Month: October 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) Making Shipwreck of One’s Faith (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/shipwreck1.jpg

-1-

Making Shipwreck of One’s Faith

by Tom Edwards

As seen in 1 Timothy 1:18-20, there is a need for the Christian to maintain faith and a good conscience in order to stay afloat, in a manner of speaking.  For some had rejected that, such as Hymenaeus and Alexander, and, as a result, made shipwreck of their faith.

It would seem that these two whom Paul cites by name had been prominent in leading others into error and away from the Lord, for Hymenaeus is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:17, 18 as not only one who had gone astray, but also as one who had upset the faith of others as well.

Making shipwreck of one’s faith is not merely dangerous to the soul, but also spiritually fatal.  Paul, therefore, took serious measures to try to rescue Hymenaeus and Alexander by delivering them over to Satan “so that they may be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1:20).

What Paul did might sound strange, but this is not the first time similar language is used with regard to trying to correct a wayward brother.  And it certainly doesn’t mean that Satan was intent and cooperative in helping people become good Christians!  For Satan is “…the god of this world” who has “blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).  Jesus refers to Satan as being “…a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. …he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).   So what good would it do to deliver anyone to him for correction, and what involvement would he have in that?

First of all, Satan dwells in that domain of darkness that the Christian had been delivered from when having obeyed the gospel plan of salvation and is then “transferred …to the kingdom” of God’s beloved Son (cf. Col. 1:13).  So to go back into sin is to go back into that realm of darkness (cf. 1 Jn. 1:5-7).  In that sense, the backsliding Christian has once again given himself over to Satan.

Concerning that Corinthian who had been guilty of an incestuous affair, and of which the brethren had done nothing about, Paul had “…decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5), which, again, is very serious.  This was done about 7 or 8 years prior to the writing of 1 Timothy.  Though this transgressor had already given himself over to Satan through an immoral life, it was now to be dealt with by the church in a public way.  This does not mean, of course, that the offender was to be literally put to death by Satan; but the church was to withdraw fellowship from the wrongdoer and, in hopes, that the humiliation that stems from it would lead to this person’s wanting to “put to death” those sinful deeds of the flesh, which is what the “destruction of the flesh” has reference to.  Paul declares, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13. cf. Gal. 5:19-21,24,25).  Paul is speaking here of sinful deeds that are to be abstained from.  As Christians, we are always in a battle between flesh and Spirit; and we must, therefore, strive to be victorious by living according to the Spirit and putting to death our thoughts and actions that would conflict with the Spirit. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (cf. Rom. 8:6-7).

Consider Paul.  He was a righteous man, yet to keep him from exalting himself above measure, after having been caught up to the third heaven, Paradise, and hearing “inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Cor. 12:2-4), and “because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,” Paul says he was given “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me–to keep me from exalting myself” (v. 7). So God can even use that which is evil or calamitous for the good of those who love and obey Him.  James had also pointed that out about “various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jam. 1:2,3).

In addition, illness was sometimes brought upon others as a means of chastening.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 11:30, concerning those Christians who were perverting the Lord’s Supper, Paul declares, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”

During a time of miracles, Jesus had referred to a woman’s infirmity, which caused her body to be bent and prevented her from straightening up for eighteen years, to have been “caused by a spirit” (Luke 13:11).  And then attributes that to Satan, who had bound her for all those years (v. 16), before the Lord healed her.

In 2 Timothy 2:18, Paul specifies the false teaching with which Hymenaeus had not only destroyed his own faith, but was also damaging the faith of others.  The apostle states in verses 16-18, “But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.  Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.”

In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter speaks of those who “distort” the Scriptures “to their own destruction.”  He refers to them as being “untaught” and “unstable.”  Peter, therefore, warns others, by saying, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (vv. 17,18).

Though we are not told exactly what all was meant in the false teaching that the resurrection had already occurred, it is thought that it was Gnosticism that had influenced Hymenaeus toward his wrong belief.  For since the Gnostics had viewed all matter as being evil, but the spirit good, what glory or benefit would they see in a physical resurrection of the body?  So it is said that they had taken passages that pertain to being made spiritually alive with Christ to be referring to the resurrection, such as Romans 6:4, where Paul declares, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  And Colossians 2:12: “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”  And Ephesians 2:5,6: “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with Him….”  So, according to this view, it would be just a spiritual resurrection, rather than a physical one of the body.

But just because the gospel shows of this spiritual “resurrection” in being “born again” (John 3:3-5), which includes that need of baptism, does that nullify the fact that there will also be a physical resurrection?

Jesus speaks of both of these in John 5:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (vv. 25,26).  Here He is referring to those who are spiritually dead, but then would be made spiritually alive through the word of God.  For the Lord’s words are “spirit” and “life” (Jn. 6:63).

He then goes on to contrast this “spiritual resurrection” with the physical resurrection of the body: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:28,29).

As we see in 1 Corinthians 15:12, some of the Corinthians were teaching that “…there is no [physical] resurrection of the dead.”  But if that be the case, then not even Christ was raised; and if that be so, then preaching and faith is vain (v. 14), the apostles would have been false witnesses (v. 15), faith would be worthless, we would still be in our sins (v. 17), those who have died have perished (v. 18), and we who call ourselves Christians would be most to be pitied (v. 19).

But Christ did arise from the dead!

Notice also the importance of His resurrection in view of the following passages:

“And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).

In that same chapter where Paul shows the futility and hopelessness for all us if there be no resurrection (1 Cor. 15:13-18), he begins that chapter by saying, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (vv. 1-4).  What a major part the resurrection is to the gospel!

Paul then mentions some of those who witnessed the resurrected Christ, which includes the apostles and “more than 500 brethren at one time” (v. 6).

And, lastly, if the resurrection pertains to only a spiritual resurrection when sins are forgiven, why did Paul say what he does in Philippians 3:10-12? “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

And may we all do likewise, so as not to make shipwreck of our faith.

Whatever the specifics were concerning Hymenaeus’ false teaching on the resurrection, it was bringing harm to the body of Christ, just as various other false teachings also can.

May we, therefore, acquire a good and complete knowledge of God’s word so that we will not be led astray by any of the religious error that is being taught and practiced in the world today.
——————–

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) Were We Pre-existing Spirits Before the Creation, and Was Jesus the First One Created? (Tom Edwards)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/genesis-1_26_27.jpg

-1-

Were We Pre-existing Spirits Before the Creation, and Was Jesus the First One Created?

Tom Edwards

I had an interesting study with a couple  young Mormons yesterday.  They had stopped by earlier this week, but I invited them back so that we could talk about each other’s beliefs.  It was an interesting conversation; and they were polite, well-mannered, and informative about their doctrines.

Did you know that Mormons believe that everyone who has ever been — and ever will be — has actually already existed in spirit-form before the world began?  According to the young men I spoke with, Jesus was the first spirit-being God the Father created; and then all the other spirit-beings were made, which included you and me, along with everyone else who has ever been or ever will be!  My two visitors did not know how long ago that actually happened, but it was sometime prior to the creation of the universe; and in that state, we were all supposedly similar to angels!

Out of all those spirit-beings, about a third of them eventually chose to follow Satan in his rebellious ways and were, thus, cast out of heaven.

For the first humans, the spirits of Adam and Eve had been chosen by God to come to earth; and they willingly agreed.

Other spirit-beings also desired to have a home on earth, so they then became the souls within the bodies born.

Reading from one of the Mormons’ pamphlets, entitled, “The Plan of Salvation,” page 2 has a section that answers the question, “Where did I come from?”  Here is the answer it gives: “Your life did not begin at birth…  Your Heavenly Father created your spirit, and you lived with Him as a spirit before you were born on earth.  You knew and loved Him, and He knew and loved you.  This period is called pre-earth life.  Throughout your pre-earth life, you were taught the principles and commandments that would lead to happiness.  You grew in intelligence and learned to love the truth.  You were taught about the plan of salvation.  During this pre-earth life, Jesus Christ was chosen as the Savior; you learned that through Him you would be able to overcome the effects of your wrong choices.  An important part of God’s plan was for you to come to earth to receive a physical body and to learn to make correct choices. You would not remember living in Heavenly Father’s presence, but He would give you the ability to know right from wrong. … In your pre-earth life, you chose to have faith in Jesus Christ and to follow God’s plan.  Because of your choices, you were born on earth.  Only by making these same choices can you find peace in this life and be able to return to live with your Heavenly Father after this life is over” (pages 2,5,6).

According to the Mormons, the reason why none of us are aware of our previous state as spirit-beings is because of the “veil of forgetfulness,” which God gave us when entering this world, and which was necessary in order that we could benefit from Christ’s sacrifice.

Where, however, do you read of any of this in the Bible?  Does it give any indication that Jesus was created and, therefore, has not always been?  And that we existed in spirit-form prior to the creation?

Was Jesus Created?

The passage the Mormons cited to allege that Christ was created is Colossians 1:15 that speaks of Him as being “the firstborn of all creation.”  James Strong, however, shows that the Greek word can be used literally or figuratively.  And in the context, it expresses not merely first in time, but first in greatness, in the sense of having a superiority over all.

In Old Testament times, when a father “wills what he has to his sons,” the firstborn was to receive “a double portion of all” that his father had, “for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn” (Deut. 21:15-17).  So this right of the firstborn gave him a preeminence over his siblings; and that idea of a higher rank or superior position is also the way “firstborn” is figuratively used in Psalm 89:27, where God says of David, “I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.”

The context of Colossians 1:15 also implies this figurative usage in Jesus being “the firstborn of all creation.”  For the passage shows Him exalted above all creation and gives good reasons for that: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:16-18).

The very phrase having “first place in everything” expresses preeminence, that exalted and superior position over others.

The passage begins by saying that “by Him all things were created.”  This corresponds with what John says of Jesus in John 1:3: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  And wouldn’t that also be a good reason for the Lord to be exalted over all that has been created — since He is the Creator of all?

Like the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that Jesus was a created being before the world began; so in their New World Translation of the Bible, Colossians 1:16 is rendered as, “because by means of him all OTHER things were created in the heavens and on the earth…” (emphasis mine).  By their usage of the word “other,” it twists the passage to fit with their doctrine that Jesus was the first one created, and then He created everything else.  For, otherwise, if all created things were created by Him, then He would have had to also create Himself.  So the Jehovah’s Witnesses use the word “other” to exempt Him from that and conform the verse to their wrong belief.  We should all, however, take heed to the warnings in the Bible of not tampering with God’s word by adding to or taking away from its teachings and, thus, perverting it and bringing upon ourselves the wrath of God (cf. Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 22:18,19).

Looking to the Scriptures, Jesus is shown to have always existed.  Though His physical body had a beginning when born of the virgin Mary, yet He is actually “…from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2); and though inconceivable to us, it appears from John 8:58 that He was filling all eternity at that very moment — and still is. For in this passage He says of Abraham, who lived about 2,000 years prior to this statement, that “Before Abraham was born, I am.”   Also, in Revelation 22:13, Jesus refers to Himself by saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” which also expresses His eternal nature.  And just as we know that there will be no “end” to Jesus’ existence, the same is true when we also try to look back to His “beginning” — for that also stretches throughout eternity.

Consider also Hebrews 7:3.  It speaks of Melchizedek being “like the Son of God” in the sense of “having neither beginning of days nor end of life”; but in Melchizedek’s case, it figuratively conveys that his serving as a priest was not based on his ancestry — “Without father, without mother, without genealogy” — which would have been required for the Levitical priesthood and would disqualify one without that genealogical record of proof, as it did with those in Ezra 2:62: “They searched among their ancestral registration, but they could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood.”  While these phrases are used figuratively with regard to Melchizedek, they are literal when referring to Jesus.  His eternal existence did not come about through a father and mother; so He is, therefore, without genealogy.

That the Lord Jesus Christ has always been is truly an amazing characteristic that also indicates His superior greatness!  What other religious leader could even come close to that?!

Did We Exist Before the Creation?

But what about man existing in spirit-form prior to the creation?  Is that so?

God is spirit (Jn. 4:24), and “…a spirit does not have flesh and bones…” (Luke 24:39).  So when man was created in God’s “image,” according to His “likeness,” as seen in Genesis 1:26,27, that pertains to the spiritual part of man, his soul, that entity that will never cease to be — rather than merely his temporary physical appearance, his body.  Therefore, being created in God’s image does not mean that He necessarily looks like a human.

But if we were already spirit-beings prior to the creation, why would that spirit part of us need to be created again — rather than just simply be put into the body?

