Month: June 2015

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) The Roman Catholic Church (Earl Kimbrough)
2) Escape Without Freedom (Joe R. Price)
3) John 3:5-7 (NASB)
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The Roman Catholic Church

Earl Kimbrough

The Roman Catholic church  is the most powerful religious organization in the Western World. It claims a world membership of more than 566 million out of a total “Christian” world population of some 985 million.

The church is a force to be reckoned with in national and world politics. Her aim is to rule through political means; and she possesses the machinery for exerting political influence even in those nations  wherein she is in the minority, as in the United States. Because of her great power she is able not only to wield tremendous pressure in advancing her religious views in the political arena but also in holding sway over the millions who are under her domination. Where did this great organization come from? By what authority does it function? How does it carry out its will upon its adherents and in the nations of the world?

1. The Origin of the Roman Catholic Church  

While the Catholic Church claims to be the one true  apostolic church of the New Testament, a careful study of the inspired  writings of the first century reveal  nothing about such an organization in that period. We must look this side of the New Testament to find the beginnings of Catholicism. The first century church in Rome was nothing more than a local congregation of Christians (or perhaps several local congregations existed there) with no claim for oversight of Christians beyond the congregation itself. During the apostasy that followed in the early centuries of the present era, the church at Rome became one of the great patriarchal churches that dominated large segments of the “Christian” world. Due to various circumstances of history (the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the dominance of the Eastern Emperors over the patriarchs of Constantinople, etc.) the patriarchs of Rome came to exert greater power and to claim universal oversight of the whole church. This led to the claim that the Roman patriarch was the head of the church and the vicar of Christ on earth.

Not all people accepted the pope’s assumptions of headship. A great struggle for power arose between the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople. This eventually resulted in a permanent rupture between the Eastern and Western churches. But the pope held his power in the West and the Roman Catholic Church emerged into the world organization it is today.

According to Roman Catholic teaching there can be no Roman Catholic Church without a pope. “The (Roman Catholic) Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the Holy Father, the Pope” (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, p. 12). But the first man in history to actually exert power in anything like universal dominion was Gregory the Great (590-604 A.D.). Even this powerful churchman “with shrewd humility” refused to be called Ecumenical Bishop. For nearly 500 years there was  no pope. The idea that the Bishop of Rome should have authority over the whole church was a slow growth in the apostasy. It was bitterly fought at every step and  as never universally accepted. Since there could be no Roman Catholic Church without a pope and there was no pope prior to 590 A.D., it is obvious that the Roman Catholic Church is the product of apostasy and is not the New Testament  church.

2. The Organization of the Roman Catholic Church

The government of the Roman Catholic Church is hierarchal and absolute. A hierarchy is “a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks each subordinate to the one above it.” In the structure of the Roman church the pope stands at the top of the hierarchy. He is believed by Catholics to be “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, and ‘the visible’ Head of the Roman Catholic Church.” His authority is supreme in all matters of faith and morals as head of  the church. The “College of Cardinals” elects the pope, serve as his advisers, and hold authority over the church between popes. Most of the cardinals reside in Rome. The Roman Curia is the administrative arm of the church, and it is through this bureaucracy the pope governs world-wide Catholicism.

Next in the hierarchy, in descending rank, are archbishops, bishops and priests. The archbishop is spiritual ruler of an archdiocese made up of several dioceses. Bishops rule over dioceses as their territorial jurisdiction. And under the bishops are the parish priests. A parish is the ecclesiastical unit of area committed to one pastor. All members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy are ordained priests. In addition to the regular ranks of the hierarchy, the Roman Catholic clergy includes other priests, monks, deacons, subdeacons, and the whole army of “Orders of Congregations.”  The latter are of two kinds: monastic orders and the religious congregations of priests and various brotherhoods and sisterhoods, such as the Jesuits, Franciscans, etc.

3. The Role Authority of  Catholicism.

The Roman Catholic Church’s faith and doctrine is founded upon “that deposit of faith given to it by Christ and through his apostles, sustained by the Bible and by tradition.” While Catholics make use of certain passages in the Bible in an effort to justify their peculiar doctrines, they make no claim to follow the teaching of the Word of God. In addition to the Bible they have added what they call “Divine Tradition.” They say: “Not all truths revealed for us by God are found in the Bible; some are found only in Divine Tradition. By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His apostles, which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing, principally by the Fathers of the Church. Divine Tradition must be believed as firmly as the Bible because it also contains the word of God” (Ibid., p. 44).

