Year: 2019 (Page 3 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) Some Bible “Excepts” (Bill Crews)
2) Babylon Clay Tablet Confirms Jeremiah (Ben M. Shropshire)
3) Never Give Up! (Greg Gwin)
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john15_4

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Some Bible “Excepts”

Bill Crews

The English word “except” is a strong word. It can be used as a verb, either transitive or intransitive, and as a preposition. But it is also identified as a conjunction, at least “archaically,” with the meaning of “unless.” This simply means that in the past in the English language the word was used as a conjunction and meant “unless.” That is exactly how the word is used, and frequently, in our English translations of the Bible. It has the meaning of “if not,” “unless,” “but that” and “without.” It is used to emphasize conditions that must be met. For example:

THE NECESSITY OF FAITH: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for except ye believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Thus, it is imperative that we believe that Jesus is He (the Christ, the One sent from God). (The necessity of that faith is also stressed in this way: “And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him,” Hebrews 11:6).

THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but (or except) by Me” (John 14:6). We cannot come unto God unless we believe; we cannot come unto God except by His Son. How do we come unto that Son? “No man can come to me except the Father that sent Me draw him” (John 6:44). And how does the Father draw men unto the Son? “It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught of God” (that’s in Isaiah 54:13, B.C.). “Everyone that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). So the Father, through His word, draws men unto His Son. This is the same way that men are led to have faith (Romans 10:17 — faith comes by hearing the word of God; Acts 15:7 — by Peter’s mouth the Gentiles were to hear the word of the gospel and believe).

THE NECESSITY OF BEING BORN AGAIN: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew (or again), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This is explained further: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). On being born (or begotten) of the Spirit see James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Corinthians 4:15 — we are begotten by the word or the gospel which was given by the Spirit. On being born of water see Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12 and 1:18 — we are brought forth from the water of baptism as new creatures.

THE NECESSITY OF HONESTY AND SINCERITY: “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Their righteousness was only apparent, external and hypocritical. Ours must be real, according to God’s word and from the heart.

THE NECESSITY OF HUMILITY: “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein” (Mark 10:15).

THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE: “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Jesus addressed these words to some specific individuals, as He compared them to others, but the words Except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” can be applied in a spiritual and eternal sense to all sinners. “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now He commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30-31).

THE NECESSITY OF CONTENDING LAWFULLY: “And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5). The Christian is likened to a soldier (verse 4) and to a contestant in the athletic games (verse 5). Like the soldier he must be dedicated and loyal. Like the contestant in the games, he must abide by the rules that govern the “race.”

For other “except” passages dealing with things that are necessary for our salvation see Matthew 6:15; John 15:4, 6; 1 Corinthians 9:16; James 2:17; Revelation 2:2, 22, 3:3.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 31, Page 3, August 4, 2019
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Nebo-sarsekim tablet

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Babylon Clay Tablet Confirms Jeremiah

Ben M. Shropshire

The recent discovery of a cuneiform clay tablet by an Austrian scholar at the site of ancient Babylon confirms the historical accuracy of the book of Jeremiah. The recently deciphered tablet, which dates from 595 BC, refers to an official in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, which is also mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah. The tablet names a Babylonian officer called Nebo-Sarsekim, who, according to Jeremiah (39:3) was present in 586 BC when “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it” (Jeremiah 39:1).

The clay tablet relates that Nebo-Sarsekim bestowed a gift of gold on the Temple of Esangila in the city of Babylon. It does not mention that he was with Nebuchadnezzar when he laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and then destroyed it. The cuneiform inscription, therefore, just confirms that Jeremiah was accurate when he reported there was an official (Jeremiah refers to him as a prince of the king of Babylon) of the Babylonian government whose name was Nebo-Sarsekim. The dating of the tablet from 595 BC, which was just nine years prior to the event reported by Jeremiah, demonstrates the likelihood that the tablet and Jeremiah were both referring to the same person.

This is just another evidence, along with many others, that the Bible is not just a collection of legends, fables and hand-me-down stories, but that it is a historically accurate document. Believing that the Bible was inspired of God, we would expect it to be historically accurate.

— Via Lifeline, July 15, 2000
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don't quit do it

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Never Give Up!

Greg Gwin

Winston Churchill is remembered as one of the great motivators of the past century. His leadership qualities were a deciding factor in helping the British people through the darkest hours of World War II.

Later in life Churchill was invited to return to the preparatory school he had attended as a youth. He was to address the students, and they had been told to expect “one of the greatest orators of all times.” Their instructions were to listen carefully, and take notes.

Churchill’s speech to the student body was incredibly brief. You, no doubt, are familiar with the entire text of that speech. Sir Winston said, “Young Gentlemen, Never, never, never, never give up!” That was it. No  more. But it was a message that could not be forgotten.

Others have pointed out that the key to success is not necessarily talent, or training, or luck. It is patience, persistence, and perseverance that wins the prize.

This principle also applies in spiritual pursuits. We’ve known of some incredibly talented folks who have given up. And others who have received the finest opportunities have simply quit.

We need determination to continue on, no matter what comes our way. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t whine and drop out at the first sign of adversity.

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were tempted to give up. The words of encouragement written to them are needed by us today: “Cast not away therefore your confidence. . . ye have need of patience. . . we are not of them who draw back (10:35—39) . . . Let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (12:1).

Never give up!

— via The Beacon, August 4, 2019
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“By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19, 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) Fix Your Eyes on Jesus (Frank Himmel)
2) Two Wise Goats (Anonymous)
3) A Question About John’s Baptism (Greg Gwin)
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mark9_23

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Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

Frank Himmel

“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).

The Example

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.

Other Examples

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!

