“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) “Fields . . . White Already to Harvest” (Micky Galloway)
2) Correcting Misconceptions of Humility (Sewell Hall)
3) News & Notes
“Fields…White Already to Harvest”
When we lived in Arkansas, the many opportunities we had to see huge fields of cotton gave new meaning to this expression. Try to imagine 400 acres of cotton, a literal sea of white, ready to be harvested. The Lord said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).The apostle Paul expressed the same thought when he spoke of an “open door” and a “door of utterance” (1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 4:3). John wrote of the “open door” which no man can shut (Revelation 3:8).
Opportunity “knocks”; it does not beat down the door. As we drive into the Antelope Valley and stop at Vista Point to view the valley, we are reminded of opportunity. Living in this valley are approximately 300,000 souls who need to hear the gospel. This writing concerns our many opportunities to teach God’s Word and our preparation and determination to take advantage of these opportunities. Christianity is not a dead belief; it is a vibrant way of life that deeply affects the standards by which we conduct our lives. A part of that conduct deals with our consciousness that those about us are lost.
Let us pray for an “open door.” The apostle Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). It is right to pray for opportunities. Perhaps, our inability to realize that we live in a “lost and dying world,” and our apathy to praying about it, are the very reasons conditions are not more favorable for the growth of the church. James said, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Fervently praying for opportunity means ridding oneself of fear about the responsibilities associated with open doors. To accomplish this goal, we must prepare.
We need to get past “me-ism” (concern only with ourselves). Too many of us focus so entirely upon ourselves–“me first”–that we fail to see opportunities, and therefore, to act when they abound. Paul said some would become “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2). Yet, the same apostle taught that we are to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying” (Romans 15:1-2). Even among brethren, there is opportunity to teach. Paul said, “Let no man seek his own, but (each) his neighbor’s (good)” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Paul also said, “Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). Wouldn’t that go a long way toward helping us to teach others. We have a wide-open “door” of opportunity to restore those who are wayward (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
Let us believe in the gospel, God’s power to save. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). In a world that held the gospel in contempt, Paul, under threat of persecution, preached it boldly. Paul had seen the gospel at work, first among the Jews, and then among the Greeks. “The words of eternal life” are “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel is ever relevant, and it can transform our neighbors, if they receive it and realize that it is the revelation of God. Every conversion example in the book of Acts bears evidence of this truth. Indeed, we have in our possession God’s power to change lives, but our failure to proclaim it results in continued ungodly living that sends people to hell!!! Jesus commanded, “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby” (Matthew 7:13-14).
On the broad way that leads to destruction will be someone’s mother, father, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or coworker. In that great Day of Judgment, will they say, “You met me day by day, and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me.”
Let us be aware of the unconverted. Masses of souls are hungering and thirsting for the truth. Many question their religious convictions. They know they are at sea, without chart or compass. WE have great opportunity. Indeed, the fields are white unto harvest, and the laborers are so few. In Acts 8, those who were scattered as a result of the persecution, “went about preaching the word.” Until we understand that the success of personal work depends on each one personally working, opportunities will continue to fall by the wayside.
Reaping a harvest of lost souls can not occur by accident. Let us prepare ourselves for the greatest work on earth. Someone has said that the four hinges upon which the gates of opportunity swing are: initiative, insight, industry, and integrity. Surely, we have integrity, but what about the other three. Let us not forget that procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.
Every gospel preacher who is doing the work the Lord called Him to do is looking for ways to impress the truth of this article upon those in the congregation where he labors. The world is replete with people who are lost and dying in darkness and sin. Every community in which the Lord’s church has “open doors” also has great “opportunity doors.”
Millions of people live their lives without spiritual direction. Millions of others have been deceived by the smooth words of men who teach error. Both groups (those without direction and those with the wrong direction) are on a road that leads to the same destination — Hell! “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9). Do we even think about the terrible ending awaiting the unprepared? Many of them are people we know, and love, and talk with daily.
Dear reader, please read your Bible carefully. I think you’ll conclude that God not only expects us to save ourselves, but also to strive to bring others with us! Who are you bringing? (KMG)
“Then He said to His disciples, the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:36-37).
Can God Count on You?
— Via Knollwood church of Christ, July 2003
Correcting Misconceptions of Humility
Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.
Humility Is Not Weakness
Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), causing Paul to respond, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Humility Does Not Preclude Leadership
Jesus was “meek and lowly” (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2), and this is defined in Romans 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should. 1 Timothy 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).
Humility Does Not Forbid Rebuking Sin
Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matthew 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in chapter 23 as when He was blessing little children in chapter 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error. “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God’s purpose.
Humility Is Not Inconsistent With Personal Initiative
The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and executing its work. A song we sing says, “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility. Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that “each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.
Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully, speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others.
This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be. When one is constantly thinking: “How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others” he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution — not thinking of self at all. A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).
True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Corinthians 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Timothy 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Corinthians 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.
— Via Search for Truth, October 11, 2020
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Rex Abbott (Jonathan’s father) is feeling better and might now be over the Covid-19. He will be tested tomorrow to find out.
Elaine Abbott (Jonathan’s mother) still has the covid-19, along with pneumonia that has elevated her white blood count. Her dementia has also worsen, but that might be from all she is now going through.
Anthony and Tammy Abbott (Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law) had been diagnosed with covid-19. But Anthony is now doing better, though still with some congestion; and his wife Tammy is now in her 12th day of it and making some improvement.
Rick Cuthbertson is now on a different drug for his cancer treatments. So far, there is no constant pain; and he is feeling pretty good.
Jim Lively had two more falls last week by which he sluffed some more skin off his arms.
Rex & Frankie Hadley are doing about the same. Rex had x-rays on his lower back Friday which revealed a good bit of degeneration in the discs.
Anita Young is doing better with her foot. They gave her a shot for it, and she has now been without the ankle brace for more than a week.
Others to also be praying for: Pat Bridgman, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother, Joanne Ray, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Vivian Foster, Doyle Rittenhouse, James Medlock, Larry & Janice Hood, Judy Daugherty, Deborah Medlock, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Allen & Darlene Tanner, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
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) — and even for 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). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27). And from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian. For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
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).
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
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)