Month: September 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) Living Godly Lives (Stan Cox)
2) Pray for Strength (Doug Pennock)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/godliness.jpg

-1-

Living Godly Lives

by Stan Cox

The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). In these words are found the response of every Christian to the gift of grace. We have the hope of salvation because of what God has granted to us. Our response is an ordering of our lives: “we should live soberly, righteously and godly.”

The definition of the word godly is minimally helpful. The term refers to piety, devotion and reverence. More helpful are the verses that describe the kind of life that characterizes the Christian profession. For example, when considering the proper role model for a godly life, we consider Jesus Himself. Peter wrote, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus was guileless (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24), and pure (cf. 1 John 3:1-3). In His life, and in His death, He always sought to do the will of His Father in heaven (cf. John 15:10).

A truly godly life is an informed one. Paul wrote about the Jews, who “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3). In order for us to live a godly life, we have to know what God considers godly. Fortunately, He has revealed these things to us in scripture.

So, simply put, a godly life is a life that is lived in accord with God’s expressed will. The Psalmist wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (119:33-37). He contrasts God’s way with “worthless things,” and contrasts God’s testimonies with covetousness. God’s will is the antithesis of evil. His way is the way of godliness. Consider these words: “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:103-105).

So, we seek to emulate our Lord. We seek direction from God to know what is right and wrong. And, as we attain such knowledge, it is important that we dwell upon it. Paul wrote the Philippians, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise- worthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). Meditation on what is righteous, in contrast with the pablum of popular culture, helps to direct the Christian’s path in the way of godliness. The man whose mind dwells in the muck of worldliness will be corrupted in his walk.

Finally, a godly walk is a motivated walk. It is easy to become distracted by the tedium of this life. We can become “shortsighted, even to blindness” (cf. 2 Peter 1:9). In fact, Peter’s statement is made within the context of adding virtuous characteristics (including godliness, vs. 6), to ensure we don’t suffer from that myopia that would endanger our eternal standing before God. As Paul put it, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). A disciplined Christian, seeking always to do all and only what God allows, will most certainly attain the prize he seeks.

A righteous life is attainable with effort and focus. Such godliness is wonderfully profitable, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Later in the same epistle, Paul wrote, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6). If we remember that this life is preparatory to eternity, we will answer the call of grace with a life that is lived in accord with God’s righteousness.

— Via the Monthly Messenger, August 2015
——————–

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life —  the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:1,2).
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/praying-hands-4.jpg

-2-

Pray for Strength

by Doug Pennock

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6,7).

What a great comfort this verse is to us as Christians. Knowing that God, the creator and sustainer of all things, cares for us. This is worth more than all the gold or silver or money or anything else that we might possess in this life. When we come upon hard times in life or we lose a loved one or feel compassion for the sick; When we are troubled in mind and in spirit — even to the point of deep despair — we can turn to God, our Father, in prayer and let Him know all about it, knowing that He has compassion on us and will ease our cares and troubles in life, giving us the strength to cope because He cares for us.

Of course God already knows of our troubles before we ask, but, being the benevolent Father that He is, to hear it from us means a great deal to Him, not to mention that just sharing our troubles with Him can mean a great deal to us.

Think how God is involved in our lives. He watches over us in everything we do and think. He knows our hearts and all that we might aspire to. He knows all of our concerns and is concerned with us. With Him looking out for us in all things, how can we ever feel down or despair? We can just look to Him and know that everything will work out in the end.

Speaking of which, if we keep our eyes on that blessed goal of heaven in the after while, it will go a long way toward keeping our spirits up and will keep us on the true path of joy and happiness that we need to sustain us in this life.

God cares for us. Think of it: how can anything be more powerful or moving in our lives? To think of the many blessings we have through Him, because He cares for us, is enough to lift our spirits.  So we should count our blessings and cast our cares upon God when we have those moments of feeling sad or despair and are in need of the comfort that God provides.

But what if we are not in that covenant relationship with God at this moment in our lives. What if we do not know the comfort that comes through Him? I cannot imagine how someone outside the Lord is able to cope with the troubles of life. Do not they become cold and callous and give up on caring so that they will not feel the pain of life? God does not want us to be uncaring, but rather to lean on Him to carry the load when we feel pain because we care.

