Year: 2019 (Page 1 of 6)

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) The Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Wayne Goff)
2) Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44)
3) A Hairy Reminder (Roger Shouse)
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Jerusalem ad 70c

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The Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70

Wayne Goff

The following is an excerpt from the book, The Historical Atlas of Judaism, by Dr. Ian Barnes, regarding the destruction of Jerusalem by General Vespasian and his son, Titus, in 70 A.D.  Jesus predicted this destruction in Matthew 24:1-35. See verses 1-2, 14-22 below.

“As Vespasian was traveling to Caesarea to plan the siege of Jerusalem, Nero’s suicide was announced, so he delayed operations until the political situation in Rome became clear. In the summer of CE* 69, the armies of the Eastern Empire declared Vespasian emperor.

“Confronted by new rebel leader, Simon bar-Giora, Vespasian completed his conquest of Judaea, controlling Acrabeta, Bethel, and Ephraim, together with Hebron in the south. Only Jerusalem, Macherus, Herodium, and Masada remained defiant. Civil war raged in Jerusalem. A hill in the south-west of the city was held by aristocratic patriots while the Zealots under John of Giscala held the eastern city and most of the Temple Mount. The aristocrats asked Simon bar-Giora for help. He killed those amongst them who mentioned surrender. In Spring, CE 70, Titus marched on Jerusalem, pitched camp, and attacked the north wall, one of three defense lines. The Jews attacked the siege towers but battering-rams were finally put in place, despite the defenders using catapults they had captured from Cestius years earlier. On 25 May, the first wall was breached. Roman soldiers entered and took Bezetha, north of the Temple Mount. Five days later, the second wall was breached, but the legionaries were repelled. The second wall was breached again, leaving the walls enclosing the Temple and the upper and lower parts of the city. The city was isolated by the Romans sealing off Jerusalem from the rest of the world. Sometimes as many as 500 were crucified daily by the Romans for trying to escape the city. The inhabitants died of starvation, with the dead stacked in houses and thousands thrown over the walls into the surrounding ravines. The Fortress of Antonia was breached by battering rams on 24 July. The Temple gates were set alight and soon the Temple was burned to ashes. The rebels made a final stand in Herod’s palace but all were killed. Jerusalem was razed to the ground. Simon bar-Giora and John of Giscala were captives marching in Titus’ triumphal procession in Rome in CE 71. Bar Biora was thrown to his death from the Tarpeian Rock.”

* “CE” means common era,” a term often used by those who do not wish to acknowledge the term “A.D.” which comes from the Latin anno domini which means “In the year of our Lord.”

“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’…“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” ~ Matthew 24:1–2, 14–22

Jesus’ description in Matthew 24 of the Destruction of Jerusalem is consistently misapplied to a future “tribulation” period imagined by those who profess to believe in a future, earthly reign of Jesus on the earth for a thousand years. But note Matt. 24:34.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 51, Page 3, December 22, 2019
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“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew  24:34, NASB).

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Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation’” (Luke 19:41-44, NASB).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34, NKJV).
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matthew10_29-31

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A Hairy Reminder

Roger Shouse

A person between the ages of 20-30 has about 615 hair follicles per square centimeter. A person 50 years of age has around 485 hair follicles per square centimeter. Typically, most people have somewhere between 100,000-150,000 hairs on their head. By the way, the average hair loss for an individual is 50-100 hairs per day. As a result, there is no way you can tell accurately how many hairs you have (in fact, unless you are going bald, most of us don’t really care). But God knows.

Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). This passage reveals three interesting truths.

First, God knows more about us than we know about us. That is a humbling thought. When we sometimes feel like no one understands us or grasps our situation, we forget that God does. God knows your personality. God knows your strengths. God knows what motivates you. God knows when you stumble. God knows what you like and don’t like. God knows the real you. Therefore, when God declares something worthwhile, He knows what He is talking about. When God warns about danger, He knows what He is talking about. When God tells us that we should do something, we need to do it, because He knows us better than we know ourselves.

God is a God of detail. How insignificant are hairs and sparrows to us. Yet God is aware of them. He is a God of details. The motives, attitudes and heart behind our actions are as important to Him as the actions themselves. It does little good to give, if you have left out the detail of being a cheerful giver. Singing fails if we neglect thankfulness in our heart. Let us be a people of details, as God is.

God cares about you. This is why Jesus referred to sparrows and hair. We are of value to Him. Christ was not sent to save the whales, the environment, or the endangered species, but mankind. Man has value! Stress and worry often make us wonder if God cares. These two simple illustrations remind us that He does.

– Via The Beacon, November 17, 2019
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption (Harry Ozment)
2) 1John 3:1-3 (NASB)
3) “Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak” (R.J. Evans)
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rom8_15

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Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption

Harry Ozment

In Romans 8:14-17, the apostle Paul had some words to say about spiritual adoption into the family of God: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” The apostle shows us two things about spiritual adoption: (1) the manner of adoption, and (2) the results and blessings of adoption.

(1) Paul tells us how a person is adopted into God’s family when he says in v. 14, “led by the Spirit of God.” Before one can be a member of God’s family, he must first follow the Holy Spirit. Now, what does this involve? Does this involve a personal indwelling of the Spirit? Does this involve a mysterious, indescribable feeling? No, not at all. The Holy Spirit operates upon the heart of an individual solely through the word of God. This is true because the gospel is the product of the inspiration, revelation, and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. What the gospel does, the Holy Spirit does (and vice versa) because the gospel came from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, then, leads us by means of the gospel, for the gospel does indeed lead us: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my way” (Psa. 119:105). If one is ever to be a child of God, he must follow (i.e., obey) the word of God. When a couple wishes to adopt a child, there are laws of the state in which they live that must be met and obeyed. If these laws are not obeyed, the couple will never be able to adopt a child. The same is true of spiritual adoption. One who is not willing to obey the gospel will not gain and does not deserve entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

(2) Paul then lists three blessings of adoption into the family of God:

(a) Deliverance from fear (v. 15). This is one of the great blessings of being a Christian. The inspired writer said in Heb. 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Sin, which was the cause of fear, can be taken away by means of the atoning blood shed by Jesus in his death. Death, which was the object of fear, was taken away by the resurrection of Jesus because it gave us hope of our resurrection and the hope of living with God.

(b) Assurance that we are children of God (v. 16). It must be terrible to go through life without knowing  where you will spend eternity, without knowing whether God is pleased with your life or whether you are in God’s family. For the Christian, however, this is not a problem. When one obeys the gospel, the Holy Spirit through the word assures that person that he is a child of God. This is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” of which Peter spoke in Acts 2:38. This is the “times of refreshing” of which Peter spoke in Acts 3:19. This is being “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” of which Paul spoke in Eph. 1:13. These descriptions show how glorious this blessing is.

(c) Heirs of promises (v. 17). When one is a child of God, he can look to an inheritance from the promises that God has made to His family. These promises are great and precious. The value of this blessing is seen in Peter ‘s words: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:4).

— via Searching the Scriptures, January 1970, Volume XI, Number 1
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1 John 3:1-3

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (NASB).
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John10-27-28

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“Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak”

R.J. Evans

It should be obvious to us all that we learn more by listening than by speaking.  Listening means we are willing to hear what is being said.  The willingness to be a good listener or hearer is set forth in James 1:19:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  But so many of us are tempted to talk more than we are willing to listen.  One way to be a good friend and be helpful to others is to let them talk and merely listen without interrupting.  But this involves patience and not allowing our own egotism to take over.

The Book of Proverbs provides wise instructions concerning hearing and listening.  In fact, Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) states: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”  We are also told by the wise man that “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (Prov. 18:12).

In our relationship with God, we must be willing to obey Him in order to please Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).  The writer of Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, stated: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9).  However, we must be willing to hear or listen, before we can obey what He commands us. Jesus gave a parable about building a house. The wise man, who built his house on the rock, is the one who “hears these sayings of Mine and does them” (Matt. 7:24). Whereas, the foolish man who built his house on the sand, failed to obey what he had heard from the Lord and his “house fell…And great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27).

Sadly, there are some who are willing to listen and hear, but stop when they don’t like what they are hearing.  This keeps them from ever obeying and pleasing God.  There are a number of biblical examples of this type of hearer that can be cited.  The Jews heard Stephen up until the point where he told them they were “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears… betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52).  After being told this, they “cried with a loud voice, stopped their ears… and stoned him” (Acts 7:57-60).  The Apostle Paul addressed the Jerusalem mob in Acts 22.  But when he told them of how the Lord sent him to the “Gentiles,” notice carefully how they reacted–“And they listened to him until this word, and then raised their `voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth for he is not fit to live!’” (Acts 22: 22).  The Athenians listened to Paul in Acts 17.  But “when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter’” (Acts 7:32).

What about us?  Are we good listeners?  In our normal conversations with others, do we love to hear the sound of our own voice and can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so we can jump in and have our say?  If so, we need to avoid this practice.

But most important of all, are we good listeners and hearers of God’s word so that we can know and do His will?  Are we like the Bereans who received the word “with all readiness” (Acts 17:11)?  Are we willing to listen to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)?  Hopefully, the answer to these two questions is YES.  May we all seek to be like Cornelius and his household.  Their main objective was to hear the word of God  so they could obey it and be saved.  We close with the words of Cornelius to the Apostle Peter: “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come.  Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us” (Acts 10:33, NIV).

— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana, November 24, 2019
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) Would You Like to be Rich? (H.E. Phillips)
2)  The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
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rom2_4f

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Would You Like to be Rich?

H.E. Phillips

To some degree just about everyone wants to be rich. The sad part is that most want to be rich in earthly treasures and care nothing for true riches. “Rich” is a relative term and does not say how much wealth one must have to be considered rich. It would depend entirely upon comparison with others. The word does not tell the nature of the wealth. One may be rich in one thing and poor in another.

The Love of Money

The Holy Spirit warns: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Here those who “will be rich” are those who “love money,” and while they covet after it, they depart from the faith and bring upon themselves many sorrows. I suppose there is nothing that has not been done or will not be done “to be rich.” One sure way to make a fortune is to devise a scheme which promises to make men rich and then offer it for sale. The greed of men will drive them to invest in or purchase the plan in the hope of becoming rich.

False Concept of Riches

I can tell you how to be rich! But unlike some of the get-rich-quick schemes, I do not propose to offer the “uncertain riches” that fade away with time. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). The tendency to trust in uncertain riches is plainly taught by the word in a parable of a certain rich man whose ground brought forth plentifully. His major concern was to find the room to store his wealth, and when had he made ample arrangements he thought to say within himself: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” God called him a fool and said he would die that night. Now what about his riches? Jesus concludes by saying: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

The man who thinks he is rich because he has much money, property, stocks and bonds, and all that is considered wealth in this world, is miserably mistaken. The lukewarm church in Laodicea considered itself rich. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing . . . ” (Would not a man in this state be considered secure and successful?) ” . . . and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). I could hardly imagine a worse condition, yet these people thought of themselves as being rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing. In reality they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

True Riches

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich . . .” The real wealth comes from God and we must “buy” it. “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23). This suggests that the truth is obtained by some effort on our part and at some expense to us. Whatever you have to pay for it, do not sell it for any consideration.

Now, do you really want to be rich? I mean rich in the full sense of the word, with riches that cannot be taken from you. The Laodiceans were to “buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” “Buy” cannot mean that value for value is given, because there is no price man can bring to purchase the priceless riches in Christ. This simply indicates the effort on the part of the one desiring these riches to obtain them. The “gold tried in the fire” is the pure gold refined by fire and separated from the dross. “That you may be rich” is that true wealth in contrast to the riches of this world.

Jesus taught that men should “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

How to Become Rich

The true riches come from God through Christ: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). They come through Christ by the gospel. Paul said he had been made a minister “to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of his glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:25-27). “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2-3). Again Paul said: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

All this means that you can be rich if you will hear the word of truth concerning the unsearchable riches of Christ and understand it. But you must do something to receive these riches.

Both Jew and Gentile must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Rom. 10:13). In order to call upon him, they must believe; and in order to believe they must hear; and in order to hear, there must be a message given and a messenger to preach it. In the verse leading to this point we read: “For there is no difference between the Jew and Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom. 10:12). The Lord is rich only to those who call upon him, and this is done by obeying the truth believed.

James 2:5 says that the poor in this world are “rich in faith.” Of course, this does not mean that one who is poor in things of this world is automatically “rich in faith.” Since the whole context is dealing with “respect of persons” even in the assembly, based upon how much of this world’s riches one possesses, the “poor” would be those saints who are not rich in goods, but rich in faith.

A wealthy man may be “poor” in that he does not regard his wealth as important when compared to his faith in Christ.

The Lord said unto the church in Smyrna: “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9). This church was in poverty, yet they were rich! How can this be? The answer, of course, lies in the difference between the riches of this world and the riches of faith in Christ. Moses elected to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:25-26).

