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


Volume 24, Number 07

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:

"I Desire Mercy And Not Sacrifice"
Joe R. Price

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6, NKJV).

God deplored the insincere faith seen in Ephraim and Judah: “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like the early dew it goes away” (Hosea 6:4). He still does.

In defense of His interaction “with tax collectors and sinners,” Jesus explained that He came to call sinners to repentance – those who need spiritual healing (Matt. 9:11, 13). He applied Hosea to His critics, “But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’” (Matt. 9:12). Accurate knowledge of God compels mercy toward sinners without forgetting one’s dutiful offerings to God (Matt. 23:23; Ps. 85:10-13).

Christians have received God’s mercy, and we are to be merciful to others as we serve Him (Matt. 18:33). Yet, being a Christian is often reduced to rituals and formalities in not a few churches. Sinful conduct of members is winked at and ignored because they are large donors, prominent in the community, in regular attendance at worship services, or otherwise highly regarded (1 Cor. 5:1-2; Gal. 2:6). They may “fast twice a week” and “give tithes of all” they possess, but such things are meaningless to the Lord when hearts are far from Him (Luke 18:10-14).

God foretold and executed judgment upon Ephraim and Judah for their insincere, disobedient faith (Hosea 6:5). Let us learn from their failures and not repeat their sins (1 Cor. 10:5-13). Genuine and enduring faith must be driven by mercy toward others as we keep the commands of God.  -Sword Tips #2002


Dogs and Hogs
Joe R. Price

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces (Matthew 7:6).

There are many people who do not appreciate and respect the holiness and truth of the gospel of Christ. They despise its commands and spurn its promises. To them, the word of the cross is foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18). Like unclean, filthy dogs, they rip and tear at what is holy, right, and good. In a mad dash to satisfy their lusts, they fail to estimate the real value of truth. According to this verse, those who value truth are in danger of being harmed by those who care not for truth but only for themselves. Christ’s warning teaches us to honor truth and to protect ourselves from evil by it.

We must hold God’s truth in reverence; never take God’s word for granted, nor lightly regard its directives. Christians are not immune from failing to perceive the holiness of truth. We too may be tempted to refuse what is holy for the profane (2 Pet. 2:20-22). Fear of God is essential to properly value truth (Eccl. 12:13; Prov. 23:23).

The dogs in our passage are not household pets. They are two-legged savages who prowl the streets and alleys and feed on souls. Many such dogs exist today. Reaching after personal advantage, these dogs are self-serving and self-indulgent (Jude 16; 2 Tim. 3:1-6). These dogs prey on the unsuspecting and weak with the enticements of immorality and allurements of false teaching (Matt. 23:14; 2 Pet. 2:12-14. 18-19). We must “beware of dogs” (Phil. 3:2).

And we must not forget the hogs. They trample on the precious truth of the gospel as they stampede toward selfish gratification, unafraid to harm God’s saints in their mad dash toward destruction (Jude 12-15).

Christ warns us not to give holy things to the profane. While we are to be longsuffering with the sinner, trying to teach him the truth, there is a limit (Matt. 10:14-15, 23; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:9-10). Does the person scorn and scoff at God or honestly try to learn the truth? Such judgments are not always easy, but ones that can and must be made for our own spiritual protection (cf. Prov. 26:4-5).

Christ calls on us to make such judgments for at least two reasons: (1) For the sake of truth. The gospel deserves better than to be shamelessly treated by unholy men. (2) For the sake of our souls. We must discern the presence of spiritual danger. Doing so with the truth of the gospel keeps us from harm.

-Reprint (edited)  The Spirit’s Sword (May 5, 2013)


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

Recognize Spiritual Weakness
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Jude 20-25

Spiritual weakness is real, tempting and challenges all of us (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10).


  A. Spiritual Immaturity (undeveloped), 1 Cor. 3:1-2 (1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:12-13; 1 John 2:14.
  B. Distractions of the Flesh, Matt. 26:41 (John 18:18; James 1:2-3; Gal. 5:1, 7).
  C. Not Using God’s Word to Decide What is Right, 1 Cor. 2:14-16 (1 Cor. 11:30).


