Month: September 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) Be Sure You Finish (Bill Crews)
2) A Tale of Two Rich Men (Frank Himmel)
3) Things That Promote Peace (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Be Sure You Finish

Bill Crews

It is not enough to become a Christian; one must then be a Christian — to the very end. It is not enough to enter into Christ; one must abide in Christ, yes, and even die in Christ (Revelation 14:13).

Who knows how many (I have encountered or learned of several in every city where I have lived) have become Christians, have been saved from their past sins, have entered the Lord’s church, and then fallen away? Most of them fall away soon after being saved (see Matthew 13:20-21), but some of them endure almost all of the way and then fall away.

God knew this would occur; therefore, He warns against it (Hebrews 3:1, 12; 4:1; Matthew 25:13; I Corinthians 10:12), describes those who have become guilty of it (2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 3:15-17), tells how to prevent it (2 Peter 1:5-7; 3:17; James 5:12; Revelation 3:5, 11), and supplies the remedy for it (Acts 8:13-24; Revelation 2:4-5; 3:18-19). Each one of these proves that a child of God can fall away. Of course, it need not happen at all — a Christian can fall, but no Christian has to fall.

No greater tragedy, and none fraught with more serious consequences, can be named than for a Christian to forsake the right way (2 Peter 2:15), become entangled again in the defilements of the world (2 Peter 2:20-22), make shipwreck concerning the faith (1 Timothy 1:19), become an enemy of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19), crucify afresh the Son of God and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6), and tum aside after Satan (1 Timothy 5:15).

We are told to endure unto the end, and on this basis we are promised eternal salvation (Matthew 10:22). We are called upon to not be weary in well-doing and are promised that we shall reap if we faint not (Galatians 6:9). We are to be faithful, even if such should cost us our very lives, but we are promised “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). One lesson we are taught in the parable of the sower is this: It is not enough to hear the word of God and receive it ( even with joy); we must also hold it fast and bring forth fruit with patience (steadfastness) (Luke 8:11-15).

In becoming Christians, we have enlisted in the army of Christ — we need to fight the good fight of the faith, to war the good warfare unto the end (1 Timothy 6:12; 1:18). We have begun a voyage or started on a journey — we need to pursue it to its final destination (1 Peter 1:17; 2:11; Hebrews 11:10, 13-16; 13:14). We have entered a race — we need to run it with patience (endurance), to press on toward the goal (Hebrews 12:1; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

If we have become children of God, let us be certain that when the curtain of death brings to an end the final act in our drama of this life, we can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 32, Page 2, August 9, 2020
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A Tale of Two Rich Men

Frank Himmel

Luke presents an interesting contrast of two rich men who came to Jesus.

In Luke 18, a rich ruler came asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Luke does not say what kind of ruler he was. Elsewhere he uses this same word to refer to a ruler of a synagogue (8:41), a judge (12:58), and members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court (23:13, 35).

Some rulers are self-serving tyrants. Not this man. He assured Jesus that he kept God’s commandments, including those that prohibited lying and stealing. This was a man in an influential position who lived honorably. Doubtless he was well respected.

In Luke 19, a rich tax collector named Zaccheus came to Jesus. The crowds viewed him quite differently. When Jesus invited himself to Zaccheus’s house, “they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner’” (v. 7).

These two interviews with Jesus ended quite differently. The ruler refused to do what Jesus required of him: sell what you have, distribute it to the poor, and come follow Me (18:22). He left “very sad.” Zaccheus, on the other hand, committed to giving half of what he had to the poor and paying back four times as much to anyone he may have defrauded (19:8). He received Jesus “gladly.”

Jesus said of Zaccheus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (19:9-10). With regard to the ruler, the Lord could only caution, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (18:24).

In the end, the man whom society respected was lost and the man whom society rejected was saved. God said centuries earlier, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

The point of this contrast is that our hearts, not our circumstances, determine our response to Jesus, and that determines our salvation. Jesus’ caution, of course, must be heeded. Wealth does indeed tend to fill our hearts and lead them away from God. That being the case, it is another illustration of something that society often wrongly values.

What is your response to Jesus?