False Values

Not many can be persuaded to accept the riches that come by faith in Christ. They are not nearly so interested in the treasures in heaven as the treasures of this world. In this affluent society in which we live anything that is not valued in terms of dollars and cents is not important. The great majority would not turn around for the privilege of learning the truth of God’s word. Most are not concerned about what their children are taught by way of television, movies, books, magazines, not to speak of back alleys and lonely roads in parked cars. Just so they can “make plenty of money” to “provide for their children,” nothing else makes any difference. Your child needs money less than anything else in this generation. He needs to become rich in things that extend beyond this life. He will never be rich, even if you leave him a million dollars, unless you teach him the wisdom of God that he may be rich in faith. Find the riches of the wisdom of God in Christ, and obey it; you will be rich beyond anything this world can offer.

— Via hephillips.org
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) Be An Example (H.E. Phillips)
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Be An Example

H.E. Phillips

“These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself: and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:11-16).

The Holy Spirit by Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy, who was a preacher of the gospel. The inspired instruction was for him to behave himself in such a way as to not allow his youth to become a stumbling block in his work. He said: “Let no man despise thy youth . . .” Instead he was to be an example of the believer.

Every Christian should be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16).

One becomes an example by his manner of life. He is to live so as to have a good influence upon those around him. What Timothy was told to do as a believer is what every believer should do. He was to be an example in the following ways:

First, be an example in WORD.

That means our language must be an example of one who is a Christian. It includes teaching the word of God and all communication to others. We must speak as the oracles of God. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God . . . ” (1 Pet. 4:11). “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Sound doctrine is the gospel of Christ; the teaching of Christ.

We must guard the tongue because it can cause great damage to others as well as to ourselves. “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:2-6).

Our words will be a matter of judgment, and will determine where we will spend eternity. Jesus said: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:34-37).

Second, be an example in CONVERSATION.

Conversation refers to the manner of life one lives from day to day. Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).

Third, be an example in LOVE.

We must love God above everyone and everything. “And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38).

A Christian must love his brother or he does not love God. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21). “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). To hate your brother is the same as murder in the sight of God.

Fourth, be an example in SPIRIT.

We must have the right mind or attitude toward God and His word, as well as others. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus . . . ” (Phil. 2:5). “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself: lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

Fifth, be an example in FAITH.

This means to be faithful in all things: in teaching the word of God, and being an example of fidelity in doing what is required of us. We are to hold the faith, and defend it against attacks from anyone. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). We must “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:10). And  “. . . faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

Sixth, be an example in PURITY.

We must be pure and holy in body and mind. We should be clean in thought, in life and in actions. This is important to young preachers and to young people.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22). “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22).

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

We must MEDITATE upon these things and do them. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:15-16). We should learn and imitate these examples.

— Via Daily Living, October 31, 2019
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Galatians 5:19-23

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (NASB).
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) God’s Authority (Jeffrey Hamilton)
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God’s Authority

Jeffrey Hamilton

In the lessons we have studied so far, we have seen God create a world and then destroy it when it no longer suited His purpose. We have also seen God make demands of His creation, such as the law for Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain tree or the instructions to Noah to build a vessel according to a very specific plan. It should be obvious that God expects obedience from mankind. We could say that God has the right to be obeyed.

I have a small car. It isn’t much, but it gets me around town. I can drive it wherever I desire. If I decide to get rid of it, I can dispose of it in a variety of ways. Why can I do all these things with my car? Because I own it.

The reason God can make laws for his world and destroy it if he sees fit is because God owns our world. In Genesis 1:1 we learned that the only reason this world exists is because God created it from nothing by the power of His Word. Therefore, other passages in the Bible speak of the world as belonging to God, such as Psalm 24:1-2. Even though we would like to think of ourselves as free and independent beings, we too belong to God. We read in Genesis 1:26, that God made man in his own image. He gave us a spirit that the rest of his creation on earth does not have. Since our spirits come from God, God can claim that all souls belong to him (Ezekiel 18:4).

God also has a right to expect obedience from us because we were created to serve him. Solomon, after studying all the possible reasons for mankind’s existence, concluded that the whole duty of man is to serve his Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:13). When we must make a choice between serving a man on this earth or serving God, the answer is obvious. It is more important to serve God (Acts 5:29). Who are we to argue otherwise with the Creator of this universe? (See Job 38:1-41.)

Another important reason for mankind to obey God is the simple fact that man cannot find his own way. We do not leave small children alone to fend for themselves. We understand that with their limited knowledge and capability that they will soon come to harm. Compared to God, we are all infants. Unless God directs our way, our lives become useless (Psalms 127:1). People are unable to accurately choose to take the best path (Proverbs 14:12).

While we understand the right of God to ask for obedience from us, can we also say that God is asserting his right? In other words, does God expect us to be obedient? Even in the few chapters that we have read so far, it is obvious that God expects to be obeyed. The Bible is filled with such illustrations. King Saul was given a very specific command in I Samuel 15:2-3. He was to wipe out a nation to fulfill a punishment that God had promised would come a number of generations earlier. Saul chose to obey God’s commands in his own way. As a result, God took the right of Saul’s children to inherit the kingship away from Saul (I Samuel 15:9-11). Even though Saul justified his disobedience by claiming to use it as a way of worshiping God, we learn that obedience is more important than making up ways to worship God (I Samuel 15:22-23).

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ holds all the authority of the Godhead (Matthew 28:18). Everything has been placed at Jesus’ feet, to be used or disposed of as Jesus sees fit (Ephesians 1:21-22; Colossians 2:10; I Peter 3:22). If we wish to please God, the Father, we must do it Jesus’ way (John 14:6). If we truly love our Lord and Savior, then we will obey the things that Jesus has commanded of us (John 14:15). And it is not just those things that Jesus has directly commanded that we must obey. Jesus appointed the apostles to represent him after his death (Matthew 28:19-20). As they teach the Master’s words, so we must follow their directions.

Occasionally, you run across people who claim that God only expects us to follow his direct commands. The examples of what Christians did during the first century are only considered to be suggestions, but not requirements. There are many things that we practice that are only based on examples recorded in the Bible. Our meeting on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper is based on the practice of the first century Christians (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 11:17-34). The taking up of a collection on the first day of the week is also based on an example (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Does this mean that we can meet and partake of the Lord’s Supper on days other than Sunday? Is taking up a collection optional for congregations?

One thing that people miss is that we are commanded to follow the good examples recorded in the Scriptures. In I Corinthians 11:1, Paul commands us to imitate his life as he imitates Christ. To the Philippians, Paul says to do the things we have learned, heard, and seen (Philippians 4:9). When the apostles or preachers set the proper example, we need to follow those examples (II Thessalonians 3:7). In Philippians 3:17, we are told to follow Paul and those who follow the same path he took.

