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


Volume 24, Number 06

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

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

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All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
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Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

“Eating in the Church Building”
Joe R. Price

The Scriptures authorize work for the local church. Appeals to human reasoning without Bible authority are inadequate to assure divine approval (Col. 3:17). The Bible authorizes a local church to (1) Preach the gospel to the lost (1 Thess. 1:8; Acts 11:22-24; 13:2-3), (2) Edify the saints (Acts 20:28-32; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 4:11-16) and (3) Relieve needy saints (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 11:27-30). Adding additional works is done so against God’s will (1 Cor. 4:6).

One such addition to the divine pattern of work for the local church sanctions local church involvement in social and recreational activities.

Those who insist the local church has the divine right to use the church building for social activities have been willing to press their practice to the dividing of God’s people. The issue is not whether we can eat where we worship. Anyone assigning that as the issue is building a straw man that is easily defeated. (Incidental eating is not the issue.) Yes, Christians can indeed worship where they eat (such as homes, Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19). After the straw man has been beaten to a bloody pulp the real issue remains unanswered: What Bible authority allows the local church to plan, promote, and provide social activities (whether conducted at its place of worship or anywhere else)?

The following is from a preacher who teaches and practices church planned and provided social activities:

When Paul scored the Corinthian Christians for despising the church by eating a common meal therein, he spoke of their assembly for worship, not a church building which they did not have (I Cor. 11:17-22). It is still wrong to mix a common meal with the Lord’s Supper, but it has never been wrong to eat a fellowship meal in a church house. (emp. mine) This has been a troublesome question that has hurt many congregations when well-meaning, but misinformed brethren demanded that church buildings be used only for worship and Bible study and caused trouble if they were used for anything else.” (“What Church Buildings Are and Are Not,” John Waddey, fortify_your_faith Yahoo! Groups, August 17, 2011)

We are not misinformed on what Paul said to the Corinthians: “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in” (1 Cor. 11:22). And again, “But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment” (1 Cor. 11:34).

Individuals (the home and family) bear the responsibility of arranging for and feeding the stomach; not the local church. That is what Paul taught. We agree we cannot turn the Lord’s Supper into a common meal. What was the Holy Spirit’s solution? Satisfy your hunger at home, not “when you come together.” That ought to end the matter. But of church-sponsored and supported social activity we ask, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority” (Matt. 21:23)?

Neither are we misinformed about the authorized purpose and use of church buildings. The church building is approved as an aid assisting the local church to obey the Lord’s will to assemble for worship (Heb. 10:25; Acts 20:7). It is a tool to help us obey the Lord’s stated will for the local church. Thus, it is approved for that purpose. What these brethren first must do is provide Scriptural support that the work of the local church also includes these so-called “fellowship meals.” A tool (aid) is not needed and is not approved for use unless that which it facilitates is authorized (1 Cor 6:12; 10:23). In other words, aids are only helpful when they help fulfill God’s revealed will. A building is an aid to help us assemble for worship. But, who authorized the local church to plan, promote, and provide meals and recreational activities? In the absence of Bible authority for this work, using the building for such purposes is a misappropriation of the authorized facility. It is being used for a purpose that is not taught in the word of God.

Mr. Waddey says, “it has never been wrong to eat a fellowship meal in a church house.” If that is correct, then we should have no problem going to the Scripture that teaches us about “fellowship meals.” Where is that Scripture?

It is not Acts 2:42, where the disciples continued steadfastly in “fellowship” and “in breaking bread” (the Lord’s Supper). Shall we add “meals” to this verse? No (1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18). It is not Acts 2:46, for there the Christians were “breaking bread from house to house” in perfect harmony with 1 Corinthians 11:22, 34. Neither is it Acts 20:11, where “breaking bread” is different from the Lord’s Supper of verse 7. The Scripture is silent about “fellowship meals” as a part of the work of the church at Troas.

One cannot find “fellowship meals” in the New Testament. The term is borrowed from the denominations and forced into such passages as Jude 12 and 2 Peter 2:13. The consistent use of the word fellowship in the New Testament applies to spiritual relationships, associations, and activities (1 John 1:3; 2 John 9-11). It is not applied to fishermen fishing together, farmers working their fields together, or Christians eating meals together. Joint participation? Yes. Fellowship? No.

