The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Why Do People Turn Back? (Irvin Himmel)
2) Giving Thanks to God (Robert F. Turner)
3) What Needs Changing? (Lloyd Atherton)
4) News & Notes
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Why Do People Turn Back?

Irvin Himmel

Paul asked the Galatians, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (Galatians 4:9, NASB.) It is absurd for men who have breathed freedom through the gospel to fall back to a system which enslaves the soul, whether Judaism, heathenism, denominationalism, or worldliness.

Why do people who have known the Lord in the forgiveness of sins allow themselves to slip back into their old way of life? Some turn back not long after they are baptized; others serve God for years before drifting away from the truth. What are the reasons?

Truth Is Narrow

In John 6, Jesus spoke of himself as the bread of life. He said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This means that men must partake of Christ to have eternal life. But many of his disciples reacted by saying, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Consequently, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Today, many turn away from Jesus because their friends call them “narrow-minded” and they do not want to be so classified. Divine truth is narrow since it is both fixed and demanding. Truth will always be narrow.

No Depth Of Conviction

In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke of seed falling upon stony places, springing up, but dying for lack of root. This illustrates the person who hears the word and with joy receives it, “Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:20-21). If there is not a real depth of conviction when one is baptized, he is likely to wither and die in a short time. He cannot endure the scorching sun of tribulation that puts him to the test.

Love Of The World

After people have devoted themselves to their own selfish interests for years, it is hard to make a clean break and give full dedication to the Lord. It is easy to slip back into old worldly ways. Paul wrote concerning a former co-worker, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10). Whether the word “world” as used here applies to physical life or material possessions makes little difference. Demas turned back because of his attachment to the present realm of things. He did not love the Lord with all his heart, strength, and mind.

Laziness

At the risk of being somewhat blunt, I must say that some turn away from the Lord because they are too lazy to serve him. They had rather sleep late on Sunday morning than get up and attend services. They prefer an easy chair in front of the TV on Sunday evening because that takes less effort than going to the meeting place. They are too lazy to visit the sick, to comfort the bereaved, or to help someone in distress. The following language is appropriate for all such: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14-16). Just as some live in poverty because they are too lazy to work, many will miss heaven due to their indolence.

Deceptions

In the parable of the sower, some seed fell among thorns. The thorns choked out the plant that was produced. Jesus said, “He that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Riches are not the only means by which men are deceived. Some are deceived by false doctrines. Some are misled by the pleasures of this life. Some are beguiled by their own doubts. Others are deluded into thinking that somehow God will excuse them even if they disobey the Bible. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8).

Unwillingness To Sacrifice

A lot of people who become Christians turn back to the world because they are not willing to pay the price that is required in serving Jesus. That which is demanded of us is not unreasonable. Remember that our Lord loved us and gave his life for us. He explained the cost of discipleship in these words: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Independence

Some are baptized and try to go it alone. They find the battle of life too big a task against the forces of evil. They turn back. We cannot serve God acceptably without a feeling of dependence. First, we need His help. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Second, we need the help of each other. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. . .” (Hebrews 10:25). Some are too independent to succeed in righteous living. They think they can personally whip the devil and all his servants! They resent others who try to lend a helping hand. They want to be left alone. In the end they are defeated and alone — without God and without the fellowship of the saints — lost, hopelessly and eternally doomed.

These are seven of the cardinal reasons why people turn back after having served the Lord for a period of time. What a tragedy that men who have walked in the light turn back to darkness. How sad that anyone would quit serving Christ. What a pity that one deserts the kingdom of God.

“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Peter 2:22).

— Via Navarre Messenger, September 9, 2018
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Giving Thanks to God

Robert F. Turner

In Romans 1, Paul describes sin in its most basic sense as a rejection of God.  Man’s just responsibility is shown in that he could “know God” as “eternal power and deity” from evidences in the world about him. But man’s vanity, his ego, prevents his acceptance of God; and this is demonstrated by two things: 1) his refusal to glorify God — to praise, or look up to God; and 2) man’s ingratitude. “They glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful” (v. 21).

Being thankful, so much like genuine worship or praise, demands a humble and contrite heart. It indicates our feeling of need for God, of dependence upon Him. It makes us ever aware that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Sermons on thanksgiving tend to stress the expression of gratitude that is due, following the reception of blessings. This is, of course, in order, as Jesus taught when he had healed the ten lepers (Luke 17:12-19). “Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” We are daily blessed, and should daily express our thanks.

But gratitude goes much further than a courteous “Thank You!” or even the most sincere and complete expression of thanksgiving. It is an attitude, basic to the life of a Christian. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and builded up in Him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7). Various manuscripts relate this “thanksgiving” to their “faith” (KJV: “abounding therein with thanksgiving”) while Lenski says, “it is closely united with the confirmation that is constantly received.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” A deep-seated, constant feeling of gratitude toward God, seems to sum up the awareness, dependence, and confidence which characterizes a true follower of God in Christ — and without which we cannot please Him. It is indicative of faith, and hope, and love. It produces “the sacrifice of praise” (Heb. 13:15); both in word and in a life devoted to Him (Col. 3:17).

— via Plain Talk [vol. 13, #5, p. 1], July 1976
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What Needs Changing?

Lloyd Atherton

When you look into the mirror and your face appears dirty, it is your face, not the mirror that needs attention. The Bible is the mirror of the soul. It reveals our imperfections and shows us how to make corrections. However, some try to rework the Bible instead of reshaping their lives. Don’t make that mistake. When you look into the “perfect law of liberty,” continue in it. Don’t be a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word (James 1:25). Don’t try to change the word; let the word change your life.

– Via The Beacon, November 1, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Elaine Abbott (Jonathan’s mother) who passed away Wednesday, following an extended illness.

Rachel Gerbing (the granddaughter of Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse) has recently been diagnosed with covid-19. 

Doyle Rittenhouse will be having back surgery December 1.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother will be seeing his doctor December 2 concerning another heart surgery.

Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Tammy Abbott, Joanne Ray, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, James Medlock, Rick Cuthbertson, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.

 
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) “Fields . . . White Already to Harvest” (Micky Galloway)
2) Correcting Misconceptions of Humility (Sewell Hall)
3) News & Notes
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“Fields…White Already to Harvest”

Micky Galloway

When we lived in Arkansas, the many opportunities we had to see huge fields of cotton gave new meaning to this expression. Try to imagine 400 acres of cotton, a literal sea of white, ready to be harvested. The Lord said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).The apostle Paul expressed the same thought when he spoke of an “open door” and a “door of utterance” (1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 4:3). John wrote of the “open door” which no man can shut (Revelation 3:8).

Opportunity “knocks”; it does not beat down the door. As we drive into the Antelope Valley and stop at Vista Point to view the valley, we are reminded of opportunity. Living in this valley are approximately 300,000 souls who need to hear the gospel. This writing concerns our many opportunities to teach God’s Word and our preparation and determination to take advantage of these opportunities. Christianity is not a dead belief; it is a vibrant way of life that deeply affects the standards by which we conduct our lives. A part of that conduct deals with our consciousness that those about us are lost.

Let us pray for an “open door.” The apostle Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). It is right to pray for opportunities. Perhaps, our inability to realize that we live in a “lost and dying world,” and our apathy to praying about it, are the very reasons conditions are not more favorable for the growth of the church. James said, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Fervently praying for opportunity means ridding oneself of fear about the responsibilities associated with open doors. To accomplish this goal, we must prepare.

We need to get past “me-ism” (concern only with ourselves). Too many of us focus so entirely upon ourselves–“me first”–that we fail to see opportunities, and therefore, to act when they abound. Paul said some would become “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2). Yet, the same apostle taught that we are to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying” (Romans 15:1-2). Even among brethren, there is opportunity to teach. Paul said, “Let no man seek his own, but (each) his neighbor’s (good)” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Paul also said, “Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). Wouldn’t that go a long way toward helping us to teach others. We have a wide-open “door” of opportunity to restore those who are wayward (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).

Let us believe in the gospel, God’s power to save. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). In a world that held the gospel in contempt, Paul, under threat of persecution, preached it boldly. Paul had seen the gospel at work, first among the Jews, and then among the Greeks. “The words of eternal life” are “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel is ever relevant, and it can transform our neighbors, if they receive it and realize that it is the revelation of God. Every conversion example in the book of Acts bears evidence of this truth. Indeed, we have in our possession God’s power to change lives, but our failure to proclaim it results in continued ungodly living that sends people to hell!!! Jesus commanded, “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby” (Matthew 7:13-14).

On the broad way that leads to destruction will be someone’s mother, father, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or coworker. In that great Day of Judgment, will they say, “You met me day by day, and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me.”

Let us be aware of the unconverted. Masses of souls are hungering and thirsting for the truth. Many question their religious convictions. They know they are at sea, without chart or compass. WE have great opportunity. Indeed, the fields are white unto harvest, and the laborers are so few. In Acts 8, those who were scattered as a result of the persecution, “went about preaching the word.” Until we understand that the success of personal work depends on each one personally working, opportunities will continue to fall by the wayside.

Reaping a harvest of lost souls can not occur by accident. Let us prepare ourselves for the greatest work on earth. Someone has said that the four hinges upon which the gates of opportunity swing are: initiative, insight, industry, and integrity. Surely, we have integrity, but what about the other three. Let us not forget that procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

Every gospel preacher who is doing the work the Lord called Him to do is looking for ways to impress the truth of this article upon those in the congregation where he labors. The world is replete with people who are lost and dying in darkness and sin. Every community in which the Lord’s church has “open doors” also has great “opportunity doors.”

Millions of people live their lives without spiritual direction. Millions of others have been deceived by the smooth words of men who teach error. Both groups (those without direction and those with the wrong direction) are on a road that leads to the same destination — Hell! “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9). Do we even think about the terrible ending awaiting the unprepared? Many of them are people we know, and love, and talk with daily.

Dear reader, please read your Bible carefully. I think you’ll conclude that God not only expects us to save ourselves, but also to strive to bring others with us! Who are you bringing? (KMG)

*****

“Then He said to His disciples, the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:36-37).

Can God Count on You?

— Via Knollwood church of Christ, July 2003
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Correcting Misconceptions of Humility

Sewell Hall

Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.

Humility Is Not Weakness

Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), causing Paul to respond, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Humility Does Not Preclude Leadership

Jesus was “meek and lowly” (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2), and this is defined in Romans 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should.  1 Timothy 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).

Humility Does Not Forbid Rebuking Sin

Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matthew 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in chapter 23 as when He was blessing little children in chapter 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error. “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God’s purpose.

Humility Is Not Inconsistent With Personal Initiative    

The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and executing its work.  A song we sing says, “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility.  Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that “each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.

Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully, speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others.    

This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be.  When one is constantly thinking: “How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others” he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution — not thinking of self at all.  A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).

Conclusion

True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Corinthians 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Timothy 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Corinthians 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.

— Via Search for Truth, October 11, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rex Abbott
(Jonathan’s father) is feeling better and might now be over the Covid-19.  He will be tested tomorrow to find out. 

Elaine Abbott (Jonathan’s mother) still has the covid-19, along with pneumonia that has elevated her white blood count. Her dementia has also worsen, but that might be from all she is now going through.

Anthony and Tammy Abbott (Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law) had been diagnosed with covid-19.  But Anthony is now doing better, though still with some congestion; and his wife Tammy is now in her 12th day of it and making some improvement.

Rick Cuthbertson is now on a different drug for his cancer treatments.  So far, there is no constant pain; and he is feeling pretty good. 

Jim Lively had two more falls last week by which he sluffed some more skin off his arms. 

Rex & Frankie Hadley are doing about the same.  Rex had x-rays on his lower back Friday which revealed a good bit of degeneration in the discs.
  
Anita Young is doing better with her foot.  They gave her a shot for it, and she has now been without the ankle brace for more than a week.

Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Reflecting the Nature of God (Jim Deason)
2) Digging Deep (Frank Himmel)
3) On Geese and Friends (A.W. Goff)
4) News & Notes
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Reflecting the Nature of God

Jim Deason

God’s purpose for man is stated simply and concisely: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). This holiness—a behavior—is defined by God, personified in Jesus Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit, and recorded on the pages of the Bible. Every instruction given in the pages of the New Testament is designed to lead us to partake of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), to help us “become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

It troubles me to hear some of late proclaim that Christianity is not about keeping rules. I beg to differ. Christianity is all about keeping His rules (John 14:15; Heb. 5:9), for it is in obedience to the precepts of the New Testament that we are made more and more into His image. Allow me to illustrate.

Like a city set upon a hill which cannot be hidden, those who are led by the Spirit of God are going to show it by producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is by no means an exhaustive list of characteristics reflecting the nature of God, but it is a very good place to begin.

Love

Twice in 1 John 4 (vv. 8,15) the Bible tells us that “God is love.” Why? Because love is from God (v. 7). His nature defines love. He is love’s perfect illustration. What Jesus did on Calvary proves it: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, NASB). Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and He did. This is unparalleled love and anyone who is led by the Spirit of God and who wants to reflect the nature of God must, therefore, be a person of love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

Joy

I’ve never understood why someone claiming to be a Christian would walk about with such a sour disposition that he looked like he was weaned on pickle juice. God intends that we be a people of joy. Paul said, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13). Later, he instructed the Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:8). Why such joy? Because joy is a part of God’s nature. Picture this: “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5). The moment my wife said “I do” was exhilarating, one of the happiest moments of my life. In the same way, God finds great joy in those who serve Him and wants you to experience the same joy.

Peace

Peace is a state of tranquility, the absence of mental stress or anxiety. At least five times in Scripture God is referred to as the “God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). Jesus is our source of peace (Eph. 2:14,17) and called the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Is it any wonder, then, why we are told that “the one who desires life, to love and see good days. . . must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:10-11). I understand there are times when we must go to war, spiritually speaking (2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-17). But the person who is disposed to choose war over peace does not yet possess the spirit of Christ.

Patience

Studying the Old Testament teaches us a lot about the nature and character of God, particularly His patience. Thirteen times the Lord is said to be “slow to anger” (cf. Num. 14:18) and that phrase is usually surrounded by other traits of God such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, mercy, and graciousness. One should never take lightly “the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience” (Rom 2:4). Quite literally, it is our salvation (2 Pet. 3:15). So, if you want God to be patient with you, reflect His nature and be patient with others (1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

Kindness

Kindness is the quality of being helpful, having a benevolent nature. God asks us nothing more than what He is Himself: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:4-5). We are not surprised therefore, since God wants us to be like Him, that we are told to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Goodness

Goodness is a lot like kindness. Our English word good carries with it the idea of being virtuous or right. The Greek word seems to emphasize a special interest in the welfare of others. Paul commanded, “you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth)” (Eph. 5:8–9). God wants you to be good because He is good. I understand the sentiment of the psalmist when he wrote, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living” (Psa. 27:13).

Faithfulness

You know the type. They are people that you trust. You can reveal your inner secrets to them because you know they will keep your confidence and you believe in the wisdom of their counsel. They never fail you. They’ve proven time and again that they will keep their word and fulfill their obligations. They are faithful. Such also is the nature of God. Jeremiah proclaimed to God, “Great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23). God promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Deut. 31:6,8), and He hasn’t. To God, the psalmist proclaimed, “Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations” (Psa. 119:90). So, when you are faithful to your commitments, dependable and trustworthy in the hand of God, you’re demonstrating a characteristic of God—and that is no small thing!

Gentleness

Sometimes translated meekness (KJV, ASV), this word describes a man who is not overly impressed by a sense of his own self-importance. He is strong, but that strength is not always on display. He is humble, courteous, and considerate. He is gentle, mild, and even-tempered. Moses was like this (Num. 12:3). So also was Jesus. He entreated, “Come to Me. . . Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:28-29). If you want to be like Christ, and if you are not already, you’ve got to learn to be a gentle, humble person.

Self-Control

Self-Control is the ability to restrain one’s emotions, words, and actions by one’s will. Aristotle said that it was “the ability to restrain desire by reason.” It is the very opposite of acting without thinking. The self-controlled individual will think through something and let sound reason keep him from saying or doing something he might not otherwise say or do. When Aaron made the golden calf, God was angry and wanted to destroy Israel and start all over with Moses (Exod. 32). Moses interceded for the people and “the Lord changed His mind” (Exod. 32:14). Some folks don’t do that—restrain their anger. If something doesn’t go their way there is fire in their eyes, venom on their lips, and revenge in their actions. For that reason, we are told, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man” (Prov. 22:24) because “an angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” (Prov. 29:22). The matter of temper is not the only area where self-control is needed but it serves to illustrate the point. Anyone who wants to be Christlike simply must possess the ability to control his heart and actions.

Conclusion

In the New Testament God reveals to us a standard of behavior, a code of conduct, by which He wants us to live. He expects you and me to “be holy. . . in all your behavior” (1 Pet. 1:15). But He also reveals Himself and His nature which tells us a lot about why He wants us to follow His instructions. In obeying Him, we become like Him! Christians, then, are to take on His nature and grow to be more and more like God Himself. Remember what He said: “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 39 (September 27, 2020)
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Digging Deep

Frank Himmel

At the end of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stressed the importance of acting on His teaching, not merely listening to it. He used two builders to make the point. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

In Luke’s account, Jesus said the wise builder “is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48). Consider the importance of digging deep.

Digging deep rules out following Jesus in a superficial way. Some are content to believe in Jesus in a broad sense while making no real commitment to living as He directs. Discipleship is not a surface-level acceptance of the Lord; it is yielding all in order to follow Him wherever He directs (Luke 14:25-33). It is a “deep” commitment.

Digging deep suggests the depth of our faith. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus likened some hearers’ hearts to shallow soil. The word readily produces a plant, but because there is no depth of soil (Mark 4:5) it withers amidst affliction or persecution (v. 17). Since faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17), deeper faith can come only by digging more deeply into the word. “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity . . .” (Hebrews 6:1).