— Via Pathlights, July 19, 2020
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Things That Promote Peace

Greg Gwin

In Romans 14:19, we are instructed to ”pursue the things which make for peace” (NASV). Ephesians 4:3 teaches that we should be “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What are some of the things that are necessary so that we can obey these commands and enjoy peace among brethren?

The Scriptures teach us that all of these things are important for peace:

1) Humility. Pride is a great hindrance to peace. It provides an “explosive atmosphere” for strife and turmoil. Those who are proud can be easily provoked into a fight. God’s Word urges us to “be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5).

2) Love. Instead of following the many instructions concerning love (1 Jn. 4:20,21; Jn. 13:34,35) we are often too ready to engage in harsh, presumptuous judging. This, of course, is plainly condemned by God (Matt. 7:3-5).

3) Carefully chosen words. We are warned that our words have the power to “stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1). For this reason, “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

4) Putting others first. We live in a selfish, self-centered society. This selfishness is a root cause of much fighting and bitterness. To combat this we must “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2:4).

5) Forgiveness. It is inevitable that problems will arise; wrongs and offenses will occur. When this happens we have to be ready to “forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

6) Truth. There can be no real peace if we are not firmly established together in God’s truth (2 Jn. 9-11). When we speak the truth we demonstrate our love (Eph. 4:15) for both God and our fellow man.

— Via The Beacon, September 20, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Ronnie Davis
will be given shots Wednesday (October 1) for his many back problems that he is having much trouble with.  He and Melotine have been doing “virtual church” while not able to be with us.

Deborah Medlock  will begin a 1-week trial with the radiation machine this Wednesday.  For 4 weeks, she will be receiving 5 treatments a week and booster treatments during the 4th week.  All is looking good.  Since her arm can be painful in certain positions, she is now having to work on that to prepare for the 20-to-30-minute treatments.     

Anita Young mentioned recently that her father Rex Hadley is over the covid-19, but now “has a pleural effusion around part of his lung…fluid buildup.”  Anita has been taking care of her elderly parents while they are both in poor health.  They have also been doing church services electronically.  

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Shirley Griffin Crews who passed away recently, Max Beach, Elaine Abbott, Judy Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Jim & Martha Lively, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Harris Lefort, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Deborah Medlock, Tim Kirkland, Frankie Hadley, and Cameron Haney.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — even for telling a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

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


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

The Gospel Observer

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

Contents:

1) Theft, Cheating, Lying, and Other Dishonest Behaviors (Kyle Pope)
2) “I Am Offended” (Frank Himmel)
3) When Did Men Begin to Believe in the Inspiration of the New Testament? (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Theft, Cheating, Lying, and Other Dishonest Behaviors

Kyle Pope

The Holy Spirit led Paul to pen these words to the saints in Ephesus: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25, NKJV). Paul’s wording in the middle of this verse is drawn from Zechariah. To people who had returned from the Babylonian exile and were working to rebuild the temple and their relationship with God, the Lord told Zechariah:

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the LORD” (Zech. 8:14-17).

To restore or maintain a good relationship with the Lord, Zechariah and the people were told, (in Paul’s wording), “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.” God sees our treatment of others and holds us accountable for it. That means not only that honest, fair, and just treatment of others will allow things to go smoother for us in our relationships with one another but our very relationship with God depends upon it. We cannot love God and do things He hates.

A Message for Today

This is an important lesson for us today! In many areas of life, we may imagine we can claim to have a saved relationship with God while practicing the behavior Paul and Zechariah rebuked.

Stealing. No one is looking and you slip that candy bar into your pocket at the convenience store. Someone has wronged you, so you “get even” by taking something that belongs to her. A man drops his wallet. You turn it in—but first you help yourself to some of the money inside it. You borrow money then forget (or refuse) to pay it back. Your neighbor’s newspaper was thrown just outside his driveway. That makes it “fair game,” right? No!

All of these things might seem minor, but Scripture condemns them! God hates “robbery” (Isa. 61:8), and the partner of a thief is said to hate his own life (Prov. 29:24). The thief deserves shame (Jer. 2:26) and to act in this way is to follow the example of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus (John 12:6)! Any hopes one places in joys that come from theft are “vain” because “power belongs to God” (Psa. 62:10-11). The Holy Spirit says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay” (Psa. 37:21a). So, even when society may sympathize with some types of stealing, the thief will be called to account for his actions (Prov. 6:30-31). Ultimately, taking what doesn’t belong to us does not bring satisfaction. The wise man wrote, “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Prov. 20:17).

Cheating. The test is hard, so you glance over at your friend’s paper. An essay is due at school so you find (or buy) one someone else wrote and put your name on it. You’re weighing produce at the grocery store and you lift the scale just a little to lower the price. You notice that the salesmen forgot to charge you for that extra feature on your bill, but you remain silent. Your employees are entitled to some special benefit, but you don’t mention it to them. It’s time to figure your taxes but you don’t declare some income, or take deductions that aren’t allowed—then smile, sing, pray, and worship God acting as if everything is fine!

God has always condemned cheating. In the Law of Moses, He commanded:

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deut. 25:13-16).

We should note this behavior is considered unrighteous and the Lord views it as “an abomination.” The wise man echoes this, writing, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight” (Prov. 11:1). Do we truly want to please the Lord? Then we must do things that delight Him. In the days of Amos, the Lord rebuked those who looked forward to the conclusion of times of worship so they could make profit “by deceit.” The Lord told them—and any who would act this way—“I will never forget any of their works” (Amos 8:4-7).

Lying. A politician says one thing when speaking to a particular audience, but the exact opposite when speaking to another. Someone needs our help and we quickly say, “Sure, I can help,” but we never follow through. A man and woman stand up before God and witnesses and promise to be faithful to each other “until death do us part.” Then, as the years and common interests grow further apart, they go their separate ways forsaking their word, their families, and their covenant before God.

A “false witness” is among those things the Lord “hates” (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Prov 12:22). The deceitful tongue is “a deadly arrow” as it speaks “peace” to one’s neighbor while plotting to do him harm (Jer. 9:8).  Jesus called His disciples to a level of honesty that did not consider some statements binding and others not. He prohibited swearing (Jas. 5:12) and taught them to let their “‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’” and their “‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matt. 5:37). The Christian must recognize, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10, ESV).

Called to Better Things

In the text we noted earlier, Zechariah told the exiles who were striving to restore their relationship with the Lord to, “speak each man the truth to his neighbor,” not to “think evil in your heart against your neighbor” and not to “love a false oath” (Zech. 8:14-17, NKJV). Disciples of Christ, in a similar light, are told to recognize the high standard of conduct to which children of the King of Heaven are called. Paul wrote, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col. 3:9-10).

The heart that lies and practices deceit does not imitate the behavior of its Creator—it seeks to take advantage of its neighbor. The wise man prayed, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me” (Prov. 30:8a). This should be the prayer of the Christian! The heart that would cheat and steal to gain profit cares nothing for the loss it imposes upon its neighbor. It ignores the command of its God and shows ingratitude for all He has already provided. The wise man continues, “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Prov. 30:8b-9).

The Israelite who had stolen from his neighbor was commanded to make restitution greater than the value of the item taken. An ox was to be restored fivefold and the sheep fourfold (Exod. 22:1). This recognized the harm inflicted upon the one who suffered the loss and the value it would have brought to him during its absence. In Christ, we are taught, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Eph. 4:28). Honest work must replace dishonest gain, and a concern for the needs of others must replace a desire to gain advantage over them. The one who “loves and practices a lie” will be excluded from eternal life with God (Rev. 22:15). That tells us the  importance of maintaining honest behavior. We are not talking about things that have only temporary consequences—“The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Prov. 12:19).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 36 (September 6, 2020).
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“I Am Offended”

Frank Himmel

It is common these days to hear someone say he is offended. Dictionary.com lists as the first meaning of offend, “to irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in.” In other words, “I am offended” means “I don’t like it!”

It seems timely to remind us all that when the Bible speaks of someone being offended it means something far more serious than displeasure, even severe displeasure. The New Testament word translated offend or offence refers to causing another to sin. It is the word for the stick in a trap, hence it means to ensnare. It is often rendered stumble.

