“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) 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
Language: From the Tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost
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.
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
Endure to the End!
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
Beyond Our Greatest Dream
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
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).
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
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)