Digging deep also points to thorough repentance. In Jesus’ illustration, the builder digs deep in order to remove everything that is unsuitable. He clears away the dirt and debris to get to the solid rock. From there he can begin to build. We may need to do a lot of clearing in our hearts and lives, too. Erroneous beliefs, bad attitudes, and sinful habits lie between us and discipleship. They must all be removed, shovelful by shovelful. We must examine every corner of our hearts and lives in light of the gospel and make whatever changes it calls for.

Discipleship is work. Don’t take shortcuts. Dig deep.

— Via Pathlights, June 23, 2019
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On Geese And Friends

A.W. Goff

When you see geese flying in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what facts scientists have discovered about why they fly that way.

FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
TRUTH: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another. Read Ephesians 4:16

FACT: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
TRUTH: There is strength, power and safety in numbers when traveling in the same direction with those with whom we share a common goal. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10

FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
TRUTH: It pays to take turns doing hard jobs. Read 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

FACT: The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed.
TRUTH: We all need to be remembered with active support and praise. Read Colossians 2:1-2

FACT: When a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until the crisis resolves, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group.
TRUTH: We must stand by each other in times of need! Read Acts 12:1-5

We are fortunate that there are more geese in life than turkeys. Let us remember to uphold each other in friendship and to give each other a big “honk” more often.
_____

Editor’s Note: It should not be surprising that the same God of Nature is also the God of Revelation. Many things in nature reflect truths and lessons in the spiritual realm. God gave geese their natural intuition both for their benefit and for ours. The Scriptures listed above with every natural trait of geese is just an example of the many biblical references that teach the same truth. Use these references as a “springboard” and see if  you can find other similar passages and share them with one another. AWG

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 32, Page 3, August 11, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rex & Elaine Abbott
(Jonathan’s parents) were both diagnosed Tuesday with covid-19.

Pat Bridgman who has been undergoing chemo treatment for lung cancer was recently diagnosed with covid-19.  She has been admitted to the hospital, already having a low white blood count.

Olivia McCarthy started feeling better several days ago and is now over her covid-19 and quarantine.  It had continued to remain mild while she had it, with a main symptom of just being tired.

Anita Young’s back is now doing better.

Others to also be praying for: Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Our God Does Not Change (Jon Quinn)
2) The Prepared Heart (Gary Henry)
3) Temptations & Illusions (Bill Crews)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Our God Does Not Change

Jon Quinn

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). We live in a world of constant change. Time changes everything we see and touch. Things that were “in” yesterday are “out” today. I remember when I was a boy seeing all my father’s old ties hanging in the closet. They were wide and colorful, full of intricate designs. He never wore them so I asked why. He said no one wears ties like that any more but he expected that if he waited long enough that they would come back in style. I doubted that anyone would ever wear anything like those ties again, at least not unless forced to do so at gun point! But sure enough, by the time I was in high school I was able to borrow his old, outlandish ties and let everyone assume that I had paid big bucks for them at the store.

The state of the world is different than it was ten years ago; far different than forty years ago. What will it be like ten years from now? As we read the Bible we see that it has always been so. We see changes in society; apostasy and return; dynasties thought eternal crumble and new ones take their places. Individuals age and grow closer to God, or sometimes grow away from God. We are accustomed to seeing things change.

It seems as if everything changes but such is not the case! Our link to Abraham, Moses and Paul is that we serve exactly the same God as they did. We may live in a different time, under a different government, but we build our relationship with the very same God, and for that reason the lessons they learned will find application in our lives today. God does not change. Let us consider this idea.

God’s Existence Does Not Change

“Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of thy hands. Even they all perish, but Thou dost endure, And all of them will wear out like a garment. . . but Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Psa. 102:25-27).

God had no beginning nor does he have an ending. Children sometimes ask the question, “Who made God?” The answer is that God did not need to be made because there was never a time in which he did not already exist. He will never cease to be, nor will he ever cease to be what he already is.  He is deserving of our trust because “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

God’s Character Does Not Change

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you'” (Exod. 3:14).

In the course of human life, events may alter the character of a man. There are things that happen to us that can change us forever. For example, a trusting soul may become cynical when he has been betrayed. But nothing like this happens to the Creator. He will never become less fair, honest, truthful, or good than perfection will allow. The character of God today is exactly as it was in Bible times, and as it will be long after this world ceases to be. Even the name “Jehovah ” or “I AM” bears out the eternal changelessness of God. The New Testament describes God as “the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jas. 1:17).

God’s Purpose Does Not Change

“And the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Sam. 15:29). God does not alter his purpose. He does not go half-way into a job, then realize that he has made a mistake and repent. All his plans are based upon perfect wisdom and knowledge so he never has to! Nothing can take God by surprise. If he were painting a room he would not paint himself into a corner.

The Psalmist declared, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11). Some may wonder about a few passages which seem to indicate that God does repent (Gen. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11; Jon. 3:10; etc.). However, it must be understood that none of these suggest a change in his eternal purpose, nor do they suggest that God was taken by surprise. They are cases of God’s reversal of his prior treatment of an individual or group because the people had changed. If a people grew increasingly wicked, then God’s treatment of them changed from what it was before. If a people repented and sought forgiveness, then God would bless instead of punish.

God’s Son Does Not Change

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Jesus loves us as much today as he did on the road to Calvary. There is a story of someone asking him, “How much do you love me?” Jesus answered, “This much” and he stretched his arms out wide, and died. Certainly the gift Jesus has given us shows us that his love is eternal. His death proves that his love is undying. Jesus is “the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18). Jesus is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). He is our absolutely trustworthy friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Conclusion

What is the difference between our relationship with God and those in Bible times? We worship the same God, not a new one. His character remains the same, we can know what he is like now by observing what he was like then. His purposes remain unchanged. The Messiah we accept is the same Son of God who they looked for, welcomed, and accepted.

We may live in a different age. We may rejoice that we live under a new covenant. We may have a complete written revelation and therefore a more accurate picture of God’s eternal purpose, character and nature. But God remains the same. By all means, place your eternal spirit in his hands.

— Via Navarre Messenger, January 6, 2019
——————–

-2-

The Prepared Heart

Gary Henry

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

Our “nature” is given to us by God, but our “character” is created by our choices.  What we do with the raw materials of our created nature brings into being a character that is either good or bad.  Of course, the fact that character is a matter of choice does not mean the choices are always carefully made.  Indeed, many people simply live by default, going with the flow and ending up with a character that has been chosen haphazardly.  But haphazard choices are still choices.  Whether we’ve been careful or not, we’ll still have to account to God for our decisions.

Ezra is said to have “prepared his heart.”  Apparently he had given some thought to the sort of man he wanted to be.  Surely he was aware of what the major alternatives are that lie before a human being, and his choice to pursue godliness seems to have been a deliberate decision.  It’s not unlikely that Ezra had given some consideration to the matter of consequences.  There is no more “consequential” choice than the choice of one’s character, and Ezra had no doubt considered that some kinds of character would take him places he didn’t want to go.

It is worth noting the particular character Ezra prepared himself to have.  This wise man determined that he would (1) seek God’s will, (2) do whatever he learned, and (3) teach to others the things that he had both learned and lived.  We could look a long time and not find a better three-point program for character development.  Seeking, doing, and teaching… the will of God.  These things point to the very heart of what human existence is all about.

If we’ve not already done so, it’s urgent that we prepare our hearts.  It’s time to think seriously about what matters most to us.  What kind of people do we intend to be, anyway?  “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind” (Seneca).  But preparing our hearts requires more than charting our course.  We must also count the cost and resolve that we’ll pay the price to have a character that’s worth having.  The devil is eager to test how well prepared our hearts really are.

“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one” (James Anthony Froude).

— Via Kirkwood church of Christ, July 18, 2017
——————–

-3-

Temptations & Illusions

Bill Crews

Read the third chapter of Genesis. It tells of the sins of Adam and Eve (in doing what God had expressly forbidden) and of the consequences of those sins. When confronted by God and asked, “What is this thou hast done,” she responded, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (vs. 13). She told the truth. Paul wrote that “the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness” (2 Cor. 11:3; cf. 1 Tim. 2:14). But she was neither justified nor excused. Do you think that the pleasures of her sin were worth the price of the consequences she had to pay for them? How many times thereafter she must have wished that she could relive that moment when she said “yes” to that temptation.

Sin, in prospect, promises so much, but delivers so little. Sin, in retrospect, is never as appealing as sin in prospect. It focuses on the pleasures of the moment and veils the eyes to the consequences that time and eternity will surely bring. The writer of Hebrews spoke of the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:11-13), and nothing in life is more deceitful than sin. The master of deceit is behind it all (Jn. 8:44), and he is called “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). He has even fashioned “himself into an angel of light;” he has many ministers, some of whom even fashion “themselves into apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

In a large shopping mall there was a wide area containing several businesses in small, individual booths. Side by side were two with these names: “Sweet Temptations” and “Grand Illusions.” (One sold sweet things to eat, and the other jewelry.) I thought: “What marvelous names for the devil’s enticing wares and deceptive promises.” He portrays his temptations as sweet, but how bitter they will always eventually prove to be. And his promises of benefits, gains, and rewards are only grand illusions.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 25, Issue 24, Page 1, June 13, 2010
——————–


-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Olivia McCarthy
has been quarantined at home with covid-19. Though she has been experiencing the symptoms for about a week, they continue to remain mild. Let us be keeping her and her family in prayer.