Christians are not to be offensive, either to the world or to each other (1 Corinthians 10:32). Of course, simply being a Christian is irritating to some, as is preaching the gospel! We can’t do much about that. But we can live in such a way as to be lights in the world, careful enough about our example that we avoid even questionable conduct—conduct which might encourage another to do what is wrong.

— Via Pathlights, June 28, 2020
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When Did Men Begin to Believe in the Inspiration of the New Testament?

Greg Gwin

Some skeptics claim that there was a gradual evolving of thought concerning the Scripture – that only after a long period did these writings come to be regarded as an authoritative source. That simply is not true.

When the inspired men of the first century wrote, the product of their work was immediately acknowledged and accepted by those in the church. They “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) and they received those teachings “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). These writings were “Scripture” before the ink had dried. (The word “Scripture” is used about 50 times in the New Testament and always refers to the written record of the will of God. Thus, the word “Scripture” can be accurately applied to the things found in both the Old and New Testaments.)

Certainly there was a gradual process of spreading and distributing these writings around the world (Colossians 4:16). Ultimately there was a compiling of these works into one book. (There is some evidence that compilations of the various books that make up our New Testament began as early as 115 A.D. – perhaps only a few years after the death of the last apostle). But the actual writings were regarded as Scripture immediately. Paul (writing in about 65 A.D.) quotes Luke’s gospel and refers to it as Scripture (see 1 Timothy 5:18 and Luke 10:7). Peter (in 66 A.D.) mentions Paul’s writings and calls them Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).

We know that the inspired writings of the first century were widely circulated among Christians of that time (see Col. 4:16 and 1 Thess. 5:27). It is clear that those earliest Christians held the sacred writings in highest esteem and regarded them as the basis of their religious authority.

– Via The Beacon, June 21, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Shirley Griffin Crews (the mother of Rebecca Rittenhouse) who passed away Monday.  Let us be keeping in prayer all of her loved ones.

Harris Lefort had fallen from his roof a couple weeks ago that resulted in a concussion and a broken heel.  Fortunately, his neighbor saw him fall that Saturday morning and called for help that soon had him in the hospital.  He woke up the following afternoon and had surgery on his heel several days later.  He now sounds very well and is in no pain, but will have to stay off his feet for 6 to 8 weeks and is using a wheelchair in the meanwhile. 

Deborah Medlock received a good report from her doctor last week. She will not need chemo; and her bones are strong, though she is now taking a Vitamin D supplement and will find out this week when her recommended radiation treatments will begin.

James Medlock, in the nursing home, has been having trouble for some time with one of his toes, due to poor circulation; which they began looking into recently.

Others to also be praying for: Max Beach, Elaine Abbott, Judy Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Doyle Rittenhouse, Jim & Martha Lively, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Tim Kirkland, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Cameron Haney, and Ginger Ann Montero.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30). (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 by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

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


evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
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) The Role of Faith (Bill Crews)
2) The People of God (Mike Richardson)
3) Our Duty Toward Truth (Dan Richardson)
4) News & Notes
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The Role of Faith

Bill Crews

Heaven’s recipe for eternal life demands the ingredient, faith — a faith that comes from hearing God’s revelation (Romans 10:17); a faith that is living, active, growing, abiding, unfeigned, unwavering and obedient. “Faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) In fact, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Jesus said to Thomas, who was unwilling to accept the reliable testimony of the other apostles that they had seen the risen Jesus and who had to be convinced by the Lord Himself, “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Ours is not a groundless faith. It is built upon testimony and other evidence of the highest sort. At the same time, ours must not be a halfhearted or half-way faith. It must not be adulterated by human doubts, wisdom or reservations.

We believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). “By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear” (Hebrews 11:3). We believe that God is the Creator of man, that the Bible is the word of God, and that Jesus is the Son of God — we believe that He was miraculously born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, taught His Father’s words and did His Father’s works, died for our redemption, was raised from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God, and will come again to raise the dead and to judge all the living and the dead. We believe that we have a God to glorify, a Christ to serve, a never-ending soul to save, a hell to avoid and a heaven to seek though we have seen none of these. It is faith — unfeigned, great, rich and perfected; not weak, little, barren or dead — that leads us into Christ and directs us on to heaven’s gates.

