Year: 2019 (Page 2 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) Abraham & Melchizedek (Wayne Goff)
2) Prepare to Meet Thy God (Robert F. Turner)
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Heb7_23-25N

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Abraham & Melchizedek

Wayne Goff

“The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” ~ Psalm 110:4 (Hebrews 7:17).

Abraham & Melchizedek

Historically, we read about Melchizedek in Genesis 14 when Abraham was returning from his defeat of area kings who had carried off his nephew, Lot. This event can be dated to around 2175 B.C.

Prior to this event, we know nothing of Melchizedek. We do not know his genealogy, we do not know when he was born nor when he died. So historically speaking, he had neither beginning of days nor end of life (Hebrews 7:3). These historical truths would be used by God in the New Testament symbolically to emphasize the greater priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7 points out that Melchizedek was both king and priest of Salem (later known as Jerusalem). He was ordained by the Most High God, and Abraham paid tithes to him. The nation of Israel was, so to speak, still in the loins of Abraham when this was done. So the rightful conclusion is that Melchizedek was a greater high priest than anyone who might have descended from father Abraham. We know that the nation of Israel, and Levi in particular, submitted to Melchizedek and his priesthood through Abraham. Therefore, if anyone became priest “after the order of Melchizedek,” that high priest would be superior to anyone of the Jewish nation.

Jesus Christ

God prophesied through King David that One would come and be both king and priest like Melchizedek, Psalm 110:4. The Hebrew writer refers to this prophecy in Hebrews repeatedly to emphasize how much greater Jesus Christ was as King and High Priest than anyone else, including Abraham, Levi, and any other descendant (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1, 10-11, 15, 17, 21). The nation of Israel should naturally believe in and submit to this new King and Priest!

The priesthood of Christ is greater than that of Levi because Jesus is an eternal high priest, never to be replaced. By the power of an endless life, He serves the needs of His people, Hebrews 5:6. What was symbolically true of Melchizedek is literally true of Jesus.

Jesus was called by God, just as Aaron was, Hebrews 5:10. Jesus is our Forerunner into heaven, having preceded us as the resurrected Lord, King and High Priest! (Heb. 6:20). We will go to heaven if we will follow Him! Jesus is greater than Abraham because of His Divine Nature, Divine Calling, and eternal High Priesthood, Heb. 7:10-11. And His priestly order was established by an irrevocable Divine oath, Heb. 7:21!

A Needed Change

Because the priesthood was changed by God, there must also of necessity be a change in the Law, for the Law of Moses only allowed for a Levitical priesthood, Heb. 7:12-14. Therefore, the Law of Moses was concluded, and all of its special favors and relationships between God and Israel. This was a difficult “pill to swallow” by the Jewish people. They had mistakenly thought that they would forever be God’s special people above all nations. However, if they had considered the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ as a New Lawgiver (Deuteronomy 18), and as a new High Priest (Psalm 110:4), and the need for a new covenant which they had broken (Jeremiah 31:31-34), then they would not have been so surprised.

Through Jesus Christ we have eternal forgiveness, a spiritual nation comprised of those from every nation, a better covenant than the law, an unchangeable priesthood in Jesus Christ, and a “perfected” (completed) One as well, Hebrews 7:22-28. All of this was foreordained by God long before Israel became a nation, and it was foreshadowed by the man, Melchizedek. The honest Bible student can come to no other conclusion.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 41, Page 2
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Psalm 32:10-11

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart” (NASB).
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Mark13_35-37

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Prepare to Meet Thy God

Robert F. Turner

In Matthew 24:42, Jesus tells his disciples to “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh …therefore be ye also ready.” Paul echoes this thought when he writes, “so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thes. 5:6). And John records the words of Christ in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.”

These verses, as well as others, remind us of the inevitability of meeting God in judgment. As the song states, “There’s a great day coming…” and it seems that the vast majority of humanity is failing to prepare for that day. James warns us that this physical life is too uncertain to go unprepared to meet our Maker (Jas. 4:14). If we wish to have an eternal home with God, we must begin our preparation now.

We cannot begin to make significant preparation to meet God in judgment until we have developed the proper attitude. Solomon points out that our attitude determines what we do or say. In Proverbs he writes, “as a man thinketh within himself, so is he” and “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 23:7; 4:23). Christ also emphasizes this truth when he says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:24). If our actions are to be pleasing to God, we must set our hearts “to seek the law of Jehovah and to-do it” (Ezra 7:10). Our attitude should be “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:10). If we develop within ourselves the desire to serve God, our actions will reflect this desire. We will remain steadfast in our preparation by continuing to learn all we can concerning God’s will.

David’s attitude motivated him to meditate on God’s law day and night (Ps. 1:2). Because of his desire to serve God, the Psalmist exclaimed, “Teach me, 0 Jehovah, the way of thy statutes” (Ps. 119:33). David knew that God’s word was the only guide which could prepare him to meet his Creator. The Bereans, in Acts 17:11, were aware of this fact, so they “examined the scriptures daily.” Also, Paul instructed Timothy to “give heed to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13f). All of these men had a desire to serve God. This attitude motivated them to prepare to meet their God.

When we finally meet God in judgment, our attitude will greatly influence the outcome. Countless numbers will be lost because their hearts, or attitudes, are not right. Precious souls will be left outside the marriage feast crying “Lord, Lord, open to us!” (Matt. 25:1f) — they thought they had a little more time. Many, because of a selfish attitude, will be asked “and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?” (Lu. 12:16f) — they desired to serve themselves rather than God. You know what your attitude is — you know whether or not you are striving to serve God to the best of your ability. If your attitude and service to God is not what it should be, remember the words of Amos 4:12 — “Prepare to meet thy God!”

— Via Plain Talk, Vol. XVII, No. 1, pg. 6, March 1980
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Psalm 34:2-3

“My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together” (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)

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) “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” (Jim McDonald)
2) The Parable of the Sower (Wayne Goff)
3) God and Man (Bill Crews)
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peace

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“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”

Jim McDonald

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Christians are peaceable people. They cannot follow their Master and be otherwise! Isaiah wrote of “Immanuel” who, among other things, would be called “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 7:14; 9:6). Peter quotes from Psalm 34:12 when he wrote, “He that would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; and let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:10f). Paul commands, “So then, let us follow after things which make for peace and things whereby we may edify one another” (Rom. 14:19).

Jesus is called “Prince of peace.” Paradoxically enough he said, “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man’s foes shall be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-36). He did not mean that he intended that men be in opposition to each other; he knew that given the free-moral agency of man, that some (most) would rebel against him which would put them in opposition to those who follow Christ. Because Jesus said he came not to “send peace on the earth but a sword,” we understand that God’s wish that we seek peace must not be “peace at any price.” In Jeremiah’s day there were those who cried “peace, peace when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). We cannot seek a compromising peace, and we must remember it is not always possible for us to be at peace. The Holy Spirit knew this and so he caused Paul to write: “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Paul wrote about some that “the way of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3:17). With such, the only path to peace is through compromise and sin. In such a case, the faithful Christian really has no choice. He stands for truth and righteousness and lets the “chips fall where they may.”

