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


Volume 24, Number 04

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:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

The Walls Came Tumbling Down
Joe R. Price

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days (Hebrews 11:30, NKJV).

This statement enlightens us about the nature of faith that pleases God. We should remember the inspired scribe had earlier stated, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

We cannot please God without the kind of faith by which the walls of Jericho fell. And, when we do, we have earned nothing; we have put our faith in God to save us in His Son.

The historical account of Jericho’s fall is recorded in Joshua 6. The Lord said to Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand” (Josh. 6:2, 16). God’s grace was on full display as He gave the city as a gift to Israel. Yet, Israel did not receive this gift from God until they encircled Jericho for seven days the way God commanded. When they obeyed God by faith, the walls fell (Josh. 6:12-20)

This is how God saves sinners today “by grace…through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9). God is the Giver of salvation to all who believe the Son. And, we learn from Jericho that belief pleases God when believers obey His word (Heb. 11:30; Luke 6:46; Matt. 7:21).

We must obey Jesus to be saved from sin. Jesus commands sinners to believe, confession faith in Christ, repent, and be baptized (John 8:24; Rom. 10:9-10; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30; 2:37-38; 22:16). Sinners who obey God are saved by His grace because their faith pleases Him.


The Means to God's End
Joe R. Price

Does the end justify the means? Many people think so. They have little trouble achieving their goals by whatever means will work. If it means lying to succeed, they deceive. They malign if it means advancement despite destroying an innocent person’s credibility. If it means rejecting the commands of God, they rebel.

This way of thinking must not find a safe harbor in Christians’ hearts. When charged with saying, “Let us do evil that good may come,” the apostle refuted it as slander (Rom. 3:7-8). And, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein (Rom. 3:8; 6:1-2)?”

God disapproves of “the end justifies the means” approach to solving problems. God rebuked Moses and denied him access to the promised land because he struck the rock twice when God commanded him to speak to the rock (to bring forth water). The “end justifies the means” mindset says, “God must have been pleased since water came from the rock.” But, God was not pleased with the means Moses used. He called it unbelief and rebellion (Num. 20:12; 27:14). When God commanded King Saul to destroy the Amalekites and their possessions, Saul and the people spared king Agag and the best animals (1 Sam. 15:3, 9). Saul defended his disobedience by saying the animals would be offered to the Lord (1 Sam. 15:15). God was not impressed. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being king” (1 Sam. 15:22-23). To think our “end” justifies the “means” is as presumptuous as asserting any means justifies the end (Jer. 10:23; Prov. 14:12; Acts 26:9). To have God’s approval, both the end and the means to that end must have divine sanction (Col. 3:17).

Practical application of this truth becomes evident. We do not decide for ourselves the “means” (how) of salvation, faithful living, or going to heaven. Instead, we listen and obey (Luke 8:8, 18; Matt. 7:21). When the Lord establishes the means to the end, He expects us to follow His means to the end (Luke 6:46).

All we do in life must be with Christ’s authority (Matt. 28:18; Acts 4:12; Col. 3:17). Whether it is morality, religion, personal relationships, the work, worship, and organization of the local church, or any other activity, our end must agree with God’s stated purpose (established in Scripture). And, God’s word must approve the means we use to achieve that end. To do less is presumptuous rebellion because we make ourselves the final authority over our conduct.

Those who adopt and apply “the end justifies the means” philosophy will receive a just condemnation for their arrogant rebellion against the Lord (Rom. 3:8). God will not approve such rebellion against His will. Therefore, we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, assured He will exalt us in due time (1 Pet. 5:6; James 4:10).

Faithfully obeying divinely-revealed truth is our only means to God’s end (Matt. 7:21).


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

Prepare Yourself
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 25:1-13

   The parable of the ten virgins teaches us to prepare for the Lord’s return, Matt. 25:1-13.


  A. We Are Foolish, Matt. 25:2; Eph. 5:15-16 (Lazy, negligent, distracted, unimportant…)
  B. We Are Wasteful, Matt. 25:8-12.
  C. We Are Self-Centered and Self-Indulgent, Luke 12:13-21 (Matt. 25:41-46).
  D. We Are Weak in Our Faith, cf. Matt. 24:44-51.


