“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) I Am Bill’s Ears (Mark Roberts)
2) An Ancient Description of Christians (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
I Am Bill’s Ears
Some people say we’re shaped kind of funny. Women poke holes in us and hang all kinds of ornaments off our lobes. If someone is mad they may threaten to “box” us. A famous orator once asked Romans to lend theirs to him. What am I? I am the ear. Specifically, since there are two of me, I am Bill’s ears.
To start with, you should know that we are a marvel of design and engineering. The outer part of the ear — what you see and what women pierce for earrings — gathers sound waves in. Inside the inner ear the three tiniest bones in the human body and some extremely small hairs on specialized organs catch the sound vibrations and create nerve signals that the brain can understand as sound. It is all very complex but it is wonderfully efficient and works amazingly well. I can hear a range of sounds and volumes that is simply incredible — everything from the high pitched hum of a mosquito to the low roar of a waterfall. Sometimes I hear someone talking about how humans evolved from slime and it makes me want to laugh. How could anything as complicated as ears just happen by accident?
Bill doesn’t really think much about us but without us his world would be awfully quiet. Sound adds so much to our lives. Bill loves to hear his kids say “You’re the best, dad!” Great music, like the wonderful hymns Mouth sings at church, move Bill’s Heart to worship God. Even non-sacred music is enjoyable to listen to and can help Bill feel better when he is down. But it isn’t all just fun and games. Many times a sound is the first clue that danger is coming, like when Bill didn’t see that car that he was about to run into. When they honked we got Bill’s attention in a hurry and avoided a bad accident! Perhaps the best report we Ears can make is when we report no sound at all. Quiet, stillness, and no noise all help Bill be still so he can meditate effectively on God and His Word.
Of course, our job isn’t just gathering sounds. The reason God gave Bill ears is so that he can hear and then act upon the truth. Jesus said, “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Matthew 7:26). Proverbs 5:1 says, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding.” The Hebrew writer adds, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). James warns, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). These passages discuss the obligation of Bill to act on what we hear and send over to Mind. If Bill doesn’t do anything with the information we give him then we might as well have never heard it at all.
That is also why it is so important that Bill be careful what he uses us to listen to. “And Jesus was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to’” (Mark 4:24). False teachers can make error sound like truth (see Jer. 12:6). Honestly, I can’t tell the difference at all. I just send it over to Mind and he has to sort it all out. It would make life a lot easier for Mind if Bill just didn’t get me around that kind of teaching in the first place, wouldn’t it? However, it’s not just false doctrine that I can get involved with. All kinds of evil and sin begins in the ear. I can hear gossip and rumors about someone that will change how Bill acts toward that person permanently. Too often today I hear profanity, vulgarity and curse words that hurt me badly. Sometimes what I hear seems to go right over to Tongue because the next thing you know he is saying those words too! Sadly, many a proposition to sin begins with a whisper in the ear. “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue” (Proverbs 17:4). Solomon says his words are designed to “deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words” (Prov. 2:16). A lot of adultery and immorality can be traced over to Eyes; but though I don’t like to admit it, us Ears have a lot to do with it too.
If Conscience gets turned off, and Bill keeps me listening to sinful ideas and ways, then it becomes harder to hear God’s word. As a result our walk with God is ruined. “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). There is just an incredibly strong connection between me and Heart and so what I hear can determine Bill’s way, for good or evil. “Each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me” (Jeremiah 16:12).
The best thing for me to be hearing is God’s word. Beyond that, however, there are many other good things for me to listen to. Solomon also notes, “The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31). It hurts a little when someone rebukes Bill, but in the long run he’s glad I heard it so he could correct his life. It is also very good to hear words of encouragement and acceptance. Barnabas was always doing that, and I am sure the ears of everyone else around him perked up and listened to what he had to say because it feels so good to be exhorted and encouraged in the service of the Lord (Acts 11:23). Ultimately I hope Bill someday hears Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” This old body will be changed then (see 1 Cor. 15:51-ff), and I guess that means I will be changed too. But I know Bill wants to hear Jesus say those wonderful words; and he wants to hear the angelic choruses ringing out hymns of victory and praise, and he wants to hear his voice added to theirs. That will be something to hear, won’t it?
I don’t mean to sound stuck on myself. After all, ears are just a part of the body that the Lord has made (Prov. 20:12; 1 Cor. 12:16). Yet a look at the role I play in Bill’s life does point out how much I can do for Bill. Hearing and listening are vitally important, especially in following and serving the Lord. Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:23). Bill has me and we are trying hard to listen to the Savior. How about your ears? What are they hearing?
— Via The Auburn Beacon, December 19, 2010
NOTE: The above picture is neither Bill’s nor Mark’s ear, but another’s.
An Ancient Description of Christians
The following quotation is from a letter written by a Christian who lived sometime in the second or third centuries:
“For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practice an extraordinary kind of life. Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are. But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvelous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like all other men and beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring. They have their meals in common, but not their wives. They find themselves in the flesh, and yet live not after the flesh. Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives. They love all men, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonored, and yet they are glorified in their dishonor. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened to life. War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason for their hostility.”
This quotation is taken from “The Epistle to Diognetus,” paragraph 5. It is accepted as authentic, and its author is classified as a Christian. It is obvious that it was not easy to be a Christian in his day. Count your blessings, and daily ask yourself if you are really being a Christian.
— Via The Beacon, May 22, 2016
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)