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) Christ, Our Refuge (Curtis Pope)
2) To Capture Hearts… (Robert F. Turner)
3) Bible “Math” (Part 2: “Multiplication”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Christ, Our Refuge

Curtis Pope

Introduction

Psalm 2 ends with a blessing pronounced upon the one who takes refuge in the Son:

“Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 2:12, NASB).

For many in David’s day, the concept of refuge would have been tied up with the idea of the “cities of refuge” whose function was articulated in Numbers 35:6-34 and Deuteronomy 4:41-43.

These cities, Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron, west of the Jordan, and Bezer, Ramoth-Gilead, and Golan, on the river’s eastern side (Josh. 20:7-9), were strategically located throughout the country, allowing readily available sanctuary to those who had taken a life unintentionally. This was necessary because of the obligation incumbent upon the next of kin to provide an “avenger of blood” (Heb. goel hadam) to exact vengeance upon any who killed a family member. In the absence of a national police force, this served as a deterrent to murder by making the perpetrator fear losing his own life. Unlike modern justice systems, which claim that “justice is blind,” ancient Israelites had no such expectations. Hebrew justice was concerned only with the family’s interest in avenging shed blood. Therefore, no matter where the killer fled or how long it took to find him, blood vengeance would be exacted.

To mitigate the circumstances if the killing was accidental, the one who took a life could flee for safety to one of the cities listed above. If he could get to a city of refuge before being intercepted and killed by the avenger of blood, he was then entitled to receive a hearing from the congregated citizens of that city. If judged by the Law of Moses and the evidence to be guilty of murder, he would be excluded from the city and subject to the wrath of the avenger of blood. However, if they determined that his offense was manslaughter, he was justified in his case and was allowed to dwell securely in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest, at which time he would be allowed to return to his home city unmolested, forever free from fear of the avenger of blood. Nonetheless, if the killer was caught outside the gates of the city before the high priest’s passing, he could be killed by the avenger of blood, regardless of the congregation’s verdict. Therefore, “refuge” in David’s day would have implied salvation, justification, and security in light of the city of refuge model.

Psalm 2 has long been considered a Messianic Psalm. Even Jewish sources, until the Middle Ages, thought it such, and even then, only changed their interpretation in light of Christian application of the passage to Jesus. Acts 4:25-26 clearly applies this psalm to Christ. Therefore, the refuge that blesses those who rest in its hope, as found in Psalm 2:12, is obviously found in Jesus, the Son of God.

The word “refuge” is a common feature in the psalms, often combining the city of refuge motif with Messianic psalms to foreshadow the salvation, justification, and security found in Christ. Let us examine these ideas as applied in the New Testament to those who take refuge in the Son.

Salvation in Christ

During the ministry of Jesus, He often calls on people to take refuge in Him. While the word “refuge” is rarely used in the New Testament (Heb. 6:18), the concept is evident throughout. In the Sermon on the Mount, for example, Jesus pronounces a blessing (in words reminiscent of Psalm 2:12) on the poor in spirit, on those that mourn, on the gentle, on those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and upon other spiritual outcasts with the promise that their spiritual longings will be satisfied in Him (Matt. 5:3-12). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says:

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These passages in Matthew call upon those burdened with sin to find refuge in Him.

After the resurrection, the gospel that Jesus commissioned to be preached throughout the world taught that “he who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), holding out the promise of salvation to all spiritual refugees.

On the day of Pentecost, just after Christ’s ascension, those who asked “what shall we do?” when confronted with their complicity in the murder of Jesus, were told to “repent and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” and urged to “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:27-40).

Salvation from the wrath of God and forgiveness of sins is the constant theme of the gospel as seen in the book of Acts with Cornelius being told of Peter’s coming to Caesarea to “speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household” (Acts 11:14). The question of the Philippian jailor, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and Paul’s answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30-31) also shows the desperation of the spiritual refugee and the joy when, in penitent baptism he, “believes in God, with his whole household” (Acts 16:34).

As in the few passages above, the salvation made available to the killer in the Old Testament by the city of refuge foreshadows the safety offered by our refuge in Jesus. However, instead of giving us only an imperfect refuge to seek vindication, Christ offers us sanctuary from God’s wrath and complete justification.