We are thankful and glad that Myrna Jordan is now doing better from her recent illness.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of James William “Billy” Savage who passed away October 20, Elaine Abbott, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Anita Young, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to …
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) “Comfort One Another With These Words” (Jeff Himmel)
2) A Short Lesson about Grace (Frank Himmel)
3) Phariseeism (Frank Jamerson)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

“Comfort One Another With These Words”

Jeff Himmel

The apostle Paul once wrote to some Christians at Thessalonica who were concerned about what happened after death. After allaying their fears with a beautiful description of the final resurrection, he instructed them, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18). It is easy for the pressures and problems of life to get us down and make us worry. But God’s word is full of truths that bring great comfort to the soul of every Christian. Jesus spoke many words of consolation to his distressed disciples. His apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, brought messages of hope and courage to the struggling saints of the early church. The truths of his life, death, and resurrection, as well as his promises to us, are a source of comfort and joy like no other.

1. In Christ we have forgiveness of sins. No greater human problem exists than that of separation from God by sin. Every one of us has fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:9,23). But the wall placed between man and God has been broken down by Jesus’ death. “And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world …” (Eph. 2:1-2). “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us . . .And not only that, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5:8,11).

2. In Christ we have joy and peace in life. Many people spend their whole lives searching for something to give them happiness and peace of mind. The writer of Ecclesiastes tried in vain to find satisfaction in the things of this world. He finally realized that serving the Lord is the only thing that brings any real reward: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). Christians should be the happiest people in the world! Instead of worry and anxiety, Christ offers the peace of bringing our requests before God Almighty (Phil. 4:6-7). Rather than sinfulness, hatred, and conflict, the Spirit of God yields love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us (Gal. 5:22-23).

3. In Christ we have hope even in death. People tend to fear death because they don’t know what lies beyond. But the Christian can face life’s end with the knowledge that resurrection to eternal life will follow. The Thessalonians were evidently worried about their brethren who had died. Paul reassures them that because Christ overcame death, those who die in him die in hope: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). In 1 Corinthians 15, a most glorious picture of the resurrection is painted, one that allows the Christian to face even death with confidence in his Lord: “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory … But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:54,57).

4. In Christ we have the promise of a heavenly reward. Perhaps the greatest comfort that God’s word provides is knowing the reward that awaits us when the difficulties of this life have ceased. In Revelation 21-22, John describes (as ably as possible in human terms) the glory of heaven as he beheld it. I can never read this passage without feeling a stirring in my soul. I am sure it had the same effect on the downtrodden saints to whom John wrote. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). We can withstand all the storms of life, no matter how severe, with the certain hope that we will one day dwell with God for eternity. “And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light . . . And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 21:23; 22:5).

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 1 p. 5, January 5, 1995
——————–

-2-

A Short Lesson About Grace

Frank Himmel

“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?  He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?  So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” (Luke 17:7-10).

In Luke 12:37, God is depicted as a master doing precisely what Jesus says here a master normally would not do: serving dinner to his slaves. God is indeed gracious! This illustration is a counterbalance to that one, cautioning us not to lose our perspective. It reminds us of two vital points.

First, grace does not do away with obedience. Jesus said we are to “do all the things which are commanded you.” Of course, no one obeys perfectly (Romans 3:23), but we are to try our best. Grace does not give us license to “serve” the Lord however we please, to selectively choose which of His instructions we will obey, or to modify His plans according to our reasoning. We need the servant’s heart. Our wisdom and pleasure must always yield to God’s.

Second, obedience does not do away with grace. Perfect obedience might make something due us (Romans 4:4); but since no one achieves that, whatever we receive is always a matter of grace. After we have done all that we are commanded, we still are unworthy of the blessings God showers upon us. (Some passages, emphasizing faithfulness, do speak of divine blessings as a reward [e.g., Colossians 3:24; 2 John 8], yet even then it is a gracious one.) Surely this fact negates the quibble that says if we must obey God’s conditions (e.g., baptism) in order to be saved, that would make salvation merited. Let’s not lose our balance!

— Via Pathlights, October 11, 2020
——————–

-3-

Phariseeism

Frank Jamerson

The Pharisees were probably condemned more severely than any other group of people by the Lord during His life on earth. The label of “Pharisee” has come to us as an extremely uncomplimentary label. Often it is misused by false teachers and those in sympathy with them. Let us notice some of the characteristics in Pharisees that Jesus condemned.

They were critical of Jesus for teaching sinners, but would not listen to Him themselves. The great chapter on God’s attitude toward the lost and what ours should be, Luke 15, was spoken to Pharisees who murmured because Jesus associated with sinners. Their attitude was demonstrated in the elder son who stayed home, but said to his father basically what the Pharisees had said to Jesus, “This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” They objected to Jesus receiving sinners, “but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him [John]” (Lk. 7:30). The Pharisaical attitude is shown by those who criticize faithful teachers for teaching the truth, while refusing to listen or teach it themselves.

The Pharisees were hypocritical because they claimed to be interested in the details of the law, but ignored it when it suited their purposes. Jesus said, “But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you Pharisees! for you love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces” (Lk. 11:42,43). They liked to appear “righteous,” but justice and love were not part of their armor. When men today profess to be interested in God’s law, but lie, refuse to pay their debts, etc., they are demonstrating Pharisaical hypocrisy.

Pharisees were long on talk and short on practice. Jesus said: “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt. 23:3). This spirit of finding things for others to do, but not for self did not die with the first century Pharisees! “Do as I say, not as I do” may be good advice; Jesus gave it; but He did not commend the conduct of those who lived that philosophy.

They were bound by traditions. In fact, the Pharisees were very strict when it came to observing their customs, even if they contradicted the teaching of God’s word (Matt. 15:1-6). Though there is nothing wrong with a practice because it has been done for a long time, there is something wrong with elevating custom to a “thus saith the Lord.” There was nothing wrong with washing hands before eating food, but to make this a law of God was to elevate man’s traditions to an equality with God’s word. Whether we have two songs and a prayer, or two prayers and a song are matters of judgment. Whether we have the Lord’s supper before the sermon or after it; close with a song or with a prayer, are all matters of liberty, but when men elevate traditions to a “thus saith the Lord” they disrespect God’s word. Likewise, when men substitute sprinkling for immersion, or add instrumental music to singing, they are demonstrating the Pharisaical spirit.

Jesus told a parable to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee who had not been an “extortioner, unjust or an adulterer” and had given “tithes of all” that he got was not condemned because of those characteristics, but because of his attitude toward others. This was not the only condemnation of this bad trait. Earlier, Luke had said: “And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find how to accuse him” (Lk. 6:7). They had set their minds on finding fault, and faultfinders usually find fault!

Pharisees majored on minors. Jesus said that they “left undone the weightier matters” and “strained out the gnat, and swallowed the camel” (Matt. 23:23-25). Many misrepresent what Jesus said in this passage by saying that the little things are not important. Jesus did not say to “swallow the gnats,” but He did say that those who are careful to strain out gnats and then swallow camels are inconsistent. All of God’s word is important.

Not everything about Pharisees was bad. Paul said, “after the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee” (Acts 26:5), and “as touching the law (he lived) a Pharisee” (Phil. 3:5). We need to strictly obey God’s law, but we must avoid the bad characteristics that God condemned in the Pharisees.

— via Guardian of Truth XXX: 13, p. 390, July 3, 1986
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of James William “Billy” Savage who departed from this life on October 20, 2020. Let us be keeping all his loved ones in prayer.

The results of Rick Cuthbertson‘s scan Wednesday show that the spots on his lung have increased 30% since the previous scan.  He will soon begin a new treatment and will be seeing a cancer specialist.

Vivian Foster’s gall bladder surgery went well last week, which she is now healing from.  (She is Shirley Davis’ sister.)

Ronnie & Melotine Davis are both seeing doctors for their conditions.

Myrna Jordan has been under the weather lately.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Evelyn Elizabeth “Betty” Durden Potter who passed away October 13, Elaine Abbott, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman,   Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to …
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Transformation (Frank Himmel)
2) Miracles: The Power of Satan or the Finger of God (Clarence R. Johnson)
3) Biblical Correctness (Rob Harbison)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Transformation

Frank Himmel

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

“And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

These two verses from the same letter present an unmistakable contrast: conformity to Christ vs. conformity to the world. Paul’s word translated world literally means an age; it therefore emphasizes prevailing thought.

Dismissing worldly thinking and becoming like Christ is a challenging transformation. The world constantly preaches to us through education, entertainment, news/commentary (there is often little distinction between those two these days!), advertising, and social media, as well as just ordinary conversation. That’s a lot of input! We have to work hard at countering all that by listening to the truth of God’s word. From a time perspective, three or four hours a week at church pales in comparison, and some don’t even get that much. Daily Bible reading is a must!

This transformation applies to every area of life. It applies first of all to our view of Jesus. A balanced biblical view of Him is much different than the world’s skewed view. It applies to the church. Worldly standards or expectations for churches are irrelevant. What is God’s will? It applies to morals and ethics. Worldly thinking here is sometimes exactly opposite God’s: “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). It applies in every relationship: family, work, community, etc. It governs our thinking, our speech, our actions, and our reactions.

Notice that Paul calls on us to prove what God’s will is. The world may be content to merely assert based on scant evidence or even in defiance of the obvious, but Christians must never do that. Don’t just say, “I know God would [would not] want me to . . .”; turn in your Bible and read what He said about it. The gospel’s mission is to destroy speculation and take every thought obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Paul wrote of inspired teaching, “Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22).

Becoming a Christian is an act of conformity to Christ as we are buried with Him in baptism, a likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection for us (Romans 6:1ff). The conformity of Romans 12:2 is an ongoing process. Let’s give it our best effort.

— Via Pathlights, October 18, 2020
——————–

-2-

Miracles: The Power of Satan or the Finger of God?

Clarence R. Johnson

In Matthew 9:32-34, Matthew records, “As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.’”

Glancing back over the last few chapters, Matthew has told us of the cleansing of a leper, the healing of the paralyzed servant of a Roman centurion, the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick with a high fever, the calming of a storm at sea, the freeing of two demon-possessed men who had been extremely wild and dangerous before Jesus freed them from demon-possession, the raising of a girl from the dead, the healing of the woman who had had a flow of blood for 12 years, the healing of two blind men, and numerous others who came to Him — and now this freeing of the mute who had been demon-possessed. No wonder the multitudes marveled “It was never seen like this in Israel!”

But even in the light of Jesus’ marvelous accomplishments, He always had His detractors. “The Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.’”

Luke 11:14-23 shows that still others came, asking for a sign from heaven. Indeed, after all the miracles He had worked in the immediate setting, what else could He have done to prove He came from heaven?

In fact, as He defended Himself against the charge of using Satanic powers He reasoned that Satan certainly would not cast out demons. To do so would be to work against himself. Not only that, but the sons of the Pharisees — perhaps a reference to their disciples — also cast out demons, or at least claimed to do so. By whose power did they seek to overcome Satan? The only logical conclusion — the necessary inference — was that Jesus was operating by the power of God, and the logical application of that realization was that the very reign of God Himself was evident in Jesus’ ministry: “If I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20).

Finally, Jesus further illustrates this principle with a parable. The only one who can throw a strong man out of his palace is an even stronger man than the first. Likewise, the only one who could cast demons out of their dwelling place would be someone who possesses a power greater than even the prince of the demons. Only the power of God would suffice. Jesus did it with “the finger of God.”

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 25, Issue 5, Page 2, January 31, 2010
——————–

-3-

Biblical Correctness

Rob Harbison

There is a popular term being tossed around a lot these days — “political correctness.”

A person who is “politically correct” is blown along by the winds of popular opinion. He is influenced by the thinking of those who are outspoken about moral and social issues, who sway our thinking in a way that is consistent with the way they think we ought to think!

Even without a certified list of politically correct or incorrect stands on issues, the  influence and pressure is there nonetheless.

Our challenge is to take the proper stand on each of these issues, regardless of the way the political winds blow. Oftentimes, being politically correct will require that we be biblically incorrect. Which is more important? “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

When it comes to the politics of right and wrong, we need to be on the side of that which is right. Which is more important? To be politically correct, or biblically correct?

It does not matter what our society believes and accepts in this or any other generation. What matters is that we rise above these issues and be what our heavenly Father wants us to be, “that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:2-4).

People may think it bigoted or narrow-minded to say what the Bible says about these moral issues. They can choose to go along with the crowd if they want, but we have to teach what God said, “politically correct” or not! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

My friend, it is time to take a stand for what is right! Where do you stand? Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).

— Via Collegevue church of Christ, September 20, 2020
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Evelyn Elizabeth “Betty” Durden Potter, who passed away October 13.  She was 94.  Her funeral service will be at 3 p.m. on October 20 at the Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home in Brunswick.  It will be preceded by a visitation that begins at 2 p.m. Keith Crews, her son-in-law, will be presenting the eulogy.

Shirley Davis’ sisterVivian will be having gall bladder surgery Monday.

Joanne Ray is now out of ICU covid-19 and has also been taken off the ventilator.  They did have to install a stent, but her recovery is looking very good.

Though he has overcome his recent covid-19, Rex Hadley still has some “after effects in his lungs,” which we hope he will soon heal of.  The pain epidural he received Thursday helped only somewhat.  His wife Frankie is still “very weak.”

Anita Young is now having some back trouble which she is seeing a chiropractor for, and also began using an ankle brace a week ago for a problem with her foot.

Jim Lively
had another fall last week.  The side of his face collided with a clothes hamper, which resulted in much black and blueness; but, thankfully, nothing more serious.

Judy Daugherty, after spending several weeks in rehab, will be returning home Monday, where she will then continue with in-home rehab.

Others to also be praying for: Elaine Abbott, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Rick Cuthbertson, Larry & Janice Hood, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Martha Lively, Ronnie and Melotine Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Old Testament Points Us to Christ (Tommy Peeler)
2) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

The Old Testament Points Us to Christ

Tommy Peeler

The Old Testament is valuable because it points us to Christ.

Jesus Emphasized That the Old Testament Pointed to Him

Jesus said, “You search in the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that bear witness of Me” (John 5:39). When the audience failed to believe Jesus, He said that Moses would accuse them to the Father. “For if you believed Moses you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you did not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47). As Jesus was talking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus He emphasized that the things that had taken place in His cross and resurrection were a fulfillment of the prophets. Then beginning with Moses and the prophets He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all of Scripture (Luke 24:25-27). He gives the apostles the same lesson later that evening saying “that all the things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44-47).

The Gospel Writers Stress Jesus’ Fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures

Matthew tells the story of Jesus by emphasizing how He fulfilled the Old Testament. Matthew’s quotation formula, “this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the LORD through the prophets” or something similar is used repeatedly in Matthew.

  • Matthew 1:23/ Isaiah 7:14
  • Matthew 2:15/Hosea 11:1
  • Matthew 2:17-18/Jeremiah 31:15
  • Matthew 2:23/??
  • Matthew 4:14-16/Isaiah 9:1-2
  • Matthew 8:16-17/Isaiah 53:4
  • Matthew 13:34-35/Psalm 78:2
  • Matthew 21:4-5/Zechariah 9:9
  • Matthew 27:9-10/Zechariah 11:12-13 with concepts from Jeremiah 19 and 32.

Matthew’s emphasis on how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament is not limited to this quotation formula. From the first verse of Matthew, he is stressing Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Testament. Matthew 1:1 demonstrates Jesus’ fulfillment of the promises to Abraham (Genesis 12) and David (II Samuel 7). Matthew 2:5-6 the chief priests and scribes paraphrase Micah 5:2 to describe the Messiah being born in Bethlehem. John the Baptist and his preparation for Christ is interpreted in light of Isaiah 40:3 in Matthew 3:3. The suffering of Jesus fulfills the Scripture according to Matthew 26:54, 56, and from the cross. He quotes Psalm 22:1 in Matthew 27:46. This is not limited to the gospel of Matthew. It is true of each of the gospels. Look at just a few examples in the gospel of John 12:13, 15; 19:24, 28, 36, 37 as just a few examples. These passages and examples barely begin to show all the times the gospel writers appeal to the Old Testament to teach Jesus.

The Apostle’s Preaching in Acts Emphasized Jesus’ Fulfillment of the Old Testament

On the day of Pentecost Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11 (Acts 2:25-28, 31), Psalm 132:11 (Acts 2:30) and Psalm 110:1 (Acts 2:34-35) to emphasize that God’s promises to David were fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Acts 3 states that Jesus fulfilled all the prophets (Acts 3:18, 21, 24). In Acts 4 Peter emphasizes Jesus’ fulfillment of Psalm 118:22 (Acts 4:11) and Psalm 2:1-2 (Acts 4:25-27). Stephen points out that the rejection of Joseph by his brothers (Acts 7:9), Moses by Israel (Acts 7:27-28, 39-41), and the prophets (Acts 7:52) foreshadowed the rejection of Jesus (Acts 7:51-53). Philip points to Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s suffering servant from Isaiah 53 (Acts 8:32-35). Even to the Gentile Cornelius, Peter showed all the prophets pointed to Jesus (Acts 10:43). In Paul’s journeys, he usually went first to the Jewish synagogue. In the synagogues, Paul teaches from the Old Testament showing that Jesus was the expected Messiah. Paul explains who Jesus is in light of Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 16:10 (Acts 13:33-37). See Acts 17:2-3 and Paul’s reasoning from the Scriptures that Jesus was the promised Savior. Acts 28:23 Paul was “testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.” In Paul’s trial which led him to Rome, he stated that He taught Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (Acts 24:14; 26:22-23). Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and prophets, Paul asks Agrippa if he wants to be a Christian by saying, “King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets”? (Acts 26:27).