Are you in a covenant relationship with God tonight? Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

To have this relationship with God, we must be in Christ; and to get into Christ, we must be baptized and wash away our sins, which is preceded by confessing that Jesus is the Christ and repenting of our sins. Then, to stay in that relationship, we must devote our lives to doing all that the New Testament teaches we must do, and repent when we do transgress and sin.

If you have a need tonight you can come forward and renew your relationship with God while we stand and sing.

*****

— This was Doug’s “Invitation Talk” for last Wednesday evening, which we enjoyed and appreciated, following the Bible classes.
——————–

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) Beyond Our Dimensions of Space and Time (Tom Edwards)
——————–

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

-1-

Beyond Our Dimensions of Space and Time

Tom Edwards

Recently, I was looking at a beautifully calm and sunny scene of a long wooden pier with its white railings, on a deserted beach, stretching out into a vast body of water, under a blue sky with large, white clouds widely extended, and all appearing pleasurably peaceful.

While gazing at it, it also led to my thinking of three linear dimensions — as well as a realm not yet experienced by us: 1) the length of the pier, 2) the much greater distance across that vast body of water, and 3), even more awesome, while looking at the sky, the endlessness of space, which, though pertaining to distance, seems to also symbolize and evoke thoughts of the timelessness of eternity itself.  For would it not take that long in imagining all of infinity?

But even though our immeasurable universe is so mind-boggling to even try to contemplate its totality, yet the Bible shows that it is all just temporary.  For there is a major event coming, when “…the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat…” (2 Pet. 3:10-12), for there will then be no more purpose nor need for this physical realm.

But when that happens, will there still be an empty void of space left behind?  Or is that also part of God’s creation that will cease to be?  Though this is conjecture on my part, yet it certainly is an amazingly bizarre thought to ponder.  For how could that which is an empty void become nothing?  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  Of course, with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) and nothing is too difficult for Him (Jer. 32:17); and would we not think of heaven as being somewhere apart from our infinite, physical universe — such as in something similar to a parallel universe?  If that be the case, could not even the empty space in which our universe dwells cease to be, along with all its contents, like a printed page torn out of a journal or diary and consumed in flames?  But unlike that page, for not even one ash or any trace to remain?

This, of course, as to what will happen to the “empty space” is speculation; but we who believe in God know that He can do far greater than all we can even imagine!  Yes, He can do that which, to us, would be so impossible!

I do not think of heaven, where God dwells, as having a physical location somewhere in the universe that if we just had the technology, the time, and knew its whereabouts, we could travel to it by spaceship.  Rather, heaven is in a far greater realm — a spiritual one — and one with a “substance” of exceedingly superior quality compared to our physical realm.  For heaven is eternal, where things do not age, wear out, nor perish; while all of our physical realm continues to decline, to waste away, to cease to be — and with some things even more fleeting than others.

This is why the apostle Paul shows that God’s children will have their temporary tabernacles of flesh replaced with imperishable bodies suitable for heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-4).  For “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).  And the need for that can be seen in what he goes on to declare:

“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  But when this perishable will have put on this imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.  O Death, where is your victory?  O Death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (vv. 50-58).

Though what will become of the empty void of our universe, after all the elements in it are destroyed, perhaps we cannot know.  But I still find it very amazing to believe that God could do away with even an infinity of emptiness if He willed it so!

What wonders are in store for those who will spend an eternity in heaven!  What an amazing place heaven itself must be!  For its dwellers will be enjoying those things of God “…who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” (Phil. 3:20).

Let us, therefore, conclude with what Peter goes on to say.  After speaking of the heavens passing away with a roar and the elements being destroyed with intense heat, along with the earth and its works, he then gives this following exhortation to the brethren:

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (vv. 11-13).

This phrase, “new heavens and a new earth,” figuratively represents heaven itself, just as that same wording is used in Isaiah 65:17-25 in metaphorically referring to the new system of the Gospel Age, which was to come after 1,500 years of the Mosaical Age.  For by Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, He annulled the Old Covenant and established the New (cf. Eph. 2:11-16; Col. 2:13,14; Heb. 10:8-12).  Therefore, what a major, great, and glorious change that phrase “new heavens and a new earth” expresses — whether of that New Covenant, which was far superior to the Old, or of heaven itself compared to our earth-life in this physical realm!

Though heaven goes way beyond what we can even imagine now, how important it is for each of us to look to God’s word to acquire faith (cf. Rom. 10:17), to have that child-like trust in Jesus Christ, to truly believe in Him (Jn. 8:24), to repent of our sins (Lk. 13:5), to publicly acknowledge our faith in the Lord (Rom. 10:9,10), to be baptized as part of God’s plan of salvation (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21), and to continue in the faith (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10), as we press on for that glorious realm where Jesus now is, as the great King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16) — in  that heavenly place, far superior to any region we have ever known!
——————–

“Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing” (Psa. 100:2).
——————–

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) Another Assault on Christian Faith: The Lost Tomb of Jesus Asserts That He Wasn’t Resurrected (Randy Blackaby)
——————–

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

-1-

Another Assault on Christian Faith:

The Lost Tomb of Jesus Asserts That He Wasn’t Resurrected

Randy Blackaby

Just as Dan Brown’s book and movie, The DaVinci Code, lost steam, Oscar-winning director James Cameron (of Titanic fame) released his new film, The Lost Tomb of Jesus. The film alleges the discovery of a tomb containing the remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their supposed son, Judah. If true, this would mean that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, wasn’t raised in three days, and didn’t ascend back to heaven about 40 days thereafter. So, again, the public is left to decide which is a hoax–the Bible and Jesus; or the film, research, and statistics behind it.

The documentary-style film is based on the 1980 discovery of a Jerusalem tomb that contained ten small caskets (ossuaries) of bones. According to the film, one bears the name Judah, son of Jesus. Another bears the name Mariamene, which the researchers and producers are concluding refers to Mary Magdalene. Others read Jesua, son of Joseph, Mary, Matthew, and Jofa.

DNA evidence purportedly shows that the bones of Jesua and Mariamene were the bones of unrelated people. Since most such tombs are family sepulchers, the door opens to the assumption that they may have been married and that Judah may have been their child. The inscriptions and ossuaries are said to be from the first-century Herodian period.

The names discovered in this tomb are very common for the period, with the name Mary believed to have been used by 25 percent or more of women in that day. But the researchers and film producers base their conclusions on statistics, arguing the odds are 600 to 1 in favor of the tomb belonging to Jesus’ family. The statistical approach is based on the odds of that many names from the Bible record being found in one tomb.

The film was released just before Easter, when many around the world were celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

More of the Same

Efforts to undermine the resurrection’s credibility are as old as the event itself. Opponents of Christianity know the resurrection is the central fact of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:17). Virtually all the early gospel sermons recorded in the Book of Acts speak of it, and the epistles demonstrate that Jesus’ victory over death opens the door for believers to do the same. Christian baptism is patterned on the resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).

Announcements preceding and following His birth proclaimed Jesus to be a coming king (Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 1:31-33). He entered Jerusalem as a triumphal king (Matthew 21) and confessed to Pontius Pilate that He was king of the Jews (Matthew 27:11; Luke 23:3). If He died, was buried, and never rose, He would, at best, be a dead king, not the one the Bible says sits today at God’s right hand, ruling and reigning over His kingdom (Acts 7:55; Ephesians 1:20- 22; Hebrews 2:7-8).

The Bible reports that the chief priests and elders bribed the Roman guards, who weren’t able to keep the sealed tomb secure enough to prevent the resurrection, to say Jesus’ disciples stole His body (Matthew 28:11-15). However, no one has produced any real evidence that His body remains on earth.

Evidence for the Resurrection

Evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is similar to the evidence that George Washington lived and was the first president of the United States. In both cases, we have eye-witness testimony. History books tell us about George Washington. People who lived contemporary with him recorded what they saw. We weren’t there; yet we believe the witnesses.

The apostle Paul summarized similar evidence for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

Did all these witnesses lie? Most of those apostles, and many of the early Christians, died rather than recant their testimony about Christ and His resurrection. Are people usually willing to suffer loss of their property, rights, liberty, and lives to defend a lie? No; they really believed what they declared, and suffered persecution rather than give up their own hope of being resurrected.

The empty tomb is another issue. No one, including Jesus’ enemies, denied the empty tomb, the rolled-away stone, or the broken seal. They sought alternate explanations, but they didn’t deny the tomb was empty. Consider the animosity toward Jesus, the knowledge of His own resurrection predictions, and the care taken to seal and guard the tomb. Don’t you think Christianity’s first-century opponents would have produced Jesus’ body when the disciples began proclaiming His resurrection–if they could?

Holes in the New Tomb Story

One of the most obvious problems with the latest Jesus-family-tomb theory is the tombs location in Jerusalem. Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not a great distance from Jerusalem, his home town was Nazareth, way up north in Galilee. He was called Jesus of Nazareth. If His family had a family tomb, it would likely have been around Nazareth, not Jerusalem. The Bible account has Jesus buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich Jewish ruler named Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57- 60; Luke 23:50-53; Luke 15:42-43; John 19:38-42). Clearly, it wasn’t the family tomb of the poor carpenter’s son from Nazareth.

We need to view this new theory and its evidence in juxtaposition to the evidence present at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Anti-Christian forces in Judaism and the Roman government would have had as intense an interest in undermining the idea of the resurrection then as atheistic and secular forces do today. And if there had been evidence to contradict the resurrection, those first-century opponents would have produced it. But they couldn’t.

The events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection weren’t secret or hidden in the first century. Paul, speaking to King Agrippa and Governor Festus, said that Jesus’ death and resurrection was “not done in a corner.” In other words, the facts were widely known, not hidden from public view.

And don’t forget that the apostle Paul was actually Saul of Tarsus, who vociferously opposed Jesus, hunted down Christians for trial and death, and tried to stamp out the new faith which was based on the resurrection. But when this enemy of Christian faith himself saw the risen Jesus, he changed and became the great gospel preacher to the Gentiles.

*****

Brother Blackaby has provided a discussion of another example of the world’s attempt to discredit and disprove the Bible’s truth and accuracy. Satan never tires of inventing schemes to destroy the faith of God’s children. In the past few years, men have relentlessly produced so-called new discoveries that question the Bible’s truthfulness. Yet, the Bible remains on solid footing as God’s inspired book that continues to change sinners’ hearts. Praise be to God! (Keith M. Greer)

— Via The Monthly Messenger (from the Knollwood church of Christ, Beavercreek, Ohio), May 2007
——————–

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) The Lord is My Helper (Billy Boyd)
2) Faith Building: The Walls of Jericho (R.J. Evans)
3) A Different Point of View! (Dan Gulley)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/lone-fisherman-on-boat.jpg

-1-

The Lord is My Helper

by Billy Boyd

A little girl, when asked to repeat the 23rd Psalm, said, “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.” She may have been a little confused about the actual wording, but she expressed a truth that should be the property of every Christian.

There is no blessing so valuable as the ability to lean upon the sufficiency of God, to find in Him all that we want. The firm basis of such trust was brought to Paul’s attention when the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 11:9).

Consider the unsearchable riches which one possesses when the Lord is his helper.

1. There is a feeling of security that transcends social and financial security. The child of God can be content in all circumstances of life. “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content” (Phil. 4:11).

2. There is a peace that passeth understanding (Phil. 4:7) and floods the Christian’s life with joy that is  unspeakable (I Pet. 1:8). This peace is greater than  all the treasures earth can yield.

3. There is a freedom from fear of all types. “So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?” (Heb. 13:6). Fear of bodily harm and even of death itself is dissipated when we walk with the Lord. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Ps. 23:4).

4. There is a crown of life that glitters through eternity. “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” (II TIM. 4:8).

In addition to these wonderful blessings, the Lord promises us what we need physically. Surely, when the Lord is our helper, there can be no want.

— Via The Beacon, July 10, 2012
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/city-wall.jpg

-2-

Faith Building:

The Walls of Jericho

R.J. Evans

In Joshua 6:1-6, the Israelites were instructed by the Lord to march around the city of Jericho once each day for six days.  The priests were told to bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark, and on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times and when the priests blew the trumpets, all the people were to shout and the wall of the city would fall down flat.  The remainder of chapter 6 tells of their obedience to God’s instructions, the wall falling, and the city being destroyed.

Marching around a city thirteen times in seven days, blowing trumpets and making a great shout — who ever heard of such a thing?  The wall was of such considerable size that houses were built upon it (Josh. 2:15).  How safe the inhabitants of Jericho must have felt.  How easy it would have been for the soldiers and commanders on the walls to laugh and ridicule the marchers as they encompassed the city.  But suddenly on the seventh day, there was an incredible event — the walls fell! (v. 20).

Now how did the walls fall?  Was this some common military procedure that had been used successfully in the past?  Absolutely not! “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30).  Yes, it took great faith to carry out such an unusual command. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).  It took faith in “things not seen” — “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

But there are skeptics who laugh and mock at the events recorded in Joshua 6.  They say it is absurd to believe that the walls of Jericho fell down after the Israelites marched around them.  However, let us consider the following portion of information taken from HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK, New Revised Edition, pp. 159-161:  “Dr. John Garstang, director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and of the Department of Antiquities of the Palestine Government, excavated the ruins of Jericho in 1926-36.  He found pottery and scarab evidence that the city had been destroyed about 1400 B.C., coinciding with Joshua’s date, and, in a number of details, dug up evidence confirming the Biblical account in a most remarkable way. ‘the wall fell down flat’ (20).  Dr. Garstang found that the wall did actually ‘fall down flat.’”

There are many lessons learned from Jericho: (1)  We learn that God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8).  Man would have planned some scheme to allow a few to enter the city and open the gates or build mounds, use sling shots to pick the soldiers off the wall, use ladders, etc. (2)  We learn the meaning of grace. “And the Lord said to Joshua: ‘See!  I have given Jericho into you hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor’” (Josh. 6:2).  Yes, it was a gift, but it involved active obedience.  The same is true today — salvation is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8), yet there are certain conditions that must be met (Matt. 7:21; Jn. 6:29; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38; Eph. 2:10; Heb. 5:9).  (3)  We learn the meaning of obedient faith (Heb. 11; Jas. 2:24).  (4)  We learn that God’s way will work no matter how foolish (in man’s eyes) it may seem (1 Cor. 1:18-31).

The Apostle Paul told the Romans that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).  The Israelites placed their faith and trust in God when they marched around the city of Jericho.  We place our faith and trust in God when we are baptized for the remission of our sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  When we faithfully obey the Lord we can hope for and enjoy the blessings and rewards He has promised (Matt. 6:33; Rev. 2:10).

Again, we emphasize — “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana, for April 6, 2014
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/man-lowered-through-roof.jpg

-3-

A Different Point of View!

Dan Gulley

Mark 2:1-5 tells about the unorthodox efforts of four unnamed heroes who used faith and works to get a hurting friend to Jesus. Hearing that Jesus was in a house in Capernaum, four men sought to bring a paralytic to Jesus on a bed. Finding the house full of people and their way to Jesus blocked, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven you.’”

This incident reminds us that faith brings a different point of view in getting lost people to Jesus. Four men who believed Jesus could make a profound difference in the life of their paralyzed friend refused to give up when they found the way to Jesus crowded and impossible to pass. What to do? Faithless, negative thinking would have said nothing could be done and there were simply too many obstacles. But one of them lifted his eyes and expressed a different point of view: “We can get on top of the house, tear the roof off and lower him down to Jesus.” Faith helped them have a different point of view! As a result the paralyzed man went home with a newly healed body and a freshly cleansed soul.

Many Christians could use a different point of view. The devil has convinced some in the church that our job as Christians is to come, sit and listen. But the proper evangelistic mentality is summed up in the words of Acts 5:20 – “Go … stand … speak.” Some insist nobody they know is interested in God, but Jesus calls us to a different point of view. He says “the harvest truly is plentiful” and “lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” (Matthew 9:37, John 4:35). Could it be many people are being kept from getting to Jesus because negative, faithless thinking is keeping us from getting to them? Faith can help us uncover the roof and see past what we alone can do to what we can do with God’s help. Has faith changed your point of view?

— Via The Beacon, September 9, 2014
——————–

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 ↑