An Illustration

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
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two goats on steep ledge

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Two Wise Goats

(Anonymous)

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
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baptism_m

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A Question about John’s Baptism

Greg Gwin

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
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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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Passion (Robert Hudson)
2) The Faith of Barak (Derek Long)
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Titus2_13-14b

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Passion

Robert Hudson

I ask you to think for a moment on this question: What is your passion? What are you passionate about? This very question is one that would often be misunderstood, one that would very often only be considered from an illicit sexual standpoint. This is an injustice to a very strong and thought-provoking word. The word can be defined in many ways and the most common is that which we will examine in this article. Webster states that passion “usually implies a strong emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect.”

With this in mind let us again ask ourselves what has this strong effect in our lives, our thoughts, our direction in life? Is it God? Well it should be; nothing should change us more than the influence of God in our lives. How many of us can see the impact of God in the lives of those around us? We need to feel this impact so strongly in ourselves, in our day to day living that there is no doubt or question when we proclaim that our God and his word is our passion.

In Philippians 3:8 Paul writes, “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” The words of the apostle here are most applicable to our train of thought; he had changed what meant the most to him, thereby he changed his passion. He was no longer driven by that which once had been his motivation, in fact he had laid that down, left it behind, and viewed it as worthless and even as trash which he had no desire or use for.

This concept of changing our passion or finding a new motivation is one that is developed throughout the ministry of Christ and continued in each of the books of the New Covenant. Peter clearly informs us that we must change in 1 Peter 2:1-2, “Therefore laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” We recognize that the evil works listed by Peter all have tremendous motivational powers. It is not unusual at all to see someone whose passion is that of envy, and that envy takes over all direction and guidance of his life until he ends up warped and twisted shells of the person that he once was. The apostle tells us to change what is directing us; in essence he says, “Turn from passions of evil to passions of righteousness.”

We often refer to patriots or martyrs as men of passion. Why? Because their conviction is so strong that they are willing to die for the cause. They demonstrate a high level of visibility concerning what they believe in, what they stand for. This is viewed as an honorable trait, and we need to develop this same degree of intensity in order to be pleasing to, and effective for our Savior and God. I guess the whole point here comes down to one rather simple question, how much does God mean to you? As easy a question that this is to ask, it’s much more difficult to honestly answer. Are we passionate about our service to Christ?

One of the most dramatic illustrations of passionate service and dedication to God is found in the death of the Judge over Israel, the man of God Eli. This is recorded in 1 Samuel 4:12-18; for reasons of space I shall set the context for you. The children of Israel had just lost a major battle to the Philistines, the army had fled, many people had been killed and the ark of God had been stolen by the enemy. Eli, who was 98, heard all of this from a young man who had escaped. Not only did this young man bear this news of great defeat and destruction, he also informed Eli that two of his own sons had died in this battle. Let us notice what Eli’s reaction was to all this. “Now it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years” (1 Sam. 4:18). What news had the most impact on Eli? Find that and we find his passion. It wasn’t the fact that the army had fled, or that many had died. Yes, these hurt him; his own children had been killed and he would see them no more. What hit this man of God the hardest was that the ark of God had been taken by an ungodly people. He cared about all of these other things, but he cared most about God. God was his passion.

Eli is not the only example of a passionate servant that we find in the Scriptures. Time after time we see men and women who were willing to die for, and most importantly, live for their Father and God. The question that needs to be addressed at this time is where did their godly zeal and passion come from? The writer of the Hebrew letter after discussing many of these impassioned men says, “all these obtained a good testimony through faith.” All spiritual direction and guidance, all righteous motivation, all godly passion must be grounded in faith. After all how can one truly be devoted and given to that which does not have his total trust and conviction? With faith comes a degree of passion and, as that faith grows, passion grows with it.

Our passion for God is predicated by our level of knowledge. We have all heard of a vicious circle, some set of unfortunate events that demand all the strength that only God could supply. What made Jesus rise up and walk to a quiet place to talk to God? The same thing that will make you get up earlier, or stay up later, or watch one less TV program so that you may pray to your Heavenly Father, a true passion for God.

Intensity and depth, love and devotion, strength and discipline, these are the elements that form the passion for God that all of us must have in order to please God, to serve him, and to bring others to him. Passion is such a misunderstood and yet powerful word; does it dwell in your heart as far as your God and Savior is concerned?

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 4, pp. 117, 120, February 15, 1990
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Barak

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The Faith of Barak

Derek Long

During the days when Deborah was serving as a prophetess and judge in the land of Israel, we are introduced to the individual named Barak (Judges 4:4-6). Deborah commissions Barak to go to Mount Tabor against the forces of Sisera with ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun (Judges 4:6-7). Barak will demonstrate for us the type of faith we must have to be acceptable and pleasing to God. The Hebrew writer calls our attention to the faith of Barak among others in Hebrews 11:32. He writes, “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.” What are some important lessons we can learn from the example of Barak?

* Like many people who are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as examples of faith, Barak was not immediately confident or sure perhaps. Judges 4:8 says, “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!’” Perhaps Barak shows he was not someone who was simply confident in himself to be able to go up against Sisera all alone. Deborah was a prophetess and perhaps he wanted to know God was with him and thus wanted God’s spokesperson with him. Because of Barak’s statement Deborah tells him there will be no glory for him but Sisera will be given into the hand of a woman (Judges 4:9).

* Barak’s faith can be seen in the fact he obeys the instructions given by the Lord through Deborah. Deborah instructed him to take ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and Judges 4:10 says, “And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.” A second example of Barak’s obedience to the instructions given to him by the Lord is in Judges 4:14. Judges 4:14 says, “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.” God, through Deborah, tells Barak to go up to the battle and Barak goes. People who have the type of faith which results in salvation are those who are willing to hear and heed God’s commands. Do we have such a faith?