When Paul wrote “Let us follow after things which make for peace” (Rom. 14: 19), he had given direction in that context that, in matters of indifference, men were to live peaceably with other men. Some could eat meats, others could not. The ones who could not eat were not to judge those who could; those who could eat were not to set at naught those who could not (Rom. 14:3). We are also told that to be spiritually minded “is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). But Jesus did not simply say, “Blessed are they that follow after peace.” He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Consider at least two ways in which we are to be peacemakers.

First, man must make peace with God. “He who makes himself a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God. The friendship of the world is enmity with God” (Jas. 4:4). We make peace with God by appropriating to ourselves the “peace offering” we find in Christ. Christ is “our peace.” Through his sacrifice he made possible our peace with God. Still, we must act. We must believe and obey his terms for peace. “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). This is an obedient faith, not faith only (Jas. 2:24).

Secondly, man must seek to bring about peace with others who are estranged from each other. He seeks to be a peacemaker when he preaches the gospel of peace; preaching “peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). There can be no greater “peacemaking” than to teach a lost soul how he may be at peace with God!

Those who are “peacemakers” are called “sons of God.” Such are “sons of God” because they are acting like their Heavenly Father who actively sought to reconcile man to himself through the death of his Son. May we ardently desire that we shall be sons of God because as he made the sacrifice which allows for peace, we tell others about this available peace and praise his goodness in providing it.

— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLVII, No. 1, January 2, 2003
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Psalm 33:16-17

“No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield” (NKJV).
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sower

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The Parable of the Sower

Wayne Goff

The parables of Jesus are some of the most fascinating stories because they tie spiritual truths to obvious natural events. In the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8), Jesus compares gospel preaching to seed-planting. The “seed” (Word of God, Lk. 8:11) is sent into four different soils: (1) wayside; (2) rocky soil; (3) thorny ground; (4) good ground. These soils represent four kinds of hearts. So ask yourself: “Of what soil am I made?”

1. Wayside: This is the one who hears the word but the devil comes and takes away the word before he obeys it (Matt. 13:19; Lk. 8:12).

2. Rocky Soil: This is the one who hears the Word and joyfully receives it and believes for a time. But when temptation, tribulation or persecution comes his way, he becomes weak, forgetful, and falls away from the truth (Matt. 13:21; Lk. 8:13). Christianity is just too hard for him!

3. Thorny Ground: This is the one who is too busy with life to consider what is coming in eternity. He hears the Word of God but the cares, riches and pleasures of life keep him from completing his spiritual duties and he dies spiritually (Matt. 13:22; Lk. 8:14).

4. Good Ground: This is the one who hears the Word with a good, noble heart, keeps it obediently, and bears fruit with patience throughout his life (Matt. 13:23; Lk. 8:15). Now if you have been paying attention to the parable of the Lord, then you know you want to be the “good ground.” You want to be a good Listener of God’s Word. You want to take it into your good and noble heart and apply it to your life. You want to do this over the entirety of your life so that at the end of this earthly journey, the Lord will say to you: “Good and faithful servant.” But the reality for most people is that they are one of the other three soils. (1) They never consider it. (2) They obey it for awhile until it gets to be too hard. (3) They would love to be a faithful Christian, and they love hearing the Word and going to church — but they’re too busy.

You see, dear reader, it takes time and effort to bring spiritual fruit to bear in your life. You have to make the time, cultivate your spiritual tastes, and do it habitually. Going to church once a week will not get the job done. You must hear the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit patiently (Lk. 8:15). So says Jesus Christ Himself.

—Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 40, Page 4, October 6, 2019
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man standing by water

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God and Man

Bill Crews

Remember that God sees the whole picture. He sees all the past; He sees all the present; and He has the power to see all the future. He can see the end from the beginning, and He knows the destiny of every person and the solution to every problem. He loves us and is always available to us, but He will force neither Himself nor His will upon us. As long as we live, we are allowed to choose. He is concerned about our true welfare and happiness – here and hereafter. With Him on our side every thing will turn out well (Rom. 8:28,31); but if He must be against us, nothing will turn out right.

— Via The Beacon, October 6, 2019
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Psalm 33:13-15

“The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works”
(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) Living As Christians Should Live (R.J. Evans)
2) Are You Noble-Minded? (Rick Lanning)
3) “Let This One Pass” (Steve Patton)
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luke9_23b

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Living As Christians Should Live

R.J. Evans

Throughout history, men generally have been selfish and lacked genuine concern for God and others.  In recent years, we have had many describe those of this world as the “Me” generation.  And, not to be cynical, but in reality, we live in a world where most people think only of themselves and their own interests.  So many think nothing of using or taking advantage of others; they show hatred, envy, and jealousy toward those within their circle of friends and associates; they never show sympathy, or are willing to empathize with others; and they seek to gratify and fulfill whatever desires they have for themselves.

While Jesus was here on earth, He taught many wonderful lessons in what is referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5 – 7).  One thing for certain, what He teaches “goes against the grain” of what men naturally tend to do in their day-to-day living.  In the sermon, He taught the blessings of serving God; being examples to others (salt/city/light); the sin of committing murder and adultery in one’s heart; going the second mile; loving and praying for our enemies; not doing our good works for show; and a host of other great lessons. This sermon tells us how we ought to live, not as the world lives, but according to God’s will for our lives.

But when it comes to living the kind of life that pleases God, and not self, there are many other instructions throughout God’s Word.  In this article, here’s just a sampling of living as Christians should live:

1. Be open to and heed correction.  “The ear that hears the reproof of life will abide among the wise” (Prov. 15: 31).  The Apostle Peter had to correct and rebuke Simon the sorcerer for his attempting to purchase the power of laying his hands on others to impart miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:9-25).  The Apostle Paul had to openly correct the Apostle Peter by withstanding him to the face for being a hypocrite at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14).

2. Be interested and considerate of others.  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).  This characterized the life of the Apostle Paul.  He consistently prayed for his brethren, as is evidenced in all his epistles.  Beyond all his physical difficulties, he stated: “Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: My deep concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28).

3. See ourselves realistically.  “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).  Again, this involves not being conceited and lifted up with pride (Phil. 2:3).

4.  Rejoice with others when they are happy and cry with them when they are sad.  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).  This eliminates envy and jealousy.  Again, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

5.  Sympathize and empathize with others.  We do this when we practice what is sometimes called “The Golden Rule.”  “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

6.  Deny ourselves.  “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).  And, of course, denying self and following Christ involves serving others.  The Apostle Paul said it this way: “And I will gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor. 12:15).

Oh, what a blessing it is when we are living as Christians should live.   Many other things could be mentioned, but this should be sufficient to help us see the need to do what the Lord said in Revelation 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, September 29, 2019
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“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification” (Romans 15:2, NASB).
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Studying the Bible

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Are You Noble-Minded?

