Month: July 2020

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 Lord’s Supper (Kyle Pope)
2) News & Notes
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The Lord’s Supper

Kyle Pope

As the children of Israel were coming out of their bondage in the land of Egypt, the Lord instituted a memorial that the Israelites were to keep as a reminder of the great deliverance God granted them from the final plague that struck the Egyptians. While the Lord struck dead the first born of everyone in Egypt, those who observed the Lord’s instructions among the Jews were spared this horror. From that time forward the Jews were to keep the Passover meal each year in memory of when death had “passed over” their people (see Exodus 12). It is not coincidence that on the night that Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples, He instituted a similar memorial of His death for the children of God under the New Covenant.

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the Lord’s institution of this memorial (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20). In addition to this the apostle Paul in First Corinthians, in response to the Corinthian’s abuse of the memorial, recounts the Lord’s institution of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Let us observe what was involved in this institution.

1. “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7, NKJV). As Jesus met with His disciples on the night before His death, it was to observe the Passover meal. In accordance with the Law of Moses, His disciples had prepared a place for them to eat the meal (Luke 22:8-12). This involved removing all leaven from the house where the memorial was to be observed. The Passover began a period of seven days in which no leaven could be in their houses at all (Exod. 12:6, 15-18).

2. “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). While eating the Passover, Jesus took of the unleavened bread and gave thanks to God for it. He then broke the bread and gave it to each of the disciples. Both Matthew and Mark record His instruction, “Take, eat” (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22). Then Jesus told His disciples, “This is My body.” With this, Jesus set forth the significance of what was being done. The bread was a figure of Jesus’ body that was “given” (Luke 22:19) and “broken” (1 Cor. 11:24) for His disciples. This was not to be done to satisfy hunger, but was to be done “in remembrance” of Jesus.

3. “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’” (Matt. 26:27,28). This cup, Jesus Himself called the “fruit of the vine” (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:18). It was to be a figure of the blood that Jesus would shed of the forgiveness of man’s sins. As with the bread, Paul tells us that Jesus told his disciples, “this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25).

Observance of the Lord’s Supper

The Bible offers us at least three examples of the observance of the Lord’s Supper among churches in the New Testament: 1) The church in Jerusalem; 2) The church in Troas, and 3) The church in Corinth.

1. The church in Jerusalem. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts chapter two, the Bible describes the establishment of the church in Jerusalem. After Peter and the others taught the people, the Bible tells us that 3,000 souls heeded their message and were baptized (Acts 2:41). We are then told about the conduct of the church. Included in the list of their activities, we are told that the Christians there continued steadfastly “in the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42).

2. The church in Troas. As Paul traveled teaching he came to the ancient city of Troas in modern day Turkey (Acts 20:6). While there Scripture tells us, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7).

3. The church in Corinth. In First Corinthians Paul refers to the Corinthians’ observance of the Lord’s Supper in two passages. The first comes in the midst of a discussion about Christians separating themselves from idolatry. In this passage Paul emphasizes that just as partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine unites Christians with the Lord and one another, if Christians eat things sacrificed to idols they unite themselves with idolatry (1 Cor. 10:15-22). The second reference addresses an abuse of the memorial that the Corinthians had committed. Instead of treating the Supper as the memorial observance the Lord intended, they had turned it into a common meal. Paul rebuked them, restates the details of the institution of the memorial, teaches them to eat at home for hunger, and commands them to observe the memorial with the right attitude (1 Cor. 11:17-34).

Names of the Lord’s Supper

• The Lord’s Supper. Paul uses the phrase most frequently used in this study in First Corinthians 11:20 referring to the memorial as “the Lord’s Supper.”

• Communion. In the tenth chapter of First Corinthians Paul refers to the cup as “the communion of the blood of Christ” (10:16a) and the bread as “the communion of the body of Christ” (10:16b). The word translated “communion” is the Greek word koinōnia (κοινωνία) most frequently translated “fellowship” in the English New Testament. It is defined as “joint participation” (Thayer). In the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25). The Christian who properly partakes of the Lord’s Supper is spiritually participating with Christ in the observance.

In the same passage where Paul speaks of the memorial as the communion of the body and blood of Christ, three other terms are used to refer to the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

• The Cup of Blessing. The communion of the blood of Christ is identified as “the cup of blessing” (1 Cor. 10:16a). 

• The Cup of the Lord. Five verses later the same element is referred to as “the cup of the Lord” (1 Cor. 10:21).

• Breaking of Bread. When Paul speaks of the communion of the body of Christ he identifies it as “the bread which we break” (1 Cor. 10:16b).