* Judges 5 records for us a song sung by Deborah and Barak after the defeat of Sisera’s army. Notice what they say about the victory Israel had just had. Judges 5:4-5 says, “Lord, when You went out from Seir, when You marched from the field of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens poured, the clouds also poured water; the mountains gushed before the Lord, this Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.” Judges 5:13 says, “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles; the Lord came down for me against the mighty.” The song ends in Judges 5:31 by saying, “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” The song Deborah and Barak sing after their victory ascribe their success to God and not to themselves. Faith in God leads us to see ourselves as servants of God. Faith in God leads us to see our efforts as being made prosperous because of the Lord. Faith in God allows us to praise God for the things He does through us.

Barak may not be as well-known as someone like Abraham but he provides us a good example of faith for us to follow. Do we seek to have a type of faith which allows us to please God (Hebrews 11:6)? Do we seek to learn from the example of the faith of others who lived by their faith in God?

— Via the bulletin of the Oak Grove church of Christ, Jennings, Florida, July 14, 2019
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

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 Small Things (Kent Heaton)
2) Take It To the Lord in Prayer (Terry Ryan)
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jam3_4

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The Small Things

Kent Heaton

In April of 1990, the $1.6 billion Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit with great anticipation. It was discovered that something was very wrong. The problem was a few 25-cent washers that technicians used to fill in a gap in an optical testing device had shaken loose. The cost of the rescue mission to fix Hubble was $86 million. It is hard to believe how something so small can cause such damage and bring about such costly repairs. Small things matter.

James reminds us of the small fire kindled by a loose tongue. “Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:3-5). The tongue is a little member but how much damage can be done when not used properly. Careless words can be few but start a conflagration of hurt and destruction.

It must also be remembered that a few words can encourage and lift up the spirits of the downtrodden. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Paul wrote the brethren at Thessalonica to “encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing… encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14). This type of encouragement does not take many words. Words fitly spoken for those who need to be uplifted can be of such value to the work of the Lord.

Small things take on the importance of sharing the gospel of Christ. Jesus set the pattern in John 4 when He spoke to the woman at the well. From this discussion with one woman, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39-42). How many people can tell the story of their conversion from the small beginning of a tract, a radio program, a bulletin article, a caring heart who helped them find the truth?

Elijah became discouraged with the work of the Lord in 1 Kings 19 and desired the Lord to take his life. As he sat in his despair, Jehovah comes to him “and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). The problem with Elijah was he thought the will of Jehovah had to be accomplished with great things (see 1 Kings 17 & 18 for examples of great deeds); he was reminded that the will of the Lord can be accomplished with one man if the Lord so desires.

Small things matter to God: a cup of water (Matthew 25:31-46); little children (Matthew 18:1-6); one soul (Luke 9:25); one sheep, one coin, one boy (Luke 15). You (John 3:16).

— Via the Taylorsville church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky, April 11, 2018
——————–

prayer and praise to God

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Take It To the Lord In Prayer

Terry Ryan

Romans 8:26 (ESV)“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Have you ever felt like this? So overwhelmed or sad or depressed, that you don’t even know where to begin your prayer? The Spirit of our Lord knows our hearts and can understand our despair, without us even uttering a word. But sometimes we can neglect to go to the Lord like we should. He desires for us to come to him in prayer. What a comfort and what a privilege!

So why don’t we go to him? Understanding God and his love is essential in maturing as a Christian. Getting to know him throughout our lifetime should bring us great joy! God’s majesty is endless, and his love is beyond comprehension. To study and learn about him, and try to grasp an understanding of the depth of his love, can only help us in our prayer life. We are not strangers to him, but sometimes he can be a stranger to us. Not that we don’t know who God is, but we don’t know his attributes. You are not going to confide your innermost fears or your greatest joys with someone you don’t trust. So, we need to really get to know God on a deeper level and understand his character.

John 15:7 (NIV): “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Psalm 34:17 (ESV): “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

Will God help us when we are in trouble? God loves us, and one way he shows us is that he does answer prayers. Sometimes he does not answer them right away. But he does in his time, and he will tell us yes, or no, or not yet. We need to understand and trust his way. Prayer is a very important part of our relationship with God. Reading and studying his word, then praying, is how we commune with him. Prayer is how we connect to him, and in a very special way, demonstrate our love for him.

Philippians 4:6 (ESV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

1 Peter 5:7 (ESV): “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
We are to separate ourselves from this world, live in it but don’t love it. That is a difficult thing to do, because most of our time, other than sleeping, is spent in the world, and we are surrounded by worldly things and people. God is our last bastion. He is our only defender, and we must pray to him for help, as we strive to be his people.

Psalm 34:4 (ESV): “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

God is not going to come down and literally stand in front of evil and protect us while we are in this flesh. But spiritually, we can count on him to protect us daily.  Every time we pray, he hears us, and his protective hand is upon us.

Psalm 91:14 (ESV): “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.”

Psalm 91:1-5 (ESV): “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

Psalm 138:7 (ESV): “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”

Do we call on his name? Or do we neglect him and try to do it on our own? How does that usually turn out for us? Someday, when Jesus comes to gather us to him, nothing in this world will matter. But until that day, the avenue of prayer is our link to him.

I love this song:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

— Via Cedar Park church of Christ, April 19, 2019
——————–

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6, 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) The Apostles Judging on Thrones (Frank Himmel)
2) We Must Obey the Truth (J.F. Dancer)
——————–

mat19_28

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The Apostles Judging on Thrones

Frank Himmel

One of our readers asked about Jesus’ promise to the apostles in Matthew 19:28: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Understanding this promise hinges on the answer to several questions.

What is the Regeneration?

The word itself means a rebirth or a renewal. The specific term occurs only here and in Titus 3:5 in the phrase washing of regeneration, a reference to baptism. When we are baptized into Christ we are raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), hence we are “born again” (John 3:3). Being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and putting on the new self (Ephesians 4:24) are parallel ideas.

Jesus identifies it as the time when the Son of Man “will sit on His glorious throne.” That same phrase in Matthew 25:31 is a reference to the final judgment, leading millennialists to see our text as a reference to an earthly kingdom yet to be established. But the Bible plainly affirms that Jesus is already on the throne (Revelation 3:21) and His kingdom is a present reality (Colossians 1:13-14).

Luke records a parallel promise about the apostles sitting on thrones and judging (22:28-30), connected with eating and drinking with Him in His kingdom. While it is true that the word kingdom is sometimes used in a future eternal sense, these references are certainly capable of a much more immediate application.

In our text, the rich young ruler had just departed, unwilling to give up his possessions to follow Jesus. Jesus pointed out to the apostles that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God (vv. 23-24). The apostles, who had left all to follow Jesus, asked, “What will there be for us?” Jesus’ answer included not only them (v. 28) but all (v. 29). They would sit on thrones, and all would receive many times as much “in this present age” (Mark 10:30) as they had given up . .. And then eternal life in the age to come.

Thus, the regeneration is the gospel era. Those who are dead in sin come to life in Christ, who now reigns. “The eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11) is the culmination of this era, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).

How Do The Apostles Judge?

Judgement is based on Jesus’ words (John 12:48), the message the Father gave Him to speak (v. 49). It was the apostles’ work to preach that word to the whole world (Mark 16:15), completing, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the divine revelation that Jesus began (John 16:13-15). Thus, they are said to be the foundation of God’s house, Jesus being the corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus previously told these “judges,” “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).

In view of these references to the apostles’ authority, it is a serious mistake to take the popular approach that denigrates what they said and sees only what Jesus said personally as binding on us.

All saints in some sense judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2). Just as Noah by his faithful obedience condemned the ungodly world of his day (Hebrews 11:6), faithful Christians stand, both now and in the judgment, as a testimony against those who choose to reject the gospel. The apostles certainly lead in that role as well.

Who Are the Twelve Tribes of Israel?

The apostles first preached to literal Israel. On the day of Pentecost Peter began, “Men of Israel, listen to these words . . .” (Acts 2:22); and he concluded, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (v. 36). Literal Israel is clearly judged by the apostles’ word, however. . .

The gospel is for the whole world. The apostles’ message convicts all of sin, condemns all who remain in it, and offers regeneration to any who will come to Christ. Nationality is no advantage or disadvantage.

Thus, true “Israel” is those who follow Jesus (see 8:11-12; 21:43; cf. Romans 2:28-29). As the apostle Paul wrote, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel
of God” (Galatians 6:15-16).

—  Via Pathlights, July 7, 2019
——————–

heb5_9d

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We Must Obey Truth

J.F. Dancer

Truth is something that we cannot ignore and successfully escape. It is something we must search out — understand — obey — uphold. It is something that is worth losing all to find and yet, it is something that we have a tendency to let slip by as we busily engage in the time consuming work of ”making a living.”

Jesus told Pilate that he came to the world to bear witness unto the truth (John 18:37). He had earlier identified “truth” as being the word of the Father (John 17:17). There are things that are “truth” in many areas, but the truth of which I speak is that regarding man’s spiritual being, well-being and destiny. One of the tests of true discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ is one’s knowledge and continuing in truth (John 8:31-32). Yet some men say that truth is unattainable and that there is no such thing as TRUTH. Could be we are trying to justify our refusal to search out truth and stand for it.

What is your attitude toward religious truth? How hard are you seeking to find it? How firmly do you stand in the defense of it? How earnestly do you oppose all that opposes truth? In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 Paul speaks of those who do not believe the truth and who do not love it. He points out that God will thus send them a strong delusion and that they will be damned because of this! They didn’t love it — They didn’t believe it!

In Romans 2:8 Paul points out that God will punish those who do not obey truth. This same thing is taught in Galatians 2:14 and 5:7. Thus the importance of knowing truth and obeying the same cannot be over emphasized. God would have all men to come to a know-ledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1) and be saved. Souls are purified when men obey truth (1 Peter 1:22). We should clearly see the need to search out, understand, obey, and uphold God’s word (TRUTH) in all things. Are you doing that?

—  The Beacon, 7/7/19
——————–

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
https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress (Gospel Observer website)
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) “Try a Little Tenderness” (Larry Ray Hafley)
2) The Governor Called (Frank Himmel)
——————–

phil4_5

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“Try a Little Tenderness”

Larry Ray Hafley

A radio station in Chicago used to play soft, gentle music. Their motto was the title of this theme. It is good advice. “Gentleness” is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted” (Eph. 4:32). “Comfort the feebleminded (faint), support the weak, be patient toward all men” (1 Thess. 5:14). “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness (gentle tenderness), humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:12,13). We are to walk the way of life “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2,3).

The yoke of Christ is “easy,” or kind (Matt. 11:30). Paul spoke of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1), and we are to walk “even as he walked” (1 Jn. 2:6). Hence, let us “try a little tenderness.”

In The Home

Have you listened – really listened – to yourself as you talk to your mate and your children? It is easy to develop a snapping turtle response. Ever been around a frisky, feisty little dog that just wants to bark when you are around? Pressures, problems, “every day stress and strain,” can lead us to sharp, biting replies to our loved ones. It can become a habit. Everywhere, but especially in the home, “try a little tenderness.” If a soft answer turneth away wrath (Prov. 15:1), what does a harsh answer do?

The wonderful woman in Proverbs 31 possesses many valuable virtues, but none is greater than the fact that “in her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). Gentle kindness fills her heart, adorns her countenance and flows from her tongue. It is the material with which man would create an angel if he could.

One’s tongue can become a razor, a sword, a club (Psa. 52:2; 57:4; Prov. 12:19). It can cut and hew and dismember a loved one. Some children and marriage companions have never been physically beaten, but they have suffered daily the harsh brutality of a demeaning, belittling tongue. The victims of a malicious mouth would gladly trade their broken hearts for black eyes and broken bones. At least broken bones will heal.

Family members are bonded in bliss by blessed words of affection, praise and thanks. Husbands and wives should speak words of appreciation and approval to one another.

Children need criticism and condemnation at times, but they also need sweet and loving words of commendation and encouraging exhortation. All of you, mother, father, children, listen to yourselves speak to one another. Is your conversation filled with negative, derogatory, cutting, complaining, whining words? Is your voice sharp, caustic, full of sarcasm and irritation? If so, you have our prayers, and your family has our sympathy.

Among Brethren

“Pleasant words,” the Bible says, “are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24, NASB). “The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Prov. 16:21). In other words, one will listen to you more readily.

Would you gloat at a funeral? Certainly, you would not, but do we gloat and glory over a fallen brother? Do we appear to be glad when one is overtaken in a fault, or do we seek to “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness” (Gal. 6:1)? “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” (Prov. 24:17). You may feign sorrow over the fall of another, but the Lord God knows your heart (Heb. 4:13).

There is a time and place for sharp rebukes and verbal slaps in the face (Tit. 1:9-13; Gal. 2:11-14; 2 Cor. 13:10). It is not possible to wink at sin, smile at error and grin all the time (Mk. 3:5). Occasionally, whips must be fashioned and used, and seats and moneychanger’s tables must be overturned and their occupants cast out. It is not pleasant. Some object to it, except when they turn their oral guns on those who will do it. Then, they castigate the castigators and verbally thrash those who have the faith to do what must be done; namely, reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. But enough on that.

The other side is that there is a large amount of time and a great deal of space for one to “try a little tenderness.” “And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Tim. 2:24,25, NASB). “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone” (Prov. 25:15). One’s kindness builds his influence, his ability to reach others (Prov. 19:22). With patient goodness, one can alter the adamant will of a prince. Soft, tender words will break a bone, i.e., they will melt the heart of stone. Sweet, kind words will open an arrogant mind so that it will be amenable to reflection and instruction.

Yes, deal with men and sin firmly, even sharply, when the situation warrants, but let us have grace and use it that our words may be seasoned with salt in order to answer every man properly and appropriately in the fear of God (Jude 22,23).

How many erring, wavering, wandering, fearful, sinful souls are driven to despair and banished to ruin because no one could find a word of brotherly kindness with which to plead? Truly, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Is my tongue an executioner’s sword, poised to behead any who become weary and faint, fail and fall? If so, may God help me to see it and remove my cursing and replace it with blessing. Or is my tongue a salve to wounds, bruises and putrefying sores, an ointment for the broken spirit, a balm for the wounded heart, a cleansing, soothing agent for the dirty hands of the defeated victims of sin?  If so, may God bless me to use wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time, restoring the fallen.

In this critical hour of pain and suffering, in this era of heartache caused by sin, it is time to show a little kindness, to exercise a little patience and to “try a little tenderness.”

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXII: 24, pp. 748-749, December 15, 1988
——————–

man holding cell phone

-2-

The Governor Called

Frank Himmel

I received a phone call from the Governor a few weeks ago. Well, sort of. It was the Governor’s voice, but it was actually a recording. You see, it was election eve and he wanted my vote. I suspect many others got the same call.

The Governor had never called me before. He never asked my counsel on any issue he faced. He never expressed concern about how I felt about any matter. He never thanked me for being a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of the State.

Even in this call the conversation was one-sided. I had no opportunity to respond. I was not allowed to make any suggestions. The Governor called only when he wanted something, and he gave me no indication of interest in a personal relationship beyond that.

Of course, I understand the situation. I do not expect more from a head of state. It just got me to thinking about another means of communication: prayer.

How often does God hear from me? Is it only when I need something? Am I disposed to do all the talking instead of listening to His word? How interested am I in His perspective? Am I thankful? Might I leave the impression that, despite the contact, I have little interest in a personal relationship with Him? Think about it.

— Via The Beacon, June 30, 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) No Sign of Health (Bob Crawley)
2) Job’s Redeemer (Taylor Pickup)
——————–

jam4_17b

-1-

No Sign of Health

Bob Crawley

A medical student was on his first day of work in the hospital in which he had occasion to make examination of the patients. It was his assignment to examine certain patients and write up a report on any significant symptoms which could aid in diagnosis. He hurried down the hall and into the room of what he thought was the correct patient. Nervously (for this was his first patient examination) he made his observations and wrote the following report:

“The patient did not complain of any pain or discomfort of any kind. There was no unnatural breathing and no irregularity of pulse. When pressed in various vital spots, the patient did not complain of soreness or tenderness. There was no indication that the patient had any fever.”

The student was optimistic. There were no signs of any of the symptoms which would indicate that his patient had any of the diseases which the student expected. He concluded that the patient must be in excellent health. When he made his report to his supervisor, the supervisor was astonished. After some further investigation the supervisor told him, “While all that you have said about the patient is correct as far as it goes, your conclusion is grossly in error. You correctly observed that your subject lacked a number of conditions which you would have found pathological, but you failed to note that the subject you examined was dead. You went to the wrong room. All the facts you reported were true of a lifeless corpse in the morgue.

Sound, or Dead?

The above reported incident is entirely imaginary. If any such medical student ever existed, we have not heard of it. We cannot believe that any student ever so lacked in intelligence that he could examine a person and not detect the difference between one in excellent health and one that was dead. Yet in many spiritual matters, too many of us use the “reasoning” of this imaginary medical student. In judging the soundness and healthy condition of a church, we all too often evaluate it upon the basis of what it is not doing. In making an evaluation of a man, we too often consider him spiritually healthy if he shows none of the alarming symptoms for which we are accustomed to look. In fact he may be spiritually dead.

In the tenth chapter of Mark, we read of Jesus’ encounter with a man who felt himself to be in pretty good spiritual health. When Jesus cited a number of the commandments of the law, he could reply, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” This man, then, did not commit adultery, did not kill, did not steal, did not bear false witness, did not defraud, and did not dishonor his father and mother. On the other hand, what did he DO? Apparently he did nothing by which he could lay up treasures in heaven.

