine (Acts 20:27-31).
  D. Continues in False Doctrine (Col. 2:6-7).
  E. Covers Up False Doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
  F. Compliments False Doctrine (Titus 1:9-11).
  G. Content with False Doctrine (Jude 3).
  H. Contributes to False Doctrine (Eph. 5:11).
  I. Cheers on False Teachers (1 John 4:1, 6).
  J. Chooses to Sit at the Feet of False Teachers (2 Tim. 2:2, 17-18).
  K. Comforts False Teachers (Matt. 7:15).  L. Calls False Doctrine Sound (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

1. Peter said to “gird up the loins of your mind” to be obedient and holy, 1 Pet. 1:13-16.
2. Strengthen our minds (attitudes, emotions, and choices) to weather the storms of verbal (and even physical) attacks from the real troublers of Israel, 2 Cor. 10:3-6.
3. Gospel invitation (2 Tim. 4:7-8).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Where Did The Money Go?
Joe R. Price

The Black Lives Matter Organization has an accounting problem. BLM “shut down their online fundraising streams late Wednesday afternoon just days after California threatened to hold the charity’s leaders personally liable over its lack of financial transparency” ( $60 million is unaccounted for, and the BLM Global Network Foundation has not reported its 2020 financial information. California and Washington are threatening legal action (Ibid).

Local churches, as well as Christians, should follow Biblical guidelines when handling money.

Stewardship. The collected funds of the local church do not belong to the elders, the preacher, or any other individual. The treasury is to be used for God-ordained work (relieve needy saints, Acts 4:34-35; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; support preachers, 2 Cor. 11:8; 1 Cor. 9:14; and edification, Acts 11:26). The faithful use of funds to Biblically-authorized activities is essential. Reliable accounting and reporting practices are vital for good stewardship since “it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).

Honor. When arranging the details of delivering financial gifts from Gentiles churches to the Jerusalem church, Paul was committed to “providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Cor. 8:21). It should go without saying that honesty and openness are required when handling the financial resources of a local church.

Transparency. A regular accounting of funds and their use is a mark of accountability every church is wise to follow. Preachers who receive support from various churches also need transparency (Phil. 4:15-16). Those who give a full accounting of support they receive for preaching avoid suspicion and maintain a good reputation (cf. Titus 2:10).


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  02/07/2022

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