The Epistles and Revelation show the Old Testament points to Jesus. Galatians 3:24 says the “law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ so that we might be justified by faith.” The context of Galatians 3 points to the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham in Christ (Galatians 3:16) and His followers (Galatians 3:26-29). In discussing Israel’s adventures in the wilderness, Paul says the rock which followed them was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). Paul said Christ is the end of the law (either this means termination point or goal or both) in Romans 10:4.

This emphasis continues in epistles not written by Paul. Almost every sentence of Hebrews is built upon Jesus as the fulfillment of specific passages and types from the Old Testament. I Peter 2:18-25 repeatedly uses words and ideas from Isaiah 53 to Jesus and to show we behave as His followers.

Often the New Testament Says the Old Testament Was Written For Us.

Romans 15:3 quotes from Psalm 69:9 and then says, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Paul goes on to tie Old Testament passages together in Romans 15:9-12 which show Jews and Gentiles in “one accord” and with “one voice” glorifying God (that wording is from Romans 15:6). Paul is constantly constructing his arguments on the Old Testament.

Romans 4 deals with God’s justification of Abraham. The chapter quotes Genesis 15:6 and uses it to teach a lesson in how we are justified (Romans 4:3). Paul shows that this statement was made before Abraham was circumcised so the justification is the same whether one is circumcised or not (Romans 4:9-12). “Therefore it was credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:22-24). This passage is a good example of how the Old Testament is able “to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

In I Corinthians 9, Paul is dealing with the right of preachers to be supported in their work. He describes how he foregoes that right to help others. He quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 and its command to not muzzle the ox to defend his right to support. He says, “God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written…” (I Corinthians 9:9-10). While saying it was written for our sake, Paul is mainly saying the point of the law was not just about oxen. If God shows such concern for oxen, then how much more concern will He show for those speaking His word? However, it must also be written for us in a chronological sense or how could Paul use it to defend the right of preachers to receive support?

I Corinthians 10:1-13 reviews Israel’s history in the wilderness. As Paul tells the story of Israel’s wilderness journey, that story has similarities to some problems the Corinthian church was experiencing. As Paul warns the church against idolatry (I Corinthians 10:7), fornication (I Corinthians 10:8), testing the LORD, and grumbling, he appeals to Israel’s wilderness experience. Twice Paul says that these events were for our benefit. Paul says, “Now these things happened as examples for us” (I Corinthians 10:6) and “they were written for our instruction” (I Corinthians 10:11).

— Via La Vista church of Christ, June 12, 2020
——————–

-2-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Joanne Ray
is now in the Jacksonville ICU COVID wing.  Her friend Anita Young, who requests prayer for her, informed me that at least 16 people from the church Joanne attends also have COVID-19, and one who has passed away because of it.  

Rex Hadley has not yet heard of the results from his recent chest ct scan, but will be seeing his doctor this Tuesday.  Then on Wednesday he has an appointment with his pulmonologist, and will be given another epidural for pain on Thursday. 

The shots Ronnie Davis received for his back pain have helped somewhat, but not totally.  

Deborah Medlock has completed her first week of radiation treatments and is doing well.  She now has 3 more weeks to go with 5 days a week.

Martha Lively still has her sciatica problem, but it is slowly getting better.  She is now seeing her chiropractor just once every two weeks.

Judy Daugherty is doing well and might be coming home this week to continue with her therapy treatments there.

Rick Cuthbertson, who has been receiving chemo treatments in pill form, will be scanned on the 23rd to see the progress.

Others to also be praying for: Elaine Abbott, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Do We Really Believe? (Bill Crews)
2) The Mighty Hand of God (Wayne Goff)
3) Timothy and the Gospel (Heath Rogers)
4) News & Notes
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Do We Really Believe?

Bill Crews

1. That there is a God, everlasting, possessing all power and all wisdom? Romans 1:20; Job 42:2; Romans 11:33-36

2. That He made the universe, the earth, man, and all other material things? Acts 17:24-25; Genesis 1-2

3. That Jesus of Nazareth is His only begotten Son, divine and human, who gave Himself in sacrifice for our sins? John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:3-4

4. That the gospel revealed through the apostles and prophets is God’s power to save our souls and must be accepted and obeyed? Romans 1:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8

5. That the kingdom of God, the church of our Lord, cost the blood of Jesus Christ, and that men and women must enter therein and serve God therein to be saved? Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:16; 5:23-25

6. That life, at the most, is brief and will soon be gone, and that after death men must face the resurrection, the judgment and eternity? James 4:14; Hebrews 9:27; John 5:28-29

7. That those who die in their sins, whether out of Christ or unfaithful to Christ, will dwell forever in hell? John 8:21, 24; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 18:8-9; Philippians 3:18-19

8. That those who die in innocence (not accountable) and those who die in Christ or faithful to Christ, will dwell forever in heaven? Luke 18:15-17; Revelation 14:13; Matthew 25:31-46

9. That our primary purpose for existing is to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13), to “glorify God in our bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20), to use our time, possessions and abilities as God wants us to?

All of those Bible references are not just tacked on for appearance; each passage has something to do with the point made and each is filled with something God wants us to know. For your Bible study today, why not look each one up in your Bible and read it.

— Via Roanridge Reader Volume 35 Issue 38 Page 3, September 20, 2020
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The Mighty Hand of God

Wayne Goff

As a lifetime Bible student, I am amazed when certain words JUMP OFF the page at me. You would think after studying the Bible for so many years that nothing would surprise you. But every good Bible student knows that is far from the truth. In fact, the exact opposite is true — the more you study, the more you learn, and the more you learn, the more you realize there is so much you don’t know.

I am reminded of a college student who was preparing for life as a gospel preacher. He commented to someone in the library that he had studied the entire Bible and all of its questions, had prepared a year’s worth of lessons (104) on the Bible, and was now finished. He wondered aloud what he would do now!

When I heard the story, I laughed and remembered how little I knew when I was a college student. So my reply was simple: “Wait till he learns what the questions are!” And there is plenty yet to be learned from God’s Word.

The phrase mighty hand of God” jumped off the page at me as I read 1 Peter 5:6 this past week. I have emphasized repeatedly that verse and its teaching to humble yourself before God so that He might lift you up. And I’ve emphasized in my preaching that we should all cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Perhaps that is why my mind might have skipped over the word “mighty.” Peter doesn’t say that we should humble ourselves under the hand of God! He says that we should humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God! It is so much easier to submit to one who is greater and more powerful than we. God’s knowledge, wisdom and superiority are so much greater than ours that it defies description and comprehension! If you doubt that, then read again Job 38! In that chapter, God asked Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” I’m sure Job’s mind immediately thought something like “Oops! I messed up!” I can’t even answer the questions on the Jeopardy television show. I certainly don’t want to match wits with God!!!

Now the Greek word translated here “mighty” appears only here in the New Testament. But in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, it is used at least twenty times. “The word can be used of human strength (Deut. 8:17), or the strength of the bow (Ps. 76:3), or even the sea (Ps. 89:9), but mostly it is to God’s strength (Ps. 62:11)” [Theological Dictionary of the NT, abridged]. So when Peter says “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” you should read this as “MIGHTY hand of God.” Or as President Trump might say, “HUGE!” After all, can one overemphasize the power of God?

The lesson should not be lost on us. God’s power is so vast, mighty and overwhelming that we, His children, should confidently rest ourselves under His wing and let His will be done, and not ours. How often are we all worked up about things that matter so little? How often do we think things are up to us to fix, when God is there to take care of them with little effort or thought?

Yes, we are admonished to “be sober, be vigilant” (v. 8) against the devil. We have been given the power to “resist him, [be] steadfast in the faith” (v. 9). But do not forget what Peter has said already: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” In the context of our lives, please remember that God is an ever-present help in times of trouble. That should relieve some of your anxiety. The apostle Paul reminded the Philippians that “The Lord is at hand” (4:5). He is near. He is here. And to the idolatrous Athenians Paul said, “for in Him we live and move and have our being,…” (Acts 17:28). After all, while man is supposed to “seek the Lord, in the hope that he might grope for Him and find Him, … He is not far from each one of us (v. 27). Whew! And I thought it was all up to me…

— Via Roanridge Reader Volume 35 Issue 04 page 02, January 26, 2020
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Timothy and the Gospel

Heath Rogers

Second Timothy is likely the last epistle Paul wrote before his death at the hands of the Roman Empire. In this letter the apostle passes the torch from his worn hand to that of his trusted “son in the faith.” Paul had fought the good fight of faith and finished his leg of the race. He would soon be receiving his victory crown. However, his concern was not so much in what was awaiting him as what he was leaving behind. What would happen to the work after his departure? This is the concern he sets before Timothy.

All four chapters of this book contain charges to Timothy about the gospel that has been entrusted to his care. Consider the specific responsibilities given to this evangelist regarding the word of God.

1. Do not be ashamed of the testimony. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8). Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). How can a Christian be ashamed of the power of God? Yet, this world exerts a great amount of influence in marginalizing Christianity and ridiculing people of faith. We must never be ashamed to own our Lord, live our faith, sound forth the message, and persuade the lost to be saved.

