Month: April 2016

The Gospel Observer

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

1) “In Malice Be Ye Children” (R.J. Evans)
2) Discouragement (Steven Harper)
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1Cor14_20
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“In Malice Be Ye Children”

R.J. Evans

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul gave the brethren at Corinth proper instruction concerning the exercising of spiritual gifts. The main problem was how the Corinthians had been conducting themselves with regard to the gift of tongues. The Corinthians were being childish in that they delighted in the gift of tongues to the extent that proper judgment was not being used concerning the effect tongue speaking was having on others. Like children, they failed to see all that was involved in the inconsiderate use and display which they had been making of this gift. Hence, Paul wrote, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Cor. 14:20). To be like children in understanding is to act as though the mind is still in the undeveloped stage of childhood. So, instead of acting childish, they were told to be “men, ” that is, be mature. This suggests the idea of “having reached the goal.” It involves being fully able to use one’s powers of thought and good judgment. The Corinthians had not been doing this with regard to spiritual gifts.

The circumstances today are different from those found in 1 Corinthians 14. We no longer have spiritual gifts, for they have ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-13). But, the principles set forth in 1 Corinthians 14:20 still apply and must be heeded by those of us who are Christians. We must not be childish in understanding. However, in this article I would like for us to notice in particular the phrase — “in malice be ye children. ” Malice is an evil disposition with the intention of injuring others. It is among the most destructive of all ugly attitudes. It is in this respect that it would be creditable to Christians to be “children.” In fact, Jesus lays down this condition, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). This suggests humility, gentleness and the innocence of children, which, particularly is contrary to malice, envy, anger, strife, etc.

Those of us who seek happiness and success in serving God must eliminate malice from our hearts. There is no place in the life of a Christian for malice. Please notice the words of the inspired apostle Peter: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Pet. 2:1). The apostle Paul said: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31-32).

Malice is always harmful to those who harbor it, and usually damaging to the person who becomes the object of malicious words and deeds. Malice will destroy our personal happiness and damn our souls to eternal punishment. “Brethren . . . in malice be ye children.”

— Via Guardian of Truth, XXXII, 13, p. 388, July 7, 1988
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psalm142_3
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Discouragement

Steven Harper

Some disciples have an erroneous idea that it is somehow sinful for a follower of God to be discouraged, even for a moment. This idea is probably a result of so much teaching and preaching on the idea that Christians should not be discouraged, or that we have so many blessings, we don’t really have cause for discouragement. However this might come to be accepted, the idea is taking the truth a little further than need be, because discouragement in itself is not sinful. There are some consequences of discouragement that may certainly be unwelcome and not beneficial to the people of God, but that is another issue altogether.

Discouragement, by definition, means to deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit; to dissuade or deter; and to hamper; hinder. In spiritual matters, discouragement cannot be a good thing, especially if one continues in the state without addressing the cause. Someone may discourage another because of harsh words or ungodly behavior; others may be discouraged because they are facing hardships and persecution; still others may simply be discouraged because they are not at the level of spiritual maturity they desire. In each case and in every situation, however, the problem must be addressed and the one who is discouraged must be given a solution for the discouragement.

But first, let us note that some very godly people have been discouraged at times — sometimes justifiably so — but in all cases, God had an answer. The point we should learn from this is that if we face disappointments and discouragement, God has an answer for us, too. He has given us an answer to every cause for which His people may be discouraged.

David
Psalm 142

Here, the one we know as a man after God’s own heart, admits, “my spirit was overwhelmed within me” (Psalm 142:3). His plea to the Lord in this is the fact that none stand with him in his trials, and feels abandoned. He says, “Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). He also said, “Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I” (Psalm 142:6). On this occasion, David was discouraged by the lack of support from his fellow man, not unlike the plight many Christians experience even today.

But note that David finds solace in another place: God. In that same psalm where he speaks of his discouragement with man, he speaks the praise of God, who had never — and would never — forsake him.  He cries out to God with the confident assurance, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5). While others may have abandoned him in his time of need, David knew that God would always be with him — a promise made to God’s people even today (Hebrews 13:5). If you are ever discouraged because it seems like your closest friends have abandoned you in times of trouble, just remember this promise God has given and reclaim your hope. There is no reason to remain discouraged!

Psalm 32, 38

On another occasion, David again felt discouragement, but it was of his own doing. Here, he writes, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer” (Psalm 32:3,4). And, “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off” (Psalm 38:7-11). This time, the cause for David’s discouragement and sorrow was his own sin! He recognized that, guilty, he stood under the heavy weight of God’s hand [guilt for his sin] and he also recognized that others saw his sin, too, and were ashamed to be near him.

But, again, David also recognized there was a way out of this condition. In these same psalms, he recognized, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1). And because he knew this, he could say, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). He could also say, “For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15). Even in such a discouraging situation — where you know you have sinned against God and even others know you have sinned against God — there was hope in the knowledge God answered his request and the confidence he could be forgiven.

As children of God today [disciples of Jesus Christ], we have that same confidence! John tells the one who is already a Christian, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). But he doesn’t stop there with words that might be a source of discouragement to all; he goes on to say, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). In Christ, we have the promise that, should we sin and should we repent and confess those sins, we will be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness! Again, there is no reason to remain discouraged!

Elijah (I Kings 19)

At this time in Elijah’s life, things were very bleak for a man of God. Ahab was king of Israel and Jezebel was his wicked queen. Ahab was said to have done “more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (I Kings 16:33). [Not a small accomplishment!] He followed after false gods, built a temple for them in Samaria and erected an idol in that temple. Apparently, they were very closely tied to the false prophets of these false gods, for they ate at the table of Jezebel (I Kings 18:19). If that wasn’t enough, Jezebel had massacred the prophets of God (I Kings 18:4) and those who escaped were hiding in caves.

But Elijah met those false prophets on Mt. Carmel and the Lord delivered a decisive victory over them (I Kings 18:20-40). Yet for all this, Jezebel still sought the life of Elijah and, immediately following this great victory for the Lord, Elijah fled into the wilderness (I Kings 19:1-4). It was here that Elijah stopped long enough to think about his situation and began to get discouraged. He even prayed that his life might be taken because he had seen and faced enough.

But while there in the wilderness, God came to him and asked why he was there. Elijah answered, “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (I Kings 19:10). When God came to him again in the still, small voice and again asked why he was there, Elijah gave the same dejected answer: “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (I Kings 19:14).

But God had an answer for that, too! He revealed to Elijah, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (I Kings 19:18). And today, many Christians feel this sense of discouragement, thinking they are “alone” in a world of ungodliness; but, once again, God has an answer. Just remember there are many today who have not “bowed the knee” to worldliness and who are faithfully serving God where they are.

Whatever situation we may face — even if it seems like we have lost all hope — there is no reason to remain discouraged. Remember God is near, and in His Word we may find hope again.

— Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe
in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith
in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).     
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer without pictures)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer

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

1) “…My horn is exalted in the LORD…” (1 Samuel 2:1) (Tom Edwards)
2) A Lively Hope (Brian A. Yeager)
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Exodus15_2

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“My horn is exalted in the LORD…” (1 Samuel 2:1)

Tom Edwards

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, began her prayer to God by saying, “My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation” (1 Samuel 2:1).

What does it mean that Hannah’s “horn is exalted in the LORD”?

The “horn” is sometimes used figuratively in the Bible to refer to strength, as it is here.  It is derived from the literal horns of animals by which they do battle and, thus, symbolizes their power.

So after the psalmist declares that all God’s “…enemies will perish; All who do iniquity will be scattered” (Psalm 92:9), he then goes on to acknowledge, “But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox…” (v. 10).

And, as for these enemies of the Lord, “…all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up” (Psalm 75:10, NASB).

Compare Jeremiah 48:20,25: “Moab has been put to shame, for it has been shattered.  Wail and cry out; Declare by the Arnon That Moab has been destroyed. The horn of Moab has been cut off and his arm broken…” (NASB).  Yes, Moab was powerless to save itself from destruction.

Different Bible versions can be of help in better understanding some passages.  For instance, “horn” in 1 Samuel 2:1 is rendered as “strength” in the ESV and RSV.  And the CEV begins this verse, by saying, “Hannah prayed: You make me STRONG and happy, LORD…” (emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word for it is “qeren,” which among its various definitions is also, “of strength figuratively” (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions) and “figuratively power” (James Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries).

Like David, we must also realize that the power of our salvation does not lie within ourselves, rather it is in the Lord Himself!  For as the psalmist acknowledges in Psalm 18:1,2: “I love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the HORN of my salvation, my stronghold” (NASB, emphasize mine).

Yes, salvation can come only from the Lord; but we can also be strengthened in Him as we yield our lives to Him through our faith and obedience to His word; and, as a result, be like the “they” and the “our” of whom the psalmist writes in Psalm 89:16,17: “In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted” (NASB, Psalm 89:16,17).

So may we also make that true of ourselves, in order that, we, too, can sing as Moses and the children of Israel did, that “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him…” (Exodus 15:1,2).
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1Peter1_3

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A Lively Hope

Brian A. Yeager

In September Calvin preached a sermon on hope. He established that in this world there is no hope. In fact, as he pointed out, the world is full of tribulation (John 16:33). He discussed the difference between the way carnally minded individuals approach hope from how we approach the subject matter of hope. I enjoyed listening to that sermon, as I did all of the classes and sermons I heard here while recovering from surgery.

While listening to that sermon I was overjoyed in considering our hope. I was hanging onto every word in every Scripture that was used during that lesson. One Scripture that I did not catch in the sermon is what we are going to base this lesson upon. Calvin rightly made the points that whatever hope you have in this world is temporary (II Peter 3:10-12). George, in the class before that sermon, rightly taught about how limited and fragile our time in this life is. The Scriptures clearly show us those things (II Samuel 14:14, Psalms 90:10, Psalms 102:11, Psalms 103:15-16, Psalms 144:4, James 4:13-16, and I Peter 1:24).

Therefore, when you think about hope, you realize how dead hope is if it is a worldly hope. Solomon pointed this out throughout the book of Ecclesiastes repeatedly (Ecclesiastes 1:2, Ecclesiastes 1:14, Ecclesiastes 2:1, Ecclesiastes 2:11, Ecclesiastes 2:15, Ecclesiastes 2:17, Ecclesiastes 2:19, Ecclesiastes 2:21, Ecclesiastes 2:23, Ecclesiastes 2:26, Ecclesiastes 3:19, Ecclesiastes 4:4, Ecclesiastes 4:7-8, Ecclesiastes 4:16, Ecclesiastes 5:7, Ecclesiastes 5:10, Ecclesiastes 6:2, Ecclesiastes 6:4, Ecclesiastes 6:9, Ecclesiastes 6:11, Ecclesiastes 7:6, Ecclesiastes 7:15, Ecclesiastes 8:10, Ecclesiastes 8:14, Ecclesiastes 9:9, Ecclesiastes 11:8, and Ecclesiastes 11:10). If all you have in life is physical things then you most certainly are hopeless (Luke 12:13-21 and I Corinthians 15:19). So, we should focus on a living hope.

Our Real Hope Of Life

Notice: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:3-9).

Don’t just read past the Scriptures quoted above. Reread them. Think about them. Hope is a significant benefit of being a faithful disciple of the Lord. Hope is most certainly a huge part of God’s plan of salvation. Consider this: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

Our real hope separates us significantly from people of the world. Consider this Scriptural point: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

As Paul noted to the Thessalonians, in the quote above, people who do not have Christ have no hope in death. We do! The righteous have hope in death (Psalms 37:37 and Proverbs 14:32). Our hope is not temporary. We don’t labor for things that will perish. Doesn’t that make you thankful that you have found and obeyed the Gospel of Christ? Doesn’t that make you thankful that you can have salvation? Let’s all remember, the hope we all have in Christ now hasn’t always been presented to humanity.

The Hope We Now Have Hasn’t Always Been

Notice this: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13).

Our hope for life, as you just read, wasn’t always presented to mankind. The Old Testament had promises (i.e. Joshua 1:6), but not as we have in Christ. Those promises of old were temporary or at best presented in a mysterious way (Ephesians 3:1-11). Now consider this great hope we have, that hasn’t always been, and ask yourself what that should motivate you to do.

Our Hope As A Motivator

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3). If we want to see God, it’ll be through being pure (Matthew 5:8). Therefore, let the hope of eternal life motivate you to live the right life now so that you gain eternity (John 5:28-29).

Conclusion

We have a living hope. That is, something to live for and look forward to (Colossians 1:5). There is only one hope (Ephesians 4:4). Be thankful that we whom are faithful in Christ have that hope. Let that hope move you forward to the fulfillment of the promise of life.

— Via Words of Truth, December 13, 2015, Volume 16, Issue 13
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe
in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent
of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith
in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).     
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/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) “…Christ did not send me to baptize…” (Tom Edwards)
2) A Simple Observation of a Hebrew Cubit (Tom Edwards)
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1cor1_17a

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“…Christ did not send me to baptize…”

Tom Edwards

The title of today’s article is from a passage that is sometimes used as an argument by those who believe that baptism is not necessary to be forgiven and become a Christian.  Of course, we have seen in the two previous bulletins for March 27 and April 3 that baptism is part of God’s plan of salvation.  But let us look more into 1 Corinthians 1:17:

The verse fully states, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”

If Paul were not sent to baptize ever, then does that mean, like the Quakers believe, that baptism should never be practiced today for any reason?  In other words, instead of some trying to use this passage to only show that baptism is not needful to be saved, would they not have to also be consistent by saying that “Baptism is also not for those who have already been saved without it”?  But would not most people who reject the need for baptism to become a Christian, believe that “Christians are to be baptized in obedience to the Lord’s command,” that it is “an outward showing of an inward grace”?  So, why the double standard?  If Paul’s not being sent to baptize means that it should not be done, then it should not be done for any reason.  But that is not what the passage implies.

From the context, it is obvious that the Lord was not forbidding Paul from baptizing people.  For he even speaks of those whom he had baptized in Corinth: Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:14,16).  Was Paul disobeying Christ by doing that?

Rather than wrongfully viewing the statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17 to imply that Paul was not to baptize, or that baptism is not necessary, we should see that the apostle is simply putting the emphasis on preaching the gospel, rather than on baptism.  For without the preaching that instills faith (Rom. 10:17), baptism by itself will not save anyone (cf. Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:36-38).

In the context of 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul did not baptize many of the Corinthians.  These Christians were of a divisive party-spirit.  Some said, “I am of Paul,” while others said, “I of Apollos,” “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ” (v. 12).  Because of their factions, Paul had exhorted them toward unity (v. 10), so that there “be no divisions” among them.

After speaking of the different groups that each were claiming affiliation with, Paul then says, “Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?  I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, SO THAT NO ONE WOULD SAY YOU WERE BAPTIZED IN MY NAME” (vv. 13-15, emphasis mine).

Due to those who would have a misconception of baptism — and think they are being baptized into Paul’s name, rather than into the Lord’s — the apostle had no desire to baptize these.  So we see more of the need for preaching  that others might rightly understand the purpose for baptism.  Therefore, Paul had said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”  We might also see in this the need for “first things first” — and which certainly doesn’t exclude the second and third things, etc.

Similarly are the “not-but” passages (the “emphasis passages”) in which the “not” does not rule out the need for what it refers to.  For example, Jesus instructs, “Do NOT work for the food which perishes, BUT for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you…” (Jn. 6:27, emphasis mine).  Is Jesus teaching that no one should have a secular job?  Of course not.  And would we not think that being able to buy food is one of the main reasons for working?  Food is essential for the body; but even more important is the spiritual food for the soul.  For “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).  The great patriarch Job had treasured and esteemed the word of God more so than even “necessary food” (Job 23:12).

If Paul was not to baptize, why did he also baptize those 12 men in Ephesus (in Acts 19:1-7) who had not known about the baptism Jesus commanded, until after Paul taught them?

And remember, too, that Paul is certainly not implying in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that baptism is irrelevant for salvation; For he is the one who had been told by Ananias, whom God had sent, to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins…” (Acts 22:16).  And it is Paul who teaches the need for baptism “…so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4); and that we may be “clothed with Christ” by being “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:26,27).   For “…we are buried with Him in baptism, in which” we are also “raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12); and that God saves us “…by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).  Yes, Paul taught the need for baptism.

For a time, John the Baptist was “…preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” ( Mark 1:4). The Jews of his day needed to realize that they had failed in keeping the Law of Moses and repent of that.  “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him” (Luke 7:30).

So John’s baptism was also important.  To reject that was to reject God.

That would have also been the baptism that the Lord’s disciples had been administering, prior to the Lord’s death on the cross: “Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee” (John 4:1-3).

Are we to infer that this baptism was irrelevant or of no importance because Jesus Himself did not personally do the baptizing, but His disciples did?  Of course not.

Similarly, it was important for the Corinthians to have been baptized, even though Paul emphasized to them that he was not sent to merely do that; but, rather, to preach the gospel.  And, according to Acts 18:11, he had remained in Corinth for “a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”  So compare that long period of teaching to the few minutes it would take to baptize someone!  What did Paul spend more time doing?  For in this we again see why the emphasis should be on the preaching rather than just the baptism.  And also because, without the proper understanding and beliefs that the gospel can instill, baptism would be ineffectual.

It is the gospel that is “…the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Rom. 1:16); and after hearing that message preached, “Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized” (Acts 18:8).

The baptism that Jesus commanded as part of the plan of salvation (Mark 16:16) is just as important today as it was way back then!  Do not allow the multitudes who believe to the contrary dissuade you from the truth!  Examine God’s word for yourself to reach the conclusion He wants you to understand — and then believe and obey His soul-saving message!  You will not be sorry in the great Judgment Day for having done so!
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A Simple Observation of a Hebrew Cubit

Tom Edwards

Out of all the different kinds of cubits, it is probably the Hebrew cubit of which we are the most familiar — or maybe it being the only cubit to our knowledge.  Yet there were also various others that fall within the range of a  3.31″ difference between the shortest and the longest of them, as seen in the following list:

Roman cubit (17.5″)
Egyptian cubit (17.72″)
Hebrew cubit (18″)
Ezekiel’s cubit (20.5″)
Royal Egyptian cubit (20.67″)
Hebrew Long cubit (20.67″)
Babylonian Royal cubit (20.81″)

I’m glad that this one we find used most often in the Old Testament is the Hebrew cubit, and that it is an even 18″.  For it makes it much easier to get a quicker grasp on the sizes, since we merely need to divide the number of cubits by 2 and call it a yard!  This came in handy when reading, for example, in Exodus 26 of the various dimensions for the tabernacle, where mention is made of “thirty cubits,” “twenty-eight cubits,” “ten cubits,” “four cubits,” and “one and a half cubits.”

Yes, it is much easier to think of 28 cubits as 14 yards (28 divided by 2), rather than figuring 18 * 28 = 504, which divided by 36 equals 14.

You probably already know these things, but this is for those folks, who like me in the past, used to do it the more difficult way.
——————–

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
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
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) Bible Quiz: Water Baptism (part 2 of 2) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes

1pe3_21b
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Bible Quiz: Water Baptism
(part 2 of 2)

Tom Edwards

In today’s lesson, we will consider a few more questions concerning water baptism.  If you would like to see the questions covered in part 1, they can be accessed at the following website:  https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com.  Once there, just go to the bulletin for March 27.

For today’s lesson, we will again first ask a group of questions and then answer them, along with some brief comments, in the answer section that follows.

The Questions:

10. How many baptisms does Ephesians 4:5 teach are for today?

11. About what hour of the night was the Philippian jailer baptized? (See Acts 16:25-34.)

12. “Both the Ethiopian eunuch and the Philippian jailer rejoiced in Christ before they were baptized.” True or false? (For help with this, consider the previous passage along with Acts 8:38,39.)

13. Must one be baptized for the right reason? (See Acts 19:3-7.)

14. How many “infant baptisms” do we read of in the New Testament?

15. As we examine the Scriptures, baptism is shown as being something one must do for which of the following reasons: a) to have sins washed away and become a Christian; b) to join a particular denomination; or c) to show that sins have already been washed away, prior to being baptized?

The Answers:

Number 10:

One

Ephesians 4:5 shows that there is only “one” baptism. “Which baptism is this?,” someone might ask.  “Is it Holy Spirit baptism?” “How can we know it is pertaining to water baptism?”

These are good questions. Actually, there are only two cases of  individuals being baptized in the Holy Spirit during the New Testament Age: The first would be that which the apostles themselves received in Acts 2, as the Lord had promised them (Acts 1:8).  The only other incident is that which happened about 10 years later at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10,11), as a special sign to the Jews that “…God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).  God had also previously given Peter a vision to help him see that the gospel should be taken to the Gentiles, even though it had been unlawful for Jews to associate or visit them during the Mosaical Period.  For the Gentile then was perceived as being “unclean.”  But now it was to no longer be that way (cf. Acts 10:28,29); and to show that, God had His Holy Spirit to fall upon them before they were even saved from their past sins. Afterwards, they obeyed the gospel plan of salvation and became the first Gentiles to become Christians, about a decade after the church had been established.  So this outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Cornelius’ household took place around A.D. 43.

The writing of the Ephesian letter, in which we read of there being just “one baptism,” was written about A.D. 61.

Now what is the “one baptism” we see occurring after A.D. 61? In 1 Peter 3:21, which was written about A.D. 63, Peter declares, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience….” Without question, the baptism that saves, which Peter is speaking of here, is water baptism. This is the one baptism that is to continue as long as time lasts.

Furthermore, no one was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was a promise given to the apostles, and it appears that those at the house of Cornelius had no idea that the Lord would cause His Holy Spirit to fall upon them.  But, as noted above, the Lord did so as a sign to the Jews that He was granting to even the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18).

Water baptism, however, is commanded; and it is part of the plan of salvation for any penitent believer who wants to have sins washed away and become a Christian (cf, Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3,4).

Number 11:

About the midnight hour

Acts 16:25-34 shows that it was around midnight when the Philippian jailer obeyed the command to be baptized.  Why so late at night?  Why not wait until morning, or some other time to be baptized that might be more convenient?  Was not his immediate response because he learned that baptism was part of God’s plan to receive salvation in Christ?  The Bible shows that the jailer was baptized within the “same hour” that Paul had been preaching to him (v. 33).

Yes, Jesus had said that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….” (Mk. 16:16); thus, coupling faith and baptism for salvation.

As we read about baptism in the New Testament, never do we see of anyone — who truly wanted to be forgiven — postponing his baptism until some more convenient time. Have you ever wondered about that? I imagine many were probably baptized during the colder months, too.

We don’t read of any of these even taking the time to eat or sleep before his or her baptism. Doesn’t that in itself tell us something about the importance of it?