The Bible teaches that the New Testament is the complete and final revelation of God’s will for all time to come. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16,17). We are forbidden to go beyond the revealed will of Christ and are without God if we do (2 John 9,10). That which Catholics call “Divine Tradition” is nothing more than the doctrines and commandments of men which Jesus said makes our religion vain (Matt. 15:8,9).

The Roman Catholic Church did not begin in the first century; it began in the apostasy that followed the first century. Its organizational structure is completely foreign to what we read about the church of Christ in the first century. It does not even claim to follow the New Testament as its sole authority in religion. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church can in no sense be the church Christ established on Pentecost in A.D. 33.

— Via The Gospel Guide, July 2010, Volume 41, Number 7
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Escape Without Freedom

Joe R. Price

Two convicted murderers escaped from a maximum security prison in New York state last weekend. It was an elaborate escape that took a much planning and evidently help on the inside. At this writing they have been on the lam for about six days. Although they escaped from prison, one would be hard pressed to say they are free. It appears at the moment they may be in a thickly wooded area trying to evade capture while being hunted by over 500 law enforcement agents (“Search for escaped killers focuses on wooded area near New York prison,” J. Freedom du Lac and Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post).

This serves as a reminder that sin promises freedom and liberty, but in truth it enslaves everyone who chooses to indulge its lustful passions and futile promises. Peter observed this principle and applied it to false prophets whose sinful teaching seduces people to follow error: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Pet. 2:19).

Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jno. 8:34). Yet, the world views sinful activities as an “escape” from life’s monotonous routine. Yet, sin never delivers what it promises. Drugs and alcohol, pornography, fornication, lewd, irreverent behavior, and gambling are just some of the so-called escapes offered by the world and indulged in by the worldly-minded (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Col. 3:5-10). The momentary escape sin offers invariably makes life harder; not to mention the spiritual ruin it causes (Rom. 6:23). But, that is never mentioned during the sinful escape; afterwards it becomes evident.

Jesus gives real freedom from the prison of sin: “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jno. 8:36). The release from sin that Christ gives is obtained by obeying His gospel: “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). The gospel is the only successful escape from sin.

— via The Spirit’s Sword, June 14, 2015, Volume 17, Number 49
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John 3:5-7

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again'” (NASB).
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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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (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; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday
services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday:
7 PM (Bible class)
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)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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).
——————–

1) The Nature of the Word of God (Joe R. Price)
2) That Familiar Ring of Truth (Bill Hall)
3) John 1:1-3, 14 (NASB)
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https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/bible.jpg

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The Nature of the Word of God

Joe R. Price

While contemplating God and His word, the psalmist observed, “Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments… Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it” (Psa. 119:137, 140). Since God is righteous, we fully expect His word to also be righteous. We are not disappointed. We marvel at the harmony of God’s word. We trust its power to save souls and transform lives. We are dismayed at those who choose to dishonor God by dishonoring His word.

Many religious people discount the credibility of the Bible and discredit the Scriptures as the only authoritative, binding standard for faith and practice. They appeal to “church tradition,” to “new revelation” or to “personal testimony” while rejecting the Bible as the very word of God. The apostles of Jesus preached the “word of God” and not the “word of men” (1 Ths. 2:13). The Spirit of God gave the apostles the very words to speak and write (Matt. 10:19-20; 1 Cor. 14:37). To relegate the Bible to human origin either displays a lack of knowledge or a willful rejection of the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).

Others, wanting to deflect the validity of the apostles’ teachings, say there is a big difference between the words of Jesus and the words of His apostles. We hear the uninformed say things like, “Jesus didn’t say it, just Paul (Peter, John, etc.)”. Yet, Jesus told His apostles, “He who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (Jno. 13:20). Jesus sent His apostles into the world to preach His gospel (Mk. 16:15-20). The apostles spoke and then wrote “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). We cannot minimize and reject the apostles’ words without also minimizing and rejecting Jesus.

The apostle Paul said, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9). This declarative statement calls on us to preach the same gospel the apostles preached.

The teaching of Christ’s apostles and prophets about the nature of God’s word strengthens our faith and revives our love for His truth. They assure us that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Every teaching that contradicts Christ’s first century apostles and prophets indicts the purity of God and His word. Here is what they taught about the nature of the word of God.

