Month: January 2021

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) “O King, Live Forever” (Al Diestelkamp)
2) The Consequences of Being a Liar (R.J. Evans)
3) How Often Shall I Forgive? (Frank Himmel)
4) Becoming More Like Jesus (Part 2) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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“O King, Live Forever”

Al Diestelkamp

Try to imagine yourself in a situation where your nation has been overthrown by a foreign power, and you have been taken captive and forced into servitude to the very evil ruler who was responsible for this unwanted circumstance. What would be your attitude toward the one in power?

This was exactly the situation in which Daniel found himself from his youth through his old age. What should impress us is how this man of faith viewed the reigns of godless emperors as the result of God giving power “to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:25). Therefore, when addressing whoever was king, he would begin by saying, “O king, live forever!” (Dan. 2:4; 3:9; 5:10; 6:21). His respect was not dependent on the respectability of the rulers but was the result of the respect he had for the One Who had placed them in power.

Furthermore, Daniel’s respect was not mere lip service. He served with distinction in the administrations of the godless kings Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius. Even when Daniel’s faith in God was challenged, requiring him to obey God rather than men, he did not speak evil of the king who had sentenced him to the lion’s den but said, “O king, live forever!” (6:21).

Daniel’s respect toward those in authority was in agreement with principles outlined in the law of Moses which said, “ You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Ex. 22:28). Solomon also warned, “Do not curse the king, even in your thought” (Eccl. 10:20).

Of course, it is important to note that Daniel, and other men of faith, did not participate in any evil, nor did they hesitate to rebuke rulers for their sins (i.e., Dan. 3:16-18; Mk. 6:18); but they evidently did so respectfully, considering the high regard the rulers gave in return (Dan. 2:48-49; Mk. 6:26).

This got me to consider my own attitude toward the men whom God has chosen to govern our nation.  I realize that a democratic republic is quite different from other forms of government. This might make determining just who is included in “a ruler” more challenging, but it surely would include our presidents. In my lifetime, there have been fourteen men who have served as President of the United States. In my opinion, some have been more “respectable” than others. Yes, some of them were adulterers, liars, and approved of such things “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:32), but I wouldn’t trade any one of them for the likes of Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar.

There is no time in my memory when the divisions in our nation were more evident and the vitriolic attacks more vocal. (I wasn’t alive during the Civil War.) It is a time when Christians have the opportunity to be like Daniel by “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) while putting away “all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking…with all malice” (Eph. 4:31).

Christians should do all we can to expose evil and promote righteousness in our nation. This might include working and voting to elect honorable candidates who have respect for God’s Word; but when the votes are tabulated, we need to accept the results and show honor to those elected as ones “appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1). Peter wrote, “Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:18). Though we don’t have a king in our nation, I suspect the Lord expects us to make the application anyway.

— via Think On These Things, Volume 50, No. 3, July-August-September 2019
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The Consequences of Being a Liar

R. J. Evans

The sin of lying is a serious matter that has eternal consequences. In Revelation 21:8 we are told: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” The Apostle Paul specifically told Christians to put “away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).

I find it interesting that the Apostle John spoke of five different types of liars in the First Epistle of John. Please take note of these types of liars:

1. Those who claim to be in fellowship with God, but are walking in sin. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn. 1:6). For a good contrast between walking in the light of truth, as opposed to walking in the darkness of sin and error, please read Ephesians 5:6-16.

2. Those who say they have not sinned and have deceived themselves. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8, 10). God has told us that we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). To claim that we have not sinned is a lie (“the truth is not in us”), and while doing so, we attempt to make God a liar because He has clearly established the fact that we are sinners. “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

3. Those who claim to know God, but do not obey Him. “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:4). To love and know God is to obey His will. Later on in this epistle, John stated: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn. 5:3).

4. Those who claim they love God, but hate their brother in Christ. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 Jn. 4:20).

5. Those who deny the deity and humanity of Christ — God incarnate — that He came and lived in the flesh. “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son…and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 Jn. 2:22; 4:3).

In view of the seriousness and the eternal consequences of lying, we again emphasize — put “away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).

— Via Navarre Messenger, March 3, 2019
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How Often Shall I Forgive?

Frank Himmel

Jesus taught that when a brother sins we are to go and show him his fault in private (Matthew 18:15). Hopefully, he repents and that is the end of the matter. If he does not listen we are to take two or more witnesses who can substantiate the problem (v. 16). Only when he still refuses to listen is the issue to be dealt with more publicly (v. 17). What a wise and beneficial approach this is!

“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’” (v. 21).

The Question

Let’s give Peter credit. He was thinking about how to apply Jesus’ teaching to every day situations. That is something we all need to do. Perhaps a previous experience prompted this question.