Division is caused and sustained when brethren insist on adding meals and social activities to the work of the local church. Even now, some who believe themselves to be “conservative” churches of Christ advertise social activities. We ask them the same question: “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Is it the work of the local church to advertise and promote the activities of the home and family? If it is, then why not also begin advertising businesses run by brethren? If not, why not? Stay off the slippery slope.

The building is set apart to be used for the authorized work of the local church.

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

To Everything a Season
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1. Unbalanced living contributes to emotional, physical, and worst of all, spiritual imbalances (sin).
2. God created life with balance.
3. Find balance in life by acknowledging God, Eccl. 7:13-18 (12:13).


  A. Great Passage on Life’s Balance.
    1. Season: A fixed, definite portion of time; occasion (Neh. 2:6).
    2. Time: A period of time (moment); general, Eccl. 9:11-12.
  B. Recognizing the Times and Seasons of Life Helps Us Remain Balanced as We Live Through Them, Eccl. 3:1-8.


  A. Accept That All Your “Why” Questions Will Not Be Answered, Eccl. 8:16-17 (learn contentment, Eccl. 8:14-15;  Phil. 4:13).
  B. Enjoy Life by Meeting Your Responsibilities, Rejoicing in God, and Doing the Work before You, Eccl. 5:18-20.
  C. Fear God and Keep His Commands, Eccl. 12:13 (1).

1. Solomon found balance, Eccl. 12:9-12.
2. Yet, he lost balance of faithfulness in sin (1 Kings 11:1-9).
3. Gospel calls us to the balanced life of discipleship to Jesus: Balanced faith, values, character, conduct, with endurance unto the heavenly reward.


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


Hold the Traditions
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Mark 7:5-13

1. Traditions provide a sense of stability and security.
2. Tradition: “A handing down or on” (Vine).
3. Two sources of religious traditions: God or Man (Matt. 21:25). Col. 2:8, 20-23; 1 Cor. 11:2.
4. We have to tell the difference, Phil. 1:9-10.


  A. Often Excite Zealous Emotions, Gal. 1:14; Mark 7:9 (cf. Rom. 10:2-3).
  B. Are Easily Regarded as Equal to God’s Word, Mark 7:1-8; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9.
  C. Invalidate God’s Word, Mark 7:9-13 (Corban).
  D. Spoil One’s Faith in Christ, Col. 2:8, 6-7.

II. APOSTOLIC TRADITIONS, Acts 2:42 (instructions).

  A. The Apostles’ Doctrine: Word of God, 2 Thess. 2:15 (1 Thess. 2:13).
  B. How Were Apostolic Traditions Delivered? Jude 3; Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 11:23 (15:3); 2 Thess. 2:15.
  C. What is Our Responsibility Toward the Apostolic Traditions? 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6


  A. Avoid by Being People of the Book, Hosea 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:15.
  B. Avoid by Not Thinking of Men More Highly than We Ought, 1 Cor. 4:6; 8:2; Gal. 6:3.
  C. Avoid by Continuing to Hold Fast the Apostolic Traditions, Col. 2:6-8.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Building Alliances
Joe R. Price

The headline reads, “Taiwan Looks to Be ‘Full Member’ of US Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (The Epoch Times, March 10, 2022). Unquestionably, Taiwan is trying to strengthen its partnership with the US and other nations as a counterbalance against China. Such is the ever-shifting world of geopolitics that affects billions of souls around the globe.

Some alliances are spiritually product, and some are disastrous.

(1) Godly friendships are a strong alliance in times of trial and trouble. “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12). Their friendship of David and Jonathan exemplifies this blessing (1 Sam. 18-20).

(2) Evil friendships are deceitful, destructive alliances. A father’s warning to his son of such alliances still rings true, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent” (Prov. 1:10, 11-19). “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33).

(3) Alliances can destroy our souls. The marriages that resulted from Solomon’s political alliances brought idolatry into his house as “his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8). Be careful who you marry. Your spouse will help you serve God or hinder your faithfulness to Him.

(4) Alliances can strengthen our service to God. The fellowship of faithful brethren strengthens our endurance as we live for heaven (Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25; 12:12-13).

Above all, align yourself with the Lord by abiding in His truth (1 John 1:7; 2:4-6; 2 John 9-10).


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  03/14/2022

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