“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Proclaim His Excellence (Colby Junkin)
2) Right Attitudes for Faithfulness (Warren Berkley)
Proclaim His Excellence
The greatest blessing ever bestowed upon mankind was salvation from the dreadful sickness of sin. It was sin that drove man away from the precious and intimate relationship that they had with God (Genesis 3:6-8). It was sin that took the greatest characters of the Bible and humiliated them for their weaknesses (2 Samuel 12:13; 16:5-14). It was sin, man’s complete abandonment of God’s will, that led entire nations into utter ruin and captivity (2 Kings 17:7-19; 21:10-15). It was sin and its selfish pride that motivated the Pharisees to hate a lowly Nazarene (John 11:57; Philippians 2:7). It was sin that placed the Son of God upon the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was sin that I have committed that caused my Jesus to die.
When we think about these things and the consequences of our sins, we should be motivated to better worship, praise, and honor of our King. The forgiveness that we obtain through God’s grace and the blood of Christ should move us to greater service and devotion to God. Our entire lives should be surrounded with constant reminders of the blessings that God has freely bestowed. We should be eternally thankful to our Creator.
In the second chapter of first Peter, Peter opened with similar ideas (2:1-3). If we have tasted the kindness of the Lord and understood the richness of His Word, then we should be stimulated to put off the life of this world by putting on Jesus Christ. Our lives on earth are temporary and but a vapor, but those who do the will of the Father will live forever (James 4:14; 1 John 2:17). Our weaknesses and sins that once controlled our hearts and minds should be repented of and driven completely out of our lives. We should not only raise our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but we ourselves should be trained by the glories revealed in the Bible.
Peter continued to strengthen his readers by compelling them to see the greater glories revealed in the church of our Lord. Peter instructed the Christians to remember that they “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:4). These tasks, as spiritual priests, take us from the realm of this earth and exalt us to a greater and higher plane. Paul spoke of this place in the book of Ephesians and called it “the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). It is as if our entire lives are elevated from the physical pressures of this life, and we are given the opportunity to see heaven in the distance as we press onward to making our goal. We must learn to imitate the faith and heart of Abraham who confessed to be a stranger and pilgrim on this earth and by faith searched for the better country above (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Peter would ultimately conclude his thoughts with giving Old Testament descriptions to the New Testament Christian. Every individual Christian has been called to be a part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (2:9a). A Christian has been called by the gospel to live a life pleasing to God (2 Thessalonians 2:14; Ephesians 5:10). A calling that went forth from Jerusalem and can now be found in every part of the earth. This calling is not limited to nationality, race, sex, or culture, but rather it is open to all who will listen and obey. As Peter continued to say, “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (2:10). Is there any greater blessing extended to mankind?
Finally, it is when we understand all of these great blessings that our hearts cannot contain our joy, but rather in praise we “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9b). We pour out our hearts in praise and exaltation to our Lord. As Peter said, “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1:8). Our lives have completely evolved from living day-to-day and being filled with selfish desires, to living for eternity and giving all praise to our God. Is your life given to proclaiming the excellencies of God, or are you still living in the darkness of sin?
— Via articles from the River Bend church of Christ, May 12, 2019
Right Attitudes for Faithfulness
It is clear to every Bible student, you cannot be faithful to the Lord if your attitude is not in keeping with the teachings of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:17). Attitude has to do with the content of your mind, your disposition and the control you exercise over your emotions.
The simple truth is, the New Testament is loaded with teaching, examples, prohibitions and warnings about attitude. This spiritually healthy instruction should be the basis of our discipline over our mind. Your attitude toward God is basic. All other phases of attitude are rooted in your attitude toward God. We must hold Him in the highest esteem, revere Him, worship Him and obey Him with wholehearted love and trust (Eccl. 5:1,2; Matt. 22:37; Rom. 12:1,2; Prov. 1:7).
Once your attitude toward God begins to weaken, all other phases of attitude will likely deteriorate. Let us be aware of this and constantly monitor our attitude toward God, seeking to enrich our relationship with Him. Your attitude toward Christ is a component of your attitude toward God. If God is your father, you will love His Son (Jno. 8:42). If you love God and want to obey Him, you will have a favorable and grateful acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. You will regard Him as the perfect expression of Deity and humanity, the spotless Son of God who died in order for you to be free from sin and enjoy eternal life. Likewise, you will read and study about His attitude with the highest esteem, seeking to imitate Him in all your behavior.
Your attitude toward others develops out of your reverence for Deity. If you believe in God and follow His Son, your behavior toward others will be based on that. You will seek to do all God has said about how to treat people. You will study and follow the compassion of Christ, as well as His boldness in seeking to save the lost. His relationship to others becomes your pattern (see 1 Pet. 2:18-25).
Your attitude toward other members of God’s family will be suitable, in keeping with all that is written about such relationships. Peter teaches God’s people to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22), and John taught extensively that “we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Our attitude must endeavor to follow the pattern of unselfish humility demonstrated by our Lord (Phil. 2:1-5). Your attitude toward sin will be fitting. To remain right with God, it is necessary to maintain an abhorrence of sin (Rom. 12:9). If you court the favor of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). It is essential to arm yourself with “the same mind” or attitude Jesus had against sin and error (1 Pet. 4:10).
Your attitude toward life should be realistic and godly, not bitter and angry. If you murmur and complain about your life, and this becomes your habitual attitude – you cannot be what you should be! And when you get to this low state, you need to stop and recognize that the devil has seduced and maneuvered you into this state of constant anger and resentment. While you remain in this mood you cannot develop the love described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, and you cannot grow and taste the kindness of the Lord (1 Pet. 2:1-3).
In the “beatitudes” (Matt. 5:3-12), the Lord addresses every phase or direction of attitude: Your attitude toward God (poor in spirit & hungering and thirsting after righteousness), your attitude toward yourself (meek), your attitude toward others (merciful), your attitude toward those who oppose you (vss. 10-13), and your attitude toward sin (mourn and purity in heart). Growth and faithfulness depends upon the constant development of these qualities.
— Via The Beacon, January 5, 2020
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services:9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)