Justification in Christ

As the offender sought safety in the city of refuge, it also allowed him to have his case adjudicated. His hope rested in the congregation, finding him innocent of murder but guilty of manslaughter. The one who seeks refuge in Jesus is under no such illusion of innocence. He knows that he is guilty with no hope of justification except by forgiveness (Rom. 3:10, 23). Yet, as 1 John 2:1 affirms, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” However, not only does Jesus serve as our advocate before the Father, He also stands as “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2), meaning that the price for our wrongdoing was paid by His death on the cross, thus satisfying God’s wrath. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

Security in Christ

When the one guilty of manslaughter was cleared of all murder charges, he could reside in secure comfort in the city of refuge. Those who flee to Christ for salvation and have been justified by His blood enjoy security and blessed assurance in Him. As Paul says in Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Just as those refugees had to remain within the city walls, we who seek refuge in Christ only find security in Him. As we are baptized “into Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27) to be justified by Him, we must “abide in Him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

There is great assurance that we can have in Christ. As 1 John 5:13 says, what was written was so that we “may know that you have eternal life.” The Hebrew writer says, “we who have taken refuge have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18).

Conclusion

We can know much more about the salvation, justification, and security in the Son than did David, the author of Psalm 2, because of the simple fact that we live on this side of the cross. Even the ideas taught by the refuge offered the manslayer, by the cities of refuge, were just a faint foreshadowing of what we can know in Jesus. However, even David could understand that the only ones to be blessed by taking refuge in the Son were those doing “homage” to Him (Ps. 2:12). May we always find refuge in Christ as we honor and adore Him.

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 23, Issue 4 (January 24, 2021)
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To Capture  Hearts…

Robert F. Turner

Having spent many years trying to bring men to Christ, and pondering repeated failures, I have drawn a few conclusions from experience. We may have trusted the story of the cross too little, and our teaching ability too much. We have relied heavily upon the assumption that if we could teach men what to do, they would do it. There is something to do all right, but there will be little doing (and none that is valid) until the subject is made aware of a need, believes in a remedy, and desires the result of doing. Information may be adequate, but motivation may be lacking.

Motive is “that within the individual, rather than without, which incites him to action.” Peter’s sermon on Pentecost made the hearers aware of circumstances which produced self-judgment — “we have killed the long-awaited Messiah. What shall we do?” Under these conditions the answer can be brief and to the point. There was no need for charts, diagrams, and argumentative sermons on baptism.

This is no indictment of defense and proclamation of doctrinal details. Where such differences exist, and are the determent to full obedience, they must be thrashed out. But in many cases if we would expend greater efforts to convince men of their true status before a righteously indignant God, we would not have to press so fruitlessly the details of His will. A man who realizes he is drowning does not argue about the color of the life buoy thrown to him.

We strive for men’s hearts: casting down man’s evil reasonings, his pride, and bringing into captivity his thoughts (2 Cor. 10:4-5) to the obedience of Christ. If we are more interested in winning an argument than in saving a soul, we will certainly fail in the latter, and probably in the former. We are trying to win a man, not whip him.

To change the attitude of others, so that they will be open and receptive to the gospel of Christ, we may first have to revise our attitude. We must somehow become one with the Lord Jesus, who loved and sacrificed Himself for mankind; not because we were lovely, but “while we were sinners.”

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 4, Page 1, January 24, 2021
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Bible “Math” (Part 2: “Multiplication)

Tom Edwards

This is a video sermon I preached January 31, 2021.  To hear it, just click on the following:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_2.mp4

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Don Thomas who passed away yesterday, due to covid-19.

Our sympathies also go out to the family and friends of Vilos Jerry Owens who passed away last night of covid-19.

There has still not been any reduction in the brain-hematoma from Malachi Dowling’s serious ATV accident.  So they are keeping him sedated. Procedures were also performed to help with his healing.

The Baptist Village Nursing Home can use our prayers for the residents and the staff. 

Michelle Rittenhouse Sears has been experiencing a rapid heart beat and shortness of breath.  Both she and her husband Donald also have pneumonia. Though she still has covid-19, he has now tested negative for it.

Billy Cochran is now back in the hospital with covid-19 and not doing so well.

Emma Thomas
(Don’s sister-in-law) returned home Saturday to continue recuperating, after being 3 days in the hospital, due to covid-19.  Her husband Earl also had it, but is now testing negative. 

Eddy Wilson also tested negative for the covid-19 that he previously had, but is also still weak.

Deborah Medlock continues to heal from covid-19.  About 62% of her taste buds are now working and her appetite has returned.  Though Deborah has long had back trouble, it has been worse lately.  Her husband Bennie is doing even better.  They will both be tested this week.

Heather Kellum was recently diagnosed with covid-19, but is currently doing okay.  Her daughter Cami, who also has it, has been running a low-grade fever.