In the Revelation, chapters two and three, there are letters written from the Lord to seven churches in Asia. It is astonishing how many times these churches are praised for not doing certain things, but were also censured for not doing things which it was their duty to do. The church at Ephesus (chap. 2) could not bear them “which are evil” (vs. 2) nor did they consent to the deeds of the Nicolaitans (vs. 6), but they were subject to the Lord’s warning for not remaining true to their “first love.” The church at Pergamos had not given up the name of Christ nor denied his faith (2:13), but neither had they purged themselves of those who held the doctrine of Balaam or those who had the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.”

In some quarters, today, the question of a man’s soundness is settled to everyone’s satisfaction on the ground that he does not teach or urge any outstanding false doctrines.

As a preacher he is considered acceptable provided he has not been known to promote any of the trends which have become divisive issues in the church. It may be that he has not, been awake enough or alive enough to teach the truth on the matters, either. Such a preacher may not be sound; he may only be dead.

Churches, too often, are given the reputation for being in sound spiritual health on the basis of the symptoms which they do not have. It is not enough to say that they have not digressed to the point of adding instrumental music to the worship. A further question needs to be raised, do they wholeheartedly engage in worship in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your (their) heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). It is not enough to know that a church does not participate in such digressions as the missionary society arrangement or the benevolent society arrangement, or even that it does not subject itself to another church in a “sponsoring church” arrangement. In contrast to these unscriptural devices of men, is this church actually doing the work which God wants his churches to do? If not, its lack of “fever, pain, vomiting, convulsions, etc.” may not be a sign of good health. That church may be dead.

— Via Truth Magazine, XV: 20, pp. 6-7, March 25, 1971
——————–

Job13_15c

-2-

Job’s Redeemer

Taylor Pickup

The book of Job contains an enormous amount of wisdom and comfort. It deals with very personal and sensitive subjects that make a strong impact on the reader. Much of the book focuses on the innermost feelings of man. In particular, chapter 19 gives us an amazing look into the heart of a man of faith.

By the time we reach chapter 19, Job had already lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and worst of all, his children. His wife gave him no comfort, and his skin was covered with painful sores. Also, the high standing and respect that he once had in society had completely vanished, leaving him a pitiful outcast in the eyes of his countrymen. On top of that, his own friends had become a painful burden to him because they were insisting that his situation was the result of some flagrant sin.

Some of Job’s deepest pain came from the fact that he just didn’t understand why. He didn’t know why all of this had happened to him. He didn’t know why God was treating him that way. Job had asked God, “Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?” (7:20). And Job had said to his friends, “Who will say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’” (9:12). Job didn’t understand God’s actions and was frustrated because he couldn’t even fathom asking God to explain.

But in chapter 19 we read that, in spite of all of this, Job’s heart was committed to the Lord. In utter despair he cried out, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (19:25-27).

As miserable and utterly confused as Job was, he still proclaimed his belief that one day he would see God and be rescued by Him. This ran contrary to everything Job could see at the time, but that didn’t change his conviction that the Lord was alive and would bring redemption. What an incredible example of commitment to God.

Like Job, people of faith have felt pain and despair. Death, disease, and heartache are all around. Like Job, people of faith don’t always understand God’s actions. They wonder why specific painful events have happened to them. Like Job, people of faith struggle for answers, yet they can’t even fathom asking God for an explanation.

Like Job, we must be able to see past our present circumstances and be committed to our Redeemer. Often when we look around, it appears like peace and glory and joy are nowhere to be found, and God’s providential decisions only bring about more heart-wrenching questions. But God intentionally preserved the story of Job for us. Like so many other stories in the Bible, Job teaches us to be a people who are faithfully obedient no matter what the circumstances. And one day our Redeemer will bring our redemption. Paul told the Christians in Rome, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

If there is anyone who understood suffering, especially undeserved suffering, it is the Lord Himself. Death and pain were experienced by Jesus, something that should connect us to Him. Our God personally knows what pain is, and He will redeem us from it.

No matter how much death we are surrounded by, no matter how much suffering we endure, no matter how much heartache comes our way, may we still have the faith to say, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” and “I shall see God.”

— Via articles of the University church of Christ (Tampa, FL), June 26, 2016
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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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Examples of How Jesus Prayed (R.J. Evans)
2) A Really “Big” Word (E.R. Hall, Jr.)
3) Why Care About Anything 2000 Years Old (Robert Hines)
——————–

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Examples of How Jesus Prayed

R.J. Evans

While Jesus lived on earth, prayer was such an integral part of His life. His disciples observed Him praying in a certain place, and when He had concluded His prayer, they made the following request: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Lk. 11:1). Jesus responded by giving them a model prayer (Lk. 11:2-4—some incorrectly refer to this as the Lord’s prayer). But not only did He give them a model prayer, He also gave them many examples throughout His life on how to pray.

One of Jesus’ most well-known prayers is the one in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46). This occurred just hours before He was crucified and died on the cross. As in every area of life, Jesus teaches us today about when and how to pray. In this article, let’s observe some of the examples of how Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.

1. Jesus got away from other people to pray. He told Peter, James, and John to “Sit here while I go and pray over there” (Matt. 26:36). There were times when Jesus withdrew to deserted places to pray (Mk. 1:35; Lk. 5:16). It is important that we take the time to get away from everyone, go into our room, shut the door, and “pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matt. 6:6).

2. Jesus “fell on His face” while He prayed (Matt. 26:39). Throughout the scriptures, we find examples of different postures when God’s people prayed; examples such as standing or kneeling (Mk. 11:25; Lk. 22:41; Acts 11:25; 9:40; 21:5). While I do not believe it is a requirement to kneel when we pray, there have been times when I have found myself naturally doing this when engaging in deep prayer—such as praying for someone publicly confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness, so that they might be restored to a right relationship with Him.

3. Jesus prayed for His Father’s will to be done. In fact, He prayed three times “not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44). This should be the criteria of all our prayers—”Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 Jn. 5:14).