Rick Lanning

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). On Paul’s second missionary journey, he came for the first time to preach the gospel of Christ in the regions of Macedonia and Achaia (modern Greece). He preached the gospel in the great cities of Philippi and Thessalonica, but when persecution arose he moved on to the city of Berea. At this place, the above remarkable statement is made about the Jews who heard the word of God proclaimed. Luke records that they were more noble-minded than the audience in Thessalonica. Notice the reasons given for this noble attitude:

1. The text says “they received the word with great eagerness.” Literally, the word eagerness means, “a rushing forward.” As one would rush forward to greet and hug an old friend, these noble-minded individuals “rushed forward” to eagerly receive the word of God. But although they were eager, the next phrase teaches us that they were in no way gullible.

2. Secondly, the text says that they were “examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” The word examined means “to sift,” or “to make careful and exact research.” These individuals were searching for the truth. They were sifting through the word of God as an archaeologist sifts through the dirt at an ancient tell. An archaeologist does not use a bulldozer to uncover the remains of civilizations long buried. He carefully and patiently examines every inch of dirt to find the valuable treasures that are waiting to be discovered. The Bereans were sifters, carefully examining the word of God. They had the Old Testament Scriptures, and when Paul and Silas came preaching Jesus, and they carefully examined the Scriptures to make sure that these things were so.

Are you noble-minded? Do you carefully compare what you are taught by religious teachers with the revealed will of God found in the Bible?

— Via Online Articles of the Northwest church of Christ, New Hope, Minnesota, April 12, 2012
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1cor16_8-9b

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“Let This One Pass”

Steve Patton

He had been walking all morning and was tired. The day was hot and the journey was not over.  He was near a town full of people who didn’t like his kind.  So he sat down by a well and sent his friends into town to get some food.  A Samaritan woman came to the well to get water, someone his people had nothing to do with.  This was certainly a time to just ignore the woman and quietly wait for his friends to return with some food.  But Jesus didn’t do that.  Though everything about the situation said, “Let this one pass,” He did not do it.  Here was a soul to teach.

The result was a town full of people came out to hear the words of Jesus and many people were led to the Lord.  Who woulda thought!

This account from John’s gospel (4:1-42) illustrates how open doors are often where we least expect them.  The secret is being open and aware to the souls around you.  We fill our mind with our jobs, our daily chores, our recreation and entertainment, our emails, games, family and friends.  Nothing wrong with that.  Except all those things bring us into contact with souls – lost souls – and we must see them that way.  I know every conversation we have can’t include an offer of spiritual teaching.  However, if we are sensitive and thoughtful about other’s lives throughout the day we will begin to see how many open doors God places before us.  There are Christians in this congregation today who are here because someone saw them as a friend, neighbor or associate in need of the Lord.  And they talked to them.

How many open doors will be placed in front of you this week?  Pray for opportunities and then keep yourself aware each day of doors God opens.  God will lead you to a soul.

— Via the University church of Christ, Tampa, Florida
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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” (Matt. 28:19-20, NASB).
——————-

Contents:

1) What Does True Love Look Like? (Jay Dixon)
2) A Faithful Man Who Served God Above Many (Mike Johnson)
3) Amazing Design! (Greg Gwin)
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John13_34e

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What Does True Love Look Like?

Jay Dixon

“The fruit of the Spirit is love…” (Galatians 5:22).

What does the love spoken of in Galatians 5:22 look like?

This love manifests itself in various ways. One of those ways is when one is seen extending love toward their enemy.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44).

The typical reaction of the flesh is to respond according to the manner in which we have been treated. In other words if someone has cursed me, I must curse them back. If some hate me, I must hate them back. If someone uses me, I must seek revenge. If I am persecuted, if given the opportunity I must retaliate. On the other hand, if someone loves me and is kind to me then I must love them and be kind to them.

To love those who love us is not uncommon. There’s nothing exceptional about repaying love for love. Jesus says, “…if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?” (Matthew 5:46-47) This type of love is a love that is shared by both believers and unbelievers. This isn’t what true love looks like.

The love of Galatians 5:22 is seen when one is able to love their enemy as they do their neighbor. It is seen when one blesses those who curse them. It is seen when one does good to those who hate them and is able to pray for the one who spitefully uses and persecutes them.

Unlike loving those who love you, which Jesus says is seen even among the most despised of the world, loving one who hates you is something that stands out; it’s an action that’s unique and identifies one as walking in the spirit of GOD.

The result of one who practices this love:

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…” (Matthew 5:47).

(Why?)

“…He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and He sends His rain on the just and unjust” (Matthew 5:47).

“Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The Father extended the love spoken here in Matthew 5:44 and Galatians 5:22 to a world of sinners which includes you and me. He displayed this love by sending His son to be a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Himself loved His enemies which were and are many. He loved those who literally and figuratively (You and I) nailed Him to the cross. He blessed those who cursed Him. He prayed for those who persecuted Him. Just before He was mocked and sarcastically summoned to come down off of the cross He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 24:34).

This is what true love looks like. Jesus is not asking us to love in a way that both He and Father did not do 1st and to its highest degree. (John 15:13, Romans 5:8)

If we are to be complete and genuine children of the Father in heaven, we must be willing to love those who curse, hate, despitefully use and persecute us. When we extend this kind of love we are demonstrating what true love looks like.

— Via Articles from The University church of Christ, Richmond, Kentucky
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Psa119_30b

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A Faithful Man Who Served God Above Many

Mike Johnson

The book of Nehemiah tells about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem done by the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity.  Nehemiah appointed Hanani, his brother, and Hananiah as rulers of Jerusalem after the walls were completed. It is interesting to note the statement made about Hananiah at this time.  Nehemiah 7:2 says his appointment was because, “he was a faithful man, who feared God more than many.”  No doubt, there were many in Jerusalem who feared God.  Hananiah, however, was more serious in his devotion than most.  We know very little information about this person, but this statement says a great deal.

When someone dies, good things are often said about their life – the person’s life is often summarized.  Whether we had a lot of money, were an important civic leader, or whether we were highly regarded by the people of the world will matter little when the Judgment comes.  If after we die, it could truly be said of us that we were faithful to God and we feared Him above many that would be the most important statement made about us that could be said.  The only matter of importance then will be whether we were in a proper relationship with God.  Does the statement made about Hananiah summarize our lives today?  Are we faithful to God, and do we fear Him more than many?

— Via The Elon Challenger (Vol. 17, No. 1, September 2019)
——————-

bird_bat_bee_butterfly2

-3-

Amazing Design!

Greg Gwin

Birds and bats, bees and butterflies – these are but a few of earth’s creatures that possess extraordinary navigational skills. How does a bird know the proper route to follow on its migrations north and south? How can a bee find its way back to the hive — and then return again with other helpers to the nectar-rich flower patch just discovered? Such accomplishments have long puzzled the scientists that study such things.

An article in National Geographic describes research that has been undertaken to discover the answer to these mysteries. The conclusions are amazing. Birds, for instance, have been shown to “use the sun as a compass together with an internal clock that compensates for the sun’s changing position in the sky.” And then there are the honeybees which “employ special cells in their compound eyes to recognize patterns of polarized light which enables them to determine the location of the sun, even if it is obscured by clouds.” Desert ants, we are told, can tell distances by counting steps from one location to another. Spawning salmon travel thousands of miles to return to the very section of river where they were born. Scientists agree that they “locate home streams by smell… imprinting on the odors from soil and vegetation.” Other fish navigate in murky water by generating an electric field and then sensing their “environment through fluctuations in the electric current.” Some insects are known to determine direction and location by sensing “magnetic fields through specialized photo-receptors in their eyes.”

All of this staggers the imagination. The complexities of nature are incredible. But even more amazing is the fact that there are so many people who believe that this all came about by random chance as living creatures evolved from lower life forms. How can it be so? Who can believe it?  Faith in a living, all-powerful God is a much more reasonable explanation. Think about it!

— Via The Beacon, August 25, 2019
——————-

Psalm 107:23-24

“Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
They have seen the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep” (Psalm 107:23-24, 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) 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) Belief & Truth (Irvin Himmel)
2) Making Plans (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————-

2Tim2_15

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Belief & Truth

Irvin Himmel

No matter what your present belief, in this short essay I want to set before you the truth. Please study carefully the following points about belief and its relation to truth.

Believing Something Does Not Make It The Truth

The aged Jacob believed the story his sons told him which insinuated that their brother Joseph had been devoured by an evil beast (Gen. 37:31-35). So sincere was Jacob in that belief, and so emotionally moved by what he believed, he rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, mourned for many days, and refused the comfort offered by other members of the family. Young Joseph was not dead although his father sincerely believed he had been killed. Joseph was very much alive!

Saul of Tarsus strongly and earnestly believed in his early life that Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, not the real Christ. He “verily thought” that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus (Acts 26:9). Saul’s belief that Jesus was a fake did not make Him a pretender.

Truth is not determined by what someone chooses to believe. One may elect to believe the Book of Mormon, but that does not make the Book of Mormon true. One may choose to believe that the Pope of Rome is the Vicar of Christ, but believing it does not make it so. Some people believe man has the same nature of a beast and no other nature, but their belief does not make it true that man is wholly a material being. A lot of people believe miracles are being performed today (tongues, healing, prophecy, etc.), but their belief, which sometimes moves them in emotional experiences, does not make it true.

Failure To Believe Something Does Not Keep It From Being The Truth

Many of the Jews refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, even after He had preached to them, worked signs and wonders among them, and had demonstrated supernatural insight, but their lack of faith did not change the truth about His identity. Jesus explained, “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). The truth about His Sonship did not depend on their belief in Him.

There are people who today refuse to believe there is a hell. They suppose that God thinks as men think, and in their human reasoning they cannot rationalize the idea of eternal punishment. But remember this: refusal to believe there is a hell does not keep the doctrine of hell from being the truth.

Some men refuse to believe there is a God. These men are called atheists. They suppose there is no being higher than humanity. This idea leaves them without any feeling of accountability to anyone except themselves. Refusal to believe in God does not change the fact that God exists and men are responsible to Him for their deeds.

Truth is determined by what the Scriptures teach, not by what someone believes, or refuses to believe. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16); that is the truth, and if every person on earth refused to accept it, that teaching of Jesus would still be the truth.

One Must Believe The Truth To Be Saved

Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul spoke of the “word of truth” as the “gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13). He explained that we are chosen to salvation “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

This New Testament teaching is a far cry from the popular notion that it really does not make a lot of difference what one believes. Some have the idea that one can believe to a large degree whatever he wants to believe and still go to heaven. To such persons it matters not whether one believes baptism is essential to salvation or is a mere symbol of salvation; whether one believes in the impossibility of apostasy or that a child of God can fall away; whether one believes in immersion only or sprinkling, pouring, and immersion; whether one believes in tithing or giving according to ability; whether one believes Christians should keep the Sabbath (Saturday) or assemble for worship on the first day (Sunday); whether one believes Christ was born of a virgin or not; whether one believes in one faith or many faiths; etc., etc.

Refusal To Believe The Truth Brings Condemnation

Paul wrote about certain persons who did not love the truth, explaining, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10-12). We cannot obey the truth if we do not learn it and believe it. The word of God warns that people “who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,” will receive indignation and wrath in the day of judgment (Rom. 2:8).

James taught that if one errs from the truth and is turned back (converted) a soul is saved from death (Jas. 5:19, 20). This implies that if one turns from the truth he is headed for eternal death.

Truth is fixed by the word of God. Truth does not depend on what you and I believe or refuse to believe, but our eternal security does depend on our believing that which is the truth and not turning from that truth.

— Via Navarre Messenger, July 28, 2019
——————-

Excerpts from the Psalms

“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your dwelling places” (Psalm 43:3, NASB).

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89, NASB).

“For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the LORD is everlasting.
Praise the LORD!”  (Psalm 172:2, NASB)
——————-

man writing in notebook by computer

-2-

Making Plans

Greg Gwin

A financial planner observed that most folks spend more time planning their summer vacation than they devote to planning their most important lifetime goals. That is, without doubt, a sad but true fact. How can we hope to succeed in life without planning and goal-setting? If you want to be a successful student, businessman, politician, etc. – it takes planning!

Surely this same point can be made in regards to our spiritual service to God. In fact, it may be even truer in this particular realm. We might even say that some folks appear to spend more time planning what they will do after supper on a given night than they have ever spent charting their plans for serving God. It’s a sad situation, to be sure.

The problem is that we have gotten our priorities out of order. Notice what Jesus said:

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Where withall shall we be clothed?. . . for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:32,33).

Do you see it? Jesus said that we ought not to worry about the things that we most often do worry about. And, He said that we should give careful consideration to our spiritual work – putting it first in our lives.

Christian, are you making your plans to be faithful to God and to be active in His service?  Have you spent any time lately planning about the things that are really most important?

— Via The Beacon, September 22, 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).
——————–

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) Examining the Scriptures (L.A. Stauffer)
2) The Dead In Christ Shall Rise First (Ron Daly)
——————-

Acts17_11b

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Examining the Scriptures

L.A. Stauffer

The apostle Paul was commissioned by God to bear witness of Christ and preach the gospel to the Gentiles. When he traveled to the various cities in Asia and Europe, his practice was to go first to a synagogue of the Jews and then to the Gentiles (see Rom 1:16; Acts 13:46).

When he entered the Jewish houses of worship, the apostle opened their scriptures, the Old Testament, and argued from them that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah the Jewish nation was expecting. More often than not, the Jews disagreed, rejected his teaching, and drove him from the synagogue and, often, from their city. This happened in the ancient city of Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10). But after leaving this Macedonian town, he came to Berea some 50 miles away where he received an unusually different welcome.

The Bereans, Luke tells us, were “more noble” than their fellow Jews in Thessalonica “in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily” to see whether the things Paul preached were so (Acts 17:11). “Noble” here doesn’t mean they were a higher class of people politically, economically, or socially, but that they were of a higher rank spiritually.

