“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) “Delivered Up By the Determined Counsel of God” (Kyle Pope)
2) The Good Shepherd and His Sheep (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
“Delivered Up By the Determined Counsel of God”
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
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
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
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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)