Before one can enter Christ in baptism, he must believe with all his heart (Acts 8:36-37). To draw near unto God, he must have a true heart in fulness of faith (Hebrews 10:22). Like Abraham, he must not “waver through unbelief, but wax(ed) strong through faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20). He will not be “of them that shrink back unto perdition, but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39). His faith will grow exceedingly (2 Thessalonians 1:3); it will serve as a shield to quench all the fiery darts of Satan (Ephesians 6:16); it is the victory that will overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5). His faith will serve to resist transgressions and to guide in the pathway of righteousness. Will you please take time to read 2 Corinthians 4:16 — 5:1 and see if it describes your faith?

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 36, page 2, September 6, 2020
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The People of God

Mike Richardson

There are many great lessons that we can learn from the pen of the apostle Peter.  When one examines the writing of this man we find many truths in regard to the people of God. For just a moment of your time notice I Peter 2:10 where Peter wrote “who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Observe that Peter speaks about the people of God in these few words.  There are some things for us to observe from this passage.

Observe first, they were at one time not the people of God.

As we look at their past history we see that at one time they were not the people of God. This was indeed a sad position for them to be in. They were separated from God and not in fellowship with God.  The apostle believes it is good for them to remember what they were in order to really appreciate what they are now.  The writers of God’s word often bring to the minds of the people what they had been in days gone by.  Many of us need to stop and recall what we used to be in order that we might really appreciate what we are now.

Observe secondly, their present position.

They are now the people of God. That is they belong to the family of God, they have been adopted into the spiritual family of God. They make up what Peter described in verse 9 as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.  What a contrast to what they were to what they are now in Christ.  They were not the people of God, now they are the people of God; and in this there are many blessings.  We should all be grateful that we are the children of God.  Let us not forget that it is God that made this possible.  Let us also remember that when we were baptized into Christ we had the view of being the people of God.  We should never neglect to be thankful that by the amazing grace of God we can become the people of God.

Observe thirdly, their purpose as the people of God.

Just what is their purpose in this life as they are now identified as the people of God? Has their purpose changed from when they were not the people of God?   Yes, for now they are to show forth the praises of Him that called them out of darkness (I Pet. 2:9).  They are to offer spiritual sacrifices unto God as is revealed in I Peter 2:5.   I wonder in our day do we realize our purpose in life as the people of God.   I am convinced that if more Christians did realize their true purpose as the people of God then more people would be brought to the Lord.

Observe fourthly, their destination.

The fourth and final thing to remember about the people of God is their final destination.  Turn to the writing of Paul in the Philippian letter chapter 1:21-25.  Paul said it is better to be with Christ.  The people of God long to live with their Father in heaven and to live for  Him now.  This is the hope we now have as Paul stated in Titus 1:2.  Now observe this great truth from I John 3:1-2: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”  As the people of God we long for the day we shall see Christ and be with Him forever, but don’t miss the blessing we have now.  John said NOW we are the children of God.  That is why when we pray we can address God as our Father.  Are you now a child of God?

— Via Lakeview church of Christ, October 30, 2016
——————–

-3-

Our Duty Toward Truth

Dan Richardson

WE MUST LOVE THE TRUTH (2 Thess. 2:10). Before truth can have a positive effect upon one’s life, he must have a love for the truth that he might be saved. This will insure that our motives in approaching God our pure and that we are able to discern truth from error (John 7:17). Those who do not have a love for the truth will be deceived by Satan’s lies and perish (2 Thess. 2:10).

WE MUST KNOW THE TRUTH (Jn. 8:32; 1 Tim. 2:4). God’s word is truth (Psa. 119:142; Jn. 17:17), and He has revealed His truth for man’s good (Deut. 29:29). Therefore, unless one would believe God to be cruel and malicious, we must accept that God’s word can be understood and known by all who desire such knowledge (Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17). Jesus said “ye shall know the truth” (Jn. 8:32). God desires that “all men … come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

WE MUST BELIEVE THE TRUTH (2 Thess. 2:12-13). Believing God is not a blind leap in the dark. His truth is a presentation of evidence designed to bring men to belief (Jn. 20:30-31). Each individual is responsible to weigh the evidence, determine it credible and conclude it believable. Those who disbelieve do so because they do not choose to consider the evidence properly (if at all). Instead, they have pleasure in unrighteousness.