However, we can learn from the Scriptures that God expects even more from us than just to follow his commandments and the examples of his children. Sometimes we have to follow rules that we can only derive by implication. Consider this, when Noah built the ark, he was told the kind of material to use and the size of ark to build. However, God never said what type of tools Noah should use in building the ark. Does this mean Noah did not use any tools? Of course not! The command to build the ark implies Noah had permission to use tools.

We are used to deriving implications from the facts we are given. For example, we know that Peter had a wife because Jesus healed his mother-in-law (Mark 1:30). Similarly, we practice things that are based on implication. We use grape juice and unleavened bread for the Lord’s Supper. The reason for grape juice is that Jesus used the fruit of the vine during his last supper. The vine that every Jew would think about is grape, so we use grape juice. The bread that Jesus used would have had to be unleavened since he ate the last supper during the Passover festival when leavening was not permitted in the home. As a result, it would be wrong to substitute the juice of another fruit, such as watermelons. Nor would yeast-risen bread be an acceptable substitute for unleavened bread.

In Acts 15:4-19, we have an example of the disciples settling a difficult problem by drawing a conclusion from the evidence that God had presented. The problem was deciding whether Gentile believers had to follow at least some of the Jewish practices, such as circumcision, to be a Christian. The reason this came up was because the first Christians were Jews and many behaved as if Christianity was a branch of Judaism. To solve this problem, the disciples cited the command of God to send Peter to a Gentile. They also noted that prophecies in the Old Law stated that the Gentiles would become God’s children. They also cited the example of the Holy Spirit coming to the Gentiles that Peter taught without them being circumcised. They also cited the miracles that Paul and Barnabas did among the Gentiles. From all this evidence, they drew the conclusion that God did not want the Gentiles to keep the law of Moses. Their conclusion was not directly stated anywhere in the Scriptures. You can only make this conclusion by inference.

God does expect men to make the proper conclusions from the things he does and does not say. We will use an event from Moses’ life to illustrate this point. In Numbers 20:1-12, the people of Israel were complaining once again that they did not have enough water. God told Moses to take Aaron’s rod and speak to a certain rock and water would come forth. As you read the account, notice that Moses did do what God commanded. He did speak to the rock, but God punished Moses for his disobedience. So, what did Moses do wrong? First, Moses struck the rock with Aaron’s rod in addition to speaking to the rock. I can understand why Moses did strike the rock, after all God told him to take Aaron’s rod with him and a while back, when the people wanted water at an earlier time, God told Moses to strike the rock to bring forth the water. However, in this case, God did not say to strike the rock. God said that Moses did not trust God. Moses felt he had to do more than God had commanded. The second mistake that Moses made was that he did not give God credit for bringing water. Moses asked, “Must we bring forth water?” He should have asked, “Must God bring forth water?” Moses did not have anything to do with the granting of water. He was simply God’s spokesman.

Serving God should be taken seriously. We must be careful to do exactly as God has commanded. God has the right to expect obedience from his creation. It is our duty to serve him to the best of our abilities.

— Via article from the La Vista church of Christ
——————-

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
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
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) When It Was a Crime to Read the Bible (Joe R. Price)
2) Eyewitness Testimony (Frank Himmel)
3) Bible Quiz
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William Tyndale 3-in-1c

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When It Was a Crime to Read the Bible

Joe R. Price

By the start of the third decade of the 16th century, William Tyndale had already been on the run for five years. The king of England, Henry VIII, had declared him a felon. Fleeing Roman Catholic authorities in London (never to return to England), he went first to Cologne, France, and then Worms, Germany. What crime had this “evil” man committed? Of what rebellious act of treason was he guilty? He dared to translate and then print the New Testament in the English language!

In England in the 1520’s (indeed, throughout Europe during the Middle Ages), unless you were literate in Hebrew, Greek or Latin, reading the Bible for yourself was impossible. You had to rely upon what the Roman Catholic clergy said the Bible contained. You would not have been able to study the Bible for yourself to discern the truth for yourself – much less be free to practice what you learned therein. Rome ruled with an iron hand.

The Catholic Church did not want nor permit a wide transmission of the Bible and its contents. When Tyndale’s NT was published in Worms, 6,000 copies were shipped back to England. Medieval historian William Manchester reports, “To the bishop of London this was an intolerable, metastasizing heresy. He bought up all that were for sale and publicly burned them at St. Paul’s Cross. But the archbishop of Canterbury was dissatisfied; his spies told him that many remained in private hands. Protestant peers with country houses were loaning them out, like public libraries. Assembling his bishops, the archbishop declared that tracking them down was essential – each was placing souls in jeopardy – and so, on his instructions, dioceses organized posses, searching the homes of known literates, and offered rewards to informers – sending out the alarm to keep Christ’s revealed word from those who worshiped him” (A World Lit Only By Fire, 204-205).

Tyndale was eventually arrested and imprisoned for sixteen months in the castle of Vilvoorde, near Brussels. In 1536, after being tried and convicted for heresy he was publicly executed, being tied to a stake, strangled to death, and then his corpse burned.

As we consider Tyndale’s struggle and sacrifice to provide the common Englishman with readable, discernible scriptures, we are made to thank God for the daily ease and convenience with which we can open the Bible and study it for ourselves. We are made to cherish the privilege that is ours to pour over the divine text, understand it, reflect upon it, think over it so as to bring our hearts and lives into harmony with it, as well as also teach it to others (Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:2).

If you have been neglecting to read, learn and live God’s word, please remember the good fortune you have: education and access – the abundant opportunity to read and know God’s word. To not drink deeply from its well is to squander a precious blessing (cf. Jas. 4:17).

The next time you pick up your Bible and read it, remember the sacrifices of countless others who have made that simple act possible. But above all, remember the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life on the cross and was then resurrected from the dead so that you know the truth, abide in His word and thus be freed from your sin (Jno. 8:31-36; 1:1-3, 14-18).

– Via The Beacon, August 18, 2019
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apostles 2

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Eyewitness Testimony

Frank Himmel

Every fact of history is established in the same way. An event occurs. Those who observe it leave some sort of testimony of the event: a drawing or photograph, a marker, a monument, a written record, etc. People in subsequent generations view that testimony and therefore believe the event occurred.

That is why we believe in Jesus. His life and teachings were documented by witnesses; primarily, the apostles. Jesus told them, “. . . and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The apostles were witnesses of what they saw: Jesus’ good works and miracles (Acts 10:38-39). They were witnesses of what they heard (Acts 22:15). They were witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32), the event that He pointed to time and again as the ultimate proof of who He was. (None of the apostles claimed to have seen Jesus actually emerge from the tomb, but they ate and drank with Him after He arose [Acts 10:41].) They were even witnesses of things that Jesus revealed after His ascension back to heaven (Acts 26:16).

