“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) Fix Your Eyes on Jesus (Frank Himmel)
2) Two Wise Goats (Anonymous)
3) A Question About John’s Baptism (Greg Gwin)
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Jesus is the author of salvation. The Greek word used here “primarily signifies one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of, anything” (Vine). Some suggest pioneer or trail-blazer is the idea. Jesus opens the way to God because He is the way (Hebrews 10:19-20; John 14:6).
Jesus is also the perfecter of faith. In Him faith found its perfect expression. He completed the faith by carrying out God’s plan, and He is also able to bring our faith to its complete end.
As we run our race we should rightly be able to look to each other for instructive and encouraging examples. While elders (1 Peter 5:3) and preachers (1 Timothy 4:12) are especially charged with leading by example, every disciple ought to be able to say with Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Even the best disciples, however, have their flaws. Never make the mistake of judging the greatness or power or value of Jesus by the weakness of His followers. Fix your eyes on Jesus!
While Jesus, Peter, James, and John were away on a mountain to pray, a man brought his demon-possessed boy to the other apostles to be healed (Mark 9:14-29). The demon was causing seizures and self-destructive behavior. Despite having cast out demons previously (see 6:13), this time the apostles failed. The father was crushed. When Jesus arrived, the father explained the situation to Him and pled, “But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (v. 22). Due to the disciples’ failure, this man who had come in faith was now not so sure.
Jesus picked up on his “if You can.” “And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can?’ All things are possible to him who believes” (v. 23). The humble, honest, struggling father immediately responded, “I do believe; help my unbelief ” (v. 24).
Jesus cast out the demon. The boy was cured at once. The Lord explained to the apostles that they had failed due to lack of faith (Matthew 17:20). He urged them to pray more (Mark 9:29). And everyone involved learned the valuable lesson, “fix your eyes on Jesus.”
— Via Pathlights, August 4, 2019
Two Wise Goats
Martin Luther is credited with the following interesting story:
Two mountain goats meet each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one of the animals. On the left there is a sheer cliff, and on the right a deep lake. The two face each other. What should they do? They cannot back up, that would be too dangerous. They cannot turn around because the ledge is too narrow.
Now if the goats had no more sense than some people, they would meet head on and start butting each other until they fell into the lake below. Luther tells us that goats have better sense than this. One lies down on the trail and lets the other literally walk over him . . . both are safe. They must be willing, at least one of them, to humbly lie down and let the other pass over him. If they were like some people, they would argue over who should lie down, and who should walk over. But evidently “goat sense” is common sense!
Is there any need to make an application to ourselves? How often our stubbornness results in tragedy! How hard to be the least, to humble ourselves for the best interest of others! We hear folks say, “I’m going to stand up for my rights!” How much better it would be to meekly “suffer wrong” (1 Cor. 6:7) and be the least. It’s hard to learn such a lesson as this. Another says, “It’s not the few pennies involved, or the results I’ve borne … but I must defend my principles!” Remember the principle is love, and the Bible says “Love suffers long and is kind … love does not seek its own…” (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Better allow yourself to be walked over than to quarrel!
Here lies the body of Jonathan Gray,
Who died maintaining his right of way.
He was right — dead right — as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong!
“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 30, page 1, July 28, 2019
A Question about John’s Baptism
We received this question:
I have a question about baptism. John’s baptism was before Acts 2: The question is: were those who were baptized by John baptized again when the church was established? I use Acts 19:3 when Paul found some brethren who knew only the baptism of John and they were baptized again to be in a right relationship with God.
While the New Testament doesn’t really answer the question about ‘re-baptism’ of those baptized by John, I think there are some indications that they were re-baptized after the preaching of the gospel on the Day of Pentecost. The passage you mentioned about Paul in Ephesus is one that is applicable to the discussion, but some argue that those men were baptized with John’s baptism AFTER Pentecost, and thus they claim it doesn’t pertain to the question of those who were baptized by John PRIOR to Pentecost. I’m not sure you can prove the ‘timing’ argument, but they may be right.
Here’s an argument that may provide the answer: Matthew 3:5-6 says: “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” Thus, we know that John’s baptism was VERY popular with the people.
Now, on Pentecost, when the people asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), notice that there were not two answers given, but only one: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (vs. 38). If those baptized by John didn’t have to be baptized again, it seems some exception would have been stated. Surely there were people in that audience that had been baptized with John’s baptism, since it was so popular, as noted above. But, there was no exception offered — everyone was commanded to be baptized. This would indicate that those baptized by John were re-baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.”
— Via Collegevue church of Christ, July 28, 2019
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)
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