Open Minds. They were nobler spiritually because their minds were open to what Paul taught. Luke tells us that they “received the word,” an expression that means they welcomed what the apostles said and listened to the passages he quoted and considered the arguments he made. By opening their minds to Paul’s preaching, they were able to grasp the points he was making; at least they understood what he declared to them.

Eager Minds. Beyond hearing what the apostle was saying, they listened with eagerness. “Readiness of mind” suggests the enthusiasm one might find among students who have come to class to learn. They are there because they want to be; they are, as it were, sitting on the edge of their seats; they are hanging on every word the teacher utters. The Bereans were hearing things that were attractive – a message that made sense and was pleasant to the ears.

Cautious Minds. The good news about Jesus, though delightful to the ears, wasn’t something they would receive unless it is true. They l  istened cautiously and made it a point to examine or search the Old Testament writings to see if what Paul said “were so,” an expression that literally means: whether the scripture “have it this way.” Their question: Does the life of Jesus really fulfill what the Old Testament teaches about the coming Messiah?

The New Testament commends the Bereans because this is the very kind of mind that can hear what the Bible says, understand what it teaches, and respond in the obedience of faith to its demands. Only people with the heart of the Bereans will believe that Jesus is God’s Son, repent in rejection and repudiation of sin, confess that Jesus is Lord, and be buried with Christ in baptism for the forgiveness of sins (John 20:30-31; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10; Mark 16:16). God demands this of all men.

— Via articles of the Kirkwood church of Christ (Kirkwood, Missouri), November 11, 2005
——————-

Acts24_15d

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The Dead In Christ Shall Rise First

Ron Daly

Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians, that when the Lord descends from heaven, “the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16).

Apparently, Paul had reason to be concerned that some of the Christians in Thessalonica were uninformed regarding the status of fellow-believers who had died. He wrote to them so that they would not grieve. He states that when the Lord descends from heaven the dead saints will not be forgotten, nor left behind. They will rise before the living are caught up to meet the Lord in the air! “For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep” (v. 15).

The apostle is not affirming any of the doctrinally erroneous presuppositions of the premillennial heresy. His point is not that the dead saints will rise and be caught up in “the rapture,” a contrived theory of premillennialists. Instead, he implicitly indicates that the dead saints will not be abandoned, but they will rise to meet the Lord together with those who remain. The following verbal phrases constitute the immediate context of Paul’s words, in which actions are ascribed to the Lord and his saints: “The Lord himself … will descend (katabesetai) from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise (anastesontai) first. Then we who are alive, who are left (perileipomenoi), will be caught up (harpagesometha) in the clouds together with them to meet (apantesin) the Lord in the air, and so we will be (esometha) with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage (parakaleite) one another with these words” (vv. 16-17). Notice the word “then” in verse 17. It translates epeita which in the present context is emphatic, and the term means “after that, in the next place.” The Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Bauer, Arndt-Gingrich-Danker, 284, indicates that epeita is used “to denote succession in enumerations, together with indications of chronological sequence.”

Paul’s point seems to be, immediately after the dead saints rise, the living saints will join them to meet the Lord in the air.

The text does not teach a partial resurrection, i.e., that some of the dead, those who are in Christ will be raised at the Lord’s coming, but the wicked dead will remain in the graves for several more years. In the 1 Thessalonians’ text, Paul’s primary focus is on “we who are alive” in Christ and “the dead in Christ.” He is not denying a general resurrection of all the dead, he simply discusses one class of dead persons who will rise. This seems to be the category about which the Thessalonians had inquired, or at least were concerned.

Please consider that Paul does not say, “Only the dead in Christ shall rise”; but he says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” Let us ask, first in relation to what? The word “first” is a translation of proton, an adverb which in this text means “first of all, first in order.” Before the living ascend to meet the Lord, the dead in Christ will be raised and both groups shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

According to numerous New Testament texts when Jesus comes to judge the world, all the dead will be raised. “Do not be astonished at this: for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29). Peter and John caused much annoyance to the priest, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees “because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 4:1-2).

Paul affirmed that he was “on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 23:6). Paul made his defense to Felix the governor, proclaiming “that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous”; and he declared that he was on trial “about the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 24:15, 21). The apostle said to the people of Athens that God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed . . . they heard of the resurrection of the dead…” (Acts 17:31-32). “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised…” (1 Cor. 15:52).

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 1:7-9, Paul states that when the Lord is “revealed from heaven” (the equivalent to “the Lord himself will descend from heaven” in the first letter, 4:16) vengeance will be inflicted on the wicked, but he will be glorified in the saints.

Therefore in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul is not teaching a partial resurrection of some of the dead, neither is he indicating that there will be multiple resurrections of all the dead. There will be only one literal resurrection of all the dead.

— Via Guardian of Truth XLI: 4 p. 10-11, February 20, 1997
——————-

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) Hope Abides (L. A. Stauffer)
2) Logic in the Bible (Terry W. Benton)
3) Selected Sentence Sermons
——————–

Heb6_19c

-1-

Hope Abides

L.A. Stauffer

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl 3:1). And now, during earth life, it is man’s season of hope—a time when man looks to but sees not the reward his Maker has promised. “Hope,” Paul writes, “that is seen is not hope: for who hopes for that which he sees” (Rom 8:24). It is “now,” the apostle says, that hope “abides” (1 Cor 13: 13).

Hope only abides when there is the reality of a reward and there is a longing expectation of that reward in the heart of a man. Take away the “mansion” in heaven that Jesus promised or the assurance of that abiding place in a man’s faith—and you no longer have hope (see Heb 11:1). Hope is a reality because of man’s expectant trust and God’s faithful promise. Hope abides because:

God Promised. Hope rests and is founded on God’s promise. He it is who announced through Jesus, “great is your reward in heaven” and “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (Matt 5:12; John 14:1-2). The Hebrews’ writer takes his readers back to the time of Abraham to assure us that hope abides as an anchor of the soul—both “sure” and “steadfast” (Heb 6:13-19). Abraham hoped in God for years that he would receive a seed and become a great nation. The certainty of that hope was secured by the promise of God to which He added an oath. By these two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie—His word and His oath—Abraham waited patiently and the promise was fulfilled.

God Is Faithful. God, it is clear, must be true to both Himself and His word. Man’s lack of faith does not affect the faithfulness of God to His promise. Though every man be found a liar, Paul argues in a text highlighting the sinfulness of man, “let God be found true” (Rom 3:3-4). In the entirety of the oracles of God from the promise of a redeemer to the promises to Abraham and to Israel—God has shown man that He “will in no wise fail” him and “will in no wise forsake” him (see Heb 13:5). Hope prevails because Jehovah, the God who promised, is trustworthy.

Man Believes. Yet despite the promises, faithfulness, and blessings from God, hope abides only in a man who by faith holds in his heart the “assurance of things hoped for” and the “conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Moses when he decided to leave Pharaoh’s house was by faith convicted “of things not seen” and “looked unto the recompense of reward” (Heb 11:26). It was the faith he embraced in his heart that housed the expectation of a reward from God. It was no different with Abraham who “in hope believed against hope,” looked “unto the promise of God,” and “wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong in faith” (Rom 4:18-21).

These men of old are examples for God’s believing servants today. Jesus opened the way into heaven through the veil of His flesh when He entered the “most holy” place in heaven to appear before the face of God on behalf of believers in Christ (see Heb 9:23-26; 10:19-20). We, because of God’s promise and His faithfulness, have confidence in that unseen reward—in that abiding hope that anchors our souls, binds us to purity, moves us to fruitfulness, and upholds us in affliction (see Heb 6:18-19, 1 John 3:3; Col 1:5-7; Heb 11:24-27). There is victory in Jesus for men of faith and unmovable steadfastness (1 Cor 15:50-58).

— Via Articles from the Kirkwood church of Christ (Kirkwood, Missouri), July 10, 2017
——————–

matt22_32

-2-

Logic in the Bible

Terry W. Benton

While some modern brethren have declared that the logic of “necessary inference” has been made up in recent years by “church of Christ preachers,” the Bible shows that this kind of logic goes back to communication from God and man from the beginning. If anyone should be credited with the origin of such logic, it should be God. The failure to use logic goes to the devil and his followers.

A clear example of reasoning from evidence to “necessary inference” is seen clearly in Hebrews 7. Paul reasoned that:

1. Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.

2. Levi is not as great as Abraham and certainly not as great as Melchizedek.

3. If the Levitical priesthood and Law of Moses had been sufficient, there would have been no need for David to prophesy about another priest who would be a forever priest after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110, at a time when the Law and Levitical priesthood was in operation.

Then the writer then argues to the logical conclusion that was “of necessity” (a necessary inference). He pointed to a great logical deduction: In order for Jesus to be a legitimate priest, the law would have to be changed (Hebrews 7:12). That was an inescapable conclusion since Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi. In order to change the priesthood there would have to logically be a “change also of the Law.” Statements of prophecy plus the example of Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek formed the evidence from which several necessary inferences were drawn.

Another point of logic was made on the basis that Jesus was from the tribe of Judah “of which Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.” When the Law spoke about priesthood and designated the tribe of Levi, it did not have to start a list of “thou shalt not get priests from Judah” and “thou shalt not get priests from Gad,” etc. Silence about other tribes meant only that permission was not granted to other tribes to become priests. There is a logical rule that silence is not authority to act. Jesus was not authorized to be a priest on earth because silence about priests from Judah is not authority for priests from Judah.

The authority of Jesus to be a priest after a different order comes only with a “change of Law” and a verification that Jesus has the credentials of a “forever” priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek. The use of example and statements to bring about the logical necessary inference is what GOD has taught us. It did not originate with so-called “church of Christ preachers.” In fact, failure to properly employ and use these things is a clear indication that the critic does not know the scriptures.

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ (Omaha, Nebraska)
——————–

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool” (NASB).
——————–

-3-

Selected Sentence Sermons

Guilt is concerned with the past. Worry is concerned about the future. Contentment enjoys the present.

The right train of thought can take you to a better station in life.

When you meet temptation, turn to the Right.
——————–

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) Pearls From Proverbs (Irven Himmel)
2) Correct Me, O Lord (Grady Huggins)
——————–

psa32_10

-1-

Pearls from Proverbs

Irven Himmel

A Rough Road

“Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15).

Things are not always what they seem. The course which looks good may offer more misery than happiness, more heartaches than comfort, and more disappointments than satisfaction.

Good Understanding

The Hebrew word sekel denotes intelligence, sound judgment, good sense, or prudence. It is translated “wisdom” in Proverbs 12:8; in 19:11 it is “prudence.”

Abigail, Nabal’s wife, was a woman of good understanding (1 Sam. 25:3). In contrast, her husband was churlish and evil in his deeds.

We show sound judgment and prudence in yielding to the will of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Psa. 111:10).

“Obedience to God proves that our judgment is sound. Why should he not be obeyed? Does not reason itself claim obedience for the Lord of all? Only a man void of understanding will ever justify rebellion against the holy God. Practical godliness is the test of wisdom. Men may know and be very orthodox, they may talk and be very eloquent, they may speculate and be very profound; but the best proof of their intelligence must be found in their actually doing the will of the Lord” (C.H. Spurgeon).

Giving of Favor

It is a fact that good understanding gives favor. “A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised” (Prov. 12:8). Favor and good understanding are connected in Proverbs 3:4.

Joseph gained favor with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, through sound judgment and prudence. Pharaoh remarked concerning Joseph, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?” He said to Joseph, “There is none so discreet and wise as thou art” (Gen. 41:38,39).

Daniel gained favor with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, through wisdom and good understanding. In all matters of wisdom and understanding, the king found Daniel and his three companions ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his realm (Dan. 1:19,20).

The youthful years of Jesus are summed up in Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Wise judgment is appreciated by right-thinking people. Good understanding brings esteem, honor, admiration, and respect.

Transgressors

The Hebrew word for “transgressors” in our text is bagad. It is a term pointing to such as deal deceitfully or treacherously. It appears in Psalm 119:158, which says, “I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.” It is used in Isaiah 21:2 where the prophet said, “the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously.”

Our text refers especially to the unfaithful, the offensive, the treacherous. The New American Standard Bible renders it, “Good understanding produces favor, But the way of the treacherous is hard.”

A Hard Way

The course of transgressors is rugged and rough. Often there is violence. “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence” (Prov. 13:2).

Many transgressors have no compassion. “. . . The manner in which they transact with men, is stiff, as hard as stone, and repulsive; they follow selfish views, never placing themselves in sympathy with the condition of their neighbour; they are without the tenderness which is connected with fine culture; they remain destitute of feeling in things which, as we say, would soften a stone” (F. Delitzsch).

The way of transgressors is hard because the pleasures of sin are for limited duration and are deceitful. How dreadful to reach the end of life and realize that one has taken the road to perdition.

Transgression brings suffering, not only to the transgressor, but even to his family and friends in many cases. Some have plunged headlong into some wicked act without stopping to think of the consequences. Innocent people are hurt. Although the sin may be forgiven, some of its effects may never be erased during the lifetime of the offender.

No relief is in sight for one who continues in transgression. Sometimes one treacherous act leads to another, and then another. Deeper and deeper into evil plunges the unfaithful person. He heaps misery on top of misery. Guilt weighs heavily until his conscience becomes as hardened as the stones along a rugged path.

The narrow way that leads to life requires sacrifice, self-denial, and discipline. But there is no road as rough as that which the transgressor travels.

— Via the Guardian of Truth XXX: 13, p. 393, July 3, 1986
——————–

prov14_12c

-2-

Correct Me, O Lord

Grady Huggins

“I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer 10:23).

We are simply not capable of navigating our own way through life.  God is the potter, we are the clay, and we desperately need Him to mold us (Jer 18:1-6).  Trying to take control of our own lives has just ruined the original beauty that God had envisioned for us.  “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…” (Isa 53:6).  God had a safe path plotted out for us, but we refused to listen to His guidance.  We have rejected the narrow way for an easier road of our own devising.  With the world cheering us on all around, we rush headlong toward destruction (Matt 7:13-14).