Although early church writers used the term, the Lord’s Supper was never referred to in Scripture as the Eucharist. This name was derived from the Greek verb translated “given thanks” in two accounts of Jesus’ establishment of the memorial (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24). It is not a biblical name for the memorial.

False Teaching on the Lord’s Supper

1. “The Lord’s Supper is a Sacrament.” A sacrament is thought to be a religious act by which Divine grace is dispersed. While it is true that all things that God gives to man can rightly be considered gifts of grace (see Rom. 12:6), the Bible does not teach that partaking of the Lord’s Supper infuses a person with additional grace. Christians should observe the Lord’s Supper in obedience to Christ and for the edification it offers to us.

2. “It Becomes the Literal Body and Blood of Christ.” The Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant churches teach that the bread and fruit of the vine blessed by a priest are changed into the literal body and blood of Jesus. This stems from a misapplication of Jesus’ words in John chapter six. While Jesus taught in that text “…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53), He explained to His disciples at the end of the chapter that He was referring to spiritually feeding upon Jesus’ life and teaching. He clarifies near the end of the chapter “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

3. “It Can Be Observed Upon Any Day.” It is clear from Scripture that the observance of the Lord’s Supper was to be a congregational activity. In Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians we see that it was to be done when Christians “come together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:18) when they “come together in one place” (1 Cor. 11:20). They were to eat at home to satisfy hunger (1 Cor. 11:34), and when they ate of the memorial they were to “wait for one another” (I Cor. 11:33). The only text that indicates a time when the memorial was observed specifies brethren coming together on Sunday—the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). While the phrase “breaking bread” can refer to either the memorial or a common meal, even when the church in Jerusalem met daily in the temple, their meals for hunger were satisfied “from house to house” (Acts 2:46).

4. “It Doesn’t Need to Be Observed Every Sunday.” It is clear that Christians met regularly on Sunday (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). The only clear indication of the time upon which the Lord’s Supper was observed is Sunday (Acts 20:7). Given that no particular Sunday is specified and every week has a “first day of the week,” the only action that would truly comply with the New Testament pattern would be weekly observance.

5. “A Priest Alone Can Take the Cup.” The Bible teaches that all Christians are priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:5). When Jesus instituted the memorial He gave both elements to His disciples and instructed them to partake. Matthew even reveals a specific statement Jesus made concerning the cup telling them “drink from it, all of you” (Matthew 26:27). Another person can’t drink the cup for someone else any more than another person can sing, confess Christ, or be baptized for someone else.

6. “There Must Be Only One Cup.” It is true that Paul spoke of the fruit of the vine as “the cup [singular] of the Lord” (1 Cor. 10:21) and “the cup [singular] of blessing” (1 Cor. 10:16), but this refers to unity of substance rather than the unity of container holding the substance. Technically Luke records that Jesus’ first instructions concerned dividing the contents of the cup among the disciples who were present. Luke writes: “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves’” (Luke 22:17). It is after the supper that He then attached memorial significance to the cup and had them drink from the contents of the cup He had previously divided among them (Luke 22:20).

7. “The Container Represents the New Covenant.” Some have falsely argued that the container is a figure of the New Covenant based on Jesus’ statement, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). It is clear from the texts that He is referring to the contents of the cup and not the container. We note that it is called the new covenant “in my blood.” A container does not represent blood. It is the fruit of the vine within the container that does.

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 21, Issue 48 (December 1, 2019)
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Brigman
(Tina Allen’s aunt) has stage 4 lung cancer. She is going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the same time and is feeling very ill.

Larry Hood (Pat Joyner’s brother-in-law) has Crohn’s disease, cancer near his eye, 4 spinal fractures, and is in much pain.

Janice Hood (Larry’s wife) has Trigeminal neuralgia and other health issues.

Elaine Abbot is still undergoing treatments of chemotherapy once a week and hemodialysis three times a week.  She is physically weak and will find the wheelchair helpful that her daughter-in-law Anita has taken to her.

Rex Hadley still has the pain in his legs from ballooned disks.  Concerning the covid-19 that he has had for the last couple weeks, Anita Young wrote yesterday that her dad “had a rough week, but has hopefully made a turn for the better.”  He is still running a low-grade fever, is very weak, and had some chills Friday afternoon.  But he is doing better than he was a few days ago.

Rick Cuthbertson has not yet begun his new cancer treatment, which will be in pill form — but he is looking forward to it with a good, positive attitude.  For the first week, he will be taking 1 pill a day; 2 a day for the second week; 3 a day for the third, and 4 a day for the fourth (which will also be the final week).  Following the treatments, he will then be scanned for the results. 

James Medlock’s dementia has become worse lately, so he is now back in the hospital and will be having his medication adjusted.

A.J. Joyner is starting to have peripheral neuropathy, along with stomach problems.  His wife Pat has numerous health issues, including COPD and scarring of the lungs called Atelectasis.