4. Jesus told His disciples to pray. He specifically told them to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing; but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). The devil tempts us to sin on a daily basis. James tells us what happens when we give in to our own desires—”it gives birth to sin, when sin is full-grown, brings death” (Jas. 1:13-15). But our Lord provides us “the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Thus, it is understandable why Jesus, in the model prayer, teaches us to pray for God to “deliver us from the evil one” (Lk. 11:4).

There are many other occasions, examples, and lessons Jesus taught concerning prayer, besides the one He prayed in Gethsemane. For example, He taught: don’t pray to impress others (Matt. 6:5-8); the Father already knows what we need, but He wants us to ask in faith (Matt. 6:8; Jas. 1:5-8); we don’t need to use a lot of “fancy” words when we pray (Matt. 6:7). We are told that when Jesus gave the parable of the persistent widow, “He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Lk. 18:1). The Apostle Paul expressed the same sentiment when he said “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17).

May the examples of Jesus help and encourage us in the blessed privilege of prayer in our lives as His children. Let us pray…

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, June 16, 2019
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A Really “Big” Word

E.R. Hall, Jr.

We are saved, “IF” we keep in memory God’s Word. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, IF ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain“ (1 Corinthians 15:1, 2).

We are the house of God, “IF” we hold fast to the end. “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; who house we are, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:5,6).

We are holy, “IF” we continue in the faith. “And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Colossians 1:21-23).

We are cleansed by His blood, “IF” we walk in the light. “But IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

We will never fall, “IF” we do these things. “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For IF these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:5-10).

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 9, May 2019
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Why Care About Anything 2000 Years Old?

Robert Hines

The Bible teaches that the message of Jesus is for all people and all time. Since the very first day it was preached, some 2000 years ago, it was “the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). It is tempting to dismiss something this old, but there are good reasons to be interested in it. Let us look at some reasons why the gospel of Jesus Christ is never out of date, and why we should consider it carefully.

1. The nature of truth does not change. Rather than being non-existent or relative it is absolute. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31,32).

2. The nature of evidence does not change. When witnesses are credible, and these gave their lives for their testimony, regardless of its age, we have “many unmistakable proofs” (Acts 1:3) of the accounts. “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you” (1 John 1:3).

3. Man’s real problem does not change. “Your sins have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2). When we feel loneliness or anger or despair, it is because we are incomplete without the reconciliation to God that comes through the gospel of His Son.

4. God’s unchanging plan is our only real hope. “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:37-39).

If we live for our family, our work, our stuff, for learning, for travel, for fun…it’s too little. It’s not enough. When Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), He pointed us beyond all these things to God Himself.

— Via The Beacon, March 17, 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)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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) We Must Die to Live (Doy Moyer)
2) Possible or Impossible? (Bill Crews)
3) To Whom Were They Speaking? (Carrol R. Sutton)
——————–

1pet2_24

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We Must Die to Live

Doy Moyer

“I have to die to get better.” Have you felt that way? You feel so sick that you about wish you would go ahead and die so that you can feel better? We say that as a bit of a joke (or maybe not). Of course, at the time that we feel so badly, we do wish for about anything to happen that would improve our condition. Being sick is no fun and we will do whatever it takes to feel better. Of course, as Christians, doing “whatever it takes” still needs to be within what is moral and right. The world doesn’t always follow that path.

Spiritually, the concept of dying in order to get better is a truth to which we must conform. In order to get better, in order to be free from sin, in order to experience forgiveness and true freedom, we must die. This is an important idea in Scripture. For example, Paul put it this way:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:1-4).

Paul follows up by saying, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…,” then speaks of some of the sins that characterize the one who has not yet died to self. We put to death what is worldly, put off the sins of the flesh, and put on Christ and the new self (vv. 5-15). To be new, the old must go. We must die to live. Paul also wrote to the Romans:

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:1-4).

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11).

Again, before receiving forgiveness from God, we were considered to be dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). That death came as a result of sin (Rom 6:23). However, we must experience another kind of death. This death is a death to self and sin in order to be brought to life by God spiritually. In other words, we must die to live.

This is another way of speaking about self-denial. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)

Self-denial is a way of putting self to death in order to live for God. If we try to save our lives by refusing self-denial, we will suffer a death no one ultimately wants. If we will deny self, losing our lives for His sake, then we will be saved. It’s paradoxical, but if we can see the kinds of death involved, we can see that the point is simply this: we cannot put ourselves first over God and others and expect to receive the blessings God offers. If we want to live, we must die. If we want to be saved, we must lose our lives for His sake.

This is what Jesus did for us. He is the ultimate example of one who emptied (denied) self and died (Phil 2:6-8). Yet, He lives. The resurrection is what makes eternal life possible now, as Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

By God’s grace, we can die so that we will live. This goes beyond our spiritual death and new life here. This points to an ultimate life that comes from Christ conquering death through His resurrection. We die to live now. Then, because death has been conquered, our physical death is not something to fear because we, too, shall take part in the resurrection of life (Heb 2:14-15).

We don’t want to die; we want to live. Yet as physical death is necessary to resurrection, so also is death to self and sin necessary to the new life in Christ. By God’s grace we can experience both.

In order to get better and live, we must die. Have you?

— Via the bulletin of the Vestavia church of Christ, March 24, 2019
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eph3_4_and_others

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Possible or Impossible?

Bill Crews

Can an accountable person who so desires become just a Christian? And can a group of such people constitute a congregation (such as those we read about in the New Testament) that is nondenominational and that belongs to Christ? The religious world in general says that it is impossible; we say that it is possible. Christians in the first century were neither Catholics nor Protestants. All of the Lord’s churches were non-denominational and neither Catholic nor Protestant. Our plea is for people to lay aside human names and designations, human creeds and doctrines, human organizations and systems and become only Christians, and constitute only churches of the Lord.

Can any accountable person, as a result of his own sincere desire and effort, understand the Bible so that he can know what it teaches and so that he can see clearly what it is that God wants him to know, to believe, to do and to be? The religious world in general says that this is impossible; we say that it is both possible and necessary. We know that God is unlimited in power, wisdom and knowledge; that He is capable of giving a revelation that can be understood by men; and that He certainly wants men to understand this revelation of His will. To maintain that people cannot understand the Bible, or that they cannot  “under-stand it alike,” is more of a reflection upon God and His Book than it is upon men.

Editor’s Note [of the Roanridge Reader]: To the degree that we understand the Bible, we will understand it alike. There are not different meanings to God’s Word. It is not subject to a variety of interpretations. Either we understand it, believe it and obey it, or we do not. Read again Bill Crews’ fine article. It is brief but full of meaning.

— Via  the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 22, page 4, June 2, 2019
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To Whom Were They Speaking

Carrol R. Sutton

In Acts 16:31 when Paul and Silas said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” they were speaking to an unbeliever, the jailor at Philippi (Acts 16:12). In Acts 2:38 when Peter said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, … “ he was speaking to believers in Jerusalem” (Acts 2:36-37).

In Acts 22:16 when Ananias said: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” he was talking to a penitent believer, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4-18; 22:3-16).

In each of the above cases, each person was told what he needed to know at that particular time. To have the proper concept, we must accept the sum of God’s Word.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 9, May 2019
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

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)
Tuesday:
7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) “Christ Will Be Magnified’ (R.J. Evans)
2) Don’t Leave Home Without It (Joe R. Price)
3) Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB)
——————–

2cor5_15

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“Christ Will Be Magnified”

R.J. Evans

“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).

The above text is taken from the letter Paul wrote to “all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).  Though Paul was being held as a prisoner in Rome at the time of the writing of this epistle, he made several expressions concerning the joy of being a child of God throughout the letter. In fact, the book of Philippians has been referred to as “the epistle of joy.”

In reviewing the words of our text, we see that Paul expressed some noble desires—that in nothing he would be ashamed and with boldness Christ would be magnified in his body whether by life or by death. If any ever questioned Paul’s dedication and faithfulness to the Lord, reading this letter, along with his other letters, should completely remove any questions or doubts. In this article, let us observe some of Paul’s desires for himself, for others, and for the Lord.

What Paul Desired Concerning Christ

He wanted to make sure that Christ was magnified in his body “whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20). He was willing to faithfully serve and glorify God, even if it meant dying for that purpose.  On one occasion, when some of his brethren pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem, Paul answered— “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).

Thus, whatever it took, Paul wanted others to learn of Christ, to recognize Him as the Savior of the world, and to come to Him in gospel obedience. He was willing to be “defamed” and viewed as “the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things” (1 Cor. 4:13). Do we have the same desire that Paul had concerning Jesus? What have we done that Christ might be magnified in the world?

What Paul Desired For Others

What he desired for others is expressed in a number of scriptures. Notice Romans 10:1: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” But not just for Israel— “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). Consider how devoted and dedicated Paul was to the work of converting others to Christ— “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (1 Cor. 9:3).

Paul had a tremendous desire for men and women to come to Christ in gospel obedience. I feel confident that he wanted to see others do well materially and physically, but above all else, he was concerned for their spiritual welfare. He expressed such a desire in his words to his brethren at Colosse in Colossians 1:9-10. How strong is our desire to see sinners obey the gospel and be saved? How strong is our desire to see Christians continue to grow in the Lord?

What Paul Desired For Himself

Most of Paul’s desires concerned his Lord and others. But there is one desire that he had for himself that stands out above all others. He had a tremendous desire to be with the Lord. Notice Philippians 1:23: “For I am hard pressed between the two having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Paul had already had a glimpse of the life beyond the grave as he described having seen “Paradise and heard inexpressible words” (2 Cor. 12:4). Since he understood so much about it, and since he was not too attached to this world, he had a burning desire to be “with Christ.” How much and how strong is our desire and longing to be with Him?

May we all learn from Paul’s desire that—“Christ will be magnified.” By so doing, may it help us realize that we have plenty of room to grow “with the increase which is from God” (Col. 2:19).

— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, September 30, 2018
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Don’t Leave Home Without It

Joe R. Price

You remember the old American Express catch phrase at the end of their commercials: “American Express, don’t leave home without it.”  Well, this morning as I arrived at the office I realized I had left home without my Bible and the documents I intended to be working on today (and hence, the seed of this article).

There is any number of things we should not leave home without, including:

1. Faith in Christ. Each day as Christians go to school or work it is vital that their faith be solidly in place: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Faithless teachers challenge the faith of our children by teaching them such things as organic evolution and the social values (I use that word accommodatively) of humanism. Unbelieving classmates will often disagree with Biblical standards of purity and decency and tempt young Christians to compromise their faith and “have some fun.” Immoral co-workers will test your allegiance to Christ  by their vulgar language and lack of godly values. The normal tasks of the day put trials before every child of God. Faith must be maintained as we live in a faithless world. Without faith we will not please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith: “Don’t leave home without it.”

2. Responsibility and integrity. You will be exposed every day to people and situations that test your commitment to truth, honesty, and dependability. At work, the Christian should serve his employer “not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bond-servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free” (Eph. 6:6-8). Trustworthiness, dependability, and honesty: “Don’t leave home without them.”

3. Love for God and man. The attitudes, decisions and actions of every Christian are to be the result of love for God and others. “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’”.(Matt. 22:37-39). Love “does no harm to a neighbor” – even when that “neighbor” harms it (Rom. 13:10, 8-9; Matt. 5:38-45; 1 Cor. 13). We do not know God nor have His approval if we do not love others: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jno. 4:8). Love: “Don’t leave home without it.”

— Via the Elon Challenger, vol. 15, No., 11, July 2018
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Philippians 2:5-8

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (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)

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