Yet, trusting our own instincts we are often blissfully unaware of the danger we are in.  “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death!” (Prov 14:12).  We convince ourselves that we have it all under control.  Stop and ask for directions?  Never!  In our certainty we forget the warning of Jeremiah.  “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9).  Is it possible that our heart is deceiving us?  Is it possible that we are mistaken?  Maybe we don’t have it all figured out and under control.  Maybe we need help.

Recognizing we cannot direct our own steps, we must cry out with the prayer of Jeremiah: “Correct me, O LORD, but with justice; not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing” (Jer 10:24).  Yes, we need correction.  We need God to show us where we are deceiving ourselves.  With His help we can stop covering up and minimizing our faults.  We can rather expose and address them.

This process is not quick and painless.  It is very difficult to see ourselves the way God sees us and constantly grapple with our insufficiencies.  Yet, this struggle is exactly what we should expect traveling along the narrow way.  And we can find comfort in God’s grace.  He does not correct us in anger, but in love.  He is always there to pick us up when we fall and strengthen us to press on to higher ground.  Though we continually fall short of His perfect character, He has made a way for us to bridge the gap through Jesus (Rom 3:23-24).

The important thing is that we never harden our heart to His correction.  It’s when we are most at ease in our faith that we are most at danger (1 Cor 10:13).  We must allow God’s word to  function as a mirror, showing us what corrections need to be made (James 1:23-25).  We must allow it to function as a scalpel, opening up the innermost thoughts of our hearts (Heb 4:12).  Like Jeremiah, we must pray for and welcome God’s correction at all times, because there is no doubt we need it.

— Via the Kirkwood church of Christ, July 10, 2017
——————–

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).
——————–

Contents:

1) If Baptism Is Not Necessary (Irven Himmel)
2) Toward Better Communication (Sewell Hall)
——————–

baptism_underwater

-1-

If Baptism Is Not Necessary

Irven Himmel

In the thinking of many religionists baptism is no more than a ritual. Its meaning is explained in a variety of ways, and to some it has no real meaning. While there is widespread agreement that water is the element prescribed in the New Testament for baptism, few acknowledge that baptism is necessary to the obtaining of forgiveness of sins.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Jesus Make It a Condition of Salvation?

After instructing the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, the Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15, 16). Note that Jesus did not say, “He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved.” And He did not say, “He that believeth shall be saved whether he is baptized or not.” To the contrary, Jesus said, “He that believeth and Is baptized shall be saved.”

On another occasion Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man . . .” (Matt. 7:24). This makes both hearing and doing essential to our being like a wise man. In like manner, Mk. 16:16 makes both belief and baptism essential to our being saved. Hearing without doing does not make one wise, and belief without baptism does not result in salvation. If two and two make four, two minus two cannot equal four. Belief and baptism must not be interpreted to mean belief minus baptism.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Peter Teach That It Is For the Remission of  Sins?

On Pentecost, Peter preached that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. His hearers, pricked in their heart with conviction, asked what to do. Peter replied, “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” (Acts 2:38). How can one admit that repentance is for (unto) the remission of sins but deny that baptism is for that purpose?

When Peter said in Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” no one takes that to mean that repentance is necessary but being converted is non-essential. If Acts 3:19 makes both repentance and being converted necessary to blotting out of sins, Acts 2:38 makes both repentance and baptism necessary to remission of sins.

A disciple named Ananias was sent to Saul, a praying penitent man, in Damascus. “And now why tarriest thou?” said Ananias “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name, of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Were Saul’s sins already washed away? If so, why was he told to “wash away thy sins”?

It will not help to say this washing was symbolic. One might as well argue that the arising was symbolic rather than real, or that the baptism was symbolic rather than actual, or that the calling on the Lord was only symbolic rather than genuine calling, as to contend that the washing away of sins was only a symbolic portrayal. The language of Ananias clearly implies that Saul was still a sinner until he was baptized.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Paul Regard it As A Prerequisite for the New Life?

Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3, 4).

Baptism stands between the sinner and his entrance into Jesus Christ. Baptism puts one into Jesus Christ. And baptism puts one into the death of the Lord where the benefits of His shed blood are to be received. Furthermore, baptism enables one to enter into “newness of life.” The theory of salvation before baptism would have one walking in newness of life before the old man is buried.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Does the Bible Say That It Saves?

According to the apostle Peter, “eight souls were saved by water” in Noah’s day. The water saved them in that it carried the ark with its occupants from the old sin-cursed world to a new beginning. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).

Baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is the gist of Peter’s statement. Just as water “saved” eight people who were in the ark, baptism “doth also now save us.” Many argue that baptism doth NOT save us. Peter said baptism doth NOW save us. Which do you accept, the teaching of the Bible, or the teaching of fallible men?

Reader, if you have not obeyed the Lord in baptism for the remission of sins, do it today.

— Via Truth Magazine XX: 45, p. 706, November 11, 1976
——————–

Job12_11

-2-

Toward Better Communication

Sewell Hall

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Can you imagine better advice for getting along with others? How often we hear it said that the problem in a family, a plant, an office, a school, or even a church is a breakdown of communication. Obedience to this verse would change all of that.

“Be quick to hear.” Listen! Try to understand where the one who is talking “is coming from” and what he or she really means. See if you can repeat what was said so accurately that the one who said it will agree that you have stated the position accurately.

Now, make sure a reply is needed. We do not have to correct every mistake we hear. Some are not serious enough to require attention. Others, though serious, may have to wait for a more suitable time to be corrected.

Even if a reply is needed, take your time. “Be slow to speak.” Think of what you are saying. Think how it will sound to the one hearing it and how it will sound if it is repeated to someone else. Ask yourself if what you are about to say will do good or do harm. Ask God to help you to say only what needs to be said. Nehemiah was asked a question by the king and managed a prayer before he answered (Neh. 2:4-5). Remember that once you have spoken, you cannot recall your words.

Above all, “be slow to anger.” Anger almost always breaks down communication; shouting matches seldom end in a better understanding of each other. And, besides jeopardizing human relationships, they endanger our relation with God. We may fancy that our anger is “righteous indignation,” but the Holy Spirit says: “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

Are you thinking, “That’s not much of a way to win an argument”? RIGHT! But it is a pretty good way to stop one. How would you like to argue with someone who is “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger”?

— Via The Beacon, July 14, 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).
——————–

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) The Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Contribution to the Background of the New Testament (Marc W. Gibson)
——————–

Dead Sea Scroll 2

-1-

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Contribution to the Background of the New Testament

Marc W. Gibson

The ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave in the cliffs just above the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. In the years that followed, some eight hundred intact and fragmented manuscripts were found in several nearby caves, adding up to the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century. It continues to be the prevailing view of scholars today that these ancient scrolls were placed in these caves by the inhabitants of the settlement of Qumran, the remains of which lie between the cliffs and the Dead Sea.