Penny Medlock, who was having trouble breathing due to covid-19, is still in ICU; but a recent test came back negative for it.  She was later tested again, and the results will probably be in today (if they were not yesterday).  If it is again negative, she will then be transferred to a behavioral health facility, such as St. Simons-By-The-Sea or one like it (maybe tomorrow).  There she will spend a couple weeks or more (depending on how she does).  If she is cleared there, she will then be transferred to a group home in Augusta, which she is looking forward to.  She has been in a good mood.

Deborah Medlock’s surgery is tentatively planned for July 31.  But if it will be sooner, she might find out tomorrow. 

Leona “Lea” Medlock (Deborah’s daughter-in-law) has been ill for a few days. She thinks she might have covid-19, but has not yet been tested.

We are glad that things went well for Shirley Davis in her recent pace maker implant.  She is feeling much better. However, she is still having kidney problems that will require seeing a doctor.  Plus the pain in her shoulder and knee still bothers her, and she has UTL.  I also want to mention her daughter Stephanie Jordan for prayer, who has been suffering with rheumatoid arthritis for about 20 years.

Joyce Rittenhouse wrote yesterday, concerning the pain her husband has been having, that “Doyle had his third set of two shots in the back.  They are working so far, but his blood sugars are running a little high.”  But “That is under control with extra insulin.”  Joyce also reports that her brother, who is healing from his recent heart surgery, “hasn’t had any headaches this week.”  He “is still real weak, but is getting better every day and will see his heart surgeon next Wednesday.”

Ginger Ann Montero, who had only a little of her pain eliminated in her last visit to her doctor, is now awaiting her next appointment —  of which her husband Bud writes, “Second time should do the trick.”

Elizabeth Harden (Anita Young’s daughter) is expecting a baby boy January 4!

Others to also be praying for: Jamie Cates (healing from a double lung transplant), Tim Kirkland, Ray Daugherty, Jim Lively, and Ronnie Davis (allergy trouble).

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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) From Confusion to Peace (Kyle Pope)
2) Did The Church Come Together For A Common Meal in Acts 20? (Greg Gwin)
2) News & Notes
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From Confusion to Peace

Kyle Pope

You don’t have to look very far in the world around you to see that most people live their lives ruled by a sense of chaos. They might not recognize that this is the case, but if they stopped and honestly looked at their lives from the outside they would have to admit that they are controlled by the ebb and flow of emotions, finances, illness, disaster, or even the desire for pleasure, recognition, glory, or satisfaction. None of us are free from the hardships of life, but the Christian has something to which he or she can cling that the world does not have: a sense of direction.

You see the Bible tells us that as a result of sin entering the world, chaos, corruption, and decay rule the natural world. The preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes declared that “time and chance” plague all things under the sun (Eccl. 9:11). Paul told the Romans that the creation is in “bondage to corruption” (Rom. 8:21). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us that in this world “moth and rust destroy” things which we might hold dear (Matt. 6:19). For Christians, however, there can be a tangible sense of direction that comes from choosing to look beyond the physical world and aim towards a home in heaven with God. In this home, the Bible tells us “neither moth nor rust destroy, and . . . thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20, NKJV).

The Christian can also have a sense of direction when it comes to how life ought to be lived. The Christian believes that the Bible is not merely an old book full of interesting stories. The Christian holds that it is actually the revelation of the Spirit of God given to mankind for his guidance and direction. When the Christian submits himself to it’s rule, he allows himself to be led by the very mind of God. This is what it means to be “led by the Spirit” (cf. Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). This can be a comforting thing. When a difficulty arises in life and we must choose one way or the other, the Christian’s choice is often made ahead of time by the principles of Scripture. He or she doesn’t have to worry and fret about what to do—God’s word points the way to the best possible choice.

Some might call this a “crutch” and say they would prefer their own freedom of choice. Everyone loves freedom, but who knows better how I should live my life than the very One who made me? David said:

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways”
(Ps. 139:1-3).

In addition to this, the Bible reveals that no one is ever truly free. All of us are either “slaves of sin” or we are “slaves of God” (Rom. 6:15-23). Submission to the will of God liberates us from the chaos and destruction that sin holds over our lives.

The Bible tells us that when people choose not to “retain God in their knowledge” they actually come to think about things in ways that are contrary to their very nature. Romans 1:28 speaks of such people as being given over to a “debased mind.” In such a state they are described as being “futile in their thoughts” (Rom. 1:21). To the Ephesians, Paul spoke of such people as “having their understanding darkened” and having hearts that are hardened (Eph. 4:18). In such a condition people come to view evil as good and good as evil. When this happens, the result is chaos and confusion.