All truth. The apostles of Christ were guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (Jno. 16:13). This is most reassuring since we are sanctified by truth (Jno. 17:17). If we only have some truth then we can only have some sanctification. But, God’s word “is truth,” and “all truth” was given to the apostles. We have all of God’s word through the apostles. We have no need for direct, personal messages from God. God has already given us “all truth” to follow. The Bible is enough.

Fully adequate. The Scriptures, because they are inspired by God, are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To “be complete” means to be adequate, filled up, sufficient. The Scriptures are adequate to supply us for “every good work” of faith, without any additional revelation (Eph. 2:10). They are our pattern for doing God’s will. The Bible is enough.

Incorruptible. The words of men fall by the wayside and are cast into the dustbin of history. But the word of God is living and powerful, vibrant to convict of sin and to convert sinners (Heb. 4:12). It is enduring, never fading away: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). When people say God’s word is no longer relevant in modern culture they expose their unwilling heart to accept and live by the living word of God. There have been and always will be different cultures on the earth, yet the incorruptible word of God applies to people of every culture (Mk. 16:15). Some say men have corrupted truth and we need the truth restored. No, men have fallen away from the truth; the truth has not fallen away (1 Tim. 4:1). The Bible is enough.

Once for all delivered. The gospel is not repeatedly delivered from heaven to earth throughout the ages. The faith was fully delivered to mankind by the first century apostles and prophets of Christ — “…once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Jesus Christ died a single time (“once”) as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10). Once was enough. Likewise, “the faith” was delivered “once” (a single time). The Bible is enough.

Full and final authority. The apostles’ teaching carries the full weight of heaven’s authority. When we accept the apostles’ teaching we are accepting Christ because He sent them into the world with His word (Jno. 13:20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 2:42). The writings of the apostles of Christ “are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). God speaks to us today “in His Son” by the words of His apostles (Heb. 1:1-2). Their word has binding authority over us (Col. 3:17). The Bible is enough.

Understandable. Amazingly, by reading what the apostles wrote we can understand what they knew about the will of God! “…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)…” (Eph. 3:3-4). It is false to say the Bible is not understandable (2 Pet. 3:16-18). We do not need a new revelation to understand the first century revelation. We need to read and learn it. The Bible is enough.

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, November 9, 2014, Volume 17, Number 24
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That Familiar Ring of Truth

Bill Hall

The preacher’s topic: “The Conversion of Saul.” But why that topic? Aren’t most of us familiar with that? Shouldn’t the preacher choose something new and more challenging? Why preach what is familiar?

1. It confirms convictions we have formed through the years. Most of us have strong beliefs concerning what a sinner needs to do to be saved, what constitutes the pattern set by the apostles for each local church, what the Lord wants of us on a daily basis, and on many other issues. When we hear sermons confirming these convictions, it builds our confidence that we are indeed doing the Lord’s will and strengthens our hope of eternal life.

2. It conforms our teaching to the example of the apostles. Peter wrote that he was reminding his readers of certain things, that he would continue to do so, and that he would see to it that they would continue to “have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15). Peter knew that Christians need to hear the truth — familiar truth — again and again.

3. It builds convictions in those who are young and those who are new in the faith. There are reasons why we who have been Christians for many years are familiar with these scriptures. It is because of the preaching we have heard since our youth. Today’s young people and newer converts need this same opportunity.

4. It thrills listeners to hear again that which has brought joy to them in the past. A sports fan views a rerun of an exciting game his team has won. He knows exactly the moment when the running back scoots through the defense and scores a touchdown. He knows when that moment is near, and he can’t wait to see it again. It never gets old to him. So it is when we love the scriptures. We rejoice to hear the message. It never grows old. We anticipate certain scriptures and points that are about to be presented. We never tire of the old, old story.

Catherine Hankey said it this way:

I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest;
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

Our purpose is not “to tell or to hear some new thing,” as seems to be the trend. Our purpose is to preach truth. If we are bored with that message, something is wrong with us spiritually. If we need to apologize anytime we preach it, something is wrong with our audience. The ring of truth! The familiar ring of truth! Preach it, Brother! We thank God for the joy of hearing it again and again.