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

And also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Neil Teague, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex 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) Great is the Mystery of Godliness (Stan Cox)
2) Bible “Math” (Part 1: “Addition” & “Subtraction”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
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Great is the Mystery of Godliness

Stan Cox

In the third chapter of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he explained to his young friend his purpose in writing. This explanation is contained in verses 14-16 of the chapter:

“These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”

Paul noted the importance of proper conduct in the church. There is a right way, and a wrong way to behave. The instructions given to young Timothy in his work as an evangelist — as well as those given to diverse groups in the church at Ephesus — all are designed to bring about this proper conduct. This truth is demonstrated by the phrase, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness” (vs. 16). The nature of the mystery is great, and with it are grand ramifications. Paul, of course, spoke here of God’s scheme of redemption. Note his words to the Colossians, “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col 1:26-28).

In God’s revelation, we are blessed with the most important truths known. They are timely, and demand a proper response. Paul affirmed in his letter to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Paul’s description of this grand mystery is worth examination. First, consider his contention that no controversy surrounds his claim that it is great. This does not mean that unreasonable men might dispute these truths. It is an affirmation that such disputes are, in fact, unreasonable! These things are true. There is no doubt. As Peter proclaimed, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Just because someone refuses to believe it does not mean it is not so!

God was Manifested in the Flesh

This is a reference to the incarnation of the Son of God. This incarnation was prophesied by Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Matthew translated the name Immanuel, “God with us” (cf. Matthew 1:23).

This truth is universally affirmed among the New Testament writers. It is denied by many. Most today accept that Jesus lived, but many deny His deity. Interestingly, the opposite was true in John’s day. Many accepted that Jesus was God, but denied that He was really a man! “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 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 John 4:2-3). To deny either His deity or His humanity is to exhibit the spirit of the Antichrist!

Referring to Jesus, John affirmed, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Hebrew writer concurs, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Further, John tells us why He came in the flesh, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Justified in the Spirit

This phrase is difficult. The first consideration is the meaning of the word “justified.” As always, context helps to establish meaning. The Greek term can refer either to the act of justifying, or the pronouncement of justification. The latter seems to fit this passage better. Vine puts it this way: “to declare to be righteous, to pronounce righteous.”

The second consideration is whether the word “Spirit” here has reference to the Holy Spirit. As seen by the word being capitalized, this is certainly the view of most translators, including those who produced the New King James version. If this is so, and it is the view I hold, the sense of the phrase is the witness of the Holy Spirit that vindicates Jesus as righteous, and His claim to be the Messiah of God. The Holy Spirit certainly is revealed to justify, or legitimize Jesus.

For example, at the baptism of Jesus we have this witness. “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” This, and the Father’s words, “This is my beloved Son” vindicate His claim to be the Messiah (cf. Matthew 3:16-17).

On another occasion, Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them after His death. He said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). All the New Testament writings that claim Jesus to be God’s Son are examples of His justification in the Spirit.

One final example is found in the miracles Jesus performed. False charges were raised against Him by the Pharisees. “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’ Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons'” (Matthew 12:22-24). However, as Jesus said, the demons He cast out were by the Spirit of God. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). In this, the Holy Spirit vindicated Jesus in His work.

Seen by Angels

The angels were aware of God’s plan for redeeming man. They no doubt longed to know the details of that plan, as Peter notes. “To them [the prophets of old] it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12).

Angels certainly witnessed and participated in major events of Christ’s incarnation. They were there at the beginning, when the Child was born. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” (Luke 2:13-14).

Angels tended to the Lord after his temptation in the wilderness of Judea. “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:11). And an angel was present to proclaim His resurrection to the group of women who gathered to tend to His body on the morning of that third day. “But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).

Finally, there were two angels who affirmed at His ascension that Jesus would come a second time to judge the world. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:9-11).

Preached Among the Gentiles

The preaching of Jesus to all the world is a great reason for rejoicing. Prior to Christ’s coming, the Gentiles were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). In fact, at the time of Christ’s coming, the favor that God had bestowed upon the Jew had resulted in arrogance, and animosity between the two groups. The Jew believed himself to be so superior to the Gentile that he would not even eat with him.

However, it was God’s intent to bring salvation to all men, both Jew and Greek. And he did it by having Jewish disciples share the message of the gospel with the Gentiles. The apostle Paul was given a special dispensation to preach that gospel to the Gentile, as well as the Jew. “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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'” (Romans 1:16-17).

In the preaching of the gospel, God brought peace to all men. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:13-16). In Christ, all have access to redemption.