Where did Peter get the number seven? Luke says Jesus taught seven-fold forgiveness (17:3). Whether that is Luke’s summary of the instruction in our text or something Jesus taught on another occasion is uncertain. Was that number to be taken as a limit? Commentators often cite rabbinic teaching that forgiveness was to be given three times. If Peter was thinking of that, he generously doubled it and added one for good measure. Seven is often a symbol of completeness; perhaps that is why Peter suggested it.

Jesus’ Answer

“Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (v. 22). In other words, “Quit counting. Always be ready to forgive.”

To help us see why, Jesus went on to tell a parable about two debtors. The first one was a man who owed the king 10,000 talents, a preposterously large amount that no one would have the resources to repay. He did the only thing he could: he begged for mercy. The king felt compassion and graciously forgave him. The second debtor was a man who owed the first debtor a reasonable amount, 100 denarii (a denarius was a day’s wage). But that was more than he had, so he, too, pled for mercy. However, the first debtor, who had received such great mercy, now showed no mercy and threw the second debtor in prison. When the king learned what had happened, he mercilessly punished the first debtor, explaining that one who had received such great mercy must extend mercy to others (vv. 23-34).

By way of application, God is the king, we are the first debtor. Our wrongs against Him are far greater than any wrongs others may commit against us. Mercy is our only hope. If we want it, we must learn to give it. Otherwise, the Father will not forgive us (v. 35).

Forgiveness can be difficult, but it is made far easier by simply remembering where we would be without it.

— Via PathLights, January 3, 2021
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Becoming More Like Jesus (Part 2)

Tom Edwards

To watch the video sermon, “Becoming More Like Jesus (Part 2)” — that was preached January 10, 2021 and focuses on having “A Mind to work,” A Forgiving Spirit, and Oneness — just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Becoming_More_Like_Jesus_Part_2.mp4
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– 5 –

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Bennie & Deborah Medlock
are still recuperating from covid-19.  Bennie’s sense of taste has returned, along with a good appetite; but that has not yet happened for Deborah.  She has been put on a new medication and told by her doctor to eat more protein. 

Also with covid-19, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.

We are glad to say that Marde Sweezy is now over her covid-19, after having it for about 14 days, and was able to return to work last week.

Also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Neil Teague, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, Tim Kirkland, 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) — 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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For 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 (Rom. 6:3-4). 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).
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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).
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Contents:

1) A New Year Begins (David Dann)
2) Resolutions Require Commitment (Greg Gwin)
3) To Help Us Pray More and Better (Bill Crews)
4) Becoming More Like Jesus (Tom Edwards, video sermon)
5) News & Notes
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A New Year Begins

David Dann

King David wrote of God’s blessings saying, “You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side” (Ps. 65:11-12). The inspired psalmist reminds us that it is God who has crowned the year with goodness. As James writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).

According to our calendars, a new year has just begun. As we reach the end of one year and prepare to start another there are many things to consider. It is usually profitable to take some time to reflect on the blessings we received, the successes we enjoyed, and the failures we endured in the past year. It is also perfectly natural to look forward in anticipation of what the new year may bring. Reflection on the past and anticipation of the future are common to everyone when the new year begins. However, as Christians, we ought to realize that the new year should cause us to be mindful of more than just the events of our recent past and those to which we look forward in the near future. Some important thoughts are
brought to mind by the beginning of the new year.

1. The New Year reminds us of our Creator. For many, the start of the new year is an excuse to have wild parties that are often nothing more than drunken revelries. But the start of the new year should underscore a nobler theme. The change of the calendar is one of the many ways in which we are reminded that, “the Lord, he is God; it is he who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3). After all, the idea of measuring time in periods known as “years” did not originate with man. It was the God who created us that said, “‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so” (Gen. 1:14-15). With the arrival of each new year, we are reminded that God created the world with its cycles and seasons giving man the ability to measure time in years.

2. The New Year reminds us that Jesus Christ came into the world. The apostle Paul writes, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). Even from a purely secular perspective the impact that Jesus has had on the history of mankind cannot be denied. We have just entered the year 2004 A.D. The initials “A.D.” represent the Latin phrase Anno Domini, which means, “year of our Lord.” In other words, this is supposed to be the 2,004th year since the time that our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. While it is likely that those who first ordered the calendar in this manner erred slightly in their calculations, the point remains the same. That is, the beginning of the new year reminds us that Jesus Christ came into the world and had an impact on mankind more profound than any person who has ever lived. His impact is such that mankind now reckons time by referring back to the point when he came in the flesh.