WE MUST OBEY THE TRUTH (Gal. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:22). Because God has given commands, His truth demands an obedient response on our part. Truth is not a spiritual smorgasbord of options for us to pick and choose from. The sum of God’s word is truth (Psa. 119:151, 160). Everything He has revealed on a subject constitutes the pattern to be obeyed (Rom. 6:17). Therefore, we are responsible to “handle aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). To neglect just one part of it constitutes sin by which one will perish eternally (James 2:10).

WE MUST WALK IN TRUTH (2 John 4; 3 John 3-4). This Bible reference to “walk” has reference to one’s manner of life. The righteous will incorporate God’s truth into his life and walk therein.  Whatever the circumstance, he will not compromise it (Prov. 23:23). It will be a “shield and a buckler” for he who takes refuge in God (Psa. 91:4). And, it will be the standard by which he worships God (John 4:23-24).

– Via The Beacon, August 9, 2020
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Shirley Crews
remains in critical condition.  Her family was allowed to stay with her in the hospital all day Saturday until late that night.  Earlier, she was going to be transferred to Savannah, but that was cancelled after her condition worsened.

Max Beach
had his quadruple bypass Tuesday. Though he had been having trouble with his oxygen level, it improved yesterday.

Judy Daugherty is doing well in physical therapy for her shoulder.  She will be in rehab for a total of 6 weeks.

Rick Cuthbertson has been able to continue with his radiation treatments and has just one more week of it — taking 2 pills a day.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother has been having elevated blood pressure for about a week. So he had to resume some medication and will be seeing his doctor Friday.

Doyle Rittenhouse continues to be in much pain in his lower back and legs. On Wednesday he received an anti-inflammatory shot from his primary doctor, but to no avail.  Doyle then saw his spine and pain doctor on Thursday who told him that his back is all inflamed from the shots.  So he was put on Mobic and will see his doctors again in 2 weeks.   

Martha Lively is still seeing a chiropractor every week for her sciatic pain, but she does continue to improve.

Jim Lively has not had any additional falls lately, but he is still unsteady on his feet.

Deborah Medlock will be seeing her doctor this week to find out the treatment she will soon begin.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of William Martin Connor Sr. and John Henry Cole, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Elaine Abbott, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Pat Brigman,  Ronnie & Melotine Davis, James Medlock, Tim Kirkland, Rex & Frankie Hadley,Cameron Haney, and Ginger Ann Montero.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Romans 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins. For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord. For, if not, salvation can be lost (Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 10:36-39; Revelation 2:10; 2 Peter 2:20-22; James 5:19-20).
——————–

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) “Delivered Up By the Determined Counsel of God” (Kyle Pope)
2) The Good Shepherd and His Sheep (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

“Delivered Up By the Determined Counsel of God”

Kyle Pope

In Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, a profound declaration of the providence and predetermination of God is set forth. The death of Jesus was not a victory of darkness over light. It did not take Deity by surprise nor thwart Divine intentions. It had, in fact, taken place “by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23, NKJV). The word horizo in Greek, translated “determined” (NKJV), “determinate” (KJV, ASV) or “predetermined” (NASB), came from a word meaning “boundary.” In the Greek Old Testament (LXX) horizo often referred to the literal marking off of boundaries (Num 34:6; Jos 13:27; 15:12; 18:20). When used of time, as it often is in the New Testament, it refers to the marking off of a boundary of time that might be set for a person or thing. The event or duty thus marked off did not occur by chance, but in the realization of the purpose of the one who set the boundaries of time to begin with.

Jesus was “ordained (horizo) by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). God has “appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (horizo) (Acts 17:31). Jesus stated that the manner of His death would occur “as it has been determined (horizo)(Luke 22:22). The resurrection of Christ “declared (horizo) the Son of  God with power” (Rom. 1:4, NASB).*

Peter asserts that Jesus’ death was something that God in eternity past, looked down the path of time and established the boundary point at which it would occur. Long before we ever started, in our own lives to think about our accountability to God, He was thinking about the horrible and yet wonderful plan whereby He could redeem us from our sins by the Lamb without spot and blemish. John speaks of Jesus as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). This is hard for us to fathom. Our entire existence occurs within the finite limits of our short lives. We see our lives, or Jesus’ death, as something that occurs at one point on the timeline. “The Lord does not see as man sees” (1 Sam 16:7). Even before our creation, before our sin, before our alienation from God, He determined how we could be reconciled back to Him by Jesus’ death. No action of man, nor angel, nor demon could have altered this.