  A. Prepare for Life, James 4:13-17; Eccl. 11:9-12:1, 13-14; Prov. 9:10; Eccl. 5:18-20.
  B. Prepare to Serve God, Matt. 28:20.
    1. Faithful student of His word, 2 Tim. 2:15.
    2. Devoted gospel teacher, 1 Tim. 4:13-16.
    3. Be a worker in the kingdom, Matt. 9:37-38.
  C. Prepare for Our Death, Heb. 9:27; 2 Kings 20:1; 2 Pet. 3:9-10; Acts 8:36.
  D. Prepare for Our Judgment, Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Amos 4:12.
    1. By avoiding sin, watching, and praying, Luke 21:33-36.
    2. By faithful living, Rom. 2:3-11.

1. How sad to miss heaven because we were unprepared, Matt. 25:11-12.
2. A sister in Christ told me once of a neighbor who never would obey the gospel despite years of effort. The day before she died her neighbor said, “I’ve waited too long!”
3. Don’t wait too long. Prepare yourself to meet the Lord.


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


"I Want to be Sure"
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  John 12:34-41

1. Some say they haven’t yet obeyed the gospel because they “want to be sure” first.  We should be certain of the truth, our obligations, and blessings, Luke 14:28.
2. Can become an excuse, James 4:17; 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7-8.
3. Consider things we need to be sure of and hear God’s warning not to delay obedience.


  A. About My Faith, 2 Cor. 13:5 (Luke 6:46).
  B. About What I Need To Do to be Saved, Acts 16:30-34; 2:36-41 Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:7).
  C. About My Ability to Remain Faithful, Acts 22:16; 1 John 1:7; 2:3-6; Heb. 10:39; 1 Cor. 10:13.
  D. About My Eternal Destiny, 1 John 5:11-13; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Thess. 1:8-9.


  A. We Can End Up Put Off Obeying the Lord, Acts 22:16; 16:33.
  B. Rationalization Can Replace Sound, Biblical Reasoning, Acts 24:25.
  C. Missed Opportunity Does Not Always Come Again, Prov. 27:1 (2 Cor. 6:2).
  D. The Heart Can (Will) Harden When We Delay, Heb. 3:7-8, 13.

1. The question comes to you: Are you sure of your spiritual safety? Are you saved or lost? Do you want to be saved from your sins? Do you want to go to heaven?
2. Then obey Christ in faith and be saved from your sins. Delay keeps you in sin with the outcome being eternal death.
3. Come to Jesus now (Matt. 11:28-30).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

The Intolerance of the Tolerant
Joe R. Price

Earlier this month two Finnish members of Parliament, Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola were in a Finnish courtroom facing up to two years in prison. They are charged with “ethnic agitation for a 2004 pamphlet, for taking part in a discussion on a radio show in 2019, and most recently, for tweeting a picture of the Bible. In a 2019 tweet, Räsänen questioned her church’s sponsorship of an LGBTQ Pride event, and linked to an Instagram post with a picture of Romans 1:24-27 (” [Also see]

Räsänen remains optimistic. “I would never have believed that this happens in Finland because we are a democracy with freedom of speech and freedom of religion in our Constitution,” she said. Reportedly, during the trial, prosecutors compared the Bible to Mein Kampf. They said Ms. Räsänen made her comments to cause intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward homosexuals. (I guess intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward Bible believers are acceptable to these Finnish prosecutors.) Prosecutors also argued using the word “sin” could be harmful. (Ibid)

This trial reminds us of the treatment William Tyndale received after he translated and printed the New Testament into English in the 16th century, and 6,000 copies were shipped to England. King Henry VIII declared Tyndale a felon (he had also opposed the king’s annulment of his own marriage), confiscated, and burned the Bibles. Tyndale escaped but was later arrested and imprisoned near Brussels for sixteen months. Finally, in 1536 he was convicted of heresy and publicly executed, being tied to a stake, strangled to death, and his corpse burned (“When it Was a Crime to Read the Bible”).

The trial in Finland could be prophetic. The ground has shifted when reading a Bible text becomes the ground for indicting (and possibly) convicting people of a crime. Persecution has arrived. Are you ready (Matt. 5:10-12)?


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  02/28/2022

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: