Month: June 2020

The Gospel Observer

Contents:

1) The Architect’s Blueprint (Jefferson David Tant)
2 News & Notes
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The Architect’s Blueprint

Jefferson David Tant

Let’s say that you want to build a house, so you hire an architect to draw up plans according to your wishes. A builder is then contracted to construct the home as per the architect’s blueprints.

But something happens along the way, as the builder decides he has his own preferences, and so follows the blueprints only when he wants to, and inserts his own ideas when it suits him. Obviously, this will not sit well with you, as he is not following your directions. If you returned from a long journey and found a house completely different than what the blueprints stipulated, you would certainly reject it.  

Now, let’s make an application to the church, which is God’s house. No, not the building, but the people, for God “does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). The apostle Paul declared that “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (I Corinthians 3:9).  

Then the question is, does God have a plan, a blueprint or pattern for his church? The writer of Hebrews makes a comparison between the Old and New Covenants in Hebrews 8:5: “Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘See,’ He says, ‘That you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.’” In Exodus 25 and following, God gave very detailed instructions as to the construction of the tabernacle, and he expected Moses to adhere to it.  

The point the writer of Hebrews is making is that the New Covenant or Testament is superior to the Old, and thus Christ is High Priest over a superior covenant. Now, if the church (God’s present place of dwelling) is superior to the tabernacle in the Old Testament (representing God’s presence with Israel), then why should we regard as any less important the plans for the church than the plans for the tabernacle?  

Go back to Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 3:9-11: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” We certainly recognize that a structure must follow the lines of the foundation. If the builder does not follow the lines of the foundation, obviously the structure will fall. One of the heroes in the Hall of Fame of Faith is Abraham. “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise, for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).  

Obviously the writer of Hebrews understood the correlation between the architect, builder, and the foundations upon which the structure stands. In a spiritual sense, he referred to heaven in these terms. And Paul used the same language with respect to the church. Did not Jesus make a promise: “I will build my church”? (Matthew 16:18).

Where do we go to find the architect’s blueprint for the church? Obviously, we must consult the New Testament, wherein we find instructions God has given us for his church. The plan is clear, and those who wish to follow the plans should have no trouble in understanding them. When we compare the plans God has given with what men have built, we find a great difference.  

The Leaders in the Church

The Bible

Among the leaders are men who are called elders-presbyters/bishops-overseers/pastors-shepherds. These terms are all applied to the same men, and refer to different aspects of their function. (See Acts 20:17, 28, where all three terms are applied to the same men.)

We note that Paul appointed “elders” (plural) in the churches (Acts 14:23), and we never find a case of a single elder/pastor over a church. Furthermore, the term “pastor” in the Bible does not refer to the one who is the “preacher.” That is a different function.  

The qualifications for these men are given in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Note that these are to be married men who have believing children, and who lead godly lives. In addition, they must have a good knowledge of God’s Word.

The churches of men

Not many churches of men pay any attention to the Biblical qualifications. More and more churches are ordaining women as pastors, and there seems to be no stipulation that pastors must be married, or be old enough to have believing children. Furthermore, the common practice is for a church to have one pastor, rather than the plurality that we find in God’s blueprint. Besides, in God’s plan, the pastor and the preacher are two separate functions. God certainly had a reason for not including a “one-man-rule” plan in his blueprint.

Conclusion

Will God accept a church that has not followed his plan in this area? Certainly not. Why do we think man’s wisdom is greater than God’s wisdom? Remember, Paul admonished us to “be careful how we build.”  

The Worship of the Church

The Bible

The examples we find in the New Testament are very clear and easy to understand. The Christians came together to:

1) Be instructed in the Word of God (Acts 5:42; 20:7, etc).

2) Partake of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:23-29). (Early church writers and historians agree that the church met every Sunday to observe this memorial.)

3) To sing hymns of praise and encouragement. Their singing was vocal, without instruments of music, and congregational, as all sang together (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 3:16). (Once again historical writers are in total agreement that it was hundreds of years before any instrumental accompaniment was introduced.)

4) To make a contribution from their resources to carry on the responsibilities of the church on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:2).

5) To make petitions to God for their needs and to express thanksgiving (I Timothy 2:1-2; Acts 12:12, etc.).

The churches of men

In four of the five aforementioned items, we find churches not respecting the pattern God has given.

1) In addition to teaching God’s word (and in some churches very little of that is taught), we find churches offering classes in how to care for your horse, furniture repair work-shops, sewing classes, auto care clinics and you name it, and you will probably find some church practicing it.

2) With respect to the Lord’s Supper, there are many variations. As opposed to the early church’s practice of partaking every first day, we find denominations taking it every day, once a month, once a quarter, once a year, and some do not take it at all. And not only do some deviate from the Bible pattern of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, I know of some who have used potato chips and Coke, and who knows what else.

3) Orchestras, bands and all sorts of musical instruments and dancing are added. Many have told me that this is great entertainment. I have been to denominations where the music is so loud that it is deafening (it gave me a headache), and it has been accompanied with suggestive dancing. In churches I have visited, audience participation is limited because the choir does much of the singing, or the music is so loud that it drowns out what the audience attempts to do.

4) Churches of men have been very inventive when it comes to raising money. Door to door soliciting, bake sales, rummage sales, selling merchandise, taking collections week-nights or every time the church meets, charging for various classes, selling investment portfolios, etc.

5) The only departure that might be observed in prayers would be in the fact that in some churches women may lead in prayer in the assembly or class when men are present, even though the Bible forbids women from taking a leading part in such gatherings. “Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness” (I Timothy 2:11-12; cf. I Corinthians 14:34). This also precludes a woman from being a pastor or preacher.

Conclusion

Why do men think their way of worshiping God is better than the way God has given? Are men to worship to please themselves, or should they accept what God wants? I had a woman tell me she could never give up what her church was doing, because she liked it so much. Peter writes that we, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:5).

How “acceptable” would it be for me to buy a chainsaw for my wife’s birthday because it pleased me? I guess that would be as acceptable as her buying me some earrings because they were really pretty, and they pleased her.

The Organization of the Church

The Bible

In reading through the New Testament, we find the pattern of local, independent churches that are autonomous, with no hierarchy or organizational structure other than the local church. They were bound together only inasmuch as the individual Christians are family members — brothers and sisters in the family of God, which is the church or body of Christ. Each local congregation was led by those who were called elders/shepherds/pastors.

Peter instructed the elders to “Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind” [my emphasis] (I Peter 5:2).

The churches of men

Most every denomination has some organizational structure or government, whether it be synods, a pope, conventions, area bishops, a president, or any number of different arrangements. But history has shown that often the leadership is far more liberal than the members in the pews, and this presents problems. Evidently in God’s wisdom, he wanted each local congregation to be independent and self-sustaining.

To illustrate the point, suppose I have a single-pane large window in my den, and my children are playing ball in the yard. Then an errant ball comes crashing through my window, and the whole thing is destroyed. But suppose that same opening was composed of 12 smaller individual panes. That errant ball then destroys only one pane, not the whole structure.

Making an application to the denominational governmental structures, if there is some error in the leadership, it affects the whole denomination, and I have seen this happen time and again. But if every local church is independent and self-governing, then whenever some local church goes off track, it does not affect other churches. Surely God’s wisdom can be seen in the pattern he set for us.

The Names that Are Worn

The Bible

There are various names by which God’s people are identified in the Bible. Notice a few of them. The church, God’s people, is called the “kingdom of God,” in Romans 14:17 and other places. Christ is king, and we are citizens of the kingdom. Another name given is “church of God” (I Corinthians 1:2). “Church” is from “ekklesia,” and basically means “called out,” thus those who are “called out of the world that belong to God.” The church is also referred to as the “bride” (Revelation 21:9). In this, the church is married to Christ, and thus takes his name, as it is also called the “church of Christ” (Romans 16:16). Another term is the “household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). In this family picture, we know God is our father, Christ is our older brother, and we are God’s children. God saw fit to use these, and other terms, to describe his church, his people. They all refer to the same spiritual body, but emphasize different characteristics of it.

The churches of men

Men have been very inventive in coming up with their own names. Examples: The Church of Daniel’s Band, The Church of Gloom, Two Seed in the Spirit Baptist Church, The Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus, Holy Ghost Repair Service.

While the foregoing names might bring a chuckle, in one sense they are no different than traditional denominational names — Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, and on into infinity, considering there are some 32,000 different denominations in the United States. These names are all the inventions of the imaginations of men. Why are the designations given by the Divine Architect not suitable?

Suppose I wanted to erect a memorial to one of my grandfathers, Lorenzo Antonio Gotto. I draw up the plans and give them to a builder. He then completes the monument, and  takes me out to see the completed monument. The inscription says, “In memory of Margaret Thatcher.” Would I accept it? Will God accept the names men have invented to give to that which is built as a memorial to his Son? Why can we not be satisfied with God’s blueprint?

God’s Plan of Salvation

The Bible

God’s Word gives very clear directions as to how one obtains forgiveness of sins and becomes a part of God’s family—the church.

1) Obviously, hearing the gospel is the beginning, as is seen in Romans 10:14, for this is the beginning of…

2) Faith, without which, one cannot come to God (Hebrews 11:6). This faith is not only a belief in God, but a belief in God’s grace, knowing that we do not deserve, nor can we earn salvation merely through good works. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

3) Repentance, for we cannot continue to live in and for the world if we want to live in a relationship with Christ (Luke 13:3).

4) The confession of our faith is a part of this process, as we are to “confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord” (Romans 10:9).

5) Baptism for the remission of sins. This baptism is an immersion in water, as all authorities in the New Testament language of Greek agree that the word “baptidzo” means to “dip, plunge, immerse.” Its purpose is at least three-fold.

a) It is associated with the removal of sins, for God promises his grace to take away our sins when we comply with his teaching. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Then we find Ananias giving instruction to Saul of Tarsus in Acts 22:16: “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”

b) Baptism is associated with our entrance into Christ, into his body. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

c) Baptism makes us partakers of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:3-6). The picture Paul gives is that of putting to death our sinful life by burying it, and then we are raised from that watery grave to a new life.

Note that in the passages cited baptism precedes, goes before salvation and the washing away of sins. Furthermore, since Galatians 3:27 states that we are baptized into Christ, how is it that some teach we are saved before baptism? Are we then saved outside of a relationship with Christ? Who can believe it? Some claim that we are saved before baptism, but the Scriptures show otherwise.

6) A sixth element in our salvation is a life of faithful service. It’s not like buying a ticket to get on the train. Once you’re on, you don’t have to do anything else but sit down and enjoy the ride. Our Lord urged us to “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

The churches of men

Basically, many denominations have just one step in their plan of salvation. A direct quote from two prominent denominational creed books says, “Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.” Many other denominations say the same thing, only phrased differently.

What is wrong with such a statement? For one thing, it excludes repentance. “Oh, but the Bible says we must repent of our sins,” is the reply. Then it is not faith only! “Only” is an exclusive and excluding word. If I am buying a plane ticket to Timbuktu, and I tell the agent that I am the only one flying, I am not expected to show up with my wife and children. Anyone can understand that.

To be honest, it must be admitted that the words “faith” and “only” do appear together in the Bible. That is in James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.” It is not that our works save us, but James clearly states that it is an obedient faith that accompanies salvation. Peter confirms this in I Peter 3:21: “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” In the preceding verse, Peter mentions Noah’s salvation by water, and compared that to the matter of baptism.

With respect to baptism, there are other ideas of men that confuse and contradict. Some denominations sprinkle water on the subject, while others pour water. One church has been said to sprinkle rose petals. Then other denominations have eliminated baptism altogether. Some have baptisms once a year, while others may schedule a baptism every few months, whereas in the Bible baptism takes place as soon as a person is told what to do.

Some baptize babies, and some even will baptize those who are dead, while some baptize living persons for dead people. The question is, who gave these churches the right to change the blueprints? If Christ is our Savior, then doesn’t he have the right to set the terms?

What Happens When We Change the Blueprints?

Our Lord had to deal with many in his day who “changed the blueprints.” Time and time again he rebuked the religious leaders among the Jews. Note carefully what he said in Matthew 7:21-23. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

What was the problem? These were people who called Jesus “Lord,” and who were religious people doing many good things. A key word in the passage is the last one cited — “lawlessness.” Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines this as “illegality, i.e. violation of law…” The word in Greek is “anomia.”“Nomia” is “law,” and the alpha preceding it negates the meaning. We do the same with “un.” We speak of something that is “lawful,” but when we put the “un” in front of it, we make the meaning negative.

And so it was with those to whom Christ referred. While they may have been doing things that were good in their own way of thinking, they were actually practicing things that were “unlawful, without law.” Simply put, they were doing things that were “without authority.” (Well, actually there was some authority—their authority!)

Much could be said about the matter of authority, but we will be brief. Paul instructed the church at Colossae in these words: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17). “In the name of the Lord” signifies the need for authority. Thus in “word,” our teaching, or “deed,” our practice, we need to find a “thus sayeth the Lord.”  If we cannot do so, then we are acting on our own authority, and we find ourselves in the same situation as those in Matthew 7:21-23.

Consider also our Lord’s words concerning the religious leaders of his day: “But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:9). When I read the creed books, the church manuals, the catechisms, etc., of the various denominations, I am not reading the Word of God, I am reading the doctrines of men! This presents a real problem, since truth does not contradict itself. These books not only contradict the Bible many times, but they also contradict one another. And what is the ultimate result? “But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13). God says that those religious groups that follow the precepts of men shall be rooted up. God will not accept them. I didn’t say it. God did!

I remember having a discussion with a friend on baptism, as to whether it should be by immersion or by sprinkling (as his church practiced). He did not deny the evidence I presented which clearly showed immersion was the Biblical practice. But he dismissed the whole matter by declaring, “I don’t think it makes any difference.” Well, it may have made no difference to him, but the question is, “Does it make any difference to God?” We have the story of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-3, as they came to offer sacrifices to God. “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.  And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘It is what the LORD spoke, saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.”‘ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.”

Consider the fact that they believed in God, and were worshiping God. But in doing so they were roasted alive. Why? Because they did not follow the blueprint,the pattern that God had given. They offered “strange fire,” which the LORD “had not commanded them.” They had no authority for what they had done. I am quite sure they must have thought, as my friend thought, “I don’t think it makes any difference.” When Nadab and Abihu did what they wanted rather than what God wanted, the text says they neither honored God nor treated him as holy. Is is any different today?

Question: Must one believe the Catholic Catechism, the “blueprint” for the Catholic Church, in order to go to heaven? Must one believe the Methodist Discipline to go to heaven? Must one believe the Baptist Manual to go to heaven? Must one believe the Book of Mormon to go to heaven? Must one believe the Bible, God’s “blueprint,” in order to go to heaven? You know the answer! God gave the perfect blueprint, so why do we need other books of laws and regulations? If God’s book was good enough for Christians in the first century, why isn’t it good enough for us today?

In closing, consider a clear example of changing the blueprint. Following is a quote from Hiscox Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, page 22: “Church Membership” – “It is most likely that in the Apostolic age when there was but ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church…In that sense, ‘baptism was the door into the church.’ Now, it is different; and while the churches are desirous of receiving members, they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons. The churches therefore have candidates come before them, make their statement, give their ‘experience,’ and then their reception is decided by a vote of the members. And while they cannot become members without baptism, yet it is the vote of the body which admits them to its fellowship on receiving baptism.”

Did you notice the words, “Now, it is different”? If that’s not a clear case of changing the blueprint, then I don’t know what would be.

God will not recognize those who refuse to follow the blueprints, who have no regard for the pattern given in God’s Word, no matter how much good they think they are doing. What do you think would have happened to Moses if he had decided to alter God’s design for the tabernacle?

Search the Scriptures! Follow the blueprints! We must know for ourselves what the architect’s plans are, and not just depend on what others tell us. The apostle Paul commended the people of Berea for doing just that. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Our salvation is too important for us to just depend on what some preacher/pastor/priest tells us. We must know for ourselves.

You remember the passage in Hebrews 11 about Abraham “looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10). Suppose that when Abraham arrived in that heavenly city he began to look around and decided that he didn’t like the way things were laid out. So he set out to change the architecture. How well do you think that would have gone over? Obviously, we know that would not happen. But it happens over and over when men tamper with God’s pattern for the church.

Some years ago, our family took in a troubled teen who had to be away from her family. My wife showed Emily her room, and then my wife went to do other things. In a few minutes there came the sound of thuds, bangs and scrapes from Emily’s room. When my wife went to see what was going on, Emily was moving every stick of furniture in the room. “Well, gag, I didn’t like it the way it was.” We wonder if that’s the attitude men have when they change everything in the Lord’s church to suit themselves. My wife didn’t appreciate Emily’s lack of respect for what we had provided. And we can be sure that God does not appreciate the lack of respect men show for what he has provided.

My question to those who practice or believe things I cannot find in the Word of God is simply this, “Where is the scripture? Please give me book, chapter and verse.” Without that, I cannot accept it. And neither should you.

— Via the La Vista church of Christ, Omaha, Nebraska
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jamie Cates is recovering from a double-lung transplant, which will require his remaining near the hospital for the next six months.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother will be having his heart surgery July 7, which will involve two surgeons, and will also have a second surgery on July 8 with two surgeons. A 6″ Gore-Tex graft will be inserted into his heart’s main artery, and other procedures will also be performed.

James Medlock came home from the hospital Friday.  They eliminated the fluid in his left lung, which was caused by the pneumonia.  But they said that he would be having other fluid problems, due to his heart value not functioning properly.  That was actually the reason why he went into the hospital on April 7 (spent 6 days there) and then was transferred to the nursing home for 21 days.  It was fluid build-up because of that bad heart valve.  For that reason, James has to be weighed every morning; and if his weight has gone up 5 pounds or more from the previous time, he then needs to be taken to the hospital.  Since James has difficulty in standing on a regular scale, the Medlocks have contacted the hospital about getting the type of scale that will work with the hospital bed they have for James in their home.  It will show the person’s weight while he is still in bed.  The result of the testing they did on James for covid-19, while in the hospital, showed to be negative. 

Things went smoothly for Deborah Medlock Friday with her 3-needle biopsy. To keep her from feeling any pain, they put her to sleep for what was probably about a 20-to-30-minute procedure.  She should hear the results this Tuesday at her follow-up.

Following the two epidurals that Doyle Rittenhouse recently received, he will also be given two more on July 2.  Then, about a week afterwards, if these have still not solved his problem, he will receive two more.  So far, his condition has only become worse.  The epidurals have not been eliminating his back pain.  If that continues to be the case through all three sessions, the next step will then be the spacer-surgery for his spine.

Ginger Ann Montero’s MRI last week showed a possible pinched nerve that she will be seeing a pain doctor for this week.

Joyce Rittenhouse is glad to have eliminated a painful kidney stone, about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, that had been lodged in her bladder.  She is now back on antibiotics.

Lanell Montero Dapello is now healing from a broken ankle.

I’m glad to say that we now have a new sister in the Lord! Tina Allen was baptized Wednesday evening into Christ (Gal. 3:27), where there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1), to have all of her sins blotted out by the precious blood of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:7).  She had repented of all her transgressions (Luke 13:5), acknowledged her faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38), was immersed in water as a sinner and came up as a saint through faith in the working of God (Col. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:33) and now has that new life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:17) with all her sins washed away (Acts 22:16) and brought into that saved relationship with our loving and merciful heavenly Father (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 3:1-3) that is enjoyed in the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13), which is also referred to as the church (Col. 1:18) and the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12).   And all the angels in heaven are also rejoicing! (Luke 15:10).  Let us pray for Tina’s spiritual development, that she will continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18, NASB).

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson,  Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
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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 (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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, 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
http://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).
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Contents:

1) Maintaining Godliness During Difficult Times (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Maintaining Godliness During Difficult Times

Tom Edwards

Due to a false accusation made against him by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:7-20), Joseph, as an innocent man, spent two years in prison for a crime he had not committed (Gen. 41:1, 8,14-15).  His confinement in that dungeon would have been longer had he not interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and his chief baker — fellow prisoners (Gen. 40:2-3, 8-13). 

Joseph told the cupbearer that his dream meant that Pharaoh would release him from prison in three days and restore him to his former position as the king’s chief cupbearer.  Joseph then asked just one thing of him: “Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this place. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon” (vv. 14-15). 

The interpretation of the dream came to pass, just as Joseph said it would.  The cupbearer was set free and resumed his former service to the king — but, unfortunately, he “did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (v. 23).  

At the end of two full years of Joseph’s imprisonment, Pharaoh had two dreams which troubled him — dreams which none of his wise men nor magicians could interpret (Gen. 41:1-8).  So it was finally then when the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and spoke to Pharaoh about him (Gen. 41:9-14). 

While in prison, Joseph remained true and faithful to God —  even when “They afflicted his feet with fetters” and “He himself was laid in irons” (Psa. 105:18).  So God was with Joseph, blessed him, and “extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer” who, in turn, “committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.  The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him, and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper” (Gen. 39:21-23).  

What a wonderful lesson we see in this of one who kept his faith in God and devotion toward Him even after suffering unjustly for something he did not do.  It would probably appear to many that Joseph, in his dungeon-circumstance (Gen. 41:14), had reason to complain, to be embittered, to be hateful, to be filled with rage, to lash out, to rebel and lose faith — but he did not.  And because of his continual, loyal commitment to God, the Lord blessed Joseph.

We who are Christians need to also be that same way.  For to those saints who were undergoing not just some difficulties but the extremes of a “fiery ordeal,” Peter exhorted to “keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Pet. 1:12-16).

It was also Peter, in this same epistle, who encouraged the brethren to “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12).

We need to, therefore, always strive to set forth the right example.  And Peter also has more to say about that behavior we are to maintain and why:

“For,
He that would love life,
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips that they speak no guile:
And let him turn away from evil, and do good;
Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And his ears unto their supplication:
But the face of the Lord is upon [against, NASB] them that do evil” (1 Pet. 3:10-12, ASV).

As Christians we are to be different from the world because of our special relationship with God, as Peter shows in 1 Peter 2:9-10: “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 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.”

In Psalm 105, one of the historical psalms, we read more about Joseph in verses 16-25.  There it states that it was God who had “sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave” (v. 17).  

In reading the account of Joseph’s betrayal by his own jealous and enraged brothers (Gen. 37:11) who increased in their hatred toward him (Gen. 37:4, 8); would have killed him had it not been for Reuben (vv. 18,20,21); and later listened to the advice of Judah, who also thought it not wise to murder their brother, but instead to sell him into slavery for twenty shekels of silver (vv. 26-28); it would certainly not appear that God had anything at all to do with such cold-hearted and evil acts.  And He did not — in the sense of actually causing it.  But in the case of Joseph, we see that God can even use the wicked and sinful dealings of others, which He is not responsible for, to bring about His will through His divine providence.  

As we think of God being able to use such evil and wickedness of men, how this very much parallels with the unjust treatment and atrocities inflicted upon God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and what that all led to.  For it was not God, but it was the envious religious leaders who stirred up the multitude into demanding the death of Jesus (Mark 15:10-13; John 19:14-15).  Were any of these, who were crying out for His blood, part of that crowd a week earlier who praised the Lord as He entered the city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey?  That is spoken of as being “His triumphal entry.”  For then, they were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9).  But had they so quickly and wrongfully changed their tune just one week later?

We who praise the name of the Lord now, as our Lord and Savior, must still be on guard against temptations, lest we be lured into that broad and wrongful way that the majority of this world are following to destruction — instead of remaining true on that narrow and less traveled way that leads to eternal life in heaven above (Matt. 7:13-14).   For our allegiance can be easily switched from God to the evil things of this world, if we are not careful.  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Jesus knew of the pain and suffering He would have to undergo to make an atonement for the sins of the world.  He knew He would be lied about, mocked, physically and severely mistreated, and eventually nailed to a cross where he would writhe in anguish and intense pain.  However, none of that evil inflicted on Him was caused by God — but it was used by God.  For Jesus knew that He had to die for the sins of the world; and, therefore, remained silent before His accusers, as seen in Isaiah’s prophesy of the Christ:

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth” (Isa. 53:7).

Jesus did not try to defend Himself in word or action to avoid the cross — nor did He want His apostles to prevent or rescue Him from that agony to come, nor the twelve legions of angels to do so (Matt. 16:21-23; Matt. 26:52-54; John 18:10-11, 36).  So while going through the mock trials and the terrible scourging, He was intent on going to the cross in order to make a way of salvation possible for every lost soul by His atoning death  — even for the very ones who hated and persecuted Him (Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). Jesus could see that every evil treatment inflicted upon Him was now leading up to that. So He willingly submitted (John 10:14-15, 17-18) and did the most needful thing for this world that no one else would ever have been able to do.  For “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Jesus’ atonement was for every sinner that has ever lived or ever shall live. 

And from that worst evil that the world could ever show in wickedly and unjustifiably putting to death God’s Perfect Son Jesus, God also providentially used that to show to the world His far surpassing love in the greatest way possible:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atonement] for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  “For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

Joseph realized, too, that even the evil that befell him was being used by God in His divine providence.  For when revealing himself to his brothers many years after their betrayal of him, he assured them by saying: “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5). “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt” (v. 8).  Joseph also later said to them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Gen. 50:20-21).

The story of Joseph very much reminds us of how Jesus was treated.  For it was much evil that led to His crucifixion.  As noted earlier, it was envy (Mark 15:10); an intense desire for His death (Mark 15:12-14); and a perversion of justice in crying out for the release of the murderer and insurrectionist, Barabbas, while demanding that Jesus, the innocent One, be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).  Peter states that the Lord was “nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put to death.”  Yet that same verse also shows that Jesus was “delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Again, God did not directly cause it; but He could still use these terrible doings in bringing about His will through divine providence.  For God sent His Son into our world “when the fullness of the time came” (Gal. 4:4), which means “the destined or appointed time”; and “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:5).  These events took place when God wanted them to.

What terrible things were inflicted upon Joseph — the betrayal of his jealous brothers, their increasing hatred toward him, their murderous hearts toward him, their selling him into slavery for twenty shekels of silver, and his confinement for two years in a dungeon because of a false and malicious charge made against him.  But let us remember and never forget how Joseph dealt with those situations.  He did not become embittered, irrational, throwing fits, hateful, lashing out verbally and physically; but, instead, he maintained his faith in God and devotion to Him.

And we can certainly say the same of Jesus who suffered to an even more intense degree.  Yet, what was one of the last things He prayed while on that cross in extreme agony and being reviled and mocked by some of the onlookers?  He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

What about injustice, ill-treatment, and adversity in our time? How do we react when these things happen to us?  Is it how we should react?  Is it the way God wants us to react?  Are we manifesting a Christ-like spirit?  Or are we showing that we are no longer listening to God (if we ever had before)?   We, who are Christians, need to always maintain a godly composure — even when undergoing difficult trials — to be like Joseph, to be more like Jesus, to always strive to be pleasing to our Father in heaven.

We should also remember that “this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.  For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?  But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this find favor with God” (1 Pet. 2:19-20).

And “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

There are certainly many other Bible examples that could be cited, such as the apostles who after they had been beaten and imprisoned for preaching the gospel, continued to do the same preaching after being released and were “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).  Or those believers who, when persecuted, were able to “accept joyfully” the seizure of their property because they knew that they had “a better possession and a lasting one” in eternal glory with God in heaven — and of which no man could take from them (Heb. 10:34).

Having our priorities right by putting God first (Matt. 6:33) and focusing on the spiritual above the physical (Col. 3:1-3), and the eternal above the temporary (Col. 4:16-18), will help us in striving to maintain godliness — even when undergoing difficult times.  So may we ever look to the Lord by looking to His word and faithfully submitting to Him by applying His word in our lives — and continue to do so — come what may!  For His word is the word of eternal salvation!

— All Scripture from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.

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-2-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner has requested prayer for her daughter’s brother-in-law, Jamie Cates, who recently had a double lung transplant and is still in the hospital — and, even after being released, will have to remain near it for the next six months. Pat says that “He is progressing ok, but is still not out of the woods yet.”

A.J. Joyner and his wife Pat are not allowed to go out at this time. He is still having trouble with a sinus infection, arthritis, and a bad knee. And Pat has autoimmune diseases, COPD, scarring of her lungs, and other health issues.

Cheryl Corbitt is feeling better, though she still becomes a little fatigued when trying to do too much.  We are glad and thankful that her test result yesterday for covid-19 came back negative.  Her family is also doing well. The test results for those who had covid-19 at the nursing home, whom Cheryl had asked us to pray for, also came back negative.

Deborah Medlock’s  three-needle biopsy was rescheduled for June 26, due to a surgery that has come up for someone else.  Her follow-up will then be on the 30th, when she will then hear the results.  Even if the growth is benign, Deborah will probably go ahead with chemo or radiation treatments if recommended by her doctor. 

Doyle Rittenhouse had two epidurals last week, but they did not alleviate his pain. Actually, it has been getting worse, which has him not sleeping well.  He will be having a telephone conference with his doctor tomorrow and will probably be having the spacer-surgery for his spine in the next couple weeks.  The stitches were removed from where they cut out the abnormal growth, but the biopsy of that area has not yet come back. 
 
Ginger Ann Montero has been experiencing pain, which seems to be caused by a pinched nerve. She will be seeing her doctor tomorrow. 

Rex Hadley has two ballooned discs that are causing pain to his leg. He had been given an epidural, but it did not give him much relief. 

Frankie Hadley’s health has not improved, and she remains very fragile.

Joyce Rittenhouse is feeling better every day; but her legs are weak and shaky when standing, due to having been bedridden for several days, and which will take about a month to regain her strength.  She says “Hey” to all the members, misses us, and wishes she could be at the services — but her immune system has also been decreased, so her doctor has advised her not to go out.    She is also on a new type of medication that will help her not to form the many stones that she had been having over the last several months, and also a new insulin that won’t lead to some of the other problems she was having with the previous one.  So she is glad for these things.

Joyce’s brother is still waiting for the 6″ Gore-Tex graft to be made, and which will then be installed into his heart’s main artery.  Other procedures will also be performed.  So it will be two surgeries, on two consecutive days, that will each be performed by two surgeons.  In the meanwhile, they are keeping his blood pressure low. 

Ronnie Davis has been having some problems with allergies.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson,  Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, and Kerry Williams.
——————–

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 (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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, 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
http://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) Language: From the Tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost (Randy Blackaby)
2) Endure to the End! (Wayne Goff)
3) Beyond Our Greatest Dream (Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Language: From the Tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost

Randy Blackaby

The Bible records that following the Great Flood the descendants of Noah attempted to build a city and a tower “whose top may reach unto heaven” (Gen. 11:1-9). God saw this effort and that it could be achieved. So he confounded the language of the people, forcing them to stop the construction and scatter over the earth.

What is the message and lesson of this historic text? Is it simply to explain how multiple languages developed? Was God genuinely concerned that men would build a tower that would invade the divine habitation?

Let’s look more closely. These men in Shinar (ancient Babylon — Dan. 1:1-2) wanted to build a city and a tower. There seems nothing inherently wrong in that alone. The Bible says they wanted to construct it so its top might reach unto heaven or, as other translations say, “into the heavens.”

God thought that without intervention “nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” It hardly seems likely that God feared men could build a brick tower all the way to heaven itself.

We must look more closely to see what the real sin at Babel involved. God had told Noah, after the Flood, to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1).

The people at Babel wanted to build a city and a tower, to make a name for themselves, and to prevent being scattered over the earth. Whereas God had given command to replenish the whole earth, these people were attempting to thwart God’s plan and develop a name for themselves at the same time. God had destroyed sinners in the Flood but not sin. The common elements of sin were present at Babel — human pride and rebellion.

So, God caused a division among the people by confounding their language so they couldn’t communicate. He did so because they had a unity of purpose in rebellion and this was propelling them toward the exact same conditions that existed immediately prior to the Flood.

By this means, Noah’s descendants were scattered over the face of the earth, just as God had initially commanded.

The site of the rebellion became known as Babel, which means “confusion.” Notice that Babel is the root of the name Babylon, which became synonymous with opposition to God from the time of the prophet Daniel to John’s writing of the Revelation.

Parallels Today

God has told the saved today to be fruitful, multiply and spread the gospel into the whole world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). When human pride drives us to build monuments to ourselves instead of to God, we repeat the sin of Babel.

When instead of being spiritually fruitful we try to build our own material security, we repeat the infidelity of Babel.

When we refuse to hear God’s word, he sends us strong delusion — or a confusion like he sent to Babel.

When men get full of human pride, confusion always results. We live today in a world of religious “babble.” Only the spelling has changed.

What can reunite men and end the religious confusion? Simply listening to God and obeying his commands.

God once caused rebellious men to lose their ability to communicate. But after Jesus died on the cross, God did something equally phenomenal. He gave the apostles the power to speak in the languages of all the people assembled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-12). The language barrier was dropped for a brief time so that God’s message of salvation could be heard with utter clarity. The miracles of “speaking in tongues” evidenced God’s presence and power just as the confusion of tongues had done centuries before.

Babel forever represents the confusion and division of humankind; but Zion, the city of God, the church, draws men and women of every language, color, culture, and nationality into a kingdom where there is neither Greek nor Jew, bond or free, but where all are one in Christ Jesus.

— Via Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 23  p5  December 7, 2000
——————–

-2-

Endure to the End!

Wayne Goff

One of the necessary qualities of anyone who will be eternally saved is endurance. It is also a quality woefully lacking in many people today. Perhaps in our modern, fast-paced society we do not instill in the hearts of our children the concept of endurance, of sticking it out, of finishing the task at hand. When our children began something at school, especially extra-curricular activities, we only asked them to finish what they started. If they didn’t like something, they still had to finish it out.

In Matthew 10:22, Jesus sends out the Twelve with miraculous power to the Israelites only (“Limited Commission”). He gives them very detailed instructions as to how they were to go into a community, preach and be received. He even tells them that eventually they will be delivered up to governors and kings for His sake. They were not to worry about what they said because the Holy Spirit would tell them what they should say on that occasion. He concludes His remarks to them by saying, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

On another occasion, Jesus is giving instructions to the apostles again about the coming destruction of Jerusalem which would take place in 70 A.D. He tells all of His disciples to watch for the signs of that coming destruction and to run away from Jerusalem when those signs appeared. The evilness of Israel was described with these words: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved”(Matthew 24:12-13). Jesus expects His followers to be faithful to Him even when the entire country, or society, they live in turns to wickedness!

The apostle Paul commends those who conscientiously serve Jesus “by patient continuance in doing good” (Romans 2:7). And again in Hebrews 3:6 we read, “…whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”  Will you do it?

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 83, Page 1, February 23, 2020
——————–

-3-

Beyond Our Greatest Dream

Tom Edwards

Right before waking up this morning, I heard in a dream my Aunt Margaret singing so beautifully that it brought tears to my eyes (at least in the dream).  Every note and modulation sounded perfect.  I don’t remember any of the words, but they all made sense while listening; and the melody was something I don’t think I had ever heard before.  It wasn’t rock, pop, or country.  It sounded more like opera.  And though I’m usually not that much into opera, what she sang moved me in a way similar to hearing a great female singer performing Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

Isn’t it amazing what the mind can imagine and do!  And some of what it does is performed automatically — without a conscious effort on our part!  We each have been wonderfully made!

But no matter how greatly we can dream or imagine a most beautiful thing, yet that still falls short of the blissful reality and experience that awaits the child of God in heaven!  For as Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20, God is one “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” 

This is why I view the forgiveness of sins as being the greatest blessing one can ever have while on earth. For it brings one into a loving relationship with God that will ultimately be fulfilled — and so much more so — in that perfect and timeless realm called heaven, which human words can not even come close to describing!  Oh, how wonderful heaven will be!

— posted on my facebook site May18, 2020

——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Cheryl Corbitt continues to heal.  Her fever has been gone for more than a week, and they called her back into work yesterday.  She will also have to work today, but will then have the next two days off.  She will need that.  She mentioned yesterday that after working again, the fatigue that she thought was gone had come back, due to not being 100% recovered.  But there is also another worker helping out to lighten the load.  Let us also continue to remember in prayer all those at the nursing home whom Cheryl would like us praying for and those in the hospital.

The abnormality that showed up in Deborah Medlock’s mammogram is a nodule 3 cm (1.18 inches).  She will be seeing her surgeon about this Tuesday to see what her next step will be and will either have a needle biopsy then or at another appointed time. 

Rex Hadley has two ballooned discs that are causing pain to his leg. He had been given an epidural, but it did not give him much relief.  He will be having another one on the 17th.

Frankie Hadley’s health has not improved, and she remains very fragile.

Ginger Ann Montero has been experiencing pain, which seems to be caused by a pinched nerve. She has an appointment for this tomorrow and Wednesday.

Joyce Rittenhouse finished her antibiotics Thursday and is feeling 100% better, but still weak.  She is also on a new type of medication that will help her not to form the many stones that she had been having over the last several months.

Doyle Rittenhouse will be having two epidurals Wednesday.  His stitches were removed Tuesday, but the biopsy of that area has not yet come back.

Joyce’s brother saw his doctor Wednesday and heard the results of the CT scan.  They are keeping his blood pressure low as he is awaiting two heart surgeries that will be one day after the other, four or five weeks from now, and with two surgeons doing both.   A 6″ Gore-Tex graft will be made and installed for the heart’s main artery.  And other procedures will also be performed.

Michael Rittenhouse’s test came back good: no scars in the lung, no pneumonia.  He was given a clean bill of health.  The issue he was waiting to hear from his doctor turned out to be nothing to worry about.  It is just four liver cists, each only about 5mm, that are not presenting any problem. 

James Medlock has been making some improvement, being more alert. 

Bud Montero had a follow-up with his doctor Thursday and is doing well and feeling fine, which he thanks the Lord for.  In September, he will then have his PSA checked.