There is no reason to question the credibility of the apostles’ testimony. They were in a position to see what they recorded. Their testimony did not bring fame or fortune; to the contrary, they were treated “as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:13).

People today speak of “witnessing” in a loose sense of telling what they believe. When the apostles witnessed, they were telling what they had seen and heard.

Peter wrote, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18).

John added, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3).

— Via Pathlights, October 13, 2019
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person studying Bible

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Bible Quiz

1. Who was Moses’ servant?

2. Who was Ruth’s sister-in-law?

3. On what day did God create the fish and the birds?

4. What was the bronze serpent called?

5. Who was the first child born?

6. Who is known for his rash vow?

7. What name was assigned to Daniel?

8. To where was the ship heading that Jonah had boarded?

9. Who is spoken of as being “mighty in the Scriptures”?

10. Whom does the Bible speak of as “abounding with deeds of kindness and
charity”?

11. Who was a seller of purple fabrics?

12. In what city did Eutychus fall from a window?

13, Prior to Italy, where had Paul been imprisoned for a little more than 2 years?

14. What was Barnabas’ real name?

Answers: 1) Exodus 24:13  2) Ruth 1:4  3) Genesis 1:20-23  4) 2 Kings 18:4  5) Genesis 4:1-2  6) Judges 11:30-31  7) Daniel 1:7  8) Jonah 1:3  9) Acts 18:24  10) Acts 9:36  11) Acts 16:14  12) Acts 20:6-9  13) Acts 25:4; Acts 24:27  14) Acts 4:36
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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) A Study of Authority in Religion (Bob Myhan)
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matt21_25e

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A Study of Authority in Religion

Bob Myhan

It is regrettable that many people do not even think about “authority” in the realm of religion. Perhaps that is why there is so much disagreement among the religious groups. Even some in the Lord’s church do not understand the difference between authority and expediency, for unscriptural practices are defended on the basis of “expediency.” However, a thing must be authorized before the question of its expediency can even be discussed (see 1 Corinthians 6:12). The word “authority” means, “the power of rule or government, the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 91). The word “expedient” means, “to be an advantage, profitable” (Vine’s, p.  402). Nothing can be spiritually profitable, if it is not first authorized.

There are two kinds of authority: general (or generic) and special (or specific). When Jesus told the apostles, “Go ye into all the world” (Mark 16:15), He authorized every mode of travel [walking, sailing, riding in a chariot, riding on a beast, etc.] because He did not stipulate (or specify) as to method. On the other hand, when He told them, “Preach the gospel,” He stipulated what they were to preach; hence they were not free to choose something else to “preach,” although they were free as to method.

There are two possible sources of authority — divine and human [please read Matthew 21:23-27]. The chief priests and elders asked Jesus, “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gavest thee this authority?” (v. 23). Not only did they recognize the need for authority, but they also recognized that authority must come from the proper source. It was not their question, therefore, but their attitude that was wrong.

Jesus asked them if the baptism of John was “from heaven or of men?” (vv. 25, 26). They couldn’t say “from heaven” because they would look inconsistent, not having been baptized by John. But neither could they say, “of men” because they feared the people. Thus, they answered, “we cannot tell.”

Every religious practice is either “from heaven” or “of men.” Either God authorized it or men took it upon themselves to do it. If it is “from heaven” the scriptures will furnish us unto it (2 Peter 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Anything that is not furnished by the scriptures is “of men” (1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 4:6).

During the present New Testament age, Jesus has all authority both in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18-20). Thus, He is the only one “whose will and commands must be obeyed by others.” Thus, in writing to the church at Colosse, Paul commanded, “Whatsoever ye do, in word [teaching] or deed [practice], do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). To do something “in the name of Jesus” means to do it “in recognition of His authority.” Hence, we must recognize the authority of the Lord Jesus in everything we teach and practice! Otherwise, He is not really our Lord. This means that authority must come from the New Testament, not from the Old Testament (Hebrews 9:15-17; 10:1-9).

One can ill afford to take it upon himself to do that which the Lord has not authorized. This is well illustrated in the account of seven Jewish men to whom had not been given the miraculous ability to cast out evil spirits (Acts 19:11-16). For this reason, they did not have the authority to demand the demons to leave the one whom they had possessed, but took it upon themselves to do so. The result was disastrous. Jesus, Paul, the other apostles and some upon whom the apostles had laid their hands, however, had such authority and were always successful.

The New Testament authorizes in three ways—direct statement [such as a command], approved example, and implication. Jesus used all three methods to establish authority for His teaching and practice. He taught what His Father commanded Him to teach (John 12:48-50), He did what He saw His Father do (John 5:17-19), and He taught what was implied in God’s word (Matthew 22:23-34). [This writer knows of no fourth method ever used by Jesus to establish authority for either His teaching or His practice, but will accept any method that either is self-evident or can be established by one of the these three.]

By their very nature, commands [and other direct statements] MUST BE authoritative (Matthew 8:5-13)! Since Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18), His commands MUST BE authoritative. Since those who receive/reject His apostles receive/reject Him (Matthew 10:40), the apostles’ commands MUST ALSO BE authoritative. Since the New Testament prophets had “the mystery of Christ” revealed unto them (Ephesians 3:1-5), their commands MUST BE authoritative, as well. The commands of Moses and the Old Testament prophets are no longer authoritative (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-8; Luke 9:28-36; Hebrews 1:1-3).

We are commanded by the apostles to recognize approved examples as authoritative (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 4:9). Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example (1 Peter 2:21), and He left us an example of using implication to establish authority (Matthew 22:23-34).

{By way of clarification, a writer or a speaker implies and a listener or reader infers. Hence, implication is sometimes called “necessary inference” (which means “inescapable [logically unavoidable] conclusion”). But a thing cannot be necessarily inferred unless it is implied. For example, we are specifically told that Nicodemus “came to Jesus by night” (John 3:2), but the reason he “came to Jesus by night” is neither directly stated nor implied. Hence, one reason or another might be inferred, but no reason can be “necessarily inferred,” for he may have had any number of reasons for doing so “by night.”]

When questioned by the Sadducees [who believed in neither spirits nor angels—Acts 23:8] about the resurrection, Jesus quoted from the Pentateuch [the only part of the Old Testament they accepted] to defend His teaching. His defense ran thus: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead for hundreds of years, when God first appeared to Moses, but God identified Himself to Moses saying, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In saying this, God implied [and we can necessarily infer] that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive (in some sense) at the time of Moses. To deny this is to implicitly affirm that God is “the God of the dead.” This proved that there is a part of man that survives physical death and can be resurrected. If this is not true, why did Jesus bring it up? This was such a forceful argument, that it “put the Sadducees to silence” (v. 34).

