Month: August 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) “For Now We See in a Mirror Dimly” (Tom Edwards)
2) Design and the Designer (Greg Gwin)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/dark_portrait.jpg

-1-

“For Now We See in a Mirror Dimly”

Tom Edwards

In writing in the time prior to the completed New Testament, Paul declares, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

Though some individuals might interpret this to indicate that one can never see all things clearly while here on earth, but only in heaven, yet is that what this passage is really saying?

In the days that Paul wrote this, mirrors were not like what we are familiar with today.  Rather, they were merely a polished metal that would dimly reflect an image.

Going back many centuries before Paul’s time, those mirrors mentioned in Exodus 38:8, for example, had been made of bronze.  And in this passage, women had been donating theirs to be used in making the laver, which would be for washing by the priests, between the tent of meeting and the altar (Exod. 30:18).

According to the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, “The first mirrors known among men were the clear fountain and unruffled lake. The first artificial ones were made of polished brass, afterwards of steel, and when luxury increased, of silver; but at a very early period, they were made of a mixed metal, particularly of tin and copper, the best of which, as Pliny informs us, were formerly manufactured at Brundusium” (which is now known as Brindisi, a natural seaport in the “heel” of southeast Italy).

In Job 37:18, Elihu questions Job: “Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, strong as a molten mirror?”  Or, as some other versions render this last part, “…hard as a mirror of cast bronze” (NIV), “…strong as a cast metal mirror” (NKJV), and “…hard as polished metal” (GNB).

And so Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that having only a partial or incomplete revelation from God is like seeing an image only dimly, instead of getting the complete, clear picture.  But when God’s divinely inspired word would be given in its entirety, then it would be as plain as seeing “face to face,” which is the contrasting phrase Paul uses to seeing “in a mirror dimly.”  In addition, Paul also likens the mirror to knowing only “in part,” and seeing “face to face” is paralleled to knowing “fully.”

So let us note, too, that this seeing “face to face” or knowing “fully” was to happen here on earth, and attained through the complete knowledge of God’s word, which is recorded in the New Testament.

This can be compared to Ephesians 4:11-13, where Paul states: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.”

Again, some folks would view this as being able to be fulfilled only in heaven where everyone will be perfectly mature and in perfect unity.  But look what Paul goes on to say in the very next verse as to the purpose for why these men were given to help the church grow: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (v. 14).

So if that maturity and unity can be attained only in heaven, then what are those men doing there, in that beautiful place of God’s abode, who are given to trickery, craftiness, and deceitful scheming to lead folks away from the truth by every wind of false doctrine?  That most definitely won’t be going on in heaven, so it must be something taking place while here on earth; and where we, therefore, see the need to grow in the knowledge of God’s word so that we might remain on that right path and not be led astray from it.

We noted above that one of the purposes for the saints being equipped for the work of service and built up in the body of Christ is that each would become a “mature man”; and, of course, it is through the knowledge of the Scriptures that that is possible.  In Hebrews 5:12-14, the Hebrew writer reproves his readership for failing to have acquired a good knowledge of “the word of righteousness.” Here, he also indicates that having attained that knowledge would not have been an impossibility for them.  For he says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.”  And now notice what he goes on to say, in defining what a “mature” Christian really is: “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14) — and that discernment comes through a knowledge of God’s word.   Yes, attaining to that maturity, that discernment, is to be true of each of us while here on earth.

In the completed New Testament, we today have the “perfect law of liberty” (Jms. 1:15), “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3), and “so that the man of God may be adequate [perfect, KJV], equipped [furnished completely, ASV] for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).

So the “perfect” of 1 Corinthians 13:10 is the New Testament in its entirety that has been “once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3).  And with that, man is no longer limited to just a dim, dark, or partial view; but can now see as clearly as viewing someone face to face.  As Paul declares, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away” (1 Cor. 13:9,10).

Though some believe the “perfect” to be referring to Christ, the perfect is actually the totality of the “in part” (KJV) or the “partial” (NASB) of the same verse.  In other words, when the complete revelation would be given, the miraculous gifts (which had been revealing the word “in part” or partially at a time) would cease, as Paul also speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:8: “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”  Prophecy, tongues, and the word of knowledge were just three of the miraculous gifts; but the ceasing of them would also be true of the other gifts as well.

Miraculous gifts were for the church in its infancy.  They were greatly needed then.  For man was without the completed New Testament to turn to.  Therefore, six of those nine spiritual gifts, which the Holy Spirit had given as He willed (1 Cor. 12:11), provided them with the knowledge of God’s word to grow thereby, which were “the word of wisdom,” “the word of knowledge,” “prophecy,” “distinguishing of spirits,” “various kinds of tongues,” and the “interpretation of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:8-10).  And, in this same passage, we also read of the three other spiritual gifts that had been given to confirm by miraculous signs those messages from God (cf. Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3,4), which were “faith” (a miraculous kind), “gifts of healing,” and “the effecting of miracles.”

And we need to also point out that it was not the gifts in themselves that produced spiritual maturity — as evidenced by the Corinthians who abounded in miraculous gifts (1 Cor. 1:7), but were still “infants in Christ,” “fleshly,” and characterized with “jealousy” and “strife” (1 Cor. 3:1-3).  Paul’s letter to them (1 Corinthians) makes mention of many spiritual problems the Corinthians had that he strives to correct them of.

So what people need today is simply God’s truth as found in the gospel.  For, as we saw, it contains “everything pertaining to life and godliness” by which we may be spiritually mature (2 Pet. 1:3) and built up in the faith (cf. Acts 20:32).

Paul also shows that after the miraculous gifts would have ceased, faith, hope, and love would still continue  (1 Cor. 13:13).  This, however, conflicts with the wrong belief that many have today that the miraculous gifts are to continue throughout time.  For if that be the case, then faith and hope will have to also be continuing in heaven.  “…but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom. 8:24,25).  And “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not see” (Heb. 11:1).  We now hope for heaven and have faith that it is; but once there, what will happen to that hope and faith?

So now with the completed revelation of the gospel, we can see as if “face to face” — rather than merely a dim reflection on a polished piece of metal. May we each, therefore, continue to look into God’s illuminating word that we may clearly see those things He wants us to know; and faithfully respond to that which He would have us to do.
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/hummingbird.jpg

-2-

Design and the Designer

Greg Gwin

The Journal of the American Medical Association give this interesting report: “The hummingbird is the smallest bird on earth — some species weigh no more than a dime. It has the highest rate of metabolism (at rest, about 50 times faster than man’s) and thus must consume enormous amounts of nectar to avoid starvation. Not adapted for night feeding, it must stretch its food stores from dusk to dawn. To accomplish this, nature has equipped the hummingbird with a unique energy-saving design: the ability to hibernate overnight.  During the night, the hummingbird’s metabolic rate is only one-fifteenth as rapid as in the daytime, and its body temperature drops to that of the surrounding air. The bird becomes torpid, scarcely able to move. When it does stir, it moves as though congealed. By daybreak, the hummingbird’s body spontaneously resumes its normal temperature and high metabolic rate, ready once again to dart off in search of food.”

The physical world is literally full of amazing examples of design which the atheist and evolutionist cannot explain. The simple case of the hummingbird is a case in point.  Just how did this incredible little creature develop its unique characteristics which allow it to function so well in this world? Could this have happened by chance? And if it came about by gradual evolution, how did the hummingbird survive over millions of years while this awesome metabolic regulator was evolving? This one simple example is sufficient to illustrate the overwhelming difficulties of the theory of evolution.

What we’re saying here is that when we see obvious design in anything — a car, a house, or a hummingbird — that design necessarily implies that there is a designer. In the case of the hummingbird (and all the rest of physical nature) the designer is Almighty God. “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Heb. 3:4).

— Via The Beacon, July 21, 2015
——————–

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) Should a Christian Gamble? (R.J. Evans)
2) Historical & Literal (Cougan Collins)
3) The Dreaded Task (Richard Massey)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/gambling.jpg

-1-

Should a Christian Gamble?

R.J. Evans

In 1931, the state of Nevada legalized most forms of gambling.  The city of Las Vegas, in particular, became the center of gambling in the U.S.  Over the course of time, it has been referred to as “Sin City,” which is not surprising.  Now, the city has developed a marketing catchphrase —  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  Need I say more?

Since 1931, many forms of gambling have become a thriving “vice” in America, especially casinos.  At present, Nevada and Louisiana are the only states where casino-style gambling is legal statewide.  In other states, casino-style gambling is restricted to certain small geographic areas like Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Mississippi gulf coast,  or the American Indian reservations.

I have never been to a gambling casino (and I have no desire to go to one), but I have seen enough TV commercials to get an idea of what they are like.  I find it interesting what they use to lure people in — the bright lights, the glitter, entertainment, prizes, and especially the food.  The buffet-style food is a big draw. The commercials displaying colorful scenes of appealing foods give evidence of the fact that they know they can get to people’s wallets or pocketbooks through their stomachs. In these establishments, it is as if the average person is playing against a “stacked deck.”  The “odds” are always in the casino’s favor.   Games of chance are like that — if that were not so, casinos would lose so much money they would have to go out of business.  The gambling patrons win just enough to whet their appetite to keep coming back — it is always “wait till the next time — I’m going to hit it big!”  The sad part is that a good percentage of these folks are already having financial difficulties.

At this point, we raise the question of our title: Should a Christian gamble?   To gamble is “to play games of chance for money or some other stake; to bet on an uncertain outcome.” Some reason that since the word gamble is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, then it must be okay.  Of course, there are other terms not specifically mentioned in Scripture, but are still in violation of what the Bible teaches.  Words such as “rape,” “abortion,” or “suicide” would come under the category of what is considered wrong, based upon Bible teachings and principles.

In this article, let us observe some biblical principles that are violated when someone gambles, what it can lead to, and why it is a sinful vice.  Consider the following:

1. Gambling destroys the incentive to   work.  (Gen. 2:15; 3:19; Eph. 4:20; 2 Thes. 3:10; Acts 20:34-35)

2. Gambling is unjust gain.  (Prov. 28:6-8; Ezek. 22:12-13)

3. Gambling is a form of covetousness.  (Eph. 5:3; Jer. 22:13; Hab. 2:6)

4. A gambler is greedy and becomes a lover of money.  (1 Tim. 6:5-10; Col. 3:5)

5. Gambling breaks the second greatest commandment.  (Matt. 22:37-40; Rom. 13:10)

6. Gambling violates the “golden rule.”  (Matt. 7:12)

7. A gambler robs his family.  (Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:8)

8. A gambler destroys his influence for good.  (Matt. 5:13-16)

9. Gambling is a form of evil. (1 Thes. 5:22)

10. Gambling is addictive. (1 Cor. 6:12-13)

Based upon the biblical teachings mentioned above, Christians need to stand firmly against all forms of  gambling.

— Via bulletin for the Southside church of Christ (8/16/15), Gonzales, Louisiana
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/genesis.jpg

-2-

Historical & Literal

Cougan Collins

Those who attack the authenticity of what the Bible says about creation will say that Genesis 1-11 is mythology. In other words, they say it did not really happen and it is nothing more than a fairy tale. They understand if they can convince people that it is mythology, they can destroy the credibility of the Bible and promote their man-made teaching of evolution with its billions of years.

Let’s see what the Bible says. In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus quotes from Genesis 1 & 2 as being true.  In John 8:44, Jesus called Satan the “father of lies” referring back to Genesis 3:4.  In Matthew 23:35 Jesus spoke of Abel in Genesis 4:2-10 as a historical person. In Matthew 24:37-38, Jesus spoke of the Flood of Noah in Genesis 6-9 as a historical event.  If Genesis 1-11 is a myth, then Jesus was mistaken in all of these instances.

In 1 Corinthians 11:8,12, Paul states that man was created first, then woman just as Genesis 2:18-23 states.  In 1 Timothy 2:13, Paul called Adam & Eve by name, and in Romans 5:14 he says “death reigned from Adam to Moses.”  In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul says, “The first man Adam became a living being.”  If Adam was only a mythological character, then everything Paul said is false.  In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul says, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted.”  I am afraid many minds have been corrupted by believing that Genesis 1-11 is nothing but a fairy tale.

The New Testament shows that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are historical and literal. In fact, there are more than 100 references in the New Testament that refer back to the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Besides this internal evidence, there is ample proof of the global flood as described by the Bible because over 100 cultures historically record a global flood. Also, the fossil record proves that every mountain on earth was covered by water. For example, marine fossils have been found high in the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range. When one begins to examine the internal and external evidence of Genesis 1-11, one will be overwhelmed with proof that the Bible is true and not mythology.

— Via The Beacon, October 28, 2014
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/lecturer.jpg

-3-

The Dreaded Task

Richard Massey

“I found the task that I had dreaded so,
Was not so difficult when once begun;
It was the dread itself that was the foe,
And dread once conquered means a victory won”
(The Dreaded Task by Margaret E. Brown).

How true is the above statement. The first time brethren asked me to teach a Bible class (it was fifth and sixth graders), I recoiled — grimly dreading even the thought. I guess the elders were hard pressed for teachers, so my arm was twisted until I finally relented. Once I got started, however, the task became such a joy that I did not want to stop. I even enjoyed decorating the classroom with my own homemade posters. I have been teaching ever since, and enjoying every minute.

It is the “getting started” that seems to be the real hurdle. If we can get past that, the rest goes easier. Is there a hurdle between you and attendance at Bible class, or attendance on Sunday nights? Is there a hurdle for you in leading a public prayer, or inviting your neighbor to church? There are precious benefits that accompany each victory we win over dread. One result is we become a fruitful and stronger Christian. Dread makes us weak and unproductive.

Are there important things that you should be doing, but because of dread you have not accomplished them? Let me encourage you to get past the dread. Look to the Lord for strength (Ephesians 6:10-11; Philippians 4:13). Lean on your brethren for support (Galatians 6:2). Remember, it is “not so difficult when once begun.”

— Via articles from La Vista church of Christ
——————–

“…I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5,6).
——————–

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) When “Best” Goes Beyond Our Understanding! (Tom Edwards)
2) Truth’s Consequences (Bill Hall)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/beyond-understanding.jpg

-1-

When “Best” Goes Beyond Our Understanding!

Tom Edwards

While praying recently, it occurred to me that, due to limited ability, the term “best,” when referring to God and His ways, does not fully describe or convey to us just how much greater God’s wisdom, His virtues, and His ways actually are. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts,” says the Lord (Isa. 55:9).

Often I have prayed for God’s will to be done, not only on earth as it is in heaven, but also everywhere else as well — in whatever the realm, whether physical or spiritual.  For His will is, and always will be, the “best.”  But, with our limited understanding, does that word adequately indicate just how much greater God’s ways are?

Though using the term “best” would be true in comparing what God does and who He is to that of humanity, yet that of God would be far greater than our comprehension of “best.”  For our everyday usage of “best” does not usually imply perfection.  For instance, if you had three apples that were going bad, but at different stages of decay, one would be the worst, two would be better than that, and one of those would be the best of all.  But, in this case, even the best would still have a little rottenness to it and probably not be one you would want to eat.

So God and His ways are not just “best” in any comparisons made with that of us; but, rather, a “best” to the greatest of all degrees and without even the slightest room nor need for improvement.

God Himself is so much greater than us that it actually goes beyond comparison.  The psalmist realized this: “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which you have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You…” (Psa. 40:5).  Job also acknowledged this superiority of God by saying, “Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number” (Job 9:10).  And, going along with this, Paul also, in his doxology, speaks of God as being One “…who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

God’s work of creation, in bringing about a vast universe with all that is in it, is certainly a manifestation of some of His greatness.  As Jeremiah declares in prayer, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jer. 32:17).  And God begins His response to Jeremiah by saying, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (v. 27).  After speaking of that which would be impossible for man, Jesus goes on to show that it would not be that way for God, “for all things are possible” with Him (Mark 10:27).  And would we not think that anyone who could simply speak a universe into existence (cf. Gen. 1), and to create that out of nothing (cf. Heb. 11:3), would definitely not have any difficulty in bringing into reality whatever else He would so desire?  For the universe was not formed by pre-existing matter; but that which was not was simply commanded to be.  Notice, if you would, all the repetitive phrases in the account of creation that precedes and shows how the various things that God had created came about: “Then God said” (Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24, and 26).  In this first verse, for example, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”  How marvelous!  Imagine if you could make a reality out of any beautiful thing you could think up by just commanding it to be!  But even if you had that ability, would you not still rather let God be the one to bless you with whatever He would so desire for all eternity?  As Jesus told His apostles, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3).  Isn’t it wonderful that it is Jesus who will prepare that place — and not just something the apostles would have to do for themselves?  For as we saw, God is a God who “…is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20). I find great comfort in that and in allowing the Lord to do whatever He desires for me.

And though we haven’t seen that spiritual realm of heaven where God dwells, we have seen some of the physical heavens that He has made and which attests to His reality and greatness (cf. Rom. 1:19,20).  As David declares, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is expressing the work of His hands” (Psa. 19:1).  Paul speaks of God’s power as being a “surpassing greatness” (Eph. 1:19), and how that is clearly seen in the creation.  For who can even come close to doing what the Lord has done — and at such a grand, astronomical scale?  The rhetorical question, “…For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD…?” (Psa. 89:5-8), must be answered in the negative of “no one.”  For whether we are talking about angels or men, how inferior we are to the Almighty God.  For if God’s greatness would be represented with infinity, then ours would be likened to nothing more than a grain of sand in comparison.  And can we not, therefore, also say that to be able to fully comprehend the totality of God’s greatness would be as impossible to us as to imagine all of infinity?  For that is something that we just cannot possibly do.  It goes beyond our mental ability.

The Lord says to His people, “To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” (Isa. 46:5).  Jeremiah’s declaration can accurately be used to answer this.  For he states, “There is none like you, O LORD: You are great, and great is Your name in might” (Jer. 10:6).

In this statement, it appears that Jeremiah did not include, in his consideration, Jesus Christ, nor the Holy Spirit — for they are exactly like God the Father when it comes to the essence of Deity and are the other two persons of the eternal Godhead who were also involved in the great work of creation (cf. Gen. 1:1 — “God” is from “Elohim,” the plural form for God; Gen. 1:26, “…’Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’”; cf. Jn. 1:1-3,14; Psa. 104:30; Matt. 28:19; Matt. 3:16,17; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Not only is God’s greatness beyond all we can fully fathom, but also that beautiful place called “heaven,” where He forever dwells, is described as being “far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).  And isn’t it wonderful to know that this same God  is “…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9) and “…to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).  To be able to enjoy forevermore that which goes beyond all we can even now conceive, certainly can make the trials of life — and whatever sacrifice that needs to be made along the way — very much worthwhile as we strive for that heavenly home (cf. 2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Jesus paved that road by His own blood, in a manner of speaking; but we have the responsibility in turning to God’s roadmap, the Gospel, to see where we pick it up at, how to stay on it and to avoid those wrong turns that we are not to make.  For that great destination is still up ahead.  We must all, therefore, hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe in the deity of Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21), which is all necessary to be forgiven and become a Christian; and then to continue in the faith as we press on for that glorious goal of heaven (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 10:36-39; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).  And heaven is not just the best, but also a “best” that goes way beyond human comprehension to the utmost degree of blissfulness in a supreme state of perfection!
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/profile-sketch.jpg

-2-

Truth’s Consequences

Bill Hall

The consequences of truth are sometimes bitter. Many a man has lost his job, or home, or friends, or life because of his stand for truth. Many a preacher has been ousted from the pulpit, having neither house nor salary, because he preached the truth. Many a person has had his name slandered and maligned because of truth. With all such people, love for truth is greater than love for comfort, security, or even life itself.

Unfortunate indeed is the man who looks ahead to evaluate the consequences of a position before evaluating the position itself. Such a man will rarely come to a knowledge of truth. His thoughts concerning “What will my wife think?” Or “Where will I preach?” Or “Won’t I be condemning my good mother to hell?” Or “How will I explain my change to good ole Brother Jones?” or “How will I support my family?” or “Everybody will think I’m crazy,” may well blind his mind to whatever evidence is at hand. The man who really demonstrates a love for truth is the man who studies every subject objectively and then lets the consequences — whether they be good or bad — take care of themselves.

Unfortunate too is the man who complains and grieves over the consequences of truth, for truth must bring joy to the heart, whatever may be its consequences. Self-pity may lead one to “sell the truth” and to profane this precious commodity. If pity is to be felt, it must be felt for that person who has never suffered the consequences of truth, for such a man has obviously loved the praises of men more than the praises of God.

No men ever felt the consequences of truth to a greater degree than did the apostles, but they faced all such consequences “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Worthy! There’s the key! The man who lets a fear of consequences dictate his position on every question never suffers, for he is not worthy to suffer. Pity him! But the person who stands for truth regardless of the consequences shall suffer, for he is worthy to suffer. Rejoice with him!

What a difference between the man who is “heaven” oriented and that one who is “this world” oriented!

— Via The Beacon, August 16, 2011
——————–

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) Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things (Jerry D. Curry)
2) 21 Reasons Why You Should Be Scripturally Baptized (Kenneth E. Thomas)
3) The Sum of God’s Word (Frank Himmel)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/ordinary-people-doing-extraordinary-things.jpg

-1-

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Jerry D. Curry

God’s people have always been called upon to take action. As Joshua made his farewell speech he exhorted Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Haggai exhorted Israel, “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house” (Haggai 1:8). Jesus, our ultimate example of a servant, says, “My meat is to do the will of Him Who sent Me” (John 4:34). Many times we are hesitant to accept difficult challenges, consequently, opportunities to render great service to God are lost. God has not always looked to great people to serve in great ways. Be encouraged to accept great challenges as we notice how God has used ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Moses was asked by God to appear before Pharaoh and demand that he let the people of God leave Egypt. As Moses contemplated this extraordinary challenge he demonstrated his ordinary character as he made the following excuses: “Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh? What shall I say unto them? But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice. I am not eloquent” (Exodus 3:4). Moses was able to rise above some ordinary traits and successfully meet the extraordinary challenges of confronting Pharaoh, leading Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness for forty years.

God spoke to Joshua and said, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them” (Joshua 1:2). After wandering with the murmuring nation of Israel for forty years, Joshua is given the extraordinary challenge of leading Israel into the Jordan and across to the promised land. Following Israel’s defeat by Ai, Joshua demonstrated an ordinary lack of trust as he stated, “O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?” (Joshua 7:7). God calms the ordinary fear of Joshua by saying, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed; take all the people of war with thee, and arise and go up to Ai; see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai” (Joshua 8:1).

David demonstrated an extraordinary faith as he went out to the battlefield and defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and small stones (See 1 Samuel 17:17-51). He is paid the extraordinary compliment in Acts 13:22 where God says of David, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.” Yet, what painfully ordinary traits were exhibited as he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in the heat of battle. Please take time to read II Samuel 11:1-17.

We could write further of 1) Esther, though afraid of death, appeared before the king to ask that Israel be spared (Esther 4:16). 2) Abraham, who left his homeland and later raised the knife to offer his son upon the altar, yet earlier lies about Sarah as he feared for his life (He- brews 11:8, 17-19; Genesis 20:9-13). Or 3) Peter, who walked on water and was with the Lord at Gethsemane, yet later cursed and denied Christ (Matthew 14:27-31; 26:69-75). May we be encouraged to accept great challenges as ordinary people striving to do extraordinary things.

— via The Sunny Hill Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 8, April 15, 2001
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/baptism-2.jpg

-2-

21 Reasons Why You Should Be Scripturally Baptized

Kenneth E. Thomas

1. Because God commands it. Acts 10:48

2. To fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15

3. To be a friend of Christ. John 15:14

4. Because you love God. I John 5:3; John 14:15

5. Lest you reject the council of God against yourself. Luke 7:30

6. To COMPLETE the “new birth.” John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5

7. To enter the kingdom. John 3:5

8. For remission of sins. Acts 2:38

9. To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

10. In order to be saved. Mark 16:16

11. To wash away your sins. Acts 22:16

12. To get into the death of Jesus where blood was shed. Romans 6:3

13. To be buried with Christ. Romans 6:4

14. To be raised with Christ. Romans 6:4; Colossians. 3:1; 2:12

15. To rise to walk in the newness of life. Romans 6:4

16. To be a child of God by faith. Galatians 3:26-27

17. To get into the body, which is the Church. I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18

18. To have a good conscience. I Peter 3:21

19. To get INTO Christ. Galatians 3:27

20. Because “baptism doth also now save us.” I Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16

21. To be “reconciled unto God in one body by the cross.” Ephesians 2:13-16

— Via Articles from  La Vista church of Christ
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/its-not-rocket-science.jpg

-3-

The Sum of God’s Word

Frank Himmel

Do you remember math class? We were taught that in multiplication the answer is call the product; in division it is called the quotient; in subtraction it is the remainder; in addition it is the sum.

Psalm 119:160 says, “The sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” The emphasis is on totality. Everything God says is right. Every one of His ordinances is binding. And the truth about any subject is determined by adding up all He says about it.

The principle of adding together all God’s revelation is vital in Bible study. It is easy to err if one teaches a conclusion before weighing everything the Scripture says on a topic. Consider a few examples:

Some folks act as though Matthew 7:1 says everything there is to be said about judging: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” They seem to think this verse prohibits any and all judgments that one might make about another. However, I Corinthians 5:12 requires churches to judge their members with reference to fellowship. Jesus Himself said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The fact is, there are a number of situations in which we must assess one’s character, position, or conduct.

If one reads Jesus’ teaching about divorce only in Mark 10:2-12 or Luke 16:18, he would conclude that divorce is not allowable for any reason. Any remarriage following a divorce would constitute adultery. Matthew’s account however, reveals one exception: divorce for fornication (Matthew 19:9).

When the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Is that all there is to it? Many think so. But when the Jews on Pentecost asked Peter the same question, He answered, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Further reading in Acts 16 implies that Paul went on to tell the jailor the same thing. Neither Acts 16:31 nor John 3:16 nor any other verse contains all that God says about salvation. The sum of God’s word is truth.

— via Gospel Power, Vol. 15, No. 25, June 22, 2008
——————–

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 articles 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) Encounters at Jericho (Mark Mayberry)
2) Preparing for the Storm (Greg Gwin)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/palm-trees-3.jpg

-1-

Encounters at Jericho

Mark Mayberry

Introduction

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary offers the following description of Jericho: It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Situated in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley (Deut. 34:1, 3) at the foot of the ascent to the Judean mountains, Jericho lies about 8 miles northwest of the site where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, some 5 miles west of the Jordan.

Since it is approximately 800 feet below sea level, Jericho has a climate that is tropical and at times is very hot. Only a few inches of rainfall are recorded at Jericho each year; but the city is a wonderful oasis, known as “the city of palm trees” (Deut. 34:3) or “the city of palms” (Judg. 3:13). Jericho flourishes with date palms, banana trees, balsams, sycamores, and henna (Song 1:14; Luke 19:4).

There have been three different Jerichos throughout its long history. Old Testament Jericho is identified with the mound of Tell esSultan, a little more than a mile from the village of er-Riha. This village is modern Jericho, located about 17 miles northeast of Jerusalem. New Testament Jericho is identified with the mounds of Tulul Abu el-‘Alayiq, about a mile west of modern Jericho and south of Old Testament Jericho.

By far the most imposing site of the three is Old Testament Jericho, a pear-shaped mound about 400 yards long, north to south, 200 yards wide at the north end, and some 70 yards high. It has been the site of numerous archaeological diggings and is a favorite stop for Holy Land tourists [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jericho”].

Old Testament

The city of Jericho, first mentioned in connection with the conquest of Canaan, symbolizes divine judgment and mercy (Num. 33:50-56; Josh. 6:1-5; Heb. 11:30).

The Faith of Rahab

The faith of Rahab was evident when she protected the spies and pledged her loyalty to the God of Israel (Josh. 2:1-24; 6:17, 22-25). Accordingly, she is praised in the New Testament as an example of obedient faith (Heb. 11:30-31; James 2:24-26).

The Faith of Israel

The faith of Israel was evident as, in obedience to the Lord’s commandment, they marched around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day (Josh. 6:2-21; Heb. 11:30-31).

The Failure of Achan

The failure of Achan occurred when, in disobedience to God’s command, he took of the spoils of Jericho, i.e., items that had been placed under ban and should have been given into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:17-19; 7:1). As a result, he brought defeat to the army of Israel (Josh. 7:2-15) and destruction upon his own house (Josh. 7:16-26).

The Folly of Hiel

After the destruction of Jericho, Joshua made all Israel take an oath, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates” (Josh. 6:26- 27). Centuries later, in the dark days of Ahab’s reign, Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho, laying its foundations with the loss of his firstborn, and setting up its gates with the loss of his youngest son (1 Kings 16:29-34).

New Testament

The Baptism of Jesus

The baptism of Jesus likely occurred in the vicinity of Jericho (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).

The Temptation of Jesus

Afterwards, our Lord was tempted by the devil in the nearby wilderness of Judea (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

The Ministry of Jesus

Herein, we focus upon Jesus’ encounters at Jericho: first, in healing the blind man/men, next, in teaching on the necessity of brotherly love, and finally, in converting a most unlikely prospect.

Giving Sight to the Blind: The Lord’s mercy and might were manifested in the healing of the blind man/men at Jericho (Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). The blind repeatedly cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Such miraculous power demonstrated that Jesus was from above (Matt. 11:2-6; John 10:19-21).

Teaching Neighborly Responsibility: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, occurring on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, Jesus makes practical application to the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-37; cf. Deut. 6:4-9; Lev. 19:18). The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes this important principle (Matt. 5:43-48; 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-15; James 2:8-9).

Seeking and Saving the Lost: The conversion of Zaccheus, chief tax collector in the district, affirms the universality of the gospel, and the necessity of our bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 19:1-10; cf. 3:7-9; 13:22-30; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Conclusion

Recognizing that 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, let us learn from these examples, emulating the faith of Israel and Rahab, avoiding the failure of Achan and the folly of Hiel (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11).

May we also benefit from Jesus’ encounters at Jericho. Recognizing His mercy and might, let us be thankful that He gives sight to the blind (Rev. 3:17-22). Making proper application of His parable of the Good Samaritan, let us “Go and do the same” (Rom. 13:9-10). Following the example of Zaccheus, let us likewise be converted; following the example of our Lord, let us also endeavor to seek and save the lost (Acts 3:19-26).

— Via Truth Magazine, November 24, 2013
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/prepare.jpg

-2-

Preparing for the Storm

Greg Gwin

We’ve seen it many times: the report on the news tells of a big storm approaching.  Predictions are made of wide spread damage and devastation.  Images of people boarding up their homes and evacuating threatened areas flash across the screen.  But, did you notice? The sun is usually shining brightly while all of this is taking place. The skies are wonderfully blue. Why all the fuss? The answer is simple, of course. You can’t wait until the storm hits to make your preparations. So, while the storm is yet hours, even days away; the necessary precautions are being taken.

There’s an important spiritual lesson to be learned from this. Life is a constant cycle of periods of relative calm followed by often violent storms. It is essential that we prepare for these turbulent times, even when it appears for the moment that all is well. If we wait for the storm to hit, it will be too late!  Jeremiah said, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (12:5). His point is an obvious one. If you can’t stand firm when the going is easy, you’ll never make it when the going gets tough.

Our strength for living comes to us through the Bible. It provides the “power” for our salvation (Rom 1:16), and gives us hope which is a sure “anchor of the soul” even in the raging tempest of life (Heb. 6:19). The question is: are you using it, learning it, so that you can endure the coming storms? Think!

— Via The Beacon, July 7, 2015
——————–

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)

© 2020

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