“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Last Things First (Dan Shipley)
2) All Things Are Yours (Gene Taylor)
Last Things First
The scene is Shechem. The occasion is Joshua’s farewell address just prior to his death. All the tribes of Israel are assembled to hear the aged Joshua, now 110, as he begins recounting God’s dealings with their great nation. Showing that God has continually been with and helping them, he concludes, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…” (Joshua 24:16).
The scene is Jerusalem. David is nigh unto death as he gives this last charge to his son Solomon: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:2–3)
The scene is a Roman prison. Paul is writing his last epistle. In giving his final charge to Timothy, he reminds the young evangelist not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8); to hold the pattern of sound words (1:13); to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3); to give diligence to present himself approved unto God (2:15) and to persevere with urgency in preaching the word (4:2) with the assurance that a crown of righteousness awaits all the faithful (4:8).
Such are the words with which these great men of God conclude the final chapter of their earthly existence. The last words of any dying man are generally regarded as having special significance, but the words of these men ought to be especially so regarded — not so much because of being last words necessarily, but because of who they were and what they said with these words.
Joshua, David and Paul were men who had given most of their lives in consecrated service to the Lord. God had used their tongues and talents extensively to serve His purposes among men. Through experience and revelation they accumulated such wisdom as experienced by few mortals. Joshua, for instance, knew how the lack of faith could prevent one’s entering into God’s rest. David understood about temptation and sin, and Paul himself had made the transition from “chief of sinners” to ambassador for Christ. As few others could, they perceived how the will of God complements the greatest needs of man — so their last words deserve an attentive hearing.
And what do we hear? Though different in expression and separated by hundreds of years, we hear messages that are strikingly similar. All emphatically recommend to others the same course they have now finished. All emphasize serving the Lord. Essentially, they are saying to all who shall come after them, “Live for the Lord!” or, as another wise man put it, “fear God and keep His commandments.” After all, that’s what living is all about. Theirs is a lesson we must learn! Apart from truly reverencing God and walking in His ways, man can have no meaningful existence here nor hope of life in the hereafter. As those destined to go the way of all the earth, may the last words of these godly men find first priority in our lives.
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 51, Page 2, April 14, 2019
“All Things Are Yours”
by Gene Taylor
“Therefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (I Cor. 3:21-23). Do you ever sit and think about all the wonderful blessings you have as a Christian? Do you stop to remember all the blessings and other good things God has sent your way?
Most of us spend too many waking hours thinking about the problems we have, bills we must pay and day-to-day frustrations. We focus on what we lack instead of what we have. We not only dwell on our own imperfections but also on the imperfections of others.
It may be that much of the preaching we hear, mine included, is responsible for such negative thinking. It is natural for a preacher to direct his comments against those things which need to be improved. If we are not careful, though, our total emphasis can become negative. Such is regrettable. We should be thinking of the good that is about us — the encouraging achievements of the past, the great blessing of the present and the great potential of the future. It is a marvelous thing to be a Christian! The above text jumps out at us with this fact. It is an optimistic passage that when read should send you on your way with a song in your heart and a prayer of thanksgiving on your lips. Consider what it teaches about the blessings of a Christian.
Paul, Apollos, Cephas
Why would Paul say that he and these two other men were theirs? The Corinthians had begun to call themselves after the man who had baptized them (1:11-12). To wear a man’s name meant to belong to that man. But they did not belong to their teachers. They belonged to Christ. Their teachers, preachers and leaders belonged to them.
We do not belong to preachers and elders. They belong to us. Their place is to serve and they have been provided for our spiritual good. They are ours!
World, Life, Death
The world is ours. Sometimes it seems the world is passing us by without paying the slightest bit of attention. Consider the teaching of Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Who possesses the good life? The worldly revelers? Christians are the only ones who know what life is about (Eccl. 12:13; 2:1–11). Our present life, and its fullness, is a gift from God (John 10:10).
In one way, death belongs to all because “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27). But it belongs to the Christian in the sense that he does not have to fear it (I Cor. 15:55; Psa. 23:4). To the Christian, death is not a loss but a gain (Phil. 1:21-23). It is a way in which the faithful are blessed (Rev. 14:13).
Things Present, Things to Come
As to things present, consider Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” God’s child is always in His tender care (Matt. 6:25–34).
In the matter of things to come, we have a splendid future if we center our lives on Christ. The future blessings which will be given to faithful Christians are incredible (Rom. 8:18-19; I Pet. 1:3-9).
You Are Christ’s, And Christ Is God’s
The future belongs to us only because we belong to Christ. It is because we have embraced those truths which He came to teach that we can have such confidence in our future. Without Christ, and we have nothing to anticipate but despair.
The future belongs to Christ and His disciples because He is God’s. When we belong to Him, our future is as secure as His (Rom. 8:17).
— via the Centerville Road church of Christ in Tallahassee, Florida
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon)