Year: 2020 (Page 1 of 6)

The Gospel Observer

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

1) Daily Bible Reading (Tom Edwards)
2) Jesus’ Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem, The Cross, and The Exaltation (Tom Edwards)
3) Fruit Unto God (Tom Edwards, video sermon)
4) News & Notes
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Daily Bible Reading

A new year will soon be upon us!  Among the many New Year’s resolutions, let us make sure that one of those will especially be for continuing in daily Bible reading!

I’ve enjoyed doing that online this year — and audibly.  Normally, of course, I read silently; but for the daily Bible reading, I like reading it aloud to myself — and even started cupping my hands behind my ears several months ago, which makes the words seem to penetrate deeper into the soul. You ought to try it!  Be good to your soul by putting God’s word in it!

My favorite daily Bible reading plan is still Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s. It involves reading from 4 different books of the Bible each day.  In a year’s time, you will have gone through the Old Testament once, and the New Testament twice. 

Here’s what the plan looks like:

https://www.mcheyne.info/calendar.pdf

The plan is also freely offered through BibleGateway, if you sign up for it.  That is what I use for this.  It will always take you to the current day’s reading and will have all 4 readings on one page.  If you have missed the previous day or days, you can always catch up by going back as many days as you need to.  It also allows you to mark the reading for each day, so you can keep track of what you have already read.

This year is almost past, but I’ve already been looking forward to starting again with the daily Bible reading for 2021 that will begin in Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Ezra 1, and Acts 1 for day 1!  It is food for the soul!

— Tom
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Jesus’ Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem,
The Cross, and The Exaltation

Tom Edwards

The Triumphal Entry

I imagine it was not planned that way; but last week’s daily Bible reading, for Tuesday, included Zechariah 9.  In verse 9, it gives the following prophecy of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which reads:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

One of the New Testament books for that same day’s reading was the gospel of John, chapter 12.  Notice verses 12-16:

“On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, ‘HOSANNA! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.’ Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it, as it is written, ‘FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.’  These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.”

As we see in this passage, which shows the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, they “took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him” (v. 13).  In Matthew’s account, “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road” (Matt. 21:8, cf. Mark 11:8).  So this is why man has given to that day the name “Palm Sunday.”

Concerning palm branches, Noah Webster gives as one of the definitions: “Branches of the palm being worn in token of victory, hence the word signified superiority, victory, triumph. The palm was adopted as an emblem of victory, it is said, because the tree is so elastic as when pressed, to rise and recover its correct position” (Webster’s Dictionary of American English, 1828).

In thinking of palm branches as signifying triumph and victory, consider the following from the Revelation letter (the book which shows the ultimate triumph of Christians through Jesus Christ):

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen'” (Rev. 7:9-12).

(Other parallel accounts of the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem are in Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-10, and Luke 19:12-16.)

The Cross

Jesus willingly went to Jerusalem on that “Palm Sunday” (John 10:17-18), knowing of the torment that was in store for Him (Matt. 20:18-19).  He was brought before unlawful and mock trials (3 Jewish and 3 Roman); was severely scourged, probably near unto death (Matt. 27:26); and was taken outside the city where they nailed Him to a cross at a place called “Calvary” (from “kranion”), and also called “The Skull,”  “Golgotha,” or “the Place of a Skull” (Luke 23:33; John 19:17).  There He writhed in agony toward the needed goal of His death; and “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2).  For in that death, the atonement would be made, which would make salvation possible for every sinner of all time (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:16; Heb. 2:9; Heb. 9:15-16; 1 Pet. 3:18).

To think that just a few days after that triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when people were honoring the Lord with great shouts of praise, that from that same city a different kind of shouting soon was heard.  For the chief priests had stirred up the crowd to oppose Christ and demand He be executed (Mark 15:11).  So they were insistingly crying out, “Crucify, crucify Him! (Luke 23:21). “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” (Luke 23:18). “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” (John 19:15).

Jesus died on the cross for even these who ruthlessly cried out for His death, and also for those mocking Him while He greatly suffered on the cross.  For Jesus died for every sinner (Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). And by His death, He made salvation possible for every transgressor who will submit to God’s plan of salvation (as seen below, following the “News & Notes” in this bulletin).

Jesus was crucified on Friday of that week, which man has called “Good Friday,” and arose from the dead on the following Sunday.  It was not a literal three days of 24 hours for each day that the Lord’s body was in the tomb, but it could be called “three days,” according to the Jewish reckoning of time.  For, to them, just part of one day would be considered a whole day.  So part of Friday to part of Sunday would be three days — and which could also be expressed as “three days and three nights,” according to that same Jewish reckoning.

The Hebrew writer gives this following exhortation: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:10-15).

The Exaltation

Following His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, what a wonderful triumphal entry Jesus made into Heaven itself, where He was then given dominion, glory, and a kingdom so that people of every nation and every language might serve Him (Dan. 7:13-14).  For He had accomplished everything He was supposed to while on earth — and, thus, made a way of salvation possible for all.  Therefore, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

Because of Jesus, what a wonderful entry anyone can have into the glories of heaven itself — by submitting to God’s plan of salvation and faithfully continuing in His word.  For so doing will not only lead us there, but also make life better for us on the journey!

(All Scriptures from the New American Standard Bible.)
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Fruit Unto God

Tom Edwards

To hear this video sermon that was preached December 27, 2020, just click on the above title.

The gist of it: Just as the first fruits during the Mosaical Period were to be consecrated to the Lord as an offering to Him, even so, we who are Christians are also a type of “first fruits” in living a consecrated, holy, and dedicated life unto God.
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of James Medlock (Bennie’s dad) who passed away Saturday morning at 94 years of age.  Let us be keeping all his loved ones in prayer.

Marde Sweezy has now lost her sense of taste and smell due to the covid-19.  We want to keep her in prayer, along with her mother, Ginger Ann Montero, who also has it.  Marde’s husband Charles and Ginger Ann’s husband Bud tested negative for it. 

Joyce Rittenhouse mentioned Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, and Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora) for prayer.  They all have covid-19.

John Jordan is now healing from a recent appendectomy. 

Doug Pennock has some cold symptoms, but is doing pretty well. 

Danny Bartlett reported Saturday evening that he and his wife Jan are doing well, which we were glad to hear.  Jan is now contagion free.

And for some more really good news: After more than 20 years, Doyle Rittenhouse is now pain free in his back!  Even when he gets up and moves about!  And the numbness that he had in his toes for about 15 years is also gone!  Dr. Gage was able to perform the surgery in just 24 minutes!  An incision that would usually be about 6″ was made in just 1.5″. Everything went very smoothly.

Elizabeth Harden’s due date is now just 8 days away (January 4). Her and her unborn have been doing well.

Others to also be keeping in prayer: the family and friends of Reavis Lamar Hickox, Reavis Lee Hickox, and the family and friends of Mary Elizabeth Rogers.  Also Rick Cuthbertson, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; 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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) When I Survey The Wondrous Cross (James R. Cope)
2) Soul Winning (video sermon by Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
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When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

James R. Cope

When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

These are the familiar words of Isaac Watts (1674-1748), the most eminent English hymn writer in history. They well serve as the introduction to the remarks to follow.

When I survey the history of the physical cross I see two pieces of wood so attached to each other as to support the full weight of a living human body with outstretched arms attached by iron spikes driven through the hands and feet of that body. I see an instrument of death much more cruel to its victims than sword or burning-at-the-stake because its pain continued so much longer. Historians tell us that the cross was used by the Phoenicians, Cartheginians and Egyptians, especially in times of war, prior to its usage by the Romans. Probably even before the time of Christ the dread of this instrument of death symbolized the cares and burdens of life. Matthew, Mark and Luke reveal that Jesus said he would be scourged and all four gospels indicate that scourging occurred prior to his bearing his own cross to the death site. The victims of scourging sometimes died before crucifixion. Crucifixion’s victims often lingered two or three days. Breaking of the victim’s legs hastened death but “when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs” (Jn. 19:33).

The Jewish Leaders’ Hatred

When Pilot asked, “What shall I do with Jesus?” the Jewish answer bespoke their deep hatred for Jesus. Their response, “Crucify him, crucify him! ” reveals the malice which the scribes and Pharisees, who sought to control Jewish thought, had for Jesus. When I survey the wondrous cross I see the symbol of his love for his enemies which contradicted the Jewish politicians’ hatred of him. Jesus disappointed their hopes for worldly power and prominence which they mistakenly attached to the Messiah’s reign. Just as increasingly, “the common people heard him gladly” (Mk. 12:37), so the chief priests and scribes and Pharisee leaders saw their control of the masses slipping from themselves. The Jewish leaders were not political dumb heads. They knew Roman procedure and that they were those with whom Pilate knew he had to deal directly and officially. After all, was not “the Governor” the political appointee of Caesar? Were not they the official Jewish spokesmen for the Jewish nation? I have no reason to think that the same “multitudes” that so often heard the teaching of Jesus in rural Judea and Galilee constituted the “multitudes” controlled by the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees in the early morning hours of the crucifixion day. The longer Jesus was free to teach the masses of Israel in Galilee and Judea the less credence the officials of Judaism retained with the Jewish nation overall. These politicians were experts who hated the popularity of Jesus with the “common people” who “heard him gladly.”

When, therefore, I survey the wondrous cross I can somewhat understand the appeal of the gospel story to the masses of Jews who saw and heard the basic facts and truths preached by the apostles on and after the Pentecost of Acts 2. Increasingly God’s scheme to redeem sinners from sin became clear to those who heard the gospel.

The Cross and Paul

When I survey the wondrous cross I discover the secret of the brilliant and honest young Saul of Tarsus and his commitment to the person and work of Jesus Christ. This zealous youth had been so glued to the Pharisaic concept of Judaism that he believed the Jewish disciples of Jesus should be imprisoned or killed. Gladly he gave his vote to this end. He punished them in the synagogue and strove to make them blaspheme, persecuting them even to foreign cities until he met the resurrected Jesus on his Damascus journey of madness (Acts 26:9-20). Thereafter he gave his whole life to knowing nothing “save Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). The cross of Jesus became his everything and is reflected in his words, “Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). (I pray that this may be my commitment.)

The Cross And Worldly Wisdom

When I survey the wondrous cross I see the inability of worldly wisdom to bring sinful souls to God. Nothing identifiable with the wisdom and philosophy of men apart from God’s revelation had or can ever have anything to do with man’s salvation from sins. The very thought of a Messiah who suffered at all, much less for others, was repugnant to Jewish thought. That crucifixion would be the means of such suffering was, if possible, more ridiculous because, to most Jews, crucifixion argued the justice of the guilt charged upon the one crucified. Such an attitude then as now completely ignores such a prophecy as Isaiah 53. The idea of a crucified hero was a sign of weakness to the Gentile mind. To the Gentile such a person needed to be defended rather than worshiped. No wonder that “God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame them that are wise,” that he chose “weak things” as opposed to the “strong”; that he chose “base” and “despised” things, as appraised by human wisdom, that “no flesh should glory before God.” All this helps the believer understand why “not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” were or are receptive to the simple story of infinite love and wisdom reflected in the gospel. All should consider carefully 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 for Paul’s point of view on God’s plan for conquest of honest hearts.

The Cross And God’s Grace

When I behold the wondrous cross I see the symbol of God’s grace extended to all sinners willing to accept salvation on gospel terms, not on the merits of their own good works, fleshly origin, material worth or religious inheritance. “Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

The Cross And Caesar

When I behold the wondrous cross, I see the same principle of the rule of civil government in punishing evil doers which Paul declares when he says, “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:4). Pilate, as a civil governor, was God’s agent to use either sword or cross to punish those whose just punishment deserved either weapon for the execution purpose. Jesus deserved not to die by means of either weapon but this does not change the principle that the cross was a means of punishing evil doers, e.g., the two robbers crucified beside Jesus. The cross for Jesus was unjust but for those deserving death the cross was optional with Pilate in punishing evil men which, for all I know, deserved death (Rom. 13:2-5). In yielding to the demands of Jesus’ critics, however, the civil power which said, “I find in him no fault” (Jn. 18:38) became a party to the very cry of those Jews who demanded the Savior’s death.

The Cross And Divine Providence

When I behold the wondrous cross of Jesus I see something about God’s over-ruling the evil purposes of men to praise him. Enemies of our Lord then and now, saw Jesus as an obstacle in their way of controlling the religious population. The elders, chief priests and scribes had long managed Jewish thought by their traditions and self-made decrees. Like a spring thunderstorm, Jesus simultaneously set afire their unauthorized religious hypocrisy and immoral lifestyle. Like a refreshing breeze there was his simple teaching in parables and word pictures of the nonmilitary nature of the kingdom of God. Then came his preachments to be the Messiah of Old Testament prophets reinforced by his sinless life and confirmation of his claims to be the Son of God. These constituted the moral and spiritual revolutionary doctrine which, in time, was to dethrone the Jewish hierarchy from its self-appointed dictatorship of self-will and self-service and replace it with the person of God’s only Son whose refreshing appeal was that of the truth which alone can release religious captives from Satan’s prison.

The Cross And The Crown

When I survey the wondrous cross upon which my Savior died, I see beyond this instrument of death a living hope for myself and all of Adam’s other children who have fallen by Satan’s deception. I say this because of what Jesus promised to do with his own life and, by my own faith, for my personal life! Yes, for me! Yes, for you – my brother, my sister! You see, my friend, Jesus came to this world of sin, sickness, sorrow, death, dying, and disappointment to “make all things new”! As the darkness of night precedes the dawn of day, so the gloom of the garden grave gives way to the glory of God. “He is not here, but is risen!” This is the song that angels sing – the song of redeeming love, the song of life eternal!

‘Tis true! ‘Tis true! “The way of the cross leads home” because the way of the cross is the way to glory, the way to God! Without the cross there is no crown; without the grave there is no glory. By his death on the wondrous cross he paid the price for my redemption. By his resurrection he validated the fact of life beyond death. That he showed himself alive is confirmed by the living witnesses who willingly gave their lives to verify their personal testimony regarding what their eyes saw and their ears heard. Because of his death I reached his blood shed in his death in my burial in baptism described in Romans 6:1-4 and from that grave of water I came forth to walk in a newness of life. Thank God for the cross of wood by which he enables sinners to become saints, to be wearers of the crown of life!

The Cross and Commitment

Finally, when I survey that wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died I see an abiding symbol of my personal responsibility as a disciple of Jesus. Many months before he was nailed to the cross of wood our Lord said, “He that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38). In similar vein when Jesus had told his apostles about his impending death and resurrection at Jerusalem and was rebuked by Peter for talking about such, he called Peter “Satan” and a “stumbling block” to the fulfilling of his earthly mission. Then, turning to his disciples, he said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 10:24). This is duty! This is our Lord’s challenge to be heeded now. Truly, “The way of the cross leads home”!

The greatest barrier between me and complete submission to the Christ of the cross is myself — my own self-centered desires which Satan always uses to draw me away from the control of Christ. Yes, always and everywhere! Jesus said of his Father, “I do always the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:29) and this is the challenge of the wondrous cross in every facet of my life. There is no crown of glory apart from the cross of duty — everywhere and every moment of this life! This is complete commitment!

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXI: 20, pp. 609, 642-643, October 15, 1987
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Soul Winning

(video sermon by Tom Edwards)

If you would like to hear and see this, just click on the above sermon title while on the Internet.  It was preached December 20, 2020.
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Reavis Lamar Hickox who passed away Friday (December 18) at only 66 years of age, following an illness of 3 to 4 weeks; and of his father, Reavis Lee Hickox who left this earth-life December 10, having reached the age of 89.  (Their wives also had covid-19, but they have both recovered from it.)  

We also extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mary Elizabeth Rogers (Kim Rowell’s mother) who passed away December 16.

We are glad to hear that Doyle Rittenhouse’s surgery on his back went well.  Actually, “great” is the word that his wife Joyce used in describing it!  For he now has less pain in his legs and back, and can really tell the problem was solved when he gets up and walks.  He now has just some pain from the surgery itself, which is “a piece of cake” compared to what he was going through.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother received some good news recently during a doctor visit.  It turns out that he has healed up well enough that an additional heart surgery will not be necessary!    

Jo Ann Ray is also doing much better now, following her recent illness with covid-19.
 
Jan Bartlett is not   well and has been running a low fever, and her husband Danny has been under the weather for about a week.

Elizabeth Harden’s due date is now just 15 days away (January 4). Both her and her unborn have been doing fine.

Things went well for Deborah Medlock in hearing the test results from her cancer doctor of the recent lab work she had. 

Others to also be praying for: Rick Cuthbertson, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, James Medlock, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; 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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.

 
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

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

1) The God Who Forgives (Trevor Bowen)
2) Don’t Jump to Conclusions (Allen Dvorak)
3) Judging, Pre-judging, and Prejudice (Andy Diestelkamp)
4) Standing Firm in the Lord (a video-sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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The God Who Forgives

Trevor Bowen

“Why should I be a Christian?” The very posing of this question implies that some people believe reasons exists why one should not be a Christian. Let us think about why someone would not want to become a Christian. Sometimes, a person hesitates in becoming a Christian because he believes that he is too wicked for God to forgive him. Often this person might feel like if he has not already, then some day he will inevitably go so far that God will not forgive him. The hesitant student is not the only person that fears this fate. Sometime even Christians wonder about God’s continuing capacity to forgive, so let us consider what the Bible has to say about the God who forgives.

God Does Not Want Anyone to be Lost

Often people feel like God is a ferocious and cruel god, who longingly waits to instantly punish any man caught in sin. However, the Bible paints a different picture of God.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9

God does not want anybody to be lost. In fact, he is patient with us so that we might not be lost. Being longsuffering, God mercifully provides frequent opportunities to repent. Although it is clear that God wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4), we still may wonder why God does not want people to be lost.

“But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” Ezekiel 18:21-23

From these verses we learn that God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. He does not enjoy their death because He loves them. This love was the reason why Jesus died on the cross for the whole world (John 3:16-17). How can a God who loves us and desires us to be saved not forgive the repentant who humbles himself before God?

Extreme Examples of God’s Forgiveness

The extent of God’s forgiveness can be seen in extreme examples from the Bible. One of the single-most extreme examples is that of the Judean king, Manasseh. Late in the history of the divided kingdom, King Manasseh proved himself to be one of the most wicked kings that Israel had seen.

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. … Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. … So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen.” II Chronicles 33:1-10

Although we see this stubborn king being more wicked than any before him, notice how he responds when he is punished by the Lord.

“Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.” II Chronicles 33:11-13

The text continues, mentioning how the penitent Manasseh destroyed all of the idols upon his return, repaired the Lord’s altar, sacrificed peace and thanksgiving offerings, and commanded the people to worship God. This man was able to turn back to God, and God was willing to receive him back. How can we do more wickedly than this king, who among other evils sacrificed his own children to idols?

Among other examples, the apostle Paul could be mentioned who persecuted and killed Christians, but eventually repented and became one of the most well-known and influential servants of the Lord (Acts 9:1-22).

The Corinthian church was filled with once worldly people, who committed grievous sins:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” I Corinthians 6:9-11

Friend, there is not much that God has not forgiven. From murder (II Samuel 12:7-14) to the sacrificing of children (II Chronicles 33:1-13), we have record of God forgiving the most horrific sins. Even though we have examined these compelling examples, one more extreme example of God’s forgiveness exists that we need to study.

Us

We are all extreme examples of God’s forgiveness. No man can boast that he is deserving of heaven because he earned it, or even because he sinned less than others. Sin is a terrible thing that separates all of us from God (Romans 3:23), condemning all of us to hell (Romans 6:23), even if someone committed only a single sin (James 2:10-13). Sin is just that bad.

Even though each of us would have stood without hope before God, the gospel reveals that God loved us before we loved Him (I John 4:9-19). Jesus came and died for us, not as though we were deserving, but while we were ungodly (Romans 5:6-8). Though God requires that we respond to his gospel plea (Matthew 7:21-23; James 2:14-26), the Bible teaches that we have been saved by grace, not by meritorious works (Ephesians 2:1-10). Consequently, no man can boast of his salvation as if it was accomplished by his own merit. Therefore, each one of us is an extreme example of God’s forgiveness to one who was undeserving.

Conclusion

Although sin and the temptations of the world may lure us into believing that we are too wicked for God to forgive, the Bible teaches that God does not want anyone to be lost. He desires that all men should be saved. The examples of King Manasseh, King David, the apostle Paul, the Corinthians, and many more illustrate God’s capacity to forgive even the most wicked sinners. Finally, God extends his mercy to each one of us. We are equally in need of God’s mercy. No one can boast in himself. Therefore, just as God has forgiven every previous convert, He will also graciously accept your repentance, if you are willing to humble yourself before the God who forgives.

May we assist you in accomplishing your desire to be saved? You may read more material on what the Bible says about the requirements for salvation, e-mail any of our local contacts, or complete one of our on-line Bible studies to learn more about your role in God’s salvation for you.

— Via In Search of Truth (http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles/forgives.html)
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Don’t Jump To Conclusions

Allen Dvorak

Elkanah, father of the Old Testament prophet Samuel, had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah (1 Samuel 1). Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. In a mean-spirited  way, Peninnah “provoked” Hannah because of her infertility. When Elkanah and his wives went up to the  house of the Lord to worship, Hannah prayed silently to God, vowing that if He would give her a son, she would give the child to the Lord all the days of his life.

The priest Eli observed Hannah praying, seeing her mouth move, but not hearing her words. Eli concluded that Hannah was drunk and rebuked her, saying, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” When Hannah explained that she was praying with great grief,  Eli recognized his error and blessed her.

We all fall prey to Eli’s mistake from time to time. In order to make sense of the world around us, it is necessary for us to assign meaning to the actions of others. We observe someone’s behavior and we frequently draw conclusions about that person based on their action. Actually we respond to the meaning that we assign to the action rather than the action itself. And sometimes, like Eli, we make assumptions which are invalid. Even if we succeed in being objective in our judgment, frequently there is more than one possible explanation for one’s behavior.  Eli’s inappropriate rebuke was the result of his error in assigning meaning to her action.

It is not difficult to see how all this applies to us. A friend  or neighbor does something and we begin assigning reason to their action. “He said that for the purpose of hurting me.” “She did that just to spite me.” “I know that she said that about me, even though she didn’t mention me by name.” Often the truth is that the speaker had no such motives. Unfortunately, friendships are sometimes destroyed because someone made unwarranted assumptions about another’s actions or speech.

This danger of making unwarranted assumptions also exists in our study of the Scriptures. It is easy to insert our own thoughts as we decide what the Bible is teaching us. If we are not careful, we will accept the opinions of other men without realizing that the Bible does not actually say such things. For an excellent illustration of this, ask your friends what kind of forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. “Why, an apple, of course!” Where does the Bible identify the kind of forbidden fruit? We must differentiate between God’s speech and our assumptions.

How can we avoid this pitfall of accepting incorrect conclusions? With respect to the Word of God, the careful Bible student will read and re-read the Word. He will test his religious convictions by that which he has read.  Avoiding unwarranted assumptions could possibly save  some friendships and perhaps our soul also.

– Via The Beacon, November 29, 2020
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Judging, Pre-judging, and Prejudice

Andy Diestelkamp

Perhaps one of the best known statements of Jesus is “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Ironically, it is often cited by people to critique those by whom they feel criticized. However, Jesus is not condemning all critiques of others. This is made evident by: 1) the inconsistency created if His words are taken as an absolute prohibition, 2) the immediate context (vs. 5), and 3) the larger context of Scripture which actually requires making judgments (e.g. Jn. 7:24; 1 Cor. 5).

Contextually, what Jesus is condemning is inconsistent and hypocritical judgment. He is addressing the proclivity we have to judge others more critically than we judge ourselves. Of course, this tendency easily produces numerous misjudgments and prejudices against individuals and their “ilk” which, if unchecked by self-control and sound thinking, leads to a host of generational and cultural prejudices which cause strife and division.

Jesus is prioritizing self-critique as being necessarily first in order to then be able to adequately help others with their problems. This does not require perfection from us before forming an opinion, offering a critique, or rendering a judgment. This is again evident by the fact that we are called to do so, yet none of us can rightly claim perfection. For example, parents are not perfect in their own lives or in their parenting, but this reality does not forbid them to train their children (Eph. 6:4) which will, of necessity, require critiques and judgments. Still, humility and love must temper all discipline.

God created us to learn, discern, critique, and make judgments. As thinking people, we are constantly doing this; and such judgments are naturally made through the lens of our own limited experiences. This is one of the ways in which we both prosper and attempt to protect ourselves from harm. For example, a woman who was sexually molested by a man will naturally have a tendency to be wary of males. Thus, when she is approached by a male, she may become nervous. Based on her experience, she is making a judgment that she is in potential danger. This is a pre-judgment. Any circumstance which departs from the norm of perceived safety is immediately judged as suspect. This is a natural process and is not inherently wrong.

However, we are not mere animals who must react with “fight or flight” when confronted by these conditioned responses. As beings created in the image of God, we can and are expected to exercise self-control. We can reason that our initial reaction based on limited information is not logically or justly applicable to all persons despite our experiences and, therefore, does not require “fight or flight.” Thus we check our initial judgments with sober-mindedness, patience, mercy, and love and temper prejudicial responses and behaviors. This is how the mind of the spirit controls the reactions of the flesh and thus bears good fruit (cf. Gal. 5:16-26).

Judgments happen in a host of circumstances daily for all of us about everything from the mundane to sublime, from the harmless to the serious. When I experience anything with any of my five senses, my brain immediately begins to process it and make judgments despite the fact that I do not yet have all information necessary to make an accurate or fair judgment; but this fact alone does not stop my brain from thinking or making such judgments. Thus, one intuitively evaluates and makes judgments about everyone’s motives and attitudes and potential based on their appearances, words, and actions. By experience we know that many pre-judgments are inaccurate. Still, while acknowledging that “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” we will look at the cover and make an initial judgment.

This is why it is imperative that God’s Word be the foundation of our learning. Indeed, the ability to discern good from evil is a sign of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:14). Without doubt, the culture in which we are raised and the values imparted by our parents and society at large are formative to the kinds of judgments we make. This is why we need to create a culture of Christ in our hearts and our homes so as to be better people and render better judgments in all cases.

— Via Think on These Things, Volume 51, No. 1, January-February-March 2020 (http://thinkonthesethings.com)
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Here is a video-sermon I preached last week, entitled, Standing Firm in the Lord.” If you would like to hear it, just click on that title.
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Pat Bridgman (Tina Allen’s aunt) who recently passed away.  Let us be keeping all of her loved ones in prayer.

Rick Cuthbertson is continuing with his new cancer treatment that he began a few weeks ago.  He takes it every day for 2 weeks, and then takes a break for 2 weeks before resuming the treatments.

Instead of a minor heart attack, it actually turned out to be angina that had given Chris Williams (Cheryl Corbitt’s son-in-law) some trouble recently.  He is still having to take it easy for a while, but wants to get back to work.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s back surgery is now just 4 days away.  It is scheduled for December 17.

Elizabeth Harden’s due date is just 22 days from now (January 4). Both her and her unborn are doing fine.

Deborah Medlock will be seeing her cancer doctor this week to find out the results of her recent lab work.

We are glad to say that Tammy Abbott is now healed from the covid-19.

Others to also be praying for: Joanne Ray, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, James Medlock, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; 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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor:
 Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

The Gospel Observer

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

1) The Prophet of the Passover (Andy Diestelkamp)
2) Jesus Christ — The Lamb of God (Tom Edwards)
3) What To Do When the Country Is Falling Apart (Gardner Hall)
4) News & Notes
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The Prophet of the Passover

Andy Diestelkamp

By the time the generation of Joseph and his brothers passed away, “the children of Israel … multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land [of Egypt] was filled with them” (Ex. 1:7). Not wanting to lose them as a labor force but not wanting them to increase in power, the Egyptians “set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens” (v. 11). However, despite life being hard for the Israelites, they continued to multiply to the point that Pharaoh instructed all newborn males to be killed (vv. 12-22).

It is in this context that Moses was born to parents of the tribe of Levi, who—“by faith” and “not afraid of the king’s command”—hid him for three months (Heb. 11:23). Then he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter with his own mother serving as nursemaid (Ex. 2:1-10). No wonder then that Moses, despite being “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Ac. 7:22), had such an affinity for his Hebrew brethren when he “looked at their burdens” (Ex. 2:11) that he came to their defense. This he did by faith, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25).  As Stephen noted, Moses “supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand” (Ac. 7:25). So Moses fled into the wilderness of Midian and worked as a shepherd there for forty years (v. 30) before God called Him to return to Egypt to appear before Pharaoh “that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10).

The parallels between Moses and Jesus are obvious. From events surrounding their births (fearful king killing innocent baby boys) to coming to deliver others from bondage to being rejected, Moses pointed to Jesus. Years later, Moses told the children of Israel that one day God would “raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear” (Deut. 18:15).

Stephen, in his own defense before an angry Jewish council, established Israel’s pattern of rejecting God’s prophets, citing the rejections of both Joseph and Moses by the Jewish forefathers (Ac. 7:9-36). Speaking of Moses, Stephen said, “whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt” (7:39). This history he reviewed as evidence that the Jews’ rejection, betrayal, and murder of the Messiah was just more of the same (vv. 51-53). “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy … of how much worse punishment … will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28-29).

Moses was to secure the deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt through a series of plagues by which Egypt would be humbled, God would be glorified, and the so-called gods of the Egyptians shown to be impotent (Ex. 3:20; 7:3-5; 12:12 ). Most of the ten plagues could have been seen as direct attacks on objects of Egyptian worship. After nine plagues, God told Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether” (11:1). Moses predicted to Pharaoh that “all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die” (v. 5). Then Moses “went out from Pharaoh in great anger” (v. 8). But God told Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt” (v. 9). Yet, this would be the event that would secure the deliverance of Israel from bondage.

God told Moses to instruct the children of Israel about what He was going to do and how to prepare for the event. In view of their coming deliverance, the current month would be the first month of Israel’s calendar (12:1). On the tenth day of the month, each household was to select a lamb (v. 2) “without blemish, a male of the first year” (v. 5). It was to be kept until the fourteenth day and then killed at twilight with its blood being applied to the doorposts and lintel of the house in which the lamb was to be eaten (vv. 6,7). The meal was to be eaten quickly as they prepared for travel and was called, “The LORD’s Passover” (v. 11).

The significance of this terminology pertained to the judgment coming upon Egypt from which Israel would be spared. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt … and will strike all the firstborn … both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the LORD” (v. 12). The blood would be the sign that would “make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel” (11:7). God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (12:13). Moses assured the people that God would “not allow the destroyer to come into [their] houses” (v. 23). On the midnight following the fourteenth day of the month, God struck all the firstborn in Egypt. Pharaoh rose in the night, called for Moses with the message, “go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go serve the LORD as you have said” (vv. 29-31). The blood of an unblemished lamb saved believers from the wrath of God and secured their freedom from bondage. They were to remember this for generations to come (vv. 24-27). So should we!

— Via Think On These Things, Volume 51, No. 4, October-November-December 2020
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Jesus Christ — The Lamb of God

Tom Edwards

As we think about the previous, excellent article by Andy Diestelkamp on “The Prophet of the Passover,” and especially in reading the part that “The blood of an unblemished lamb saved believers from the wrath of God and secured their freedom from bondage,” how could we not also think of Jesus Christ whom John the Baptist refers to as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)!

For because of the offering Jesus made of His own body on the cross, His death brought about the only atonement that can blot out sin (cf. Heb. 10:4; 1 Pet. 1:18-19) and save us from the wrath to come!  How needful that was — and is! 

In spite of the terrible agony in facing and undergoing the preliminary, near-unto-death scourging and the constantly intense torment of crucifixion (Matt. 26:38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:26), Jesus had offered Himself freely, willingly, of His own initiative (John 10:17-18) for every sinner of all time (Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2).

But just as Israel of old had to meet God’s conditions, such as in putting the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their houses (Exodus 12:7), even so we must meet the Lord’s conditions in this Gospel Age so that the blood of Christ, His atoning death, can be applied to our lives to save us from our sins and from the eternal consequences of them.  For Jesus is “our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7).

How wonderful it is that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16); and that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) to make redemption possible (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:20; Acts 20:28).

You might turn down many good opportunities as you go through life, but if you are one who continues to reject God’s love and the atonement Jesus made for you, it will be your greatest regret in the Judgment Day. 

So if you are in need of the salvation the Lord offers you — and very much wants you to have — why not humbly and gratefully accept it this very day (as shown in the necessary steps near the end of this bulletin)!

What could  be more important than being forgiven of your every sin, becoming a child of God, having the hope of everlasting life, and one day entering into that glorious place called heaven to enjoy its bliss forevermore! 

Nothing else in this world can even come close to the greatness of that — and Jesus Christ became the Lamb of God to make that attainable for all who will submit to His Gospel plan of salvation.
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What To Do When the Country Is Falling Apart

Gardner Hall

The prophet Habakkuk was overwhelmed with anxiety about two things: (1) The injustice in his country (1:1-4) and (2) the resulting destruction at the hands of the Babylonians (1:5-2:1). However, when the prophet turned to the Lord in prayer, his confidence grew to the point that he could rejoice in the Lord whatever happened (3:17-28). The final verse of the book, a statement from one of David’s Psalms (18:33), is compelling. “Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!” (HCSB).

The reference is probably to an animal like the Palestine mountain gazelle. Their hoofs have sharp edges and the undersides are concave, enabling them to climb seemingly impassible cliffs and thus view the world, as it were, from above the fray. That’s the idea here! God gave the prophet feet like those of a deer, the spiritual traction to climb into the spiritual realms and view the rise and fall of the nations with a compliant detachment.

God’s followers today are often overwhelmed with the same type of anxiety: (1) The injustices in our countries and (2) their growing weakness. Rather than wanting us to fall into depression when being bombarded with news about the evils in our nation, God invites us through the prophet to pray to him and rise above the fray into the heavenly realms. A focus on him and eternity helps us avoid the despair that comes from a this-worldly focus. “Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!”  (Idea from my dad, Sewell Hall.)

— Via Search for Truth, Volume XIII, Number 16, November 16, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Chris Williams
(Cheryl Corbitt’s son-in-law) had a minor heart attack Friday at just 28 years of age.  He is now back home and wanting to return to work, but is to take it easy for a while.

Anita Young continues to heal from her recent fall and does not have much pain now.  But she is to still keep weight off her leg for a few more weeks with the use of a wheelchair and a crutch.  Her previous foot problem, which she had an injection for, continues to be okay.

Elizabeth Harden (Anita Young’s daughter) is doing well, along with her unborn.  Her due date has been moved from December 30 to January 4.   

Being over her covid-19, Rachel Gerbing will be resuming her job tomorrow.

Deborah Medlock will be having lab work this week, and then see her cancer doctor the following week to hear the results.

James Medlock continues to do about the same with his bad, inoperable heart valve; pulmonary edema; and dementia.

Ronnie & Melotine Davis have been having a lot of problems with their backs.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s back surgery was rescheduled to December 17. He continues to have pain in his back. 

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Elaine Abbott, Pat Bridgman, Tammy Abbott, Joanne Ray, Vivian Foster, Rick Cuthbertson, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) “Sir, We Wish to See Jesus” (Clarence Johnson)
2) Do You Believe in Jesus? (Frank Himmel)
3) “He Being Dead Yet Speaketh” (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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“Sir, We Wish to See Jesus”

Clarence Johnson

John 12:20-22, “Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’”

Even before Philip was appointed to the apostleship, he was inviting his friends to “Come and see” Jesus (John 1:43-46). About three and a half years later as Jesus was coming to the close of His earthly ministry, it was Philip to whom certain individuals came, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Those who made the request were Greeks, probably Jewish proselytes. This took place shortly after Jesus’ “triumphant entry into Jerusalem.” The whole town must have been buzzing with excitement. And these Greeks made a very wise choice in wanting to see Jesus.

Today, when many preachers are holding forth on human rights, animal rights, women’s “right” to an abortion, and various social causes too numerous to mention, surely there must still be a few hungering souls who would like to cry out, “Sirs, we want to see Jesus. We want to hear about Jesus.” And if 21st century preachers will preach the first century gospel, men can still see Jesus through the eye of faith. Men and women today can know the love of Jesus, the will of Jesus, and experience the joy of having a right relationship with God. “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” So that we may “see” Him as He is manifested in the inspired Scriptures, let us take a brief journey through the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Our first glimpse of the Son of God is found in the early pages of the writings of Luke and Matthew. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, shepherds were in the fields, watching over their flocks by night. An angel appeared and informed them of the birth of the Savior (Luke 2:8-20). A few days or perhaps weeks later, wise men from the east came to worship Him (Matt. 2:1-11).

Luke records the circumcision of Jesus when he was eight days old; then the purification of his mother when Jesus was 40 days old. The last Old Testament prophet had been Malachi, followed by almost 400 years of Divine silence. Now, new prophets appear on the scene, Simeon and Anna, identifying the child Jesus as the Messiah or Christ that the Jewish people had been looking for and longing for over the centuries. The next recorded incident in the life of Jesus takes place when He was 12 years old, conversing with the scholars in Jerusalem. The next time He is mentioned, He is a grown man, ready to be baptized by John, and begin His preaching ministry.

Matthew (chapters 5-7) records Jesus’ famous “sermon on the mount” in which He lays down the basic ground rules for “the kingdom of heaven” which was at hand. He gives instructions regarding moral purity, honesty, and spiritual sincerity.

He speaks of relationships with family, with people in general, even with enemies. He teaches His listeners how to pray.

During the course of His ministry, Jesus met and talked with multitudes, and with individuals. His discussion with the Samaritan woman (John 4) is a classic. His instructions to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, are a masterpiece (John 3). His manner of dealing with the woman taken in adultery, and crowd who brought her to Him (John 8), is another stroke of genius. His parables are marvelous illustrations of how God’s will harmonizes with principles we understand and deal with every day of our lives.

As Jesus came to the end of His earthly ministry, He stayed in Bethany at night in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He went into Jerusalem to teach each day. On one occasion, while Martha was preparing a meal, she sought to persuade Jesus to rebuke her sister for not helping. Instead, Jesus revealed that Mary — who was sitting and listening to the Master as He taught – had made the better choice (Luke 10:38-42). We, too, often get busy with the everyday affairs of life, and fail to take proper advantage of the time and opportunity we could use to “sit at Jesus’ feet” by reading and studying the New Testament Scriptures.

Jesus’ inspired biographers use from one fourth to one third of their record to tell of the events immediately surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead. As Jesus Himself explained (John 10:17-18), “My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” No other man who ever lived could rightly make that claim!

Moses of Old-Testament fame was a great man, but he remains buried. No man has ever known the location of his grave (Deut. 34:6). In Acts 2:29, Simon Peter declared that David, who was the greatest of all Israel’s kings, was still buried “and his tomb is with us to this day.” I have been privileged to stand before the grave of Ben Franklin in Philadelphia; the graves of many of the pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts; of seeing the San Jacinto battlefield where brave men fell securing Texas’ freedom from Mexico; and the battleground in Gettysburg, where brother fought against brother. All their tombs are still with us. Their bodies will continue to sleep in the dust till Jesus returns to wake them from the dead and bring them to judgment. But the grave of Jesus contains no body. The empty tomb in silence shouts the message of the angel, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

Finally, let us look toward heaven where Jesus, our forerunner prepares for our arrival (Heb. 6:20); where He serves as our intercessor, our advocate with the Father, the one mediator between God and man (Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1; 1 Tim. 2:5).

The Greeks of John 12:20 were wise to seek Jesus. The men from the east who came to worship Him long ago were wise men (Matt. 2:1-2). Wise men and women still seek Him. “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

– Via The Susquehanna Sentinel, March 5, 2006
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-2-

Do You Believe in Jesus?

Frank Himmel

Do you believe in Jesus? Many would immediately answer yes. What exactly do you believe?

Historical Jesus

Believing in Jesus begins with believing that He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, became an influential teacher (affecting the course of history), did many good things, yet so infuriated His enemies that they crucified Him. This is historical faith, accepting historical facts. Many in Jesus’ day believed these things, including those who opposed Him, men such as Caiaphas (John 11) and Pilate (Lk. 23). Believing in historical Jesus is a start, but if that is as far as it goes it is of no more value than believing in George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.

Saving Jesus

What is the significance of these events? The crowd that crucified Him saw little; to them, it was the end of an imposter (Matthew 27:38-42). Peter announced, however, that these events were all planned by God (Acts 2:22-24; cf. 13:27). Indeed, they were the means by which Jesus provided salvation (1 Peter 1:18-21).

This is what Jesus foretold about His death. He said He would give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28); that His blood would be poured out for forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28); that as the good shepherd He would lay down His life for the sheep and take it up again (John 10:11, 17-18).

Divine Jesus

How could Jesus foreknow these events? How could He control them? Just who is He?

That is precisely the question raised in John 8:25. Jesus answered that He is the Son who makes us free (v. 36), the one who came from God (v. 42), the sinless one (v. 46), the one whose word prevents us from dying (v. 51). Who is He? “I AM” (v. 58), one of the Old Testament names for God. Jesus is God (John 1:1, 14). Make no mistake, Jesus said He is divine, and belief in divine Jesus is essential. “For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

King Jesus

Look again at Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. Peter connects God’s promise to David to seat one of his descendants on his throne (2 Samuel 7:12-16) to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand. Indeed, this is the site of His throne (Psalm 110:1-3; Revelation 3:21). Verse 4 of Psalm 110 adds that Jesus is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. That means His kingship and priesthood are combined (Zechariah 6:12-13); He is king and priest at the same time.

Does this matter? It most certainly does! If Jesus is not king, He is not priest. As priest He makes atonement for our sins (Hebrews 9-10) and the continuing intercession for us by which He saves us (Hebrews 7:25). It is in Jesus’ kingdom that we have forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13). Denying that Jesus is now the king of Old Testament prophecy means denying His priesthood—remember, the two go together—and that means denying Him as the means of our salvation!

Lord Jesus

Peter’s sermon concluded, “ . . . God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). Some who believe in Jesus in one or more of the senses we have reviewed do not act on their faith. They will say they believe, perhaps even sing about it, but do not enact it.

This is the crux of the matter: Do you believe in Lord Jesus? Are you demonstrating that faith in the way you live? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Discipleship requires commitment: it means being devoted to Him above all others (Luke 14:26), going wherever He directs and bearing whatever hardships that entails (v. 27), and giving Him your all (v. 33). Discipleship requires obedience: “Why do you say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Discipleship is what Jesus requires of us (Matthew 28:19).

Now, do you believe in Jesus?

— Via Pathlights, October 25, 2020
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-3-

“He Being Dead Yet Speaketh”

Greg Gwin

Concerning Abel, the Hebrew writer stated: “He being dead yet speaketh” (11:4). His example of faith and obedience has served to motivate others for thousands of years, and continues to do so.

When we die, our influence will also linger. Ours will not endure for nearly so long as Abel’s, but it will have a lasting impact on certain others. Consider:

– Your family –

No doubt the greatest realm of our influence is with those of our own kinfolk. They know us best of all, have spent the most time with us, and are the ones most thoroughly familiar with all that we have done. What bearing will your life have on those you leave behind? Will your children be blessed with a legacy of faithfulness from which they can draw strength long after you are gone? Will your children’s children continue to benefit from your strong example? Or, will they have learned a sad lesson of spiritual compromise from what they have seen in you?

– Your friends –

All of us have a wide reaching circle of friends and acquaintances. You might be surprised to know how much your words and deeds are being observed by them. After all, you are a Christian, and they know this about you. Therefore, they are drawing conclusions about the Christian life by what they see of it in you. Even after you are dead and gone, they will have an enduring impression – for good or bad – from you. 

– Your brethren –

In the Lord’s church we are to be a close knit spiritual family. God’s plan for the church included the positive strength and support we could gain from one another (Eph. 4:16). Unfortunately, some do not take this very seriously, and instead of helping and encouraging their brethren, they actually serve as a source of disappointment and discouragement. When you die, and as your fellow Christians look back on your life, will you be seen as an asset or liability in the family of God?

One day, in the not-too-distant future, you will die. What will your life’s example continue to say about you then? Think!

— Via The Beacon, April 12, 2020
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-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

James Medlock
went back into the local hospital Sunday (Nov. 29) with pulmonary edema.  They have been eliminating fluid in his lungs to decrease the swelling.  He has a bad heart valve; but at 94 years of age, there will no surgery.  Following his hospital stay, he will be transferred to hospice care, rather than back to the nursing home.

Anita Young fell at work on the 18th, which resulted in a fractured knee and sprained left wrist, along with a small torn ligament in her hand.  For a while, she is to remain off her leg by using a wheelchair and sometimes a crutch.  Fortunately, she will be able to work from home.

Rachel Gerbing (the granddaughter of Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse) is getting better every day from her covid-19 and will be able to resume work December 7.  Her mother Michelle tested negative for the virus on Monday (Nov. 30).

Ronnie & Melotine Davis continue to have a lot of problems with their backs.

Deborah Medlock will be having a follow-up with her surgeon Tuesday.  She will also be seeing her cancer doctor next next week for lab work, and the following week for the results.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s back surgery was rescheduled to December 17. He continues to have pain in his back. 

Joyce’s brother will be seeing his heart doctor on Wednesday (Dec. 2) to find out about the additional heart surgery that he needs.  They have been keeping his blood thin, but lately it has been a little too thin.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Elaine Abbott.

Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Tammy Abbott, Joanne Ray, Vivian Foster, Rick Cuthbertson, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) Why Do People Turn Back? (Irvin Himmel)
2) Giving Thanks to God (Robert F. Turner)
3) What Needs Changing? (Lloyd Atherton)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Why Do People Turn Back?

Irvin Himmel

Paul asked the Galatians, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (Galatians 4:9, NASB.) It is absurd for men who have breathed freedom through the gospel to fall back to a system which enslaves the soul, whether Judaism, heathenism, denominationalism, or worldliness.

Why do people who have known the Lord in the forgiveness of sins allow themselves to slip back into their old way of life? Some turn back not long after they are baptized; others serve God for years before drifting away from the truth. What are the reasons?

Truth Is Narrow

In John 6, Jesus spoke of himself as the bread of life. He said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This means that men must partake of Christ to have eternal life. But many of his disciples reacted by saying, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Consequently, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Today, many turn away from Jesus because their friends call them “narrow-minded” and they do not want to be so classified. Divine truth is narrow since it is both fixed and demanding. Truth will always be narrow.

No Depth Of Conviction

In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke of seed falling upon stony places, springing up, but dying for lack of root. This illustrates the person who hears the word and with joy receives it, “Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:20-21). If there is not a real depth of conviction when one is baptized, he is likely to wither and die in a short time. He cannot endure the scorching sun of tribulation that puts him to the test.

Love Of The World

After people have devoted themselves to their own selfish interests for years, it is hard to make a clean break and give full dedication to the Lord. It is easy to slip back into old worldly ways. Paul wrote concerning a former co-worker, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10). Whether the word “world” as used here applies to physical life or material possessions makes little difference. Demas turned back because of his attachment to the present realm of things. He did not love the Lord with all his heart, strength, and mind.

Laziness

At the risk of being somewhat blunt, I must say that some turn away from the Lord because they are too lazy to serve him. They had rather sleep late on Sunday morning than get up and attend services. They prefer an easy chair in front of the TV on Sunday evening because that takes less effort than going to the meeting place. They are too lazy to visit the sick, to comfort the bereaved, or to help someone in distress. The following language is appropriate for all such: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14-16). Just as some live in poverty because they are too lazy to work, many will miss heaven due to their indolence.

Deceptions

In the parable of the sower, some seed fell among thorns. The thorns choked out the plant that was produced. Jesus said, “He that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Riches are not the only means by which men are deceived. Some are deceived by false doctrines. Some are misled by the pleasures of this life. Some are beguiled by their own doubts. Others are deluded into thinking that somehow God will excuse them even if they disobey the Bible. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8).

Unwillingness To Sacrifice

A lot of people who become Christians turn back to the world because they are not willing to pay the price that is required in serving Jesus. That which is demanded of us is not unreasonable. Remember that our Lord loved us and gave his life for us. He explained the cost of discipleship in these words: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Independence

Some are baptized and try to go it alone. They find the battle of life too big a task against the forces of evil. They turn back. We cannot serve God acceptably without a feeling of dependence. First, we need His help. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Second, we need the help of each other. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. . .” (Hebrews 10:25). Some are too independent to succeed in righteous living. They think they can personally whip the devil and all his servants! They resent others who try to lend a helping hand. They want to be left alone. In the end they are defeated and alone — without God and without the fellowship of the saints — lost, hopelessly and eternally doomed.

These are seven of the cardinal reasons why people turn back after having served the Lord for a period of time. What a tragedy that men who have walked in the light turn back to darkness. How sad that anyone would quit serving Christ. What a pity that one deserts the kingdom of God.

“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Peter 2:22).

— Via Navarre Messenger, September 9, 2018
——————–

-2-

Giving Thanks to God

Robert F. Turner

In Romans 1, Paul describes sin in its most basic sense as a rejection of God.  Man’s just responsibility is shown in that he could “know God” as “eternal power and deity” from evidences in the world about him. But man’s vanity, his ego, prevents his acceptance of God; and this is demonstrated by two things: 1) his refusal to glorify God — to praise, or look up to God; and 2) man’s ingratitude. “They glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful” (v. 21).

Being thankful, so much like genuine worship or praise, demands a humble and contrite heart. It indicates our feeling of need for God, of dependence upon Him. It makes us ever aware that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Sermons on thanksgiving tend to stress the expression of gratitude that is due, following the reception of blessings. This is, of course, in order, as Jesus taught when he had healed the ten lepers (Luke 17:12-19). “Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” We are daily blessed, and should daily express our thanks.

But gratitude goes much further than a courteous “Thank You!” or even the most sincere and complete expression of thanksgiving. It is an attitude, basic to the life of a Christian. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and builded up in Him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7). Various manuscripts relate this “thanksgiving” to their “faith” (KJV: “abounding therein with thanksgiving”) while Lenski says, “it is closely united with the confirmation that is constantly received.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” A deep-seated, constant feeling of gratitude toward God, seems to sum up the awareness, dependence, and confidence which characterizes a true follower of God in Christ — and without which we cannot please Him. It is indicative of faith, and hope, and love. It produces “the sacrifice of praise” (Heb. 13:15); both in word and in a life devoted to Him (Col. 3:17).

— via Plain Talk [vol. 13, #5, p. 1], July 1976
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-3-

What Needs Changing?

Lloyd Atherton

When you look into the mirror and your face appears dirty, it is your face, not the mirror that needs attention. The Bible is the mirror of the soul. It reveals our imperfections and shows us how to make corrections. However, some try to rework the Bible instead of reshaping their lives. Don’t make that mistake. When you look into the “perfect law of liberty,” continue in it. Don’t be a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word (James 1:25). Don’t try to change the word; let the word change your life.

– Via The Beacon, November 1, 2020
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Elaine Abbott (Jonathan’s mother) who passed away Wednesday, following an extended illness.

Rachel Gerbing (the granddaughter of Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse) has recently been diagnosed with covid-19. 

Doyle Rittenhouse will be having back surgery December 1.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother will be seeing his doctor December 2 concerning another heart surgery.

Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Tammy Abbott, Joanne Ray, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, James Medlock, Rick Cuthbertson, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.

 
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) “Fields . . . White Already to Harvest” (Micky Galloway)
2) Correcting Misconceptions of Humility (Sewell Hall)
3) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

“Fields…White Already to Harvest”

Micky Galloway

When we lived in Arkansas, the many opportunities we had to see huge fields of cotton gave new meaning to this expression. Try to imagine 400 acres of cotton, a literal sea of white, ready to be harvested. The Lord said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).The apostle Paul expressed the same thought when he spoke of an “open door” and a “door of utterance” (1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 4:3). John wrote of the “open door” which no man can shut (Revelation 3:8).

Opportunity “knocks”; it does not beat down the door. As we drive into the Antelope Valley and stop at Vista Point to view the valley, we are reminded of opportunity. Living in this valley are approximately 300,000 souls who need to hear the gospel. This writing concerns our many opportunities to teach God’s Word and our preparation and determination to take advantage of these opportunities. Christianity is not a dead belief; it is a vibrant way of life that deeply affects the standards by which we conduct our lives. A part of that conduct deals with our consciousness that those about us are lost.

Let us pray for an “open door.” The apostle Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). It is right to pray for opportunities. Perhaps, our inability to realize that we live in a “lost and dying world,” and our apathy to praying about it, are the very reasons conditions are not more favorable for the growth of the church. James said, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Fervently praying for opportunity means ridding oneself of fear about the responsibilities associated with open doors. To accomplish this goal, we must prepare.

We need to get past “me-ism” (concern only with ourselves). Too many of us focus so entirely upon ourselves–“me first”–that we fail to see opportunities, and therefore, to act when they abound. Paul said some would become “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2). Yet, the same apostle taught that we are to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying” (Romans 15:1-2). Even among brethren, there is opportunity to teach. Paul said, “Let no man seek his own, but (each) his neighbor’s (good)” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Paul also said, “Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). Wouldn’t that go a long way toward helping us to teach others. We have a wide-open “door” of opportunity to restore those who are wayward (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).

Let us believe in the gospel, God’s power to save. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). In a world that held the gospel in contempt, Paul, under threat of persecution, preached it boldly. Paul had seen the gospel at work, first among the Jews, and then among the Greeks. “The words of eternal life” are “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel is ever relevant, and it can transform our neighbors, if they receive it and realize that it is the revelation of God. Every conversion example in the book of Acts bears evidence of this truth. Indeed, we have in our possession God’s power to change lives, but our failure to proclaim it results in continued ungodly living that sends people to hell!!! Jesus commanded, “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby” (Matthew 7:13-14).

On the broad way that leads to destruction will be someone’s mother, father, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or coworker. In that great Day of Judgment, will they say, “You met me day by day, and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me.”

Let us be aware of the unconverted. Masses of souls are hungering and thirsting for the truth. Many question their religious convictions. They know they are at sea, without chart or compass. WE have great opportunity. Indeed, the fields are white unto harvest, and the laborers are so few. In Acts 8, those who were scattered as a result of the persecution, “went about preaching the word.” Until we understand that the success of personal work depends on each one personally working, opportunities will continue to fall by the wayside.

Reaping a harvest of lost souls can not occur by accident. Let us prepare ourselves for the greatest work on earth. Someone has said that the four hinges upon which the gates of opportunity swing are: initiative, insight, industry, and integrity. Surely, we have integrity, but what about the other three. Let us not forget that procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

Every gospel preacher who is doing the work the Lord called Him to do is looking for ways to impress the truth of this article upon those in the congregation where he labors. The world is replete with people who are lost and dying in darkness and sin. Every community in which the Lord’s church has “open doors” also has great “opportunity doors.”

Millions of people live their lives without spiritual direction. Millions of others have been deceived by the smooth words of men who teach error. Both groups (those without direction and those with the wrong direction) are on a road that leads to the same destination — Hell! “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9). Do we even think about the terrible ending awaiting the unprepared? Many of them are people we know, and love, and talk with daily.

Dear reader, please read your Bible carefully. I think you’ll conclude that God not only expects us to save ourselves, but also to strive to bring others with us! Who are you bringing? (KMG)

*****

“Then He said to His disciples, the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:36-37).

Can God Count on You?

— Via Knollwood church of Christ, July 2003
——————–

-2-

Correcting Misconceptions of Humility

Sewell Hall

Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.

Humility Is Not Weakness

Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), causing Paul to respond, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Humility Does Not Preclude Leadership

Jesus was “meek and lowly” (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2), and this is defined in Romans 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should.  1 Timothy 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).

Humility Does Not Forbid Rebuking Sin

Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matthew 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in chapter 23 as when He was blessing little children in chapter 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error. “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God’s purpose.

Humility Is Not Inconsistent With Personal Initiative    

The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and executing its work.  A song we sing says, “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility.  Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that “each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.

Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully, speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others.    

This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be.  When one is constantly thinking: “How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others” he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution — not thinking of self at all.  A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).

Conclusion

True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Corinthians 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Timothy 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Corinthians 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.

— Via Search for Truth, October 11, 2020
——————– 

-3-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rex Abbott
(Jonathan’s father) is feeling better and might now be over the Covid-19.  He will be tested tomorrow to find out. 

Elaine Abbott (Jonathan’s mother) still has the covid-19, along with pneumonia that has elevated her white blood count. Her dementia has also worsen, but that might be from all she is now going through.

Anthony and Tammy Abbott (Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law) had been diagnosed with covid-19.  But Anthony is now doing better, though still with some congestion; and his wife Tammy is now in her 12th day of it and making some improvement.

Rick Cuthbertson is now on a different drug for his cancer treatments.  So far, there is no constant pain; and he is feeling pretty good. 

Jim Lively had two more falls last week by which he sluffed some more skin off his arms. 

Rex & Frankie Hadley are doing about the same.  Rex had x-rays on his lower back Friday which revealed a good bit of degeneration in the discs.
  
Anita Young is doing better with her foot.  They gave her a shot for it, and she has now been without the ankle brace for more than a week.

Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) Reflecting the Nature of God (Jim Deason)
2) Digging Deep (Frank Himmel)
3) On Geese and Friends (A.W. Goff)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Reflecting the Nature of God

Jim Deason

God’s purpose for man is stated simply and concisely: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). This holiness—a behavior—is defined by God, personified in Jesus Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit, and recorded on the pages of the Bible. Every instruction given in the pages of the New Testament is designed to lead us to partake of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), to help us “become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

It troubles me to hear some of late proclaim that Christianity is not about keeping rules. I beg to differ. Christianity is all about keeping His rules (John 14:15; Heb. 5:9), for it is in obedience to the precepts of the New Testament that we are made more and more into His image. Allow me to illustrate.

Like a city set upon a hill which cannot be hidden, those who are led by the Spirit of God are going to show it by producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is by no means an exhaustive list of characteristics reflecting the nature of God, but it is a very good place to begin.

Love

Twice in 1 John 4 (vv. 8,15) the Bible tells us that “God is love.” Why? Because love is from God (v. 7). His nature defines love. He is love’s perfect illustration. What Jesus did on Calvary proves it: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, NASB). Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and He did. This is unparalleled love and anyone who is led by the Spirit of God and who wants to reflect the nature of God must, therefore, be a person of love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

Joy

I’ve never understood why someone claiming to be a Christian would walk about with such a sour disposition that he looked like he was weaned on pickle juice. God intends that we be a people of joy. Paul said, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13). Later, he instructed the Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:8). Why such joy? Because joy is a part of God’s nature. Picture this: “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5). The moment my wife said “I do” was exhilarating, one of the happiest moments of my life. In the same way, God finds great joy in those who serve Him and wants you to experience the same joy.

Peace

Peace is a state of tranquility, the absence of mental stress or anxiety. At least five times in Scripture God is referred to as the “God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). Jesus is our source of peace (Eph. 2:14,17) and called the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Is it any wonder, then, why we are told that “the one who desires life, to love and see good days. . . must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:10-11). I understand there are times when we must go to war, spiritually speaking (2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-17). But the person who is disposed to choose war over peace does not yet possess the spirit of Christ.

Patience

Studying the Old Testament teaches us a lot about the nature and character of God, particularly His patience. Thirteen times the Lord is said to be “slow to anger” (cf. Num. 14:18) and that phrase is usually surrounded by other traits of God such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, mercy, and graciousness. One should never take lightly “the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience” (Rom 2:4). Quite literally, it is our salvation (2 Pet. 3:15). So, if you want God to be patient with you, reflect His nature and be patient with others (1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

Kindness

Kindness is the quality of being helpful, having a benevolent nature. God asks us nothing more than what He is Himself: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:4-5). We are not surprised therefore, since God wants us to be like Him, that we are told to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Goodness

Goodness is a lot like kindness. Our English word good carries with it the idea of being virtuous or right. The Greek word seems to emphasize a special interest in the welfare of others. Paul commanded, “you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth)” (Eph. 5:8–9). God wants you to be good because He is good. I understand the sentiment of the psalmist when he wrote, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living” (Psa. 27:13).

Faithfulness

You know the type. They are people that you trust. You can reveal your inner secrets to them because you know they will keep your confidence and you believe in the wisdom of their counsel. They never fail you. They’ve proven time and again that they will keep their word and fulfill their obligations. They are faithful. Such also is the nature of God. Jeremiah proclaimed to God, “Great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23). God promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Deut. 31:6,8), and He hasn’t. To God, the psalmist proclaimed, “Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations” (Psa. 119:90). So, when you are faithful to your commitments, dependable and trustworthy in the hand of God, you’re demonstrating a characteristic of God—and that is no small thing!

Gentleness

Sometimes translated meekness (KJV, ASV), this word describes a man who is not overly impressed by a sense of his own self-importance. He is strong, but that strength is not always on display. He is humble, courteous, and considerate. He is gentle, mild, and even-tempered. Moses was like this (Num. 12:3). So also was Jesus. He entreated, “Come to Me. . . Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:28-29). If you want to be like Christ, and if you are not already, you’ve got to learn to be a gentle, humble person.

Self-Control

Self-Control is the ability to restrain one’s emotions, words, and actions by one’s will. Aristotle said that it was “the ability to restrain desire by reason.” It is the very opposite of acting without thinking. The self-controlled individual will think through something and let sound reason keep him from saying or doing something he might not otherwise say or do. When Aaron made the golden calf, God was angry and wanted to destroy Israel and start all over with Moses (Exod. 32). Moses interceded for the people and “the Lord changed His mind” (Exod. 32:14). Some folks don’t do that—restrain their anger. If something doesn’t go their way there is fire in their eyes, venom on their lips, and revenge in their actions. For that reason, we are told, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man” (Prov. 22:24) because “an angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” (Prov. 29:22). The matter of temper is not the only area where self-control is needed but it serves to illustrate the point. Anyone who wants to be Christlike simply must possess the ability to control his heart and actions.

Conclusion

In the New Testament God reveals to us a standard of behavior, a code of conduct, by which He wants us to live. He expects you and me to “be holy. . . in all your behavior” (1 Pet. 1:15). But He also reveals Himself and His nature which tells us a lot about why He wants us to follow His instructions. In obeying Him, we become like Him! Christians, then, are to take on His nature and grow to be more and more like God Himself. Remember what He said: “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 39 (September 27, 2020)
——————–

-2-

Digging Deep

Frank Himmel

At the end of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stressed the importance of acting on His teaching, not merely listening to it. He used two builders to make the point. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

In Luke’s account, Jesus said the wise builder “is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48). Consider the importance of digging deep.

Digging deep rules out following Jesus in a superficial way. Some are content to believe in Jesus in a broad sense while making no real commitment to living as He directs. Discipleship is not a surface-level acceptance of the Lord; it is yielding all in order to follow Him wherever He directs (Luke 14:25-33). It is a “deep” commitment.

Digging deep suggests the depth of our faith. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus likened some hearers’ hearts to shallow soil. The word readily produces a plant, but because there is no depth of soil (Mark 4:5) it withers amidst affliction or persecution (v. 17). Since faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17), deeper faith can come only by digging more deeply into the word. “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity . . .” (Hebrews 6:1).

Digging deep also points to thorough repentance. In Jesus’ illustration, the builder digs deep in order to remove everything that is unsuitable. He clears away the dirt and debris to get to the solid rock. From there he can begin to build. We may need to do a lot of clearing in our hearts and lives, too. Erroneous beliefs, bad attitudes, and sinful habits lie between us and discipleship. They must all be removed, shovelful by shovelful. We must examine every corner of our hearts and lives in light of the gospel and make whatever changes it calls for.

Discipleship is work. Don’t take shortcuts. Dig deep.

— Via Pathlights, June 23, 2019
——————–

-3-

On Geese And Friends

A.W. Goff

When you see geese flying in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what facts scientists have discovered about why they fly that way.

FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
TRUTH: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another. Read Ephesians 4:16

FACT: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
TRUTH: There is strength, power and safety in numbers when traveling in the same direction with those with whom we share a common goal. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10

FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
TRUTH: It pays to take turns doing hard jobs. Read 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

FACT: The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed.
TRUTH: We all need to be remembered with active support and praise. Read Colossians 2:1-2

FACT: When a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until the crisis resolves, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group.
TRUTH: We must stand by each other in times of need! Read Acts 12:1-5

We are fortunate that there are more geese in life than turkeys. Let us remember to uphold each other in friendship and to give each other a big “honk” more often.
_____

Editor’s Note: It should not be surprising that the same God of Nature is also the God of Revelation. Many things in nature reflect truths and lessons in the spiritual realm. God gave geese their natural intuition both for their benefit and for ours. The Scriptures listed above with every natural trait of geese is just an example of the many biblical references that teach the same truth. Use these references as a “springboard” and see if  you can find other similar passages and share them with one another. AWG

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 32, Page 3, August 11, 2019
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rex & Elaine Abbott
(Jonathan’s parents) were both diagnosed Tuesday with covid-19.

Pat Bridgman who has been undergoing chemo treatment for lung cancer was recently diagnosed with covid-19.  She has been admitted to the hospital, already having a low white blood count.

Olivia McCarthy started feeling better several days ago and is now over her covid-19 and quarantine.  It had continued to remain mild while she had it, with a main symptom of just being tired.

Anita Young’s back is now doing better.

Others to also be praying for: Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) Our God Does Not Change (Jon Quinn)
2) The Prepared Heart (Gary Henry)
3) Temptations & Illusions (Bill Crews)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Our God Does Not Change

Jon Quinn

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). We live in a world of constant change. Time changes everything we see and touch. Things that were “in” yesterday are “out” today. I remember when I was a boy seeing all my father’s old ties hanging in the closet. They were wide and colorful, full of intricate designs. He never wore them so I asked why. He said no one wears ties like that any more but he expected that if he waited long enough that they would come back in style. I doubted that anyone would ever wear anything like those ties again, at least not unless forced to do so at gun point! But sure enough, by the time I was in high school I was able to borrow his old, outlandish ties and let everyone assume that I had paid big bucks for them at the store.

The state of the world is different than it was ten years ago; far different than forty years ago. What will it be like ten years from now? As we read the Bible we see that it has always been so. We see changes in society; apostasy and return; dynasties thought eternal crumble and new ones take their places. Individuals age and grow closer to God, or sometimes grow away from God. We are accustomed to seeing things change.

It seems as if everything changes but such is not the case! Our link to Abraham, Moses and Paul is that we serve exactly the same God as they did. We may live in a different time, under a different government, but we build our relationship with the very same God, and for that reason the lessons they learned will find application in our lives today. God does not change. Let us consider this idea.

God’s Existence Does Not Change

“Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of thy hands. Even they all perish, but Thou dost endure, And all of them will wear out like a garment. . . but Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Psa. 102:25-27).

God had no beginning nor does he have an ending. Children sometimes ask the question, “Who made God?” The answer is that God did not need to be made because there was never a time in which he did not already exist. He will never cease to be, nor will he ever cease to be what he already is.  He is deserving of our trust because “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

God’s Character Does Not Change

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you'” (Exod. 3:14).

In the course of human life, events may alter the character of a man. There are things that happen to us that can change us forever. For example, a trusting soul may become cynical when he has been betrayed. But nothing like this happens to the Creator. He will never become less fair, honest, truthful, or good than perfection will allow. The character of God today is exactly as it was in Bible times, and as it will be long after this world ceases to be. Even the name “Jehovah ” or “I AM” bears out the eternal changelessness of God. The New Testament describes God as “the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jas. 1:17).

God’s Purpose Does Not Change

“And the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Sam. 15:29). God does not alter his purpose. He does not go half-way into a job, then realize that he has made a mistake and repent. All his plans are based upon perfect wisdom and knowledge so he never has to! Nothing can take God by surprise. If he were painting a room he would not paint himself into a corner.

The Psalmist declared, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11). Some may wonder about a few passages which seem to indicate that God does repent (Gen. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11; Jon. 3:10; etc.). However, it must be understood that none of these suggest a change in his eternal purpose, nor do they suggest that God was taken by surprise. They are cases of God’s reversal of his prior treatment of an individual or group because the people had changed. If a people grew increasingly wicked, then God’s treatment of them changed from what it was before. If a people repented and sought forgiveness, then God would bless instead of punish.

God’s Son Does Not Change

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Jesus loves us as much today as he did on the road to Calvary. There is a story of someone asking him, “How much do you love me?” Jesus answered, “This much” and he stretched his arms out wide, and died. Certainly the gift Jesus has given us shows us that his love is eternal. His death proves that his love is undying. Jesus is “the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18). Jesus is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). He is our absolutely trustworthy friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Conclusion

What is the difference between our relationship with God and those in Bible times? We worship the same God, not a new one. His character remains the same, we can know what he is like now by observing what he was like then. His purposes remain unchanged. The Messiah we accept is the same Son of God who they looked for, welcomed, and accepted.

We may live in a different age. We may rejoice that we live under a new covenant. We may have a complete written revelation and therefore a more accurate picture of God’s eternal purpose, character and nature. But God remains the same. By all means, place your eternal spirit in his hands.

— Via Navarre Messenger, January 6, 2019
——————–

-2-

The Prepared Heart

Gary Henry

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

Our “nature” is given to us by God, but our “character” is created by our choices.  What we do with the raw materials of our created nature brings into being a character that is either good or bad.  Of course, the fact that character is a matter of choice does not mean the choices are always carefully made.  Indeed, many people simply live by default, going with the flow and ending up with a character that has been chosen haphazardly.  But haphazard choices are still choices.  Whether we’ve been careful or not, we’ll still have to account to God for our decisions.

Ezra is said to have “prepared his heart.”  Apparently he had given some thought to the sort of man he wanted to be.  Surely he was aware of what the major alternatives are that lie before a human being, and his choice to pursue godliness seems to have been a deliberate decision.  It’s not unlikely that Ezra had given some consideration to the matter of consequences.  There is no more “consequential” choice than the choice of one’s character, and Ezra had no doubt considered that some kinds of character would take him places he didn’t want to go.

It is worth noting the particular character Ezra prepared himself to have.  This wise man determined that he would (1) seek God’s will, (2) do whatever he learned, and (3) teach to others the things that he had both learned and lived.  We could look a long time and not find a better three-point program for character development.  Seeking, doing, and teaching… the will of God.  These things point to the very heart of what human existence is all about.

If we’ve not already done so, it’s urgent that we prepare our hearts.  It’s time to think seriously about what matters most to us.  What kind of people do we intend to be, anyway?  “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind” (Seneca).  But preparing our hearts requires more than charting our course.  We must also count the cost and resolve that we’ll pay the price to have a character that’s worth having.  The devil is eager to test how well prepared our hearts really are.

“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one” (James Anthony Froude).

— Via Kirkwood church of Christ, July 18, 2017
——————–

-3-

Temptations & Illusions

Bill Crews

Read the third chapter of Genesis. It tells of the sins of Adam and Eve (in doing what God had expressly forbidden) and of the consequences of those sins. When confronted by God and asked, “What is this thou hast done,” she responded, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (vs. 13). She told the truth. Paul wrote that “the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness” (2 Cor. 11:3; cf. 1 Tim. 2:14). But she was neither justified nor excused. Do you think that the pleasures of her sin were worth the price of the consequences she had to pay for them? How many times thereafter she must have wished that she could relive that moment when she said “yes” to that temptation.

Sin, in prospect, promises so much, but delivers so little. Sin, in retrospect, is never as appealing as sin in prospect. It focuses on the pleasures of the moment and veils the eyes to the consequences that time and eternity will surely bring. The writer of Hebrews spoke of the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:11-13), and nothing in life is more deceitful than sin. The master of deceit is behind it all (Jn. 8:44), and he is called “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). He has even fashioned “himself into an angel of light;” he has many ministers, some of whom even fashion “themselves into apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

In a large shopping mall there was a wide area containing several businesses in small, individual booths. Side by side were two with these names: “Sweet Temptations” and “Grand Illusions.” (One sold sweet things to eat, and the other jewelry.) I thought: “What marvelous names for the devil’s enticing wares and deceptive promises.” He portrays his temptations as sweet, but how bitter they will always eventually prove to be. And his promises of benefits, gains, and rewards are only grand illusions.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 25, Issue 24, Page 1, June 13, 2010
——————–


-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Olivia McCarthy
has been quarantined at home with covid-19. Though she has been experiencing the symptoms for about a week, they continue to remain mild. Let us be keeping her and her family in prayer.

We are thankful and glad that Myrna Jordan is now doing better from her recent illness.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of James William “Billy” Savage who passed away October 20, Elaine Abbott, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Anita Young, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to …
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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) “Comfort One Another With These Words” (Jeff Himmel)
2) A Short Lesson about Grace (Frank Himmel)
3) Phariseeism (Frank Jamerson)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

“Comfort One Another With These Words”

Jeff Himmel

The apostle Paul once wrote to some Christians at Thessalonica who were concerned about what happened after death. After allaying their fears with a beautiful description of the final resurrection, he instructed them, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18). It is easy for the pressures and problems of life to get us down and make us worry. But God’s word is full of truths that bring great comfort to the soul of every Christian. Jesus spoke many words of consolation to his distressed disciples. His apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, brought messages of hope and courage to the struggling saints of the early church. The truths of his life, death, and resurrection, as well as his promises to us, are a source of comfort and joy like no other.

1. In Christ we have forgiveness of sins. No greater human problem exists than that of separation from God by sin. Every one of us has fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:9,23). But the wall placed between man and God has been broken down by Jesus’ death. “And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world …” (Eph. 2:1-2). “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us . . .And not only that, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5:8,11).

2. In Christ we have joy and peace in life. Many people spend their whole lives searching for something to give them happiness and peace of mind. The writer of Ecclesiastes tried in vain to find satisfaction in the things of this world. He finally realized that serving the Lord is the only thing that brings any real reward: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). Christians should be the happiest people in the world! Instead of worry and anxiety, Christ offers the peace of bringing our requests before God Almighty (Phil. 4:6-7). Rather than sinfulness, hatred, and conflict, the Spirit of God yields love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us (Gal. 5:22-23).

3. In Christ we have hope even in death. People tend to fear death because they don’t know what lies beyond. But the Christian can face life’s end with the knowledge that resurrection to eternal life will follow. The Thessalonians were evidently worried about their brethren who had died. Paul reassures them that because Christ overcame death, those who die in him die in hope: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). In 1 Corinthians 15, a most glorious picture of the resurrection is painted, one that allows the Christian to face even death with confidence in his Lord: “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory … But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:54,57).

4. In Christ we have the promise of a heavenly reward. Perhaps the greatest comfort that God’s word provides is knowing the reward that awaits us when the difficulties of this life have ceased. In Revelation 21-22, John describes (as ably as possible in human terms) the glory of heaven as he beheld it. I can never read this passage without feeling a stirring in my soul. I am sure it had the same effect on the downtrodden saints to whom John wrote. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). We can withstand all the storms of life, no matter how severe, with the certain hope that we will one day dwell with God for eternity. “And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light . . . And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 21:23; 22:5).

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 1 p. 5, January 5, 1995
——————–

-2-

A Short Lesson About Grace

Frank Himmel

“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?  He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?  So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” (Luke 17:7-10).

In Luke 12:37, God is depicted as a master doing precisely what Jesus says here a master normally would not do: serving dinner to his slaves. God is indeed gracious! This illustration is a counterbalance to that one, cautioning us not to lose our perspective. It reminds us of two vital points.

First, grace does not do away with obedience. Jesus said we are to “do all the things which are commanded you.” Of course, no one obeys perfectly (Romans 3:23), but we are to try our best. Grace does not give us license to “serve” the Lord however we please, to selectively choose which of His instructions we will obey, or to modify His plans according to our reasoning. We need the servant’s heart. Our wisdom and pleasure must always yield to God’s.

Second, obedience does not do away with grace. Perfect obedience might make something due us (Romans 4:4); but since no one achieves that, whatever we receive is always a matter of grace. After we have done all that we are commanded, we still are unworthy of the blessings God showers upon us. (Some passages, emphasizing faithfulness, do speak of divine blessings as a reward [e.g., Colossians 3:24; 2 John 8], yet even then it is a gracious one.) Surely this fact negates the quibble that says if we must obey God’s conditions (e.g., baptism) in order to be saved, that would make salvation merited. Let’s not lose our balance!

— Via Pathlights, October 11, 2020
——————–

-3-

Phariseeism

Frank Jamerson

The Pharisees were probably condemned more severely than any other group of people by the Lord during His life on earth. The label of “Pharisee” has come to us as an extremely uncomplimentary label. Often it is misused by false teachers and those in sympathy with them. Let us notice some of the characteristics in Pharisees that Jesus condemned.

They were critical of Jesus for teaching sinners, but would not listen to Him themselves. The great chapter on God’s attitude toward the lost and what ours should be, Luke 15, was spoken to Pharisees who murmured because Jesus associated with sinners. Their attitude was demonstrated in the elder son who stayed home, but said to his father basically what the Pharisees had said to Jesus, “This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” They objected to Jesus receiving sinners, “but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him [John]” (Lk. 7:30). The Pharisaical attitude is shown by those who criticize faithful teachers for teaching the truth, while refusing to listen or teach it themselves.

The Pharisees were hypocritical because they claimed to be interested in the details of the law, but ignored it when it suited their purposes. Jesus said, “But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you Pharisees! for you love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces” (Lk. 11:42,43). They liked to appear “righteous,” but justice and love were not part of their armor. When men today profess to be interested in God’s law, but lie, refuse to pay their debts, etc., they are demonstrating Pharisaical hypocrisy.

Pharisees were long on talk and short on practice. Jesus said: “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt. 23:3). This spirit of finding things for others to do, but not for self did not die with the first century Pharisees! “Do as I say, not as I do” may be good advice; Jesus gave it; but He did not commend the conduct of those who lived that philosophy.

They were bound by traditions. In fact, the Pharisees were very strict when it came to observing their customs, even if they contradicted the teaching of God’s word (Matt. 15:1-6). Though there is nothing wrong with a practice because it has been done for a long time, there is something wrong with elevating custom to a “thus saith the Lord.” There was nothing wrong with washing hands before eating food, but to make this a law of God was to elevate man’s traditions to an equality with God’s word. Whether we have two songs and a prayer, or two prayers and a song are matters of judgment. Whether we have the Lord’s supper before the sermon or after it; close with a song or with a prayer, are all matters of liberty, but when men elevate traditions to a “thus saith the Lord” they disrespect God’s word. Likewise, when men substitute sprinkling for immersion, or add instrumental music to singing, they are demonstrating the Pharisaical spirit.

Jesus told a parable to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee who had not been an “extortioner, unjust or an adulterer” and had given “tithes of all” that he got was not condemned because of those characteristics, but because of his attitude toward others. This was not the only condemnation of this bad trait. Earlier, Luke had said: “And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find how to accuse him” (Lk. 6:7). They had set their minds on finding fault, and faultfinders usually find fault!

Pharisees majored on minors. Jesus said that they “left undone the weightier matters” and “strained out the gnat, and swallowed the camel” (Matt. 23:23-25). Many misrepresent what Jesus said in this passage by saying that the little things are not important. Jesus did not say to “swallow the gnats,” but He did say that those who are careful to strain out gnats and then swallow camels are inconsistent. All of God’s word is important.

Not everything about Pharisees was bad. Paul said, “after the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee” (Acts 26:5), and “as touching the law (he lived) a Pharisee” (Phil. 3:5). We need to strictly obey God’s law, but we must avoid the bad characteristics that God condemned in the Pharisees.

— via Guardian of Truth XXX: 13, p. 390, July 3, 1986
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of James William “Billy” Savage who departed from this life on October 20, 2020. Let us be keeping all his loved ones in prayer.

The results of Rick Cuthbertson‘s scan Wednesday show that the spots on his lung have increased 30% since the previous scan.  He will soon begin a new treatment and will be seeing a cancer specialist.

Vivian Foster’s gall bladder surgery went well last week, which she is now healing from.  (She is Shirley Davis’ sister.)

Ronnie & Melotine Davis are both seeing doctors for their conditions.

Myrna Jordan has been under the weather lately.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Evelyn Elizabeth “Betty” Durden Potter who passed away October 13, Elaine Abbott, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman,   Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to …
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

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