— Via The Beacon, June 2, 2015
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John 1:1-3, 14

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (NASB).
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (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; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday
services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday:
7 PM (Bible class)
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)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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) Witchcraft and Wizardry (R.J. Evans)
2) It Needs No Change (Greg Gwin)
3) Patience (Mike Johnson)
4) Do You Understand? Will You Obey? (selected)
5) And the Dust Went Boom (Bryan Matthew Dockens)
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Witchcraft and Wizardry

R.J. Evans

In the United States alone an estimated 10 million people are convinced that their future is written in the stars.  Horoscopes are published in over 1,200 newspapers daily across this country.  Occult books have become best sellers.  Back in the ’60s when TV shows such as “Bewitched” were introduced, people started looking upon witchcraft in a favorable light.  The explosion has continued, especially with the Harry Potter books and movies.  There are an estimated 60,000 presently claiming to be witches in  America.  Twenty five years ago, many things of this nature were laughed at; today they are taken seriously.

Fortune tellers, diviners, wizards, sorcerers, witches, and mediums can all be classified under “witchcraft” (“sorcery” in N.T.). Deuteronomy 18:9-14 lists various evil means of attempting to tell the future, cast spells, consult the dead, etc.  Witchcraft is strongly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments (Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:9-14; Isa. 44:25; 8:19-22; Gal. 5:19-21; Acts 8:14- 25;  13:4-12; 19:18-19).  Under the Law of Moses, a witch or sorceress was to be put to death–“You shall not permit a sorceress to live” (Ex. 22:18).

God has always revealed His will to man throughout all the years.  In the Old Testament it was by and through His prophets (Deut. 18:20-22; Ezek. 3:4).  Today He speaks to us through His Son, via  His inspired Word (Matt. 17:5; Lk. 10:22; Acts 3:19-23; Heb. 1:1-4).  Those who practice witchcraft exalt themselves in such a manner as to claim for themselves powers and attributes of deity.  They claim such powers as the power to bless or curse, the power to tell the future, and the power to do wonders and miracles.  Witchcraft could not save the Israelites (Isa. 47:10-15).  In fact, according to Isaiah 46:8-11, they were told that only God knew what was in the future.  Thus, we can understand why God refers to the evil practice of witchcraft as “abominations” (Deut. 18:9, 12).

Everything that the God of Heaven has done and has said is good and genuine.  But with Satan it is just the opposite, for he is an evil counterfeiter.  God has ministers, but so does Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15).  God has His angels, but so does Satan (2 Cor. 11:14).  God has worked miracles, and Satan has his lying wonders (2 Thes. 2:9).

Divine miracles were to confirm the Word (Mk. 16:17- 21).  The Word has been confirmed, therefore, miracles have ceased (1 Cor. 13).  Hence, if today’s fortune tellers, witches and wizards have any powers, they are of the devil, and certainly not of God (2 Thes. 2:3-12).  Always remember that Satan is in the lying and deceiving business, for that is what he is–a liar and a deceiver.  Jesus said that when the devil “speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).  (See also 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 12:9.)

Satan’s forces are at work today, and it’s no surprise that we see evidence of his lying wonders all about us (2 Thes. 2; Rev. 16:13-14; Eph. 6:12).  However, we must not be deceived by the deceptions of the devil, but rather recognize them and their source.  Put your trust, confidence and faith in God and His Word, not in the devil’s witchcraft and wizardry.

“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!”  (Isa. 5:20)

— Via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, 2005
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It Needs No Change

Greg Gwin

The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States have long been praised for their wisdom and foresight. The words they penned have served as the basis for the laws of this land for over 200 years, and have needed relatively few changes or additions. This is indeed remarkable when we view the governments and laws of most other nations in a constant state of change.

Far more amazing than this, is the law of Christ. Written nearly 2000 years ago, it continues today to provide us with “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). It is a “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). No change has ever been, or ever will be needed in it. Its own pages contain warnings to those who would attempt to alter its commands (Galatians 1:8,9; 2 John 9,10; Revelation 22:18,19). Let us learn to appreciate the beauty and perfection of God’s word, and strive to live and worship according to its precepts.
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Patience

Mike Johnson

The term “patience” occurs frequently in the Bible.  Patience is a difficult lesson to learn in the age that we live in, yet, it is a trait that Christians must have.  The church at Ephesus, for example, was commended for their patience (Rev. 2:2-3).  Hebrews 12:1 says that Christians are to “run with patience” the race that is set before them;  II Peter 1:6 says that patience must be added to the Christian’s faith.

What is patience?  Patience might simply be called “enduring under trials or tribulations.”  Thayer, in his Greek Lexicon (p. 644), says that in the New Testament it is, “…the characteristic of a man who is unswerved  from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

Patience is very similar to “longsuffering,” but a distinction between the two words can be made.  Patience generally refers to an enduring with respect to situations or circumstances.  Longsuffering, on the other hand, is more of an endurance, or the quality of self-restraint, with respect to people.  Patience involves difficult circumstances; longsuffering involves difficult people.  If a person is longsuffering, for example, towards another, he will not retaliate when provoked.  Also, a person facing trials and tribulations will patiently continue to serve God.

Patience comes by the trying of our faith (Jas. 1:3) and by tribulation (Rom. 5:3-5).

— Via Biblelist, February 20, 2015
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Do You Understand? Will You Obey?

Mark Twain, an unbeliever, said about the Bible, “It’s not what I don’t understand about it that bothers me — it’s what I do understand that is the problem!” Although he apparently never did anything about those fears, his observation was absolutely accurate.

Someone else observed: “You may not understand all you read in the Bible, but you can obey what you do understand.” That statement is true, too.

What we’re saying here is that the Bible, while difficult to understand in a few places, really has a very simple story to tell. It teaches us about God in a down-to-earth, easy to digest sort of way. Its commands are explained so that a person with little or no formal education can still comprehend and comply. Simply put, you can know and obey the will of God.  The only remaining question is: Will you do it?

— Selected (Via The Beacon, June 9, 2015)
——————–

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And the Dust Went Boom

Bryan Matthew Dockens

More than all else, the subject undermining atheism is origins.  Removing God from their worldview, unbelievers are left with a laughably inadequate explanation for how the universe and its vast contents came into being.

Whereas the faithful believe that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), the disbelieving insist: In the beginning was dust and the dust went boom.

Besides the obvious inability to explain how order arose from chaos, which is totally unknown in observable science, the principal failure of the Big Bang theorist is to account for where all the cosmic dust that supposedly exploded came from.

They assign to mere matter the divine quality of eternal self-existence.  The Christian has no problem ascribing to God Almighty such obvious deification; it is simple and fair to perceive a single ancient consciousness as the source of all other existence.  In contrast, it is utterly absurd to regard mindless matter as self-originating, that non-sentient stuff brought itself into being.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1).

— Via Biblelist, April 5, 2015
——————–

Luke 24:25-27

“And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (NASB).
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (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; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday
services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday:
7 PM (Bible class)
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)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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) Worldliness (Gary Henry)
2) Necessary Implications (Ronny E. Hinds)
3) Did You Know?… (Roger Shouse)
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-1-

Worldliness

Gary Henry

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18,19).

WORLDLINESS IS THE SIN OF BEING SO WEDDED TO THIS WORLD THAT WE PAY TOO LITTLE ATTENTION TO THE WORLD TO COME. It means being preoccupied with temporal matters to such an extent that spiritual concerns are crowded out of our thinking. To fellow Christians, Paul wrote, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). This is not easy to do, given the strong pull that this world can have on our hearts. If we’re not careful, worldliness will “choke” God’s word and cause it to be “unfruitful” as far as we are concerned.

When some people think of worldliness they think of sins which violate the tradition of conservative social values, particularly those of the Victorian era. When preachers inveigh against worldliness, for example, they often have in mind things like drinking, gambling, and the wearing of immodest clothing. But there is more to worldliness than this. Certainly any outward action which violates the principles of godliness and purity is sinful, and we’re in a dangerous position if we think we’re so much more enlightened than our grandparents that we don’t have to be concerned about such things. But worldliness is a problem of the heart. It afflicts all who are moved primarily by worldly motives, perhaps even the preacher who takes a condescending attitude toward “sinners.” Despite outward appearances, the drunkard and the prostitute may be closer to the kingdom of heaven than some others. In truth, their hearts may not be tied as tightly to this world as those of their more “respectable” contemporaries!

In the parable of the rich fool, God said to a certain prosperous man, no doubt a good fellow in many ways and one whose life might even be called admirable, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20). And Jesus concluded this worldly man’s story by saying, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

“Worldliness is excluding God from our lives and, therefore, consciously or unconsciously accepting the values of a man-centered society” (Erwin W. Lutzer).

— via WordPoints, June 6, 2015
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Necessary Implications

Ronny E. Hinds

All the Bible teaches or authorizes for us to be and do is said either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit means, “fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing merely implied.” Implicit means, “implied, rather than expressly stated.” A related word to implicit is implication. It means, “something implied or suggested as naturally to be inferred or understood.”

In interpreting the Bible, people have always had difficulties with implications because they are not something spoken directly. They require some additional thinking on our part. Implications require us to consider the facts and understand the necessary conclusions/implications those facts require. The two words of major importance in that last sentence are “require” and “necessary.” I am not talking about any inference or thought we might generally or casually infer, but what God has specifically implied. There is a vast difference between those two ideas. God’s implications are bound upon us because God has placed them in His Word. We are not, I repeat, we are not dealing with human wisdom/reasoning/ideas, but with God’s implications.

It is said by some brethren that implications are valid and binding on Christians no further than “they” perceive them to be so. To do otherwise, they say, is to cause faith to stand on human wisdom. I beg to differ! Actually, they have it backwards! Limiting Bible instructions to human perceptions is to allow human wisdom to rule!!

Consider this example of Jesus’ verbal interaction with the Sadducees. In reading Matthew 22:23-33, Jesus answers the Sadducees’ question about a future resurrection by telling them “Ye do err” (KJV); or, the NIV says, “You are in error.” Clearly, Jesus says their thinking was wrong. Why? Because they had failed to understand the implication of Exodus 3:6 as God speaks of Himself being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the “present tense” — at that moment — although they had been dead for many years when Exodus 3:6 was spoken. So, Jesus argues, how could they reject the spirit’s immortality (as the Sadducees believed)? Clearly, Jesus held the Sadducees accountable for not recognizing (perceiving) the implication of Exodus 3:6.  Consider another verbal exchange Jesus has with some of John’s disciples (Matthew 11:2-6). Jesus is asked the question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Note the question could be easily answered with a “yes” or “no”; but that is not how He answers it. Instead, Jesus says, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see….” Then He refers to the various miracles He was performing along with His preaching the gospel. The question is not answered explicitly, but implicitly with the miracles He performed and the words He spoke — all “necessarily implying” that He was indeed “the Coming One.” Obviously, Jesus expected both John and his disciples to understand this.

Here is another example of necessary implication in which the Scripture itself draws the implication for us. Read Ephesians 4:8-10. Verse 8 quotes Psalm 68:18 which is a prophetic reference to Jesus’ ascension. Then verse 9 comments on it saying “Now this ‘He ascended’ — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?”  Before Jesus could ascend He had to descend (from heaven to earth and death/burial), although that is not explicitly stated. Note the phrase “what does it mean” identifies the implication.

Let me suggest three things that are important to keep in mind about necessary implications. (1) They must be necessary, inescapable, logical conclusions, drawn from the facts given. (2) The speaker or writer creates the necessary conclusion(s) by the facts given. Not just any inference “we” may conclude is right. (3) This reasoning (necessary implications) is not just some special kind of reasoning reserved for the Bible. It is something we do in everyday communication. If I told you to trim the trees in my backyard I “necessarily imply” you will need a saw, etc., to trim the trees. If I asked you to bake a cake my words “necessarily imply” you must have the ingredients and knowledge of how to do so. This is not rocket science; it is everyday communication.  Long ago it was said, “The language of the Bible is the language of men; therefore, the same rules we use to understand any other book should be used to understand the Bible.”

The point of all this is to scripturally affirm, implicit teaching is just as authoritative as explicit!!

— Via the Monthly Messenger of the Knollwood church of Christ, Beavercreek, Ohio, for June 2015
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Did You Know?…

That the apostles never used food, games or social activities to draw a crowd so they could preach to them?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the social programs are so extensive that a social director or a “youth minister” must be hired to oversee the social planning.

Although schools existed in the first century, and the apostle Paul even taught in one for 2 years (Acts 19:9,10), no churches ever supported them financially?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the financial supporting of “Christian schools” or “Colleges” is a regular part of the budget.

That the apostle Paul illustrated many of his epistles with analogies from sporting events (1 Cor. 9:24,25). Yet no church sponsored or had sporting teams?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the sporting activities are so much a part of the work that full scale gyms have been built.

If these things mentioned above were not a part of the early church and we do not find them in the Bible, WHY are churches doing them today?  And who gave them the RIGHT to do it? These things ought not to be!  “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).

— by Roger Shouse (via The Beacon, May 12, 2015)
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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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (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; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (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
Sunday
services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday:
7 PM (Bible class)
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)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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