Ronnie Davis has been having some allergy problems.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson,  Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, and Kerry Williams.
——————–


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 (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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith
, 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
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/

http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer

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

Contents:

1) The Weightier Matters (Doy Moyer)
2) Pillar and Ground of the Truth (David Riggs)
3) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

The Weightier Matters

Doy Moyer

When we think of “doctrinal” issues, we tend to think of matters like marriage and divorce, the work of the church, baptism, etc. We work hard to try to get these right, and there are often sharp disagreements over the nature of these “doctrinal” matters.

“Doctrine” means teaching, and anything we teach is, definitionally, doctrinal. We often elevate the word “doctrinal” to some special status to mean the really important teachings, whereas “non-doctrinal” means those areas that we can disagree about. Then, we arbitrarily assign the various teachings in Scripture to one or the other status. Never mind that we can’t find this kind of use of “doctrinal” or “non-doctrinal” in Scripture.

Yet there is something else we may be missing. Do we realize that issues like loving neighbor as self, treating each other as we want to be treated, forgiving others, seeking peace, doing justice, and showing mercy are also doctrinal matters? In fact, so great are these teachings in Scripture that our own salvation depends on our actions relative to these issues. If I don’t love my neighbor, I am in violation of the most significant teaching that relates to how I think about other people. It is second only to loving God (Matt 22:36-40). If I don’t treat others as I want to be treated, I am guilty of injustice, failing in the most basic task of seeing others as made in God’s image (Jas 3:9). If I don’t show mercy, I won’t be shown mercy (Jas 2:13). If I don’t forgive, I won’t be forgiven (Mark 11:25). If I am not seeking peace, I am not standing for Christ and His kingdom (cf. Rom 14:17).

Can it get any more important than that? We need to know that being wrong about these doctrinal matters most certainly puts our souls at eternal risk. We often stress the works of the flesh that will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21), yet failing to love, forgive, and show mercy will have the same effect. If we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, etc.), then the Spirit of God is not in us. We are lost.

I’m not saying that other doctrinal matters aren’t important — if Scripture teaches it, who are we to downplay it? Yet let’s not forget that love and mercy are at the heart of what it means to be servants of Christ and others. These are, indeed, the weightier matters, and the last thing we want is to find ourselves to be the hypocrites of Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

Christians, we need to shine right now. The world is in desperate need of the light of Christ. Love one another. Love your neighbors. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be merciful. Be forgiving. Do justice. Seek peace. Pray hard. May God forbid that we neglect these doctrines through mistreating others.

— Via Doy Moyer’s Facebook site, June 6, 2020

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Pillar and Ground of Truth

David Riggs

Catholics sometimes quote I Timothy 3:15 which states, “…The church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth” to prove that the church is invested with authority to legislate in divine matters (See Father Smith Instructs Jackson, p. 35; The Question Box, p. 96).

The phrase “pillar and ground of the truth” does not mean that the church is the originator of truth or that it can make or change the laws of God. It simply means that it is the upholder, defender and proclaimer of the truth. The apostles often praised churches for proclaiming the truth, “for from you the word of the Lord has been spread abroad” (I Thess. 1:8). They commended them for defending the truth, “partakers with me . . . in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Phil. 1:7). However, there is not a single verse in all of the Holy Scriptures which indicates that the church has the authority to originate truth or to decree laws for God.

The apostles and prophets (and they alone) were commissioned by the Lord, not to originate truth but to reveal the truth. “For ever, 0 Lord, thy word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89 Catholic Edition RSV). Their task was once and for all completed for they gave us the written New Testament of Christ.

The responsibility of the church today is simply to follow, defend and proclaim the truth which they revealed. The Catechism for Adults, page 54 says, “The Catholic Church alone has the authority to rule and to teach.” However, the authority is not in the body, but in the Head (Eph 1:22,23; Col. 1:18). The ruling is not in the kingdom, but in the King (Heb. 7:1 2; Rev. 1:5 6). The authority is not in the church, but in Christ (Matt. 28: 18; 1 Pet. 3:22). The church is not the Savior, but simply the body of the saved (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-24).

— Via The Beacon, April 26, 2020 

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Cheryl Corbitt
was tested last Wednesday for the coronavirus and found out Friday that the test result was positive.  She is experiencing the symptoms of being fatigued, running a low-grade fever, and having lost the sense of smell and taste.  She is also without much appetite, but tries to eat a little each day. She also requests prayer for all those at the nursing home.

Joyce Rittenhouse returned home from the hospital Thursday, but still experiencing weakness, nausea and vertigo, which she is on medication for.  On a good note, she is no longer septic, has no blockages, had no stroke, and her white blood cell count of 14,000 when she was admitted to the hospital was down to 7,000 when she left.  She will have a follow-up this Tuesday.

Joyce’s brother will be having a follow-up from his CT-scan June 12 and then have his heart surgery the following week.

Doyle Rittenhouse will be having a follow-up this Tuesday to determine if the area where a recent abnormal growth was removed will require an additional procedure or not.  On June 17, he will also receive an epidural for his constant back pain.

Michael Rittenhouse will be seeing his doctor June 9 to find out more about his present health.  He is not feeling up to par, but has returned to work.

Bud Montero will be having a follow-up on June 11 for the procedure he had a few weeks ago.

Congratulations to Jonathan and Anita Abbott! Their daughter Emily Cox gave birth to a healthy baby last Tuesday!  The delivery went very well for the mother and baby Sadie.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: the family and friends of Andy Berendt, Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, James Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, John Bladen, the Medlock family, and Kerry Williams.
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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 (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; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, 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
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)

http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/

http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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