The word rendered “foreknowledge” in Peter’s assertion has come directly into English with a different application: prognosis. A doctor, upon examination of a patient, will give his best prediction regarding how an illness will progress or diminish with the prescribed treatment. Unlike the limited abilities of a human physician, God can in all things issue an infallible prognosis. God is He whom Isaiah speaks of as “declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:10).

If God determined from the beginning that Jesus would die, does that mean that God killed Jesus? The control of Deity over His creation is two-fold. In a broad sense anything that happens only happens because He allows it to. Not a bird falls to the ground (Matt 10:29), not a single soul lives on for a moment (James 4:15) apart from the permissive will of God. Yet allowing something is not the same as carrying it out of one’s self. In Acts 2:23, God “delivered up” (ASV, NASB) Jesus, yet “the hands of godless [or “lawless” NKJV, ASV] men…put Him to death” (NASB). God was obviously neither “godless” nor “lawless.” On the contrary, in this act of predetermination, God used the “godless” for His own purposes. The infinite mind of God, knowing the freewill choices of men, used the deeds of the godly and the godless to accomplish His purposes. So although He determined that it would happen, He does not bear the guilt of carrying it out. He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).

When Peter spoke these words, his motive was clear. Those who perhaps only days before shouted “crucify Him, crucify Him!” had to recognize their error. They had killed God’s anointed! Many recognizing this were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37) and obeyed the gospel. Yet Peter was also calling on them to recognize how this fulfilled the eternal purpose of God to offer redemption to man and purchase a people unto Himself. This people, the church, Paul says was also a part of God’s “eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3:11). We, like those on Pentecost, can choose to be a part of God’s eternal purpose.

_______________

* Here horizo might be thought of as setting the boundary markers that identified to the world that Jesus was the Son of God. The resurrection did not make Jesus something He wasn’t before (i.e. the Son of God). Rather it indicated this truth to man.

— Via Faithful Sayings, July 4, 2010, Issue 12.27
——————–

-2-

The Good Shepherd and His  Sheep

R.J. Evans

In reflecting back over my life, about the closest association I have ever had with sheep is that we owned two sheep dogs—Border Collies (smile!).  However, in studying the Bible, we learn much about shepherds and sheep.  It was a way of life for the people in Bible times.  Immediately, we think of King David, who spent his time as a young man caring for sheep.  He wrote that wonderful, meaningful twenty-third Psalm.

Being a shepherd and making reference to sheep was a vital part of Jesus’ teachings while here on earth.  He depicts Himself as the Good Shepherd, elders as shepherds, and His followers as sheep.  Do you ever wonder why the Lord compares us to sheep?  There must be reasons why He did so.  Not that I speak from experience or as an authority, by any means, but there are sound and obvious reasons why we find this analogy in Scripture.  In fact, research concerning their characteristics should cause us to give some serious thought about the direction of our lives.  Please consider the following:

1.  Sheep have no sense of direction.  Some will say sheep are “dumb,” but let’s just say—no sense of direction.  They will follow whoever is leading them, even if it leads to their falling off a cliff.  (And there are cases where this has actually happened.)  This reminds us of Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way.”

2.  Sheep are defenseless.  They don’t know how to defend themselves well, but they have been known to kick when protecting their young.  They don’t bark, growl, bite, or show their teeth.  They usually just run away. That’s why, as sheep, we need God’s protection.  We need the Good Shepherd because our “adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”  (1 Pet. 5:8).

3.  Sheep can’t get up without help when they are lying flat on their back.  They will be on their backs with their legs in the air flailing.  There is an old English shepherd’s term for this— “cast down.”  This is when the shepherd must come in and lift up the sheep and put it back on its feet.  God “will gather the lambs in His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (Isa. 40:11).