Believed on in the World

Belief in Christ is the means of reconciliation with God. Jesus told his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). If man were to have authored a plan for redemption, it would have been far different. But God’s love for His creation compelled Him to make salvation available to all! Peter tells us of His longsuffering, that He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Despite the devil’s efforts, and the influence that he wields in the world, belief in Jesus has flourished through the millennia since He walked on this earth. The carpenter’s son is the most influential individual who has ever lived. This is because He is the Son of God, the unique individual capable of securing the hope of eternal life.

Received up in Glory

Jesus’ coming to earth is described as an act of humility. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). It is because of the success of Jesus’ ministry on earth, because of His humiliation on the cross, that God exalted Him. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Some may consider the word humiliation to be too strong. But, that is the word used by the evangelist Philip in quoting the Septuagint version of the prophet Isaiah. “In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:33).

So, contrast Jesus’ treatment at the hands of men with the exaltation bestowed upon Him by His Father following His death. Men brought oppression, torture and death on the cross. He submitted Himself to such indignities for the sake of mankind. God rewarded Him for His faithful obedience to the cause by raising Him from the dead, and receiving Him again into His glorious presence. “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32-36).

Conclusion

The glorious gospel of the exalted Christ is “without controversy.” No unbiased man, having examined the truths contained therein, would describe it in any other way. The most important event of mankind, was securing the hope of redemption, accomplished in the person of Jesus. All else pales in comparison.

Since this is so, it is most worthy of our interest and engagement. Paul affirmed that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” The Lordship of Jesus has been established by God, it only remains that every soul acknowledge it. To do so now brings salvation, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). To do so at the judgment day is to be eternally too late. Our appeal to all men, confess Jesus now!

— Via Navarre Messenger, March 15, 2020
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Bible “Math”
(Part 1: “Addition” & “Subtraction”)

Tom Edwards

To hear this video sermon, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_1.mp4
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

The Baptist Village Nursing Home
can use our prayers for the residents and the staff.  They have been hit hard with the coronavirus. 

Malachi Dowing, who is 14 years old, was in a serious ATV accident recently. He ran headlong into a light pole, breaking multiple facial bones and causing a hematoma on the left side of his brain.

Heather Kellum was recently diagnosed with covid-19, but has been okay so far. Her daughter Cami also has it and has been running a low-grade fever.

Deborah Medlock sounded much better on the phone yesterday.  She is overcoming many of her symptoms of covid-19, but still without taste buds being totally back.  Plus, she does easily tire from even a little activity.

Bennie Medlock also continues to heal from covid-19 and can taste food again.

Michelle Rittenhouse Sears has been under quarantine, due to the coronavirus.  Her husband, who also had it, is already better and has been back to work. 

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

Congratulations to Samantha Sweat (Tina Allen’s daughter) who recently gave birth to Sawyer James Sweat!  The mother and son are both doing well.

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).
——————–

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) The Sermon on the Mount: Materialism (David Flatt)
2) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

The Sermon on the Mount: Materialism

David Flatt

*****
Synopsis: Focusing upon Jesus’ teaching concerning materialism, David encourages us to examine how the desire for wealth and possessions is a form of idolatry and recognize how such prevents us from getting to the kingdom.
*****

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:19-24).

At this point in Jesus’ sermon, He identifies an idol which has lured the hearts of people for many generations: wealth. He warns against the perils of devoting our lives to the pursuit of wealth.

Finding Contentment

Where can we find contentment in this life? At the beginning of this sermon, Jesus used a word which implies contentment: blessedness. We look for contentment, peace, and joy in many places. Some seek fulfillment through false religion and worldly philosophy. Some seek fulfillment through pleasure. Others seek fulfillment in wealth and possessions. None of this satisfies the deep craving of our hearts.

The Bible is filled with warnings against the deceitfulness of wealth and possessions to bring contentment. The wealthy King Solomon wrote, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity” (Eccl. 5:10). This was as true in Solomon’s day as it was in the time of Jesus.

Warning against the perils of wealth and possessions was a common thread of Jesus’ teaching. For example, He told a hungry crowd, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26-27).

On another occasion, Jesus was rudely interrupted while teaching. A man asked Jesus to mediate in an inheritance dispute between him and his brother. Imagine having Jesus standing in front of us. Would we ask about something as trivial as money? This man did. He asked, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:13-15).