  A. Weak in Resistance Against Sin, Eph. 6:10, 13, 16; 4:14.
  B. Weak in Appetite for Spiritual Things, Matt. 5:6; John 6:27 (1 Cor. 3:2; Matt. 6:33).
  C. Failure to Realize Own Ability and Responsibility, Matt. 25:18 (Phil. 4:13).


  A. Spiritual Weakness Quickly Becomes Carnality, 1 Cor. 3:1-3 (James 4:17).
  B. Spiritual Weakness is Overtaken by Sin, Gal. 6:1 (James 5:19-20).
  C. Spiritual Weakness is Contagious, Gal. 5:9 (Num. 13:32-14:1).


  A. Support the Weak, 1 Thess. 5:14.
  B. Try to Restore the Weak Who Have Fallen, Gal. 6:1-2 (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
  C. Pray for the Weak, 1 Thess. 5:17.


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


The World Needs Righteous People
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Romans 6:11-18

1. God accepts those who fear Him and work righteousness (Acts 10:34-35).
2. Bible speaks of many righteous people.
3. To be righteous, practice righteousness, 1 John 2:29; 3:7.


  A. To Pray Earnestly, James 5:16.
    -Rely on God, not themselves (Phil. 4:13, 19).
  B. To Lead Uprightly, Prov. 29:2, 4; cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-2. (Nations, homes, churches)
  C. In Times of Trial, Prov. 24:16 (10).
    -Righteous fight, Eph. 6:10-13; Gal. 6:9.
  D. To Live with Integrity, Prov. 11:3; 20:7 (innocence); Ps. 37:25-26; 7:8.
  E. To Worship Reverently, Prov. 29:6 (John 4:24; Rev. 1:17).
    -Holy hands, 1 Tim. 2:8; cf. Mal. 1:12-14.
  F. To Help those in Need, Prov. 29:7.
      -Untiring effort, Gal. 6:8-10; Matt. 25:34-40.
  G. To Oppose Sinners and their Sins, Prov. 28:1; 29:27; Eph. 5:8-12.
  H. To Judge Righteously, John 7:24.
    -Choose between good and evil (cf. Messiah, Isa. 7:15); 1 Cor. 6:4-6.
  I. To Protect Against Condemnation, Matt. 5:13; Gen. 18:23-24; cf. Luke 18:7-8.

1. Hunger and thirst for righteousness, Matt. 5:6.
  a. We must seek the righteousness of God first, Matt. 6:33.
  b. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, 1 John 3:7.
2. We are not of God if we do not practice righteousness, 1 John 3:10.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Deliver the Message
Joe R. Price

War is on everyone’s mind. The internet and other media immediately deliver the Russian-Ukrainian war atrocities to smartphones, computers, and television. Wednesday, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy spoke to the U.S. Congress (and our President). He delivered a simple, straightforward message, “I need help.” He used video of the war’s brutality and carnage to display the dire situation his nation faces. His plea was clear, urgent, and sincere.

Likewise, Christians have a message for the world. It is the greatest message of all time; the good news of salvation from sins in Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 1:16; 10:14-15).

(1) We must deliver the gospel message persuasively. We dare not be nonchalant with God’s call to faith, repentance, and obedience to Christ. Sin is deadly (Rom. 6:23). “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11).

(2) We must deliver the gospel message with clarity. The gospel is not to be diluted and convoluted by the false doctrines of men (2 Pet. 3:16; Gal. 1:8-9).

(3) We must deliver the gospel message with urgency. The gospel is a momentous message, and its moment for proclamation is now. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season” charges us to seize every moment to seek the lost (2 Cor. 6:2).

(4) We must deliver the gospel message Scripturally. We have many aids we can use to deliver the gospel; speech, print, radio, television, the internet (videos, podcasts, etc.). Let us avail ourselves of them to “go, preach the gospel,” while holding fast the pattern of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).

(5) We must deliver the gospel message completely. We must declare “the whole counsel of God” to the world (Acts 20:27). Clearly. Urgently. Persuasively.


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  03/21/2022

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