If the example of the Lord Jesus is not enough, the apostles also used implication to establish the fact that Gentiles do not have to submit to physical circumcision to be saved (Acts 15:1-31). Peter necessarily inferred [from his experience with the household of Cornelius, recorded in Acts 10 & 11] that binding circumcision on the Gentiles would be tempting God and putting a yoke on the neck of those disciples (vv. 7-11). Barnabas and Paul necessarily inferred [from their first missionary journey] that Gentile converts do not need physical circumcision. They never demanded it, yet God endorsed their preaching with “miracles and wonders” (v. 12). James stated that Peter’s inference was in agreement with the prophets. He then quoted from Amos 9:11,12, and concluded that to bind circumcision would be to “trouble…them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God” (vv. 13-18). “The apostles and elders, with the whole church” implied in their letter that physical circumcision was not essential to salvation, by stating that those who were binding circumcision were “subverting…souls” in so doing (vv. 22-24). Finally, the disciples at Antioch used necessary inference when they read the letter and “rejoice for the consolation” (vv. 30,31).

We have shown three methods of establishing religious authority. (1) It is self-evident that commands and other direct statements [of one who is in authority] are authoritative, (2) we are commanded to follow the approved examples of the apostles and others and (3) we have approved examples of Jesus and the apostles using implication, or necessary inference. Is there a command, approved example, or necessary inference that shows a fourth method may be used? If so, what is that fourth method? We have also shown that Jesus used these same three methods. Did either He or His apostles use a fourth method? If so, what was it?

— Via articles of the Forest Hills church of Christ, Macon, Georgia
——————-

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
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
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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’s Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem (David Padfield)
——————-

Cheering Crowd

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Christ’s Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

David Padfield

On the Sunday before His death on the cross, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. Great multitudes of people took palm branches and went out to meet Him, while crying out “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The king of Israel!” (John 12:12-13). In order to fully understand this passage, we must realize how excited the crowd was. They had come to Jerusalem for the Passover, and along the way had heard about Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

National feelings were always high during Jewish feast days. On this occasion the crowds were like dry kindling, ready to blaze up, and Lazarus was a match. The Jewish rulers had already decided to kill Lazarus “because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus” (John 12:11).

“At such a time Jerusalem and the villages round about were crowded. On one occasion a census was taken of the lambs slain at the Passover Feast. The number was given as 256,000. There had to be a minimum of ten people per lamb; and if that estimate is correct it means that there must have been as many as 2,700,000 people at that Passover Feast” (William Barclay, Commentary on John, p. 115).

Try to picture in your mind the Jews streaming into Bethany to gaze at a risen man and the Messiah they had longed for (John 12:9).

As the jubilant crowds welcomed Christ into the city, they waved palm branches—a symbol of victory and rejoicing. The crowds also shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of Jehovah,” a chant taken from Psalm 118:26. In that Psalm the phrase, “he that cometh in the name of Jehovah” meant the worshipper drawing near the temple. The added words, “King of Israel,” diverted the expression to Jesus. “Hosanna” is from a Hebrew word which means “save we pray.”

William Barclay said of this Psalm: “Further, this was characteristically the conqueror’s psalm. To take but one instance, these very verses were sung and shouted by the Jerusalem crowd when they welcomed back Simon Maccabaeus after he had conquered Acra and wrested it from Syrian dominion more than a hundred years before. There is no doubt that when the people sang this psalm they were looking on Jesus as God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, the Deliverer, the One who was to come. And there is no doubt that they were looking on him as the Conqueror. To them it must have been only a matter of time until the trumpets rang out and call to arms sounded and the Jewish nation swept to its long delayed victory over Rome and the world. Jesus approached Jerusalem with the shout of the mob hailing a conqueror in his ears—and it must have hurt him, for they were looking in him for that very thing which he refused to be” (Commentary on John, p. 117).

Earlier in His ministry Jesus had pulled back from the crowds and on one occasion “when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to a mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15). He had sought every possible way to avoid publicity (John 5:13; Mark 3:1-12; Mark 5:35-43; Mark 9:2-9). Now, Jesus deliberately sets Himself to intensify the excitement of the crowd.

Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, which was a fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

The scene presents an interesting contrast between Jesus and the Zealots. The Zealots were ready for a hand to hand fight with Rome, while Jesus chose a slow paced donkey to bear Him into the city.

“With us the ass is lowly and despised; but in the East it was a noble animal. Jair, the Judge, had thirty sons who rode on asses’ colts (Judges 10:4). Ahithophel rode upon an ass (2 Samuel 17:23). Mephibosheth, the royal prince, the son of Saul, came to David riding upon an ass (2 Samuel 19:26). The point is that a king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war; he came riding upon an ass when he was coming in peace. This action of Jesus is a sign that he was not the warrior figure men dreamed of, but the Prince of Peace. No one saw it that way at that time, not even the disciples, who should have known so much better. The minds of all were filled with a kind of mob hysteria. Here was the one who was to come. But they looked for the Messiah of their own dreams and their own wishful thinking; they did not look for the Messiah whom God had sent. Jesus drew a dramatic picture of what he claimed to be, but none understood the claim” (William Barclay, Commentary on John, p. 118).

To help us further appreciate our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, let us notice how a victorious Roman general would receive an official “triumph” parade upon his return to Rome. “Only those were eligible for it who had won a campaign in which 5000 of the enemy had been slain; the unfortunate commander who had won with less slaughter received merely an ovation—for him no ox was sacrificed, but only a sheep (ovis). The procession formed outside the city, at whose borders the general and his troops were required to lay down their arms; thence it entered through a triumphal arch that set a fashion for a thousand monuments. Trumpeters led the march; after them came towers or floats representing the captured cities, and pictures showing the exploits of the victors; then wagons rumbled by, heavy with gold, silver, works of art, and other spoils. Marcellus’ triumph was memorable for the stolen statuary of Syracuse (212); Scipio Africanus in 207 displayed 14,000 and, in 202, 123,000 pounds of silver taken from Spain and Carthage. Seventy white oxen followed, walking philosophically to their death; then the captured chiefs of the enemy; then lictors, harpers, pipers, and incense-bearers; then, in a flamboyant chariot, the general himself, wearing a purple toga and a crown of gold, and bearing an ivory scepter and a laurel branch as emblems of victory and the insignia of Jove. In the chariot with him might be his children; beside it rode his relatives; behind them his secretaries and aides. Last came the soldiers, some carrying the prizes awarded them, every one wearing a crown; some praising their leaders, others deriding them; for it was an inviolable tradition that on these brief occasions the speech of the army should be free and unpunished, to remind the proud victors of their fallible mortality. The general mounted the Capitol to the Temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, laid his loot at the feet of the gods, presented an animal in sacrifice, and usually ordered the captive chieftains to be slain as an additional thank-offering. It was a ceremony well designed to stir military ambition and reward military effort; for man’s vanity yields only to hunger and love” (Will Durant, Caesar And Christ, pp. 82-83).