2. Hold fast to the pattern. “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1:13). The Scriptures are not a collection of subjective suggestions. They set forth a divine pattern to be followed. It is the same pattern for everyone. Timothy is not to question this pattern. He is not to discard it for an updated version to accommodate the ever-changing whims of society. He is to hold fast to it; cling tenaciously to it and never let it go.

3. Commit these things to faithful men. “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2:2). The gospel has been passed down from Paul to Timothy. For the gospel to survive, it must be passed along to the next generation of workers who will themselves pass it down to another generation. Timothy would one day find himself where Paul is now — at the end of his earthly journey. He would be able to depart this world in peace knowing he had passed the torch to faithful men. Are we preparing the next generation to faithfully follow the pattern?

4. Rightly divide the word of truth. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2:15). A preacher must know how to handle God’s word. “Rightly dividing” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to cut straight.” God’s word is a pattern. The teaching done by a man of God must line up with this pattern. If it doesn’t, his teaching will be in error, and those who follow his teaching will be in error. He will have misrepresented God and will have a reason to be ashamed when he stands before God in judgment. We must work diligently in our study to make sure we are accurately understanding God’s word.

5. Continue in the Scriptures. “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (3:14). Timothy’s response to perilous times (v. 1) would be to continue in the Gospel. He is to have confidence in the things he has “been assured of.” There is nothing wrong with having an open mind and showing a willingness to study issues. However, there are basics to our faith that do not require second guessing (Heb. 6:1-3). We fight the good fight of faith and finish our race by holding fast and continuing in the things we have learned.

6. Preach the word. “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (4:1-2). Timothy had a charge to proclaim the word of God and make it known to others. He had to be urgent in his proclamation, knowing that God has chosen to save men through the preaching of the gospel. He had to make it relevant; convincing, reproving, and exhorting when necessary. He had to show patience in his efforts. While not everyone is cut out to be a preacher, we can sound forth the word to others, and we can support the preaching of the gospel.

The work of a faithful evangelist is tied to the Word of God. He has a responsibility to hold fast and continue in it, to study so he can rightly divide it, to unashamedly preach it with urgency, and to prepare others to do the same.

— Via the Knollwood church of Christ, March 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Elaine Abbott
(Jonathan’s mother) has resumed her chemo every week and is continuing with her dialysis three days a week.  This Friday she will be given an AV fistula to help out with her treatments.

Here is Anita Young’s update on her father, Rex Hadley:  “We are waiting to hear results from chest ct scan he had last week. The heart echo did not show what they thought may be causing the pleural effusion. They ordered the ct chest scan then to see if something showed there. Still fairly weak and short of breath.”  Rex will be seeing his doctor again on the 13th, but hopes to hear of the scan results before then.

Ronnie Davis was given shots last week for his back pain, but it will be a few days before its effect will be fully known.

Jim Lively had another fall last week.  It scuffed some skin off his arm and back.  It was the first he had fallen in several weeks.

Deborah Medlock saw her doctor Thursday to have the radiation markers placed and will begin her treatments tomorrow, which will continue 5 days a week for 4 weeks.

Others to also be praying for: Max Beach, Judy Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Tim Kirkland, Frankie Hadley, and Cameron Haney.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Be Sure You Finish (Bill Crews)
2) A Tale of Two Rich Men (Frank Himmel)
3) Things That Promote Peace (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
——————–

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Be Sure You Finish

Bill Crews

It is not enough to become a Christian; one must then be a Christian — to the very end. It is not enough to enter into Christ; one must abide in Christ, yes, and even die in Christ (Revelation 14:13).

Who knows how many (I have encountered or learned of several in every city where I have lived) have become Christians, have been saved from their past sins, have entered the Lord’s church, and then fallen away? Most of them fall away soon after being saved (see Matthew 13:20-21), but some of them endure almost all of the way and then fall away.

God knew this would occur; therefore, He warns against it (Hebrews 3:1, 12; 4:1; Matthew 25:13; I Corinthians 10:12), describes those who have become guilty of it (2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 3:15-17), tells how to prevent it (2 Peter 1:5-7; 3:17; James 5:12; Revelation 3:5, 11), and supplies the remedy for it (Acts 8:13-24; Revelation 2:4-5; 3:18-19). Each one of these proves that a child of God can fall away. Of course, it need not happen at all — a Christian can fall, but no Christian has to fall.

No greater tragedy, and none fraught with more serious consequences, can be named than for a Christian to forsake the right way (2 Peter 2:15), become entangled again in the defilements of the world (2 Peter 2:20-22), make shipwreck concerning the faith (1 Timothy 1:19), become an enemy of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19), crucify afresh the Son of God and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6), and tum aside after Satan (1 Timothy 5:15).

We are told to endure unto the end, and on this basis we are promised eternal salvation (Matthew 10:22). We are called upon to not be weary in well-doing and are promised that we shall reap if we faint not (Galatians 6:9). We are to be faithful, even if such should cost us our very lives, but we are promised “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). One lesson we are taught in the parable of the sower is this: It is not enough to hear the word of God and receive it ( even with joy); we must also hold it fast and bring forth fruit with patience (steadfastness) (Luke 8:11-15).

In becoming Christians, we have enlisted in the army of Christ — we need to fight the good fight of the faith, to war the good warfare unto the end (1 Timothy 6:12; 1:18). We have begun a voyage or started on a journey — we need to pursue it to its final destination (1 Peter 1:17; 2:11; Hebrews 11:10, 13-16; 13:14). We have entered a race — we need to run it with patience (endurance), to press on toward the goal (Hebrews 12:1; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

If we have become children of God, let us be certain that when the curtain of death brings to an end the final act in our drama of this life, we can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 32, Page 2, August 9, 2020
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A Tale of Two Rich Men

Frank Himmel

Luke presents an interesting contrast of two rich men who came to Jesus.

In Luke 18, a rich ruler came asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Luke does not say what kind of ruler he was. Elsewhere he uses this same word to refer to a ruler of a synagogue (8:41), a judge (12:58), and members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court (23:13, 35).

Some rulers are self-serving tyrants. Not this man. He assured Jesus that he kept God’s commandments, including those that prohibited lying and stealing. This was a man in an influential position who lived honorably. Doubtless he was well respected.

In Luke 19, a rich tax collector named Zaccheus came to Jesus. The crowds viewed him quite differently. When Jesus invited himself to Zaccheus’s house, “they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner’” (v. 7).

These two interviews with Jesus ended quite differently. The ruler refused to do what Jesus required of him: sell what you have, distribute it to the poor, and come follow Me (18:22). He left “very sad.” Zaccheus, on the other hand, committed to giving half of what he had to the poor and paying back four times as much to anyone he may have defrauded (19:8). He received Jesus “gladly.”

Jesus said of Zaccheus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (19:9-10). With regard to the ruler, the Lord could only caution, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (18:24).

In the end, the man whom society respected was lost and the man whom society rejected was saved. God said centuries earlier, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

The point of this contrast is that our hearts, not our circumstances, determine our response to Jesus, and that determines our salvation. Jesus’ caution, of course, must be heeded. Wealth does indeed tend to fill our hearts and lead them away from God. That being the case, it is another illustration of something that society often wrongly values.

What is your response to Jesus?

— Via Pathlights, July 19, 2020
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-3-

Things That Promote Peace

Greg Gwin

In Romans 14:19, we are instructed to ”pursue the things which make for peace” (NASV). Ephesians 4:3 teaches that we should be “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What are some of the things that are necessary so that we can obey these commands and enjoy peace among brethren?

The Scriptures teach us that all of these things are important for peace:

1) Humility. Pride is a great hindrance to peace. It provides an “explosive atmosphere” for strife and turmoil. Those who are proud can be easily provoked into a fight. God’s Word urges us to “be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5).

2) Love. Instead of following the many instructions concerning love (1 Jn. 4:20,21; Jn. 13:34,35) we are often too ready to engage in harsh, presumptuous judging. This, of course, is plainly condemned by God (Matt. 7:3-5).

3) Carefully chosen words. We are warned that our words have the power to “stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1). For this reason, “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

4) Putting others first. We live in a selfish, self-centered society. This selfishness is a root cause of much fighting and bitterness. To combat this we must “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2:4).

5) Forgiveness. It is inevitable that problems will arise; wrongs and offenses will occur. When this happens we have to be ready to “forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

6) Truth. There can be no real peace if we are not firmly established together in God’s truth (2 Jn. 9-11). When we speak the truth we demonstrate our love (Eph. 4:15) for both God and our fellow man.

— Via The Beacon, September 20, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Ronnie Davis
will be given shots Wednesday (October 1) for his many back problems that he is having much trouble with.  He and Melotine have been doing “virtual church” while not able to be with us.

Deborah Medlock  will begin a 1-week trial with the radiation machine this Wednesday.  For 4 weeks, she will be receiving 5 treatments a week and booster treatments during the 4th week.  All is looking good.  Since her arm can be painful in certain positions, she is now having to work on that to prepare for the 20-to-30-minute treatments.     