You see when we come to believe that there is no absolute truth, no moral black and white, no unquestionable values, then nothing is right, everything is grey and there is no truth! The world we see around us is a perfect example of this. We claim to be so advanced as we throw out traditional values of the past. For the cause of freedom, we reject family roles, marriage bonds, personal responsibilities, modesty, and moderation, then wonder why our lives are in chaos. You see God’s instructions are not simply to satisfy His own wishes, they are “for our good always, that He might preserve us” (Deut. 6:24).

Near the close of his first epistle to the church in Corinth the apostle Paul through the direction of the Holy Spirit gives instructions about conduct in the assembly. In the midst of this discussion he makes a powerful statement. He writes, “ . . . For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). What a beautiful thought! In the midst of a universe of chaos, in Christ there can be peace. James will tell us through the Holy Spirit, “where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits . . . ” (Jas. 3:16-17).

Where do you find your life? Are you in submission to the will of God? Do you find in God peace and a wisdom that lifts you out of the chaos and confusion of this world, or do you try to live with one foot in the madness and the other in the truth? Paul challenged the brethren in Colosse to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). Only in Christ can you find that “peace which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). The choice is yours, but God calls you out of confusion into true and lasting peace.

— Via Focus Online, July 16, 2020
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Did The Church Come Together For A Common Meal in Acts 20?

Greg Gwin

A question has been asked about ‘eating’ in Acts 20:6-11:

“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.”

We have emphasized two instances of “breaking bread” in the text. This expression is an idiom that can have reference to either a common meal (as in Acts 2:46) or the Lord’s Supper (as in Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 10:16; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).

We believe the first reference in Acts 20 is in regards to the Lord’s Supper. We reach this conclusion because:

– The context implies that Paul waited in the city of Troas for seven days in order to be present at this assembly. Why wait if this were a common meal that could have been eaten on any day of the week?

– The disciples had specifically come together for the purpose of this ‘breaking of bread.’ But Paul had previously condemned the concept of a church coming together for the eating of common meals (1 Cor. 11:20-22,34). Paul would not have violated his own teaching in this matter, and therefore this must have been referring to the Lord’s Supper.

But, what about the second occurrence of “breaking bread” in Acts 20 (verse 11)? Here we conclude that the meaning is of a common meal, because:

– The assembly had already been broken up because of the death and miraculous revival of Eutychus.

– The timing of this ‘eating’ was at sometime after midnight (vs. 7) and thus, by either Roman or Hebrew timekeeping, would have been on Monday, not Sunday.

– The meeting of the church, now dismissed, had likely occurred in a private home where common food stuffs would have been available for those who normally lived there and their guests.

– Paul did this without violating the previously mentioned prohibition on the church ‘coming together’ to eat common meals (1Cor. 11:20-22,34).

– And, Paul is the only one mentioned who consumed the food (vs. 11). This was in anticipation of his leaving the city within a matter of hours to continue his journey. It would be impossible to prove that any other person ate a single morsel of food, and therefore impossible to use this text to demonstrate that the whole church was involved in eating a common meal as an official or sponsored activity of the collective body.

— Via The Beacon, June 28, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Penny Medlock, who had been hospitalized in Valdosta for 7 days, was taken from there to the ICU in Waycross late Saturday night, due to having tested positive for covid-19 and having trouble breathing.

Anita Young has requested prayer for her elderly parents: Rex Hadley’s test results came back positive last Monday for covid-19.  He has been sick for several days, but is showing a little improvement today.  Also pray for his wife Frankie, who has been in poor health for a long time, that she does not also come down with it.

Pat Joyner would like prayer for her brother-in-law Larry Hood.  She writes, “He has Crohn’s disease, cancer near his eye, 4 spinal fractures, in massive pain.  Doctors will make a decision on the 21st as what to do for some of his health challenges. He was a preacher for 30 years. Then he taught school.  He is now 85 years old. “Prayers of a righteous man meaneth much.”  Pat also mentions her 83-year old sister Janice (Larry’s wife) who has Trigeminal neuralgia and other health issues. (Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic facial pain that can act up from just chewing, speaking, brushing one’s teeth, putting on makeup, or even any other mild stimulation to the face.  And in Janice’s case, it also includes just putting her hand near her face without evening touching it that will cause pain.)

A.J. Joyner is starting to have peripheral neuropathy. He also has stomach problems.  His wife Pat has numerous health issues, including COPD and scarring of the lungs called Atelectasis.  They are both elderly and having to be very isolated for precautionary measures. 

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother continues to heal from the major heart surgery he recently had.  He has now gone two days without a headache, but is still a little unsteady on his feet.  He will be having a blood test tomorrow to see if it is still too thick.

Deborah Medlock had her pre-op Tuesday, but was not told when the actual surgery will be.  Initially, it was planned for the 31st; but that now needs to be changed to another day, which she will find out Tuesday.

Ginger Ann Montero finally was able to receive a shot for the pain she has been having in her arm, but it has given her only little relief.

Doyle Rittenhouse saw his doctor Monday.   Joyce writes that Doyle “will be getting two shots in his back Wednesday.  Right now he is having trouble with gout in both feet and his sugars are running a little high.”

Rick Cuthbertson is now receiving a new kind of cancer treatment.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer:  Jamie Cates, Tim Kirkland, Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty,  Jim Lively, and Shirley Davis
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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).
——————–

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) Does It Really Matter to God? (Jefferson David Tant)
2) News & Notes
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Does It Really Matter to God?

Jefferson David Tant

In discussing religious differences, varied attitudes are expressed when it is pointed out that some particular practice or doctrine of a church conflicts with what the Bible says. One of the more common responses when a contradiction is seen is “Well, I don’t think it matters with God.” This writer believes that this attitude is dangerous, and wholly unacceptable to God. Please consider what God’s Word reveals about such matters.

The very first sin involved Adam and Eve eating some forbidden fruit. From the human viewpoint, what could possibly be so serious about eating a little piece of fruit? Was Eve convinced by Satan that it really didn’t matter to God? Whatever her thoughts were, the result was disastrous. God really did care.

In time, the world became so wicked that God decided to remove evil from the earth. Noah found favor in God’s sight, so God instructed Noah to build a large boat, giving him specific instructions concerning its construction. He gave Noah the dimensions of the ark, and also told him to make it out of gopher wood. “Make thee an ark of gopher wood: rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Gen. 6:14). Suppose that Noah had decided to add some oak trim in his living quarters because Mrs. Noah wanted a little variety. Would that have mattered to God? After all, what difference could a little wood possibly make? Or what if he decided to make the ark 10 meters longer. Would that have been acceptable?

In offering worship to God, does it matter to him what we do? I have heard various comments when discussing acceptable worship. Some say, “I really like it…” about some practice. Then the question is whether our worship is meant to please us or to please God? If God is the object of our worship, can we know how to please him apart from revelation? Do we set the standard, or do we allow God to do so? When we insist on doing what pleases us, thinking that it will surely please God, we must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

Others say, “I don’t think it matters to God.” Long ago, there were two priests who evidently thought this. Nadab and Abihu were offering incense to the Lord, and had to obtain fire to burn it. There was a problem, shown in Leviticus 10:1-3: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there came fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them; and they died before Jehovah. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is what Jehovah spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” Evidently Nadab and Abihu thought “Fire is fire, and one fire burns as well as another. It doesn’t matter to God where we get the fire.” But it did matter. God had told them to take the fire from another place, very likely from the bronze altar. It made a difference to God. Notice also that it does not say that God told them not to take fire from another place. The text simply says that they took fire “which he had not commanded them.” When people justify a practice because “God didn’t say not to do it,” they mistake silence for consent. By the same reasoning, one could feel free to steal my car, justifying the deed by claiming, “But you didn’t tell me not to do it.” Nadab and Abihu certainly learned the hard way that it does make a difference! Remember, what Nadab and Abihu must have thought was not the same thing that God thought.

As Moses led the people Israel out of Egypt and through their wilderness wandering, more than once he was impatient with their lack of faith. They grumbled often, forgetting how God had provided for them time and again: When they complained of thirst, God told Moses to strike a rock that was in their presence, and water would come forth. Moses did so, and the people were blessed with an abundance of water (Ex. 17:6). Sometime later, the people again complained that they were about to die, and they blamed Moses for taking them away from Egypt. God then gave instruction to Moses concerning obtaining water. “And Jehovah spoke unto Moses, saying, Take the rod and assemble the congregation, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock; so thou shalt give the congregation and their cattle drink.” Notice what God told Moses. Previously he had instructed Moses to strike the rock with his rod. This time he tells Moses to speak to the rock. So what did Moses do? “And Moses took the rod from before Jehovah, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; shall we bring you forth water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice: and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.” Some might think, “So what’s the big deal? Moses got water, didn’t he? It really didn’t matter to God whether Moses struck the rock, or spoke to it.” But as we read on in the text, we learn that it did matter to God. “And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:7-12).  Moses came to understand that when God said something, his words were to be respected.

Many years later, David was returning the ark of the covenant to its rightful place after it had been captured by the Philistines. “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark… And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.  And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God” (II Sam. 6:3-6). Why did Uzzah die? Certainly his heart was right, for his only desire was to save the ark from damage if it fell to the ground. Who could fault that?

In truth, there were two problems. First, God had given instructions about moving the ark. The ark had rings on its sides, and poles were to be put through the rings so the Kohathites could carry the ark in that manner. They had no authority, i.e., no permission to carry the ark on a cart. In the second place, it was forbidden for anyone to touch the ark (Numbers 4:5-15). Who would have ever thought it would make any difference as to whether the ark was carried on a cart or by the priests? After all, the object was to bring it back to where it belonged. And surely Uzzah had a good heart when he put his hand to the ark to steady it. But his presumptuousness brought death. As one commentary phrased it, “Here we see the danger it is to follow good intentions, or to do anything in God’s service without his express word” (Geneva Bible Notes).

There was a Gentile prophet named Balaam, who had been asked by the Moabite king, Balak, to come and curse Israel. Balak offered a reward of great riches. But Balaam knew better, and his response to Balak is something we should all learn. “And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of Jehovah my God, to do less or more” (Num. 22:18). Balaam certainly stated a principle that we should all remember. We are not at liberty to go beyond what God has said, no matter how good our intentions may be.

In II Kings is the story of a Syrian army general named Naaman. He had leprosy, and was told by his Jewish servant girl that he could be cured in Israel. Naaman ended up at the door of the prophet Elisha, who sent word to him to go dip in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. At first Naaman thought this was entirely stupid, and went away in a rage. But a servant prevailed upon him. Naaman changed his mind and did as the prophet instructed. When he came up the seventh time, his skin was like that of a little child. There are three things that Naaman could have changed in this matter. He could have gone to another river; he could have dipped either more or fewer than the seven times, or he could have just poured a cup of water on his head rather than dip in the river. Do you think he would have been cured of his leprosy if he had just dipped five times? Or if he had taken a cup and poured water on his head? Surely not.

In considering these illustrations from the Bible, we can clearly see that when God says something, he means what he says, and men were not free to do anything differently, thinking that “it really didn’t matter to God, anyway.” There are many such examples that we could cite from God’s word.

These things being true, why is it that so many today are willing to disregard clear teaching from the Bible by saying, “I don’t think it matters to God”? Is there some explanation for this? When I talk to people about the subject of baptism, it is interesting to see the responses when it is pointed out that the Bible clearly teaches that baptism is an immersion in water (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:38, etc.), and that in the original Greek language, the word baptizo is literally translated as “immerse, dip or plunge.” These things are pointed out, and so often the response is, “I don’t think the form of baptism matters to God.” Then I tell them of a church in Oklahoma that baptizes by sprinkling rose petals on the candidate. Well, they wouldn’t go that far. But if it doesn’t matter to God if we change the form of baptism, then why should it matter if we change the element? Question: How do we decide what matters to God? Does he give certain people a special revelation telling them to disregard one of his commands, while telling others to obey that same command in the way it is stated? If it doesn’t matter to God how we are baptized, why should it make any difference whether we are baptized or not? Granted, Jesus did say, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), but why should that make any difference?

We discuss the Lord’s Supper and how the Bible indicates that the practice of the early church was to partake every first day of the week. Church historians agree that this was the practice. Few churches follow this practice today. Some offer the communion once a month, once every three months, once a year, or even not at all. “But it doesn’t make any difference how often we take it, so long as we do it to honor God.” I tell them of some churches that do not observe the Lord’s Supper at all, such as the Salvation Army and the Christian Science Church. Does that make any difference to the Lord, who said “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24)? If we are free to change the frequency of observance, then are we free to eliminate it altogether? Or what about using Coke and potato chips for the Lord’s Supper? When I tell people about a Methodist Church that did that, they are often shocked. But if we are free to change what we want to change, then why can’t others change what they think doesn’t matter to the Lord?

If we are free to change what we think doesn’t matter to the Lord, then where is the stopping place? In truth, there is no place to stop, except to stop at what the Lord has said. God makes it clear that we are to respect what he has said, without additions, subtractions or alterations. This was true in the Old Testament. “The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). “Every word of God is tried: He is a shield unto them that take refuge in him. Add thou not unto His words, Lest he reprove thee. And thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6).

God’s nature has not changed under the New Testament. His thoughts are still higher than ours, and all we can know about what pleases God is what he has revealed to us. We are instructed to “learn not to go beyond the things which are written” (I Cor. 4:6), and are warned about adding to or taking away. “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18 19). While those words were written specifically about the book of Revelation, there is no doubt that the principle applies to all that God has revealed to us.