The most likely inhabitants of Qumran were the Essenes, a sect of the Jews which separated itself from, and was critical of, mainstream Judaism based in Jerusalem. Though a point of dispute among scholars today, the manuscripts were most likely produced and owned by the Qumran settlement, and hidden when the Romans sent their army to the region to put down a Jewish uprising (A.D. 68-70). The excavators of Qumran have determined that it was destroyed in A.D. 68 by the Romans as they prepared to overthrow Jerusalem. Though Qumran was destroyed, the scrolls were safely hidden in the caves until their discovery 1,879 years later. The scrolls date from between 250 B.C. and A.D. 68 and include communal (sectarian) laws and regulations, religious documents, and most importantly for biblical textual studies, manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. Every book of the Old Testament was represented except Esther. This discovery pushed the evidence for the Old Testament text back more than one thousand years, and a study of these texts have shown that our Old Testament translations today are extremely accurate and based on solid textual evidence.

The remaining materials in the cache of scrolls should not be quickly dismissed as inconsequential to the study of the Bible or the New Testament in particular. When one understands that most of the sectarian and religious scrolls were produced and/or collected in a Jewish setting of the two centuries leading up to the time of Jesus and the New Testament (known as Second Temple Judaism), then he will realize that information may be available to shed light on the society and times in which Jesus lived and the New Testament was written. Jesus encountered various opinions and views among the Jews of his day. Could the scrolls help us identify some of this thinking? In what ways can they illuminate our understanding of New Testament backgrounds?

Dangerous Theories
In reading scholarly works on this subject, one will be inundated with the theories of men concerning the relationship of the New Testament and the Second Temple Judaism in the years before and during the first century. The Christian should beware of the liberal critical opinions that downplay, or even dismiss, the role of divine inspiration as the source of the message of the New Testament. Much speculation is practiced in the attempt to derive the “sources” of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. Emphasis is given to the Jewish “soil” out of which Christianity supposedly arose. While it is true that the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament must be understood against the backdrop of the promises, prophecies, and shadows of the Old Testament, Jesus was not dependent on the Jewish thinking of his day to help formulate his doctrine.

The prevailing Jewish opinions of that day about the Old Testament and the person and work of the Messiah were not the “soil” from which New Testament doctrine was founded. Any parallels that have been suggested are only that, parallels. They do not prove in any way that Christianity borrowed or tweaked the popular thinking of its day, and became just another sect of Judaism. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and reveal divine truth (Matt. 5:17; John 7:16-17). He confronted various erroneous views and faulty interpretations (John 5:46-47; Matt. 22:15-46). The scrolls can help us understand more about both the parallels and contrasts.

Parallel Themes
One of the more interesting parallels in the teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament is the distinction between Light and Darkness. One Qumran text, The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, speaks of the battle between the forces of Light and Darkness. Jesus used light and darkness to illustrate the distinction between truth and error (John 3:19-21; 8:12), as did Paul (2 Cor. 4:3-6; 6:14) and John (1 John 1:5-6; 2:9-10). Other parallel themes found in the scrolls include criticism of loving riches, righteousness, flesh and spirit, and the necessity of conversion. These parallels illustrate the common use of metaphors and the understanding of general themes revealed in Scripture.

Old Testament Prophecy

The Qumran community cited the Old Testament in its religious texts, but the fulfillments of its prophecies were often interpreted in the context of their ideology. One such example is found in the Manual of Discipline [Community Rule] (8:12-15) where Isaiah 40:3 is applied to the community itself, instead of John the Baptist’s heralding of the coming of Jesus (Matt. 3:1-3). They also understood themselves to be the eschatological “last generation” through whom God would bring final victory for the righteous. Through them would come a “Teacher of Righteousness” that would give the proper understanding of God’s Word. These examples affirm the fact that the Old Testament prophecies and promises were not fully understood until Jesus Christ revealed their fulfillment in him and his kingdom.

Views About the Messiah

One of the most significant subjects that the Dead Sea Scrolls helps us to understand is the confused first century view of the person and work of the Messiah. Those at Qumran reflected their times in that they had a high expectation of the Messiah. References are made to “the Messiah of Righteousness . . . the Branch of David” (Genesis Commentaries [4Q252]; Commentaries on Isaiah [4Q161]), and to a royal and militaristic “Prince of the Congregation” (Damascus Document 7:18-20; War Scroll 5:1). But the concept was taken further in the expectation of two messiahs: “They shall depart from none of the counsels of the Law to walk in all the stubbornness of their hearts, but shall be ruled by the primitive precepts in which the men of the Community were first instructed until there shall come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel” (Manual of Discipline 9:10-11). Actually, three different characters are spoken of here: the Prophet, Messiah of Aaron, and the Messiah of Israel. The Messiah of Israel was a royal messiah, while the Messiah of Aaron was a priestly messiah and is the prominent one in that context. These beliefs again reflected erroneous views of Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. On the other hand, the Messianic Apocalypse accurately speaks of a Messiah whose work would be of liberating captives, restoring sight to the blind, healing the wounded, reviving the dead, and bringing good news to the poor (see Isa. 61:1; Matt. 11:4-5). There were many different views and opinions as to whom the Messiah(s) was and what role he would fulfill, but there is no suggestion that he would be a suffering servant who would die. The expectation that the Messiah would suffer and give his life as a ransom for sinful man is noticeably absent in Jesus’ day and in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Matt. 16:21-23; Luke 24:25-26).

Misunderstanding and confusion is also found concerning the Prophet and the Messiah being understood as two different individuals, instead of two roles being combined in the Coming One (John 1:19-21; Acts 3:22-26). The popular conceptions of the Messiah did not consider him to be a suffering servant who would die (Matt. 16:21-23; John 12:34). The Jews were looking for a victorious earthly warrior-king (John 6:14-15). Christ and the apostles would be the ones who would expound the divine truth concerning Jesus the Messiah as Prophet, Priest, and King (Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 2:36; 17:2-3). Jesus was given all authority and brought grace, truth, and salvation (Matt. 28:18; John 1:9-16). He fulfilled the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant discoveries in the history of Biblical archaeology. They reveal snapshots of Jewish thought in the years leading up to Jesus and the New Testament. We view in them the struggle to understand the meaning of the text of the Hebrew Bible. We see the confusion and errors that plagued the thinking of many who needed the light of truth revealed in Jesus. Only in that truth would they be able to find familiar themes placed in their proper context and the divine plan of God revealed in its fullness. Only in Christ would they be able to see the mystery revealed (1 Cor. 2:26-16; Eph. 3:1-7).

Recommended Reading
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Geza Vermes (New York: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1997).
Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review, Hershel Shanks, ed. (New York: Random House, 1992).
The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hershel Shanks (New York: Random House, 1998).
The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature, John J. Collins (New York: Doubleday, 1995).
The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years, Hershel Shanks, et. al. (Washington D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1991).
Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Edward M. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994).
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Charles F. Pfeiffer (New York: Weathervane Books, 1969).
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Modern Translations of the Old Testament, Harold Scanlin (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993).
Dead Sea Scrolls,” William Sanford LaSor, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, rev. ed., (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), 883-897.

— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLV, 1, p1, January 4, 2001
——————–

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)

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