Anita Young mentioned recently that her father Rex Hadley is over the covid-19, but now “has a pleural effusion around part of his lung…fluid buildup.”  Anita has been taking care of her elderly parents while they are both in poor health.  They have also been doing church services electronically.  

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Shirley Griffin Crews who passed away recently, Max Beach, Elaine Abbott, Judy Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Jim & Martha Lively, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Deborah Medlock, Tim Kirkland, Frankie Hadley, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — even for telling a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm
(older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Theft, Cheating, Lying, and Other Dishonest Behaviors (Kyle Pope)
2) “I Am Offended” (Frank Himmel)
3) When Did Men Begin to Believe in the Inspiration of the New Testament? (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Theft, Cheating, Lying, and Other Dishonest Behaviors

Kyle Pope

The Holy Spirit led Paul to pen these words to the saints in Ephesus: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25, NKJV). Paul’s wording in the middle of this verse is drawn from Zechariah. To people who had returned from the Babylonian exile and were working to rebuild the temple and their relationship with God, the Lord told Zechariah:

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the LORD” (Zech. 8:14-17).

To restore or maintain a good relationship with the Lord, Zechariah and the people were told, (in Paul’s wording), “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.” God sees our treatment of others and holds us accountable for it. That means not only that honest, fair, and just treatment of others will allow things to go smoother for us in our relationships with one another but our very relationship with God depends upon it. We cannot love God and do things He hates.

A Message for Today

This is an important lesson for us today! In many areas of life, we may imagine we can claim to have a saved relationship with God while practicing the behavior Paul and Zechariah rebuked.

Stealing. No one is looking and you slip that candy bar into your pocket at the convenience store. Someone has wronged you, so you “get even” by taking something that belongs to her. A man drops his wallet. You turn it in—but first you help yourself to some of the money inside it. You borrow money then forget (or refuse) to pay it back. Your neighbor’s newspaper was thrown just outside his driveway. That makes it “fair game,” right? No!

All of these things might seem minor, but Scripture condemns them! God hates “robbery” (Isa. 61:8), and the partner of a thief is said to hate his own life (Prov. 29:24). The thief deserves shame (Jer. 2:26) and to act in this way is to follow the example of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus (John 12:6)! Any hopes one places in joys that come from theft are “vain” because “power belongs to God” (Psa. 62:10-11). The Holy Spirit says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay” (Psa. 37:21a). So, even when society may sympathize with some types of stealing, the thief will be called to account for his actions (Prov. 6:30-31). Ultimately, taking what doesn’t belong to us does not bring satisfaction. The wise man wrote, “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Prov. 20:17).

Cheating. The test is hard, so you glance over at your friend’s paper. An essay is due at school so you find (or buy) one someone else wrote and put your name on it. You’re weighing produce at the grocery store and you lift the scale just a little to lower the price. You notice that the salesmen forgot to charge you for that extra feature on your bill, but you remain silent. Your employees are entitled to some special benefit, but you don’t mention it to them. It’s time to figure your taxes but you don’t declare some income, or take deductions that aren’t allowed—then smile, sing, pray, and worship God acting as if everything is fine!

God has always condemned cheating. In the Law of Moses, He commanded:

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deut. 25:13-16).

We should note this behavior is considered unrighteous and the Lord views it as “an abomination.” The wise man echoes this, writing, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight” (Prov. 11:1). Do we truly want to please the Lord? Then we must do things that delight Him. In the days of Amos, the Lord rebuked those who looked forward to the conclusion of times of worship so they could make profit “by deceit.” The Lord told them—and any who would act this way—“I will never forget any of their works” (Amos 8:4-7).

Lying. A politician says one thing when speaking to a particular audience, but the exact opposite when speaking to another. Someone needs our help and we quickly say, “Sure, I can help,” but we never follow through. A man and woman stand up before God and witnesses and promise to be faithful to each other “until death do us part.” Then, as the years and common interests grow further apart, they go their separate ways forsaking their word, their families, and their covenant before God.

A “false witness” is among those things the Lord “hates” (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Prov 12:22). The deceitful tongue is “a deadly arrow” as it speaks “peace” to one’s neighbor while plotting to do him harm (Jer. 9:8).  Jesus called His disciples to a level of honesty that did not consider some statements binding and others not. He prohibited swearing (Jas. 5:12) and taught them to let their “‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’” and their “‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matt. 5:37). The Christian must recognize, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10, ESV).

Called to Better Things

In the text we noted earlier, Zechariah told the exiles who were striving to restore their relationship with the Lord to, “speak each man the truth to his neighbor,” not to “think evil in your heart against your neighbor” and not to “love a false oath” (Zech. 8:14-17, NKJV). Disciples of Christ, in a similar light, are told to recognize the high standard of conduct to which children of the King of Heaven are called. Paul wrote, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col. 3:9-10).

The heart that lies and practices deceit does not imitate the behavior of its Creator—it seeks to take advantage of its neighbor. The wise man prayed, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me” (Prov. 30:8a). This should be the prayer of the Christian! The heart that would cheat and steal to gain profit cares nothing for the loss it imposes upon its neighbor. It ignores the command of its God and shows ingratitude for all He has already provided. The wise man continues, “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Prov. 30:8b-9).

The Israelite who had stolen from his neighbor was commanded to make restitution greater than the value of the item taken. An ox was to be restored fivefold and the sheep fourfold (Exod. 22:1). This recognized the harm inflicted upon the one who suffered the loss and the value it would have brought to him during its absence. In Christ, we are taught, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Eph. 4:28). Honest work must replace dishonest gain, and a concern for the needs of others must replace a desire to gain advantage over them. The one who “loves and practices a lie” will be excluded from eternal life with God (Rev. 22:15). That tells us the  importance of maintaining honest behavior. We are not talking about things that have only temporary consequences—“The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Prov. 12:19).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 36 (September 6, 2020).
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“I Am Offended”

Frank Himmel

It is common these days to hear someone say he is offended. Dictionary.com lists as the first meaning of offend, “to irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in.” In other words, “I am offended” means “I don’t like it!”

It seems timely to remind us all that when the Bible speaks of someone being offended it means something far more serious than displeasure, even severe displeasure. The New Testament word translated offend or offence refers to causing another to sin. It is the word for the stick in a trap, hence it means to ensnare. It is often rendered stumble.

Christians are not to be offensive, either to the world or to each other (1 Corinthians 10:32). Of course, simply being a Christian is irritating to some, as is preaching the gospel! We can’t do much about that. But we can live in such a way as to be lights in the world, careful enough about our example that we avoid even questionable conduct—conduct which might encourage another to do what is wrong.

— Via Pathlights, June 28, 2020
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-3-

When Did Men Begin to Believe in the Inspiration of the New Testament?

Greg Gwin

Some skeptics claim that there was a gradual evolving of thought concerning the Scripture – that only after a long period did these writings come to be regarded as an authoritative source. That simply is not true.

When the inspired men of the first century wrote, the product of their work was immediately acknowledged and accepted by those in the church. They “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) and they received those teachings “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). These writings were “Scripture” before the ink had dried. (The word “Scripture” is used about 50 times in the New Testament and always refers to the written record of the will of God. Thus, the word “Scripture” can be accurately applied to the things found in both the Old and New Testaments.)

Certainly there was a gradual process of spreading and distributing these writings around the world (Colossians 4:16). Ultimately there was a compiling of these works into one book. (There is some evidence that compilations of the various books that make up our New Testament began as early as 115 A.D. – perhaps only a few years after the death of the last apostle). But the actual writings were regarded as Scripture immediately. Paul (writing in about 65 A.D.) quotes Luke’s gospel and refers to it as Scripture (see 1 Timothy 5:18 and Luke 10:7). Peter (in 66 A.D.) mentions Paul’s writings and calls them Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).

We know that the inspired writings of the first century were widely circulated among Christians of that time (see Col. 4:16 and 1 Thess. 5:27). It is clear that those earliest Christians held the sacred writings in highest esteem and regarded them as the basis of their religious authority.

– Via The Beacon, June 21, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Shirley Griffin Crews (the mother of Rebecca Rittenhouse) who passed away Monday.  Let us be keeping in prayer all of her loved ones.

Harris Lefort had fallen from his roof a couple weeks ago that resulted in a concussion and a broken heel.  Fortunately, his neighbor saw him fall that Saturday morning and called for help that soon had him in the hospital.  He woke up the following afternoon and had surgery on his heel several days later.  He now sounds very well and is in no pain, but will have to stay off his feet for 6 to 8 weeks and is using a wheelchair in the meanwhile. 

Deborah Medlock received a good report from her doctor last week. She will not need chemo; and her bones are strong, though she is now taking a Vitamin D supplement and will find out this week when her recommended radiation treatments will begin.

James Medlock, in the nursing home, has been having trouble for some time with one of his toes, due to poor circulation; which they began looking into recently.

Others to also be praying for: Max Beach, Elaine Abbott, Judy Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, Jim & Martha Lively, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Tim Kirkland, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Cameron Haney, and Ginger Ann Montero.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30). (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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