Brother J. W. McGarvey observed: “It has been the custom of all lands to bestrew in some manner the pathway of those who are thought worthy of the highest honor. When Lafayette visited our fathers after the Revolution the roads over which he approached our cities were strewn with flowers. Thus over flowers Alexander entered Babylon, and Xerxes crossed the bridge of Hellespont over a myrtle-strewn pathway. Monier tells of a Persian ruler who in modern times made his honored progress over a road covered for three miles with roses. But it is more natural to contrast the entry of Jesus with the Roman triumphs so popular in that day. The wealth of conquered kingdoms was expended to insure their magnificence. We find none of that tinsel and specious glitter in the triumph of Christ. No hired multitudes applaud him; no gold-braided banners wave in his honor. There is nothing here but the lusty, honest shout of the common people, and the swaying of the God-made banners of the royal palms. The rich in purse, the learned in schoolcraft and the high in office were, as usual, not there” (The Fourfold Gospel, pp. 576-577).

The entry of Christ into the city of Jerusalem was not only a literal fulfillment of prophecy, but it was a demonstration of the nature of His kingdom (John 18:36). The Prince of Peace entered the city of David while riding upon a donkey, not upon a horse as if ready for war.

A few days after His entry into Jerusalem, the tide of public opinion would turn against Christ. Our Savior knew this would happen, for on the day of His entry into Jerusalem He said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32). John tells us that Jesus said these words “signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:33).

Some of the same people who had cut down palm branches to welcome the Son of God into their city would soon stand in front of Pilate’s judgment hall and cry out for the death of the Lamb of God.

The apostle John records the scene as Pilate presents the innocent Jesus to a stirred-up Jewish mob. “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ So he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away” (John 19:14-16).

— Via Articles from the church of Christ in Zion, Illinois
——————-

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
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
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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” (Matt. 28:19-20, NASB).
——————-

Contents:

1) Psalm 119 (Wayne Goff)
2) The Impact of Our Choices (Dennis Stackhouse)
3) Wash Your Face (Leslie Diestelkamp)
——————-

psa119_1-2

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Psalm 119

Wayne Goff

This psalm may be largely overlooked because of its 176 verses! It is, in fact, the longest chapter in the Bible. But for those who take the time to read it, there is great value.

Magnifying God’s Word

As most might realize, the overriding theme of the chapter is the beauty, power and magnitude of God’s Word and the great reward that comes from obeying it. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart” (v. 2). The “blessings” that come from obeying God’s Word include a good way of life (vv. 3, 30, 45, 59-60, 101, 105), an upright heart (v. 6), cleansing (v. 8), Divine direction (vv. 7-11, 24, 133), valuable meditations (vv. 14, 23, 27, 48, 97, 148), wisdom (vv. 18, 46, 98-100), understanding (vv. 27, 66, 73, 169), comfort (vv. 28, 40, 50, 76, 111), great peace (v. 165), faithfulness (vv. 32-35, 44, 112), avoiding vain thoughts and ways (vv. 36, 104), and not the least — salvation (vv. 41, 81, 94, 123, 146, 166, 174). He even goes so far as to magnify his own affliction which was overcome by keeping God’s Word (vv. 67, 71, 75, 107, 153)! The Psalmist is well aware of the frailty and uncertainty of life (vv. 84, 92-93, 141, 143-144).

In contrast, the Psalmist repeatedly points out the condemnation and sad plight of the disobedient (vv. 21, 23, 60, 69, 78, 85-87, 95, 110, 118-119, 122), as well as his total disgust with their unbelief (vv. 51-53, 70, 115, 126, 134, 136, 150, 155, 157-158, 161)!

God’s Word and all its benefits are more valuable than silver and gold (vv. 72, 127, 162) — it alone can lead to eternal life! “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven” (v. 89). God’s faithfulness is obvious in both the natural world and the spiritual world (v. 90-91). “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (v. 160).

Synonyms for God’s Message

Notice the synonyms used for God’s Word in this psalm: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, righteous judgments, word, truth, ordinances, and righteous word. The chapter magnifies God’s revelation and enumerates the benefits of obeying it.

Reading it over several times gives one the benefit of focusing on the various aspects or angles of the psalm. It is well worth a little bit of your time, and it gives you something to think about in the quiet moments of life, or in times when sleep evades you.

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (v. 165).

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v. 105).

“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts” (vv. 99–100).

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 43, Page 3
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Choose Life

-2-

The Impact of Our Choices

Dennis Stackhouse

Just prior to his physical death, Joshua tried to encourage the people of Israel with these familiar words: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Strong words from one of Israel’s strongest leaders. And in reality, choosing to serve God is the most important choice any human being can ever make because that decision will have an impact not only in this physical life, it will also carry over into eternity. Let’s consider for just a few moments the choice that must be made by all of us.

One point to quickly understand is that our choices are rather limited: God or the devil. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said this: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Many people fail to realize that if they have not made a choice to follow and serve Christ, they are serving the devil. To not make the choice to follow Christ is in reality making the choice to follow the devil. In fact, such people are doing damage to God’s kingdom. Notice our Lord said that the one who does not follow Him “scatters.” From this we must also understand that there is no third choice. There are those who would like to “ride the fence” and walk in some kind of imaginary middle ground. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground; we are following Christ or we are following Satan.

We should also realize that our choice to follow Christ is one that must be actively pursued. Jesus Himself asked a haunting question in Luke 6:46: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” The obvious course of action for someone who has confessed Jesus as their Lord is to obey and follow and serve Him through the remainder of their life. However, if one confesses Christ as his or her Lord and then fails to obey Him, they are simply wasting their breath. This is reinforced in the words of Luke 9:62, where Jesus said: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The Christian life is one that requires a constant, unwavering dedication to God and Christ. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

The impact of his choice to become a Christian caused Paul to press toward the goal of heaven, something that every child of God should be doing. The grand words of I Corinthians 15:58 need to be words the Christian lives out: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” God will not forget the work that is done in His service (Hebrews 6:10). In the same way, we must never forget the impact our choices have on the kind of life we live. As Christians, we must be steadfast.

— Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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John3_20

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Wash Your Face

Leslie Diestelkamp

When you see a dirty face in the mirror, you wash your face, not the mirror. Likewise when we see error in our lives, portrayed by truth revealed in the Bible, let us simply clean up our lives and quit criticizing the Bible.

What do you think of a man who breaks a mirror because he doesn’t like what he sees? Then what do you think of one who criticizes the truth that simply reveals the inner man that we can’t see with the physical eye?

— Via The Beacon, October 20, 2019
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Psalm 51:1-2

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin”
(NASB).
——————-

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
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 Sufferings of Christ Prior to His Death (Irvin Himmel)
——————-

Luke22_44b

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The Sufferings of Christ Prior to His Death

Irvin Himmel

In the stillness and ebony of night, following the keeping of the Passover with His disciples and a period of lengthy discussions, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At a place called Gethsemane, He told the tired and weary apostles, “Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with Him to go a little farther into the garden. He “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mk. 14:33). His soul was “exceeding sorrowful” (Matt. 26:38). He went forward a short distance and fell on His face in prayer.

In Gethsemane

The prayer of our Lord in Gethsemane reflected His human feelings as He faced the reality of death. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Human nature shrinks “from the dissolution of the bond that binds to soul” (Edersheim). Jesus had taken upon Him the nature of man. He was nearing the time when He must bear the iniquity of us all. The prospect of death brought the deepest kind of agony to His soul. The physically exhausted disciples had now fallen asleep. “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk. 22:44).

I confess that my mind cannot fully fathom the horror and agonizing grief which our Master suffered in Gethsemane. It was a foretaste of Calvary. He who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, and was found in fashion as a man, “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death” (Heb. 5:7).
Night, with ebon pinion,
Brooded o’er the vale;
All around was silent,
Save the night-wind’s wail,
When Christ, the Man of Sorrows,
In tears and sweat and blood,
Prostrate in the garden,
Raised His voice to God.
– L.H. Jameson

A mob stormed into the garden with swords and staves, lanterns and torches. Judas positively identified Jesus, and they laid hands on Him and took Him away. After a brief appearance before Annas, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Before the High Priest

John records an incident which may have occurred before Annas or before Caiaphas. The account in John 18:19-24 is not clear as to which “high priest” is under consideration. Commentators are pretty equally divided on the point. I lean to the view that this took place before Caiaphas in a private interview. The high priest asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Since Jesus had taught openly in the synagogue and in the temple, not concealing His doctrine, He responded, “Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”

One of the officers of the high priest “struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?” Perhaps this officer was not accustomed to hearing a prisoner speak in such a forthright manner, standing for his own rights. Jesus replied, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?” The slap in the face was intended to insinuate that Jesus had not shown respect for the high priest. The truth is that the blow was illegal. Jesus was merely demanding that witnesses be brought if the court had a case against Him. Hendriksen thinks the officer tried to exploit the situation for his own selfish advantage – that he may have been dreaming about a promotion! It is worthy of note that he was not ordered to strike the prisoner. His action was daring and despicable.

Later, two false witnesses were brought to testify against Jesus. Being put under oath and commanded to state plainly whether or not He was the Christ, the Son of God, He answered, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

The high priest rent his clothes and charged Jesus with blasphemy. “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” (Matt. 26:67, 68). In addition to these indignities, they covered His face (Mk. 14:65). Luke explains what happened in these words: “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him” (Lk. 22:63-65).

Imagine how you would feel if you were held in custody and the men who held you began spitting on you, beating you in a sadistic manner, and they blindfold you and strike heavy blows, taunting, mocking, jeering! These insults and abuses were both unjust and contrary to civilized conduct. The brutality and vulgarity of the scene bring into sharp focus the animal instincts that had moved the guards and servants of Caiaphas to show the utmost contempt toward the prisoner.

After appearing before Annas, before Caiaphas, then before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was sent to Pilate, Judea’s Roman governor. In the course of the questioning, Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee, and since that was Herod’s territory, he sent Him over to Herod.

Before Herod

Herod had wanted for a long time to meet Jesus. Having heard many things about Him, the king hoped to see Jesus work a miracle. He questioned the Galilean prisoner in many words, and the chief priests and scribes were there vehemently accusing Him, but Jesus “answered him nothing.”

“And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate” (Lk. 23:8-11). To “set at nought” means “to count as nothing, to treat with utter contempt, as zero” (Robertson). The flinging of a brilliant robe around His body was a part of the mockery and derision.

No small segment of the pre-crucifixion suffering of the Savior was the manner in which He was shuttled from one court to another. Visualize Him being led shackled through the streets of Jerusalem, and He was arrayed in a gorgeous robe. Every step was one of burning ridicule.

Before Pilate

Pilate had to do something to appease the Jews. He hit on the idea of chastising Jesus and releasing Him. That did not suit the accusers. When he offered to release either Jesus or Barabbas, a noted criminal, they urged the release of the latter, and cried out concerning the former, “Let him be crucified.” Pilate yielded to their wicked demands.

Three of the writers report that Jesus was scourged (Matt. 27:26; Mk. 15:15; John 19:1). This was “a flogging with leather whips weighted with bone or metal laid on so hard that weaker men sometimes died from it” (Culver). “. . . The scourge of leather thongs was loaded with lead, or armed with spikes and bones, which lacerated back, and chest, and face, till the victim sometimes fell down before the judge a bleeding mass of torn flesh” (Edersheim).

At the Hands of Ruthless Romans

The soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and placed it on His head (John 19:2). This was done after they had stripped Him and arrayed Him in a scarlet robe (Matt. 27:28, 29). Somewhere the soldiers found some prickly plants to use in making this crown to press upon His head. “Rivulets of blood must have started to run down his face, neck, and other parts of his body” (Hendriksen).

Covered with blood, torn with stripes, and tortured with sharp thorns piercing the head, the body of Jesus must have throbbed with pain. This was coupled with mental cruelty. They put a reed in His right hand. A king needs a scepter. Now that they have robed, crowned, and sceptered the “king of the Jews,” they bow before Him in mockery, and they cry in cutting derision, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

As though all of this is not enough, they spat on Him, and they took the reed and smote Him on the head with it (Matt. 27:30; Mk. 15:19). And, “they smote him with their hands” (John 19:3). Probably the soldiers took turns bowing in mockery, removing the reed from His hand to hit Him on the head and drive the thorns deeper into His torn flesh, spitting on Him, slapping Him, and deriding His kingship.

But the worst ordeal was yet to come. They led Him away to crucify Him . . .

— Via Guardian of Truth,  XXV: 1, pp. 9-10, January 1, 1981
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John 10:17-18

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative…” (NASB).
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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