“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) The Greatest Liberty (Bill Crews)
2) Pray for One Another (R.J. Evans)
The Greatest Liberty
According to Isaiah 61:1 the Messiah was to proclaim liberty to the captives. In a synagogue in His home town of Nazareth Jesus read the Isaiah passage and announced, “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears” (Lk. 4:16-21).
The captivity referred to is not political (being held prisoner in a government prison) or social (being owned as the slave of another), but spiritual (being in bondage to sin). The word of Christ, in fact, calls upon every soul to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1-7) and upon slaves to be obedient to their masters (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25), but no one is called upon to be content in sin or obedient to Satan. Sin is, after all, the most oppressive and the most destructive form of slavery. Don’t wait until life is over to discover this!
To certain Jews that had believed on Him (nominally, according to the context), Jesus said, “If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). They mistakenly said, “We have never yet been in bondage to any man” (vs. 33; had they forgotten the long bondage in Egypt? the Assyrian captivity? the 70 years of Babylonian captivity?, and other times of national oppression? And if they referred only to themselves, did they think they were now free from the Romans? But Jesus had in mind none of these things. However, they were also enslaved by sin and in bondage to the human traditions of their fathers.)
When Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin” (vs. 34), He made clear His meaning. Christ, the great Deliverer, came to set at liberty those who are enslaved by sin. Solomon said, “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). And Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). However, full release is offered by and through Christ, and to the extent that mankind is made free from sin, other forms of oppressive bondage will in time disappear.
The saints at Rome, like all other saints who were saved through Christ, were once the bondservants of sin, but they became obedient from the heart unto that form of teaching unto which they were delivered, and were then made free from sin and became bondservants of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). They traded a bondage that was oppressive and destructive for a bondage that was beneficial and salutary (see Matt. 11:28-30 on “yoke”).
Because of the liberating power of the truth, the gospel of Christ, it is called “the law of liberty” (James 1:25; 2:12). Paul refers to it as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and declares that it made him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). To the saints in Galatia Paul wrote: “For freedom did Christ set us free; stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
And how are Christians to use, rather than abuse, this freedom? “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another” (Gal. 5:13). “As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16 — notice the context, vv. 13-17). We should think of our freedom in Christ more as freedom from things that are oppressive and burdensome rather than as freedom to do as we please or as freedom from restraint and responsibility
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 32 Issue 45 Page 02
Pray for One Another
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, a young evangelist he referred to as “my true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Both of the letters are filled with instructions, exhortations and admonitions that would come under the category of commands that Paul was giving his “son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:3, 18; 4:11; 5:7, 21; 6:17; 2 Tim. 4:1). Among other things, Paul commanded him to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15); live the Word (1 Tim. 4:12); preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). But in this article let us note the exhortation Paul gave Timothy concerning prayer: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
Prayer is one of the most important duties and privileges of a Christian. And I am convinced that praying for others (“intercessions”) should take up a large portion of our prayer time. “I am praying for you” are some of the most encouraging words I have ever heard from others, especially during difficult times. There are some valid reasons for believing this.
Paul is giving a command to intercede by prayer for all men. In the next verse he mentions some in particular— “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Ephesians 6:18 and James 5:16 also commands us to pray for others. Thus, it is a duty commanded by God for every Christian to pray for others.
Our prayers for others manifest brotherly love and an unselfish attitude. These two areas are so important in the life of a Christian. The Apostle Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). This being true, the requests we make for others are just as important as the requests we make for ourselves. When the Lord answers our prayers for others, no doubt, our faith is increased. Jesus said loving our neighbor as our self is the second greatest commandment (Mk. 12:31).
The Apostle Paul prayed for all the churches where he labored. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians, he assured them of his prayers on their behalf. He said I “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:16-17). The list of things he asked God to do for the Colossians was similar (Col. 1:9-12). Epaphras offered fervent prayers for the Colossian brethren. Paul told them, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).
I have no doubt that Christians enjoy many blessings from God because some brother or sister in Christ prayed for them. May we not forget that praying for others should be a big part of our lives. Such encouraging words when some faithful brother or sister tells us, “I am praying for you”! Thus, may we constantly practice what James was teaching when he said “pray for one another” (Jas. 5:16).
— bulletin article of the Southside church of Christ, June 10, 2018
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, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)