Dear reader, why take a chance on eternity? Peter urges us “give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure” (I Peter 1:10). Why would anyone want to take a chance with the attitude that “it really doesn’t matter to God”? Nadab and Abihu, Moses and Uzzah will all testify that it does matter to God. Eternity is too long to ignore the lesson. And there are others who will also be there to give testimony. Christ spoke of them in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. ” Who are these people? They are religious people who believe in Christ and who evidently think they are serving him. But Christ says they are workers of “iniquity.” They were not murderers and thieves, as we might think the word iniquity might describe. The word literally means “without law,” thus referring to the fact that what they were doing was without authority from Christ. They presumed to do things for which they had no authority. That’s what Moses did. That’s what Nadab and Abihu did. That’s what people do today who practice things in religion for which there is no authority, thinking that it doesn’t matter to God, Don’t be one of them!

There are clear examples of this matter of doing what is not authorized, what is not spelled out in Scripture. In the Old Testament, when the exiles were returning from Babylonian captivity, they were seeking to put things in order with respect to their worship in the temple. Now the Law of Moses was explicit as to those who could serve as priests. They had to be of the tribe of Levi. This is recorded in Numbers 3:6; 18:2; Deut. 10:8, etc. Nowhere are we told that those from another tribe could not be priests. We are just told from what tribe the priests were to come. Now when they were setting the priests in their service, there were certain ones who “sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood. And the governor said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim” (Neh. 7:64-65). The point is, they could not serve unless they could prove that they were authorized to do so. And then there is the matter of Christ. Under the Old Testament system, even he could not serve as a priest, for he was from the tribe of Judah. This was recognized in Hebrews 7:12-14. In making a point about the priesthood, the author stated “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests.” Not even Jesus Christ had the authority to do something that was not authorized in the Scriptures! Jesus respected the silence of the Scriptures. The Law had to be changed in order for Christ to be able to be our High Priest. That is connected with the New Testament replacing the Old Testament. If Christ had such respect for the Law, then surely we cannot think that we are free to do whatever we please. It does make a difference to God.

— via Roswell church of Christ website (Roswell, Georgia)
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-2-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

The heart surgery for Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother went well.  He was released Saturday and is now staying with the Rittenhouses as he recovers.  He has been having a continual headache, though, which might last another 7 to 10 days until the loss of spinal fluid (from a spinal tap leakage) is naturally restored. In 3 weeks, he will be having a follow-up.

Deborah Medlock will have a pre-op with her surgeon this Tuesday and find out then when the actual surgery will be. It might even be Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

Penny Medlock is now hospitalized in Valdosta, but will soon be moved to Augusta.

Though the two epidurals Doyle Rittenhouse received July 2 reduced much of the pain he had been having in his hip and back, it came back last Thursday — but not as bad as prior to the shots.  He will be seeing his doctor tomorrow.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: the family and friends of Billy Musgrove, Jamie Cates, Tim Kirkland, Elaine Abbott, Ginger Ann Montero, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson,  Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, James Medlock, Shirley Davis, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Lanell Montero Dapello  
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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) Confirmation (Jefferson David Tant)
2) News & Notes
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-1-

Confirmation

Jefferson David Tant

“Confirmation” is an important factor in life. We want, and need, things to be confirmed, validated or guaranteed. We want things “signed, sealed and delivered,” as a popular song suggests. Statements in court are to be confirmed with an oath “to tell the truth…” Certain documents may be required to be signed in the presence of a Notary Public, etc.

Confirmation is no less important in the spiritual realm. In the NASB translation, the word “covenant” is used 295 times; “promise,” 104 times; “oath,” 66 times, “vow,” 33 times, and “swear,” three times.

God has also been careful to give us assurance of who he is and what he has promised, so that we can have full confidence in our faith. Paul wrote concerning deacons: “For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 3:13).

The point is this: We don’t have to rely on “blind faith,” emotions or guesses. Our faith is based on solid evidence.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

“Now faith is the title-deed of things hoped for; the putting to the proof of things not seen” (Montgomery’s NT).

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (NKJV).

A building is not fit for occupancy without a firm foundation — that which “stands under.” Thus our faith is a solid foundation, a “sub stance” — that which “stands under” the things for which we hope.

An interesting phrase is seen in one of the prophecies in Daniel 9:27: “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” While this prophecy deals with the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the cessation of the Jewish system, it is worthy to consider the idea of God making a “firm covenant.”  He has done this many times, but now give attention to how God has confirmed the covenant he made with us concerning our salvation.

Christ obviously is a critical part of the fulfillment of that covenant, and one could not ask for a stronger proof or confirmation of the identity of Jesus Christ beyond what has been furnished. Consider how Christ has confirmed the covenant.

By Angels

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:10-11).

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying'” (Matt. 28:5-6).

In addition to angels announcing to shepherds the birth of Christ, and to the women who came to the empty tomb, angels also appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26) and Joseph (Matthew 1:20) telling of the birth of Jesus; to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-12) telling of the birth of John, the forerunner of Jesus; and to the soldiers guarding the tomb when Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-4).