 4.  Sheep will recognize the shepherd’s voice.  This is where stupidity ends for sheep—they have a remarkable instinct for knowing the voice of the shepherd.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:27; 10:1-5).

5.  Sheep are not meant to carry heavy burdens.  You will never see a sheep carrying a pack on its back.  They are not meant to carry heavy loads.  This is part of the reason God compares us to sheep.  He will carry our burdens.  “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you….Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”  (1 Pet. 5:7; Psa. 55:22).

 6.  Sheep are valuable.  They provide meat, milk, and wool.  Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, is precious and of great value, beyond comparison.  When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29).

 7.  Sheep cannot care for themselves when wounded.  They need the shepherd to tend to their injuries.  We need the blood of the Lamb to take away our sins.  “By His stripes we are healed….He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”  (Isa. 53:5; Psa. 147:3).

 8.  There is a sense of innocence with sheep.  We sometimes use the expression— “Innocent as a lamb.”  In the Bible, sheep often represent purity and innocence. Think of all the Old Testament sheep sacrifices which were a type of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would be sacrificed to take away our sins (Heb. 10:1-10).  There is a sense in which we are to be innocent as sheep—pure and righteous, made possible by the blood of the Lamb in our gospel obedience and by walking in the light of the truth of His Word (Rom. 6:3; 1 Jn. 1:7-9).  When Jesus returns to judge the individuals of all nations, “He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” The goats “…will go away into everlasting punishment” but the sheep or “righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:31-46).

 Just like sheep, we cannot make it alone without the Good Shepherd.  Let us run to Him in gospel obedience, and let Him lead us to the spring of living water and take care of us forever.  “For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17).

 — Via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ (Gonzales, Louisiana), September 15, 2019
——————–

-3-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our condolences to, and prayers for, the family and friends of William Martin Connor, Sr. (Darlene Tanner’s father) who passed away Thursday (Sept. 3). He was 86.

Shirley Crews has now been three weeks on life support at the hospital. She is also in an induced coma and has received about 4 fusions for her covid-19, but there has been no improvement. 

Max Beach (Jim Lively’s brother-in-law) had a heart attack Friday and is now in the hospital where he will have a quadruple bypass in which each artery has almost 100% blockage.  The surgery might be tomorrow.

Judy Daugherty was admitted to the rehab facility the middle of last week and has begun her 6 weeks of treatment. Though it is painful, she is getting better. 

Alan and Darlene Tanner have both tested positive for covid-19.

Shirley Davis was given wrappings on her legs last week to help eliminate the fluid buildup. They extend from her knees to her toes and are changed every week by an in-home nurse.  One of the wrappings for this 3-week treatment is medicated. Shirley says that she is already noticing an improvement.  The swelling has gone down some, and her coughing is not as frequent as before.  She will also be having a checkup with her doctor on the 10th of this month.

Cameron Haney is going through illness and some difficult times.

Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother‘s blood pressure has been on the high side the last couple days, which with his recent heart surgery and still a future surgery to do on it, is higher than his doctors want. 

Though Doyle Rittenhouse had 8 nerve endings of the spine deadened recently, he is still with continual pain.  In 2 weeks, he will again see his doctor to find out his next step, which might finally be the spinal procedure that uses spacers to take care of the spur on his spine that has been causing the pain.

Susanne Rittenhouse, is now healed from her covid-19.

Martha Lively continues to improve from her sciatica.  Though she is still aware of it, yet she is now “much better.”  Her husband Jim is about the same with his condition.

So far, Rick Cuthbertson is doing well in resuming his cancer treatments in pill form, which is 2 a day for 2 more weeks.

Ronnie & Melotine Davis are both improving in their health, but not totally better yet.

Deborah Medlock has another week to go before seeing her doctor again to find out what treatment she will begin as a precautionary measure, following her recent surgery.

We are glad to say that Marie Pennock is now over her illness and feeling much better.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of John Henry Cole, Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates (healing from a double lung transplant), A.J. & Pat Joyner, Elaine Abbott, Pat Brigman,  Ronnie & Melotine Davis, James Medlock, Tim Kirkland, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Ginger Ann Montero.
——————–

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)

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