All these people understood that their sins would not be forgiven until they met the conditions God Himself had stipulated to become a Christian; and that is that one hears the word (Rom. 10:17), believes in the deity of Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repents of sin (Acts 2:38), confesses faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and is baptized in water for sins to be forgiven (Acts 22:16; Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Number 12:

False

Neither the Philippian jailer nor the eunuch rejoiced in Christ until after baptism. Why? Because it is not until one comes up out of that watery grave of baptism that he is then able to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3,4), and be a “new creature” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17).

Yes, they rejoiced after their baptism because that is when their sins had been forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and they were, thus, saved from them (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21).

Number 13:

One Must Be Baptized For the Right Reason

From what we learn in Acts 19:3-7, one must be baptized for the right reason. In this passage, there were some men who did not know about the baptism Jesus commanded. They knew only of John’s baptism. They, therefore, had to all be taught, which Paul did; and then he also baptized them into Christ.

Though there are similarities between John’s baptism and the one the Lord commanded, there are also differences. For example, the baptism of Romans 6:3-5 puts us into the likeness of Christ’s death and resurrection, so that we might benefit from the atonement He made by His death. John’s baptism, therefore, could not have been for this purpose, since Jesus was still living at that time. This is also why the penitent thief on the cross was saved without having to receive that baptism Jesus spoke of after His resurrection (Mark 16:16).  For it was by the Lord’s death that he not only did away with the Old Covenant, but also established the New Covenant, which includes the need to be baptized to be forgiven and become a Christian.  So in baptism we not only figuratively put to death the old man of sin, as Jesus was literally put to death on the cross; but we are also spiritually risen to walk in newness of life, as Jesus was literally risen from the dead.

As we think about the seriousness of doing things for the right purpose, consider 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 about the Lord’s Supper. Paul shows that the one who would not take of the Lord’s Supper in a proper manner would be “guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (v. 27) and would be eating and drinking “damnation to himself” (v. 29, KJV).

We have learned that baptism is a “burial or an immersion in water”; but just because a person is dunked completely under water, does not necessarily mean that that person has received Bible baptism. For what about young boys swimming in a pond and dunking one another, just for fun?

Obviously, baptism must be received for the right purpose: and that is so that one may be baptized into Christ and have sins washed away by the blood of Jesus.

Number 14:

Not a One!

There is no passage in the New Testament that speaks of infants being baptized.

Actually, there is no need for their being baptized, since they are in a “safe” or “innocent” state, which Jesus indicates in Matthew 18:1-4, and refers to the kingdom of heaven as belonging to them in Matthew 19:14. We, therefore, must also become like little children to enter God’s kingdom (Matt. 18:3); which does not mean that we act immaturely, but that we become “innocent” (through the blood of Christ) and also have a childlike faith and dependence upon God in heaven. For being childlike with the right qualities is one thing — but being childish is another.

Not only infants, but also anyone who would pass away before reaching an age of accountability, will be safe with God and spend an eternity in heaven.

Number 15:

a) to have sins washed away….

After considering what the Bible says about water baptism, how could anyone reach any other conclusion than that it is necessary in order to have our sins forgiven and to become a child of God?

For to sum it up, the Bible shows that baptism…

* is so one can be “saved” (Mark 16:16).

* is so one can enter the kingdom (John 3:3-5).

* is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

* is to “wash away…sins” (Acts 22:16).

* is to bury one with Christ (Rom. 6:3).

* is so one can rise up with Christ to walk in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

* is so one can be put “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26,27).

* is to make one a child of God (Gal. 3:26,37).

* is so one can be buried and raised up with Christ (Col. 2:12).

* is so we can be saved (Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21).

Baptism is for the penitent believer who has acknowledged faith in Christ and wants now to benefit from the Lord’s atonement by submitting to water baptism for the remission of sins. If you are needing to make your soul right with God, then why not do so this very day, according to His word?

— Via The Gospel Observer (November 15, 1998) (April 2016 revised version)
——————–

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
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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