By John the Baptist

“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29).

John had no hesitation in proclaiming the identity of Jesus, who also happened to be John’s cousin.

By the Wise Men

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him'” (Matthew 2:1-2).

What was it that brought these men hundreds of miles to see a baby? How were they led by a particular star? Could it be they were aware of some of the hundreds of prophecies that had been made about the One to come?

By the Saints then Living

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’ — and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (II Peter 1:16-18).

There were literally thousands of people who witnessed the miracles and heard the teaching of Christ. They gave living testimony of these events.

By Moses and Elijah

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!'” (Matthew 17:1-5).

While no statement was recorded by Moses and Elijah, it was clear from the voice that spoke out of heaven that these great prophets of old were being superseded by one greater than they. They obviously knew who he was. Peter referred to this in the previous point.

By Certain Pharisees and Jewish Rulers

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him'” (John 3:1-2). “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42).

Whether they followed him, as Nicodemus may have done, or followed him not, out of fear, they did recognize him for who he was—the Son of God, as he claimed.

By the Demons that Confessed Him

“Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ” (Luke 4:41).

When your avowed enemies give testimony on your behalf, you know you are standing on solid ground.

By His Teaching

“Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46-47).

“When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).

“The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks'” (John 7:45-46).

The learned scholars were amazed at the knowledge this 12-year-old boy had (Luke 2). The multitudes that heard Christ teach were impressed, and the soldiers who came to arrest him were intimidated at the authority by which he spoke.

By His Signs and Wonders

“And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this'” (Mark 2:5-12).

“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

The enemies of Christ could not deny the reality of the miracles. Indeed, the Jewish rulers had to admit that Christ’s disciples performed miracles. “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).

By His Holy Life

“Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?” (John 8:46).

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (I Peter 2:21-22).

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any. For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent” (Mark 14:55-56).

When Christ was on trial, only by false testimony could his enemies obtain a conviction. He challenged them to cite one wrong deed he had performed, and they could not do so.

By His Enemies

“Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!'” (Matthew 27:54).

One of the calloused soldiers came to recognize the identity of the one he had nailed to the cross.

By a Thief Who Was Being Crucified with Jesus

“‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise'” (Luke 23:42-43).

Even in his extreme pain, this thief was able to recognize who Christ was by observing his behavior.

By His Own Admission

“So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple” (John 8:57-59).

Jesus’ use of the words “I Am” is significant, as this expression is indicative of eternal existence. It is the same phrase Jehovah used in Exodus 3:14, as he is instructing Moses to speak to his people. When Moses asks what he should tell them about who sent him, he is told, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

By His Resurrection and Ascension

“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-4).

The resurrection of Christ is one of the most provable events of ancient history. No critic has ever been able to refute the overwhelming evidence. Paul cites the fact that over 500 witnesses had seen the resurrected Christ (I Corinthians 15:6), and that most of them were alive at the time of his writing, so their testimony could be checked.

By Prophecy and Its Fulfillment

“Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled'” (Luke 24:44).

The fact that over 300 prophecies about Christ were each fulfilled to the smallest detail is irrefutable evidence. Some of these prophecies were recorded at least 1,500 years before he was even born. There is absolutely no way this evidence can be discounted or overturned.

By Changed Lives

“Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Discouraged, defeated and fearful disciples suddenly changed into fearless defenders of what they had seen with their own eyes. Men do not give their lives for what they personally know is a lie.

Dear reader, if you have not already confessed your faith in Christ, and given yourself in obedience to God’s will, I pray that the evidence presented will move you to do this with haste. Surely there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

— Via La Vista church of Christ (La Vista, Nebraska)
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-2-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Billy Musgrove who passed away July 1 at only 61 years of age.  He had been a native of Coffee County (GA) all his life.

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.  Following the surgeries, he will remain in the hospital for 4 to 5 days.

Deborah Medlock’s 3-needle biopsy revealed that the 1-cm growth detected from a recent mammogram is malignant.  She will be seeing her surgeon July 7 to discuss her upcoming surgery.

Tim Kirkland had a heart attack June 21, but is doing better now.

The two epidurals that Doyle Rittenhouse received on July 2 has eliminated much of the pain that he had been having.  He is still on a muscle relaxer and pain medicine, but now taking less of each.  On July 13, he will be seeing his doctor again.  His next two epidurals (the final set) will not be given until he needs them. 

Ginger Ann Montero will be seeing a pain doctor tomorrow (Monday) for what appeared from an MRI to be a pinched nerve.

Lanell Montero Dapello is now healing from a broken ankle.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson,  Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, James Medlock, 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)

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