3. The New Year reminds us of God’s mercy. The Bible tells us that God “has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). The Scriptures often refer to that day as “the last day” (John 12:48; 6:44). With the arrival of each new year we are reminded that another year has passed without the last day having come. In this respect the new year makes us mindful of God’s great mercy toward mankind. The Day of Judgment signals the end of God’s grace toward the unrighteous (2 Thess. 1:6-8). The start of the new year testifies of the mercy and patience of our God who “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). In the beginning of the new year we see that God has given sinners at least a little more time to repent before it is too late.

4. The New Year reminds us that new opportunities lie ahead. It is obvious that most people tend to view the new year as a chance at a fresh start. This is seen in the “New Year’s Resolutions” made by so many. Most of these resolutions involve new attempts at sticking to a particular diet or exercise program. But for the Christian, the new year presents opportunities of a spiritual nature. The new year gives us new opportunities to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior” (2 Pet. 3:18), to “warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thess. 5:14), to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), and to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Conclusion

Let us take advantage of the opportunities we have to serve God now, and let us do our best to glorify him in the new year. God has not promised us another year, or even another day, but in his great mercy he has granted us the beginning of this new year. Are you planning on putting God first this year? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1, January 1, 2004
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Resolutions Require Commitment!

Greg Gwin

A reportedly true story is told about a school principal who, at the end of the year, encouraged all his teachers to write out their resolution for the New Year. He promised to post these on the faculty bulletin board so that all could benefit from them.

When the resolutions were posted, all the teachers crowded around to read the suggestions from their co-workers. Suddenly one of the teachers erupted in a fit of anger. “Mine is not here! He’s purposefully left mine off the board. He doesn’t care about me. That just shows how little I’m appreciated around here!” The principal was shocked. He had not intentionally left anyone’s resolution off the board. He rushed to his desk and found the missing note under a pile of papers. He immediately proceeded to post it. The resolution read: “I resolve not to let little things upset me anymore.”

What we see here is a clear case of resolution without commitment. All of us are guilty of this — and it happens too often. Failed diets, abandoned exercise plans, neglected projects, etc., are all the result of lack of commitment.

But, without doubt, the most serious area of concern is in our spiritual service to God. At one time or another we have all said, “I need to do better, and I intend to do so!” It may involve our attendance at the worship services and Bible studies, or it might be in personal study and prayer. Perhaps it involves personal evangelism, visiting the sick, or sharing hospitality with other Christians. Whatever it might be, the resolve is good, but we need commitment to see the task through.

As we enter into this New Year, let’s do some serious personal evaluation; make some needed resolutions; and then, FOLLOW THEM THROUGH!

 – Via The Beacon, December 27, 2020
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To Help Us Pray More and Better

Bill Crews

To help us pray more than we do, and better than we do, we need:

1. A greater sense of God’s presence, Psalm 139:7-12; Acts 17:27 — we speak to those who are present.

2. A greater love for God, Matthew 22:36-37; 1 John 5:3 — we want to talk to those we love.

3. A more diligent study of the Word of God, Psalm 1:1-2 — the more we listen to God, the more we have to say to Him.

4. A greater faith in the efficacy of prayer, Matthew 7:7-8; James 5:16-17 — faith leads to prayer, and we must pray in faith, James 1:5-6; Mark 11:24.

5. A deeper sense of our own sins, weaknesses, limitations and needs, James 5:13; 1 John 1:9; James 4:2-3 — arrogant, self-sufficient, self-righteous, impenitent people are not praying people.

6. More gratitude for God’s abundant blessings, James 1:17; Acts 17:24-25 — grateful people give thanks.

7. A greater awareness of our utter dependency upon God, Acts 17:28; Job 12:30 — this will lead us to be lowly, submissive, petitioning people.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 1, page 2, January 3, 2021
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-4-

Becoming More Like Jesus

Tom Edwards

Just click on the above title for this video sermon on Becoming More Like Jesus. It focuses on three characteristics of the Lord that we need to each continue to develop and maintain in our own lives. And they are Humility, Unselfishness, and Love.
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-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Bennie & Deborah Medlock
recently tested positive for covid-19 and are now experiencing the same symptoms.  Though Bennie had been in the hospital for a few days, he is now back home in a separate room recuperating.

Marde Sweezy had been having a difficult time breathing, due to covid-19, but that is getting better.

Also with covid-19, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.

We were glad to see Ginger Ann Montero back with us.  She had also tested positive for covid-19 a while back, but never had any of the symptoms.

Elizabeth Harden (Anita Young’s daughter) gave birth New Year’s Eve to a healthy boy weighing 8 pounds and 22 ounces!  They are both doing well.

Nell Teague,
who was treated for breast cancer several years ago, now has a malignancy in her neck, which she is receiving chemo and radiation for.

Let us also continue to remember the family and friends of James Medlock who recently passed away. 

Also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, 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; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For 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 (Rom. 6:3-4). 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).
——————–

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)

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