It can also be said that when we were formed in the womb, our souls or spirits for those bodies were made morally pure, innocent, without sin.  Some have referred to this as man’s “original righteousness.” Solomon declares, “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices” (Eccl. 7:29).   This same verse is also rendered as, “…We were completely honest when God created us, but now we have twisted minds” (CEV); And that “…God made people decent, but they looked for many ways to avoid being decent” (God’s Word).

Due to having corrupted our spirits (our souls) by transgression, which every accountable person has done, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), there is, therefore, that need to be made pure again — and just as pure as when we were first born into this world as those innocent children of whom belongs the kingdom of God (cf. Mark 10:14,15).

Paul also speaks of that need to get back to the “likeness of God” as we “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22-24).

From these passages, we can see that the soul or spirit of man is much more than merely the body. This is also clearly seen in Matthew 10:28, in which Jesus encourages His followers by saying, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

But if man were a pre-existing spirit-being prior to the creation of the universe, why would Genesis 1:26,27 indicate the spiritual part of man also being made on the 6th day of the creation?

Though you might read it in other books, nowhere does the Bible say we existed as spirit-beings prior to the creation of the universe.

And what we each need to be concerned with now is making sure that our souls, which will never cease to be, will end up in the right place where we would want to spend an eternity.  The choice is up to us.  God has made the way that every lost soul can be saved, but we must be willing to comply with His plan of salvation, as shown toward the end of this bulletin.  So if you haven’t done that yet, please give it some serious thought — and know that if you do become a Christian, you’ll never regret having done so in the Judgment Day!
——————–

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 Profitable Word (Irven Lee)
2) They Say He Is a Liar (Robert Turner)
——————–

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/bible-2.jpg

-1-

The Profitable Word

by Irven Lee

It certainly makes sense for one to suggest that man should study the Bible. The Bible is a revelation of the will of God. This revelation includes His authoritative commandments which man must obey if he would please his Creator, and it includes the exceeding great and precious promises concerning the good things laid up in heaven for the faithful (II Peter 1:3-4). We may observe that every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward (Hebrews 2:2-3). He chastens every son whom He receives that strength of character may be developed (Hebrews 12:6). How could one carefully examine the profitable word and not be impressed by the goodness of God? God is love (I John 4:8), and those who would know of His mercy and of His plan for man may learn from His revealed will.

A Firm Basis

Man is capable of having many similarities to a vicious wild animal, but he is also capable of being a lively stone in the temple in which God dwells among men (I Peter 2:5). Man can so follow the example of Christ that purity, unselfishness, and strength of character can remind us that he was created in the image of God. There is an indescribable difference in the man most like the wild beast and the man who best exemplifies the image of his Maker. What is the difference? One is taught of God. The other follows the leadings of his carnal animal nature.

The sacred writings are able to make one wise unto salvation (II Timothy 3:15). They completely furnish man the instruction he so sorely needs, since the way of man is not in himself (Jeremiah 10:23). The way that seems right unto man may lead to destruction and ruin (Proverbs 14:12).

The same holy scriptures are able to furnish the motivation for the good life. The goodness of God leads to repentance. We love Him because He first loved us. The example of the Christ in His life on earth and the love revealed in His death on the cross draw men to Him. Many have died for their faith. Many have given all that they might gain Christ and lay hold on the hope set before them. It follows, as night the day, that those who have hope, as sons of God, of obtaining the prize of the high calling of God purify themselves. There is no stronger pull toward righteousness than that exerted by the gospel of Christ. It is able to save (Romans 1:16). It attracts one into the way that leads unto life.

Is there sufficient evidence that the Book is of God? Did the holy men speak as they were moved by the Spirit of God? (II Peter 1:21). These men gave the world the perfect standard of righteousness. They were holy men, and they said they obtained it by revelation. Would liars write such a book? Surely they were not pathetically deceived. Would ignorant men have given such a wonderful standard of behavior? The influence of the Bible in this scientific age in America is still as wholesome in the hearts of those who are led by it as it was nineteen hundred years ago in Palestine. The test of the pudding lies in the tasting. Those who know most about the Bible appreciate it most. It will bear acquaintance. When we see the lives most influenced by it, we are led to glorify God.

The well proven fact of the resurrection, other miracles, fulfilled prophecies, along with the unity and perfection of the message give us a firm basis of hope. What more could He do than He has done to give us a written revelation? No men on their own in any generation could have approached its perfection.

Planting Is Necessary

The word is the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11). America could have the word, but few there be that find the way that leads to life (Matthew 7:14). Many who have eyes have never read from its pages. Many who could have heard many sermons were not listening. Their hard hearts were engrossed in arrogant fulfillment of the lust of the flesh and in the search for money by any means. Animals they are, and without the wholesome influence of the powerful word.

Preaching to some is like casting pearls before swine, while some hunger and thirst after righteousness so they receive the word with all readiness of mind. If men have no love for truth, but have their pleasure in unrighteousness, God will send a strong delusion that they may believe a lie and be damned (II Thessalonians 2:10-12). The lake of fire is for the unbelievers as well as for the liars (Revelation 21:8). The flaming fire of vengeance is for those who know not God as well as for those who obey not the gospel (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).

Many men say they appreciate the Bible and believe it to be the word of God, but they remain babes in knowledge. They evidently do not desire the milk or the meat of the word. They are without excuse for their lack of skill in the use of this great discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Ignorance is alarming even among those who should be teachers (Hebrews 5:12-13). They are not rooted and grounded, but they are as unstable and as easily tossed about by the winds of doctrine as the wave of the sea by the winds of the storm cloud (Ephesians 4:14). The wave is fastened by nothing. The willingly ignorant are in no position to give an answer to those who may ask a reason for their hope (I Peter 3:15).

Awake from Sleep

The night is far spent (Romans 13:11-12). It is high time for America to awake to righteousness. The atomic bomb is not the only thing that can destroy America. The increasing number of burning, looting, angry anarchists can do it. It may now be too late to preserve this land as a land of opportunity for the free. It is not too late to try to save it.

The gospel was not given to make America or any other country great. Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The gospel is God’s power to salvation, but, as a by-product, Christians receive a hundred fold in this life. Their righteous lives are as the saving and lighting influence in a crooked and perverse nation (Philippians 2:15). This nation needs salt.

Let more people meditate on the law day and night (Psalms 1:2). This is our way up from the gutter in which we now find ourselves. The church is in distress, the nation is in confusion, and the world is in turmoil. What can help? The profitable word always leads to the abundant life here and here after. It is the word of God. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). We need to open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things in His law. Is there anything more important for us?

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

https://thegospelobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/feeling-free.jpg

-2-

They Say He Is a Liar

by Robert Turner

My friend had an “experience” — “better felt than told” — he “got” something. Some people tell my friend he has allowed his imagination to deceive him; that he had no feeling, no experience. Some even accuse him of faking the whole story. This makes my friend very unhappy. He doesn’t like to be called a liar. He says, “I know what I feel.”

Now I believe my friend. I know him to be an honest man. If he tells me he “felt something” I will not deny this.

But sometimes I try to check his unwarranted conclusions concerning the meaning of these feelings. My friend assumes that because he “had a feeling” his sins are forgiven. Why could not this just as well mean his sins were multiplied??

God alone can forgive sins; and His Word states the truth concerning such matters as these (John. 17:17). When my friend says he knows his sins are forgiven because he “felt something” I must remind him that the Bible allows no such evidence. It even warns us that feelings can be deceptive (2 Thess. 2:10-12).

Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey Him (Heb. 5:9). And Christ teaches us to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS?

— Via Truth Magazine VII: 3, pp. 26, December 1962
——————–

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) Good Relationships Among Brethren (R.J. Evans)
2) My Rock & My Redeemer (Mike Johnson)
——————–

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

-1-

Good Relationships Among Brethren

by R.J. Evans

The Scripture provides much information concerning good relationships among those who are children of God.  There are many positive teachings concerning how to get along — especially all the commands to love one another.  There are a number of warnings against gossip, tale bearing, backbiting, slander, and sowing discord among brethren.  The book of Proverbs is filled with wise instruction concerning relationships with others.

In the church, many problems have occurred because someone failed to abide by the teachings of God’s Word.  Brethren are told to put “away lying, each speaking truth with a neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25); we are warned against causing “dissensions, contentions and heresies” (Gal. 5:20); those who are factious, causing “divisions and offenses” are to be marked (Rom. 16:17); a divisive person is to be rejected “after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10); also, there are warnings against being “idle, wandering from house to house, not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (1 Tim. 5:13).

But what about those occasions when we believe someone has sinned against us?  Are we told what to do? Are we supposed to go around telling everyone, except the person himself, that he has sinned against us?  Indeed, the Bible does give clear instructions on what to do in this situation — see Matthew 18:15-17.  Notice the very first step: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (V. 15).  How many do this?  It seems to be so much easier to go to someone else first, and gain a sympathetic ear, rather than following what the Bible teaches.  Quite often, those who operate like this, have not even been sinned against.  It’s often pettiness, hurt feelings, jealousy, an “ax to grind,” etc., and not actually a sin, to begin with.  Also, the other person may be totally unaware of any wrong they  might have done.  The passage goes on and gives further instructions: “But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Vv. 16-17).

Years ago, when living in another state, we had a sister move from across the city and place membership with the congregation where I preached.  We’ll call her “sister Smith.”  Before she identified with us, the preacher where she had been attending told me that she had many admirable qualities, but to be careful, because she occasionally had a tendency to “stir things up.”  Well, after she had been with us for several months, I was in my study one day and the phone rang.  It was sister Smith.  After the usual greetings, she then proceeded to start telling me how she had been “wronged” by a particular couple in the congregation.  I’ll just refer to them as the “Jones.”  They were fine Christians, very faithful and diligent in the Lord’s work. They had been with us a number of years.  As soon as I realized what she was attempting to do, I stopped her.  I told her that I should not be a party to what she was beginning to tell me about this couple. This brother had his own business, so I gave her his office phone number and suggested she call him immediately and set up an appointment with him and his wife.  Sister Smith immediately became somewhat “rattled” and started backing away from what she was about to tell me.  From that point on, with my insisting that she contact this couple, the conversation ended rather quickly.  At the next service of the church, I asked sister Smith if she had contacted the Jones couple about her complaints.  Essentially, what she proceeded to tell me was that after giving it some more thought, she realized that it was all a big misunderstanding on her part and she had no problem with this couple.  Never again did another incident like that one ever come up involving sister Smith.

That’s interesting, isn’t it?  How many problems could be solved if Christians were willing to simply follow Bible instructions concerning establishing and maintaining good relationships among brethren. Some make a practice of dropping little “bomb shells” about someone, but immediately follow it up by saying — “But I don’t know anything about it,” “But I’m not getting involved,” or “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that.” Such subtle actions, in reality, already have them involved. They are simply “stirring things up”!  They have already done their damage.  Those who conduct themselves in such a manner, destroy what credibility they may have had by their “behind the back” actions.  Please note, concerning the seven things that God hates, what is listed in Proverbs 6:19: “A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”

When dealing with such deeds as just mentioned, the information that might have been revealed should be dealt with in a similar manner as  having received an  anonymous letter — dispose of it in the proverbial “File 13”!

— via bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, October 1, 2015
——————–

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

-2-

My Rock & My Redeemer

by Mike Johnson

Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  Consider the last part of the verse where the Psalmist refers to God as his strength and redeemer.

The Hebrew word translated “strength” (NKJV) is defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary as “rock; rocky wall; cliff; rocky hill; mountain; rocky surface; boulder.”  Many translations actually translate the original word as “rock,” (i.e. O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer).  A husband, for example, may refer to his wife as “his rock.”  He would be pointing out his wife is his “strength”; she provides stability for the family.  God is our rock; He provides us with strength and with safety; He is our refuge. Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:31 says, “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” Psalm 46:1 points out, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”

Also, the Psalmist, thought to be David, refers to God as his “Redeemer.”  The word used here simply means to “buy back,” and when applied to God it means a deliverer from sin, death, or danger.  David probably could recall many occasions where God had delivered him, but David may not have understood the details regarding the true price of redemption.  The cost would be Jesus, having been sent by God, dying for the sins of mankind on the cross. Thus, in the ultimate sense, Jesus Christ is our Redeemer.  Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Job said, in Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer lives….”

Is God your Rock and Redeemer today?  If not, why don’t you make him that?

— via Biblelist, 11/24/15
——————–

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)

© 2020

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