Sadly, many have been deceived into believing that their lives do consist of the abundance of their possessions. As Americans, we dream for the day when we will be rich. The pressures of our materialistic society are quite profound. We will often drown ourselves in debt to have the latest and greatest, the biggest and the best. Typically, we measure success in materialistic terms. What is sadder is how our culture has corrupted the gospel of the kingdom with the hopes of earthly wealth.

The Fundamental Problem with Materialism

As has been previously discussed, humans were created to be the image bearers of God. However, idolatry has always hindered men from fulfilling this vocation. Idolatry, choosing to worship that which is not God, is expressed through specific acts of sin. The practice of idolatry deteriorates our humanness and ultimately culminates in death.

Materialism is idolatry. Materialism stems from misguided desire: covetousness. Remember the first commandment? God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exod. 20:1-6).

The first commandment was a prohibition against idolatry. This commandment is the foundation of the other nine. Without abiding by the first, none of the others matters. Jesus makes the connection between materialism and idolatry clear: no one can serve two masters. We cannot serve God and mammon.

When reading this section of the sermon, we will typically say, “mammon is riches” and quickly move on to our next point. This is true; however, why did the scholars of King James use the term “mammon”? The scholars essentially left the word untranslated; however, mammon was the personified form of the evil deity of riches during the Middle Ages: the devil of greed and covetousness (Geller). These translators recognized that Jesus was teaching that materialism is a form of idolatry.

In what ways does this form of idolatry deteriorate our humanity? Paul explained, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

As Paul describes, serving the idol of money depreciates our humanity by depreciating the image we have been made to bear in life: the image of the Creator (Gen. 1:27). This form of idolatry stems from an insatiable craving. People have allowed unrestrained desire to drive them to commit all sorts of mischievous sin to gain wealth. Remember, sin is the means through which idolatry is expressed. Sin causes decay which culminates in death. This certainly is what Paul indicated to Timothy regarding the result of the love of money.

Of course, Jesus was not teaching us that having money is sinful. Money is necessary for life. No one would dispute this. He identifies a specific form of idolatry which will keep us from fulfilling the purpose for which we have been created. He is warning us of an idol which will keep us out of the kingdom of God.

To what are we devoting our hearts? Where are we directing our love and desire? Is it God or mammon? With Jesus, it is all or nothing. Either we devote every part of our heart to God, and bring Him glory, or we devote nothing to Him. Our treasure reveals our heart.

Bearing God’s Image in a Materialistic Society

Unquestionably, we live in a materialistic society. The temptations of wealth are strong and relentless. What can we do to reflect the image of God into the world, while not being consumed by the idol of mammon?

Live Within or Below Our Means

Our materialistic society pressures us to buy. It is a bit ironic that we are referred to as “consumers.” We consume but are never satisfied. Often, we buy what we do not need, and what we cannot afford. Debt is a major problem within our nation. Jesus expects us to be responsible stewards of our blessings. Living beyond our means is proof positive we are failing in our stewardship: proof positive we are being swallowed up by mammon.

Share and Serve

Covetousness is the height of selfishness. Citizens of the kingdom are to share what they have and help those in need. They should serve the needs of others. Worshippers of the idol of mammon are not concerned about the welfare of others. They are obsessed with themselves. If ever we plan to tear down the idol of mammon, we will have to learn to share and serve. This is what Jesus was trying to impress upon a rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22).

Trust God

In the battle over who we will worship, God or mammon, trust is at the heart of the struggle. In our society, we are told to trust in our wealth. Yes, money can help in many situations of life. It can soften the shock of traumatic events. However, money cannot be relied on to find and experience the blessedness of which Jesus spoke in this sermon. Only through trust in God can we know true blessedness. Paul wrote,

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

This passage sounds like a commentary on Jesus’ sermon. To know true life, we must learn to trust in the true and living God.

Learn Contentment

Yes, contentment is a learned condition. Paul explained to the Philippians how he had learned contentment throughout his turbulent life:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

Living within or below our means, sharing and serving, and developing trust in God are all part of the learning process of contentment. This state of being is the product of focusing and harnessing our hearts. The heart of materialistic individuals focuses on that which is not God and is unrestrained in how he vainly attempts to satisfy lustful cravings. Like Paul, our circumstances in life are constantly changing. There are times when we may have a lot. There are times when we may have a little. Those circumstances may be the result of hard work or time and chance. Regardless of the circumstances, we can always find contentment by being a citizen in God’s kingdom.

Conclusion

Try as we might, no one can serve two masters. We will devote ourselves fully to one at the expense of the other. The devil tries to deceive us into thinking we can serve two. Jesus demands we wake up to the reality in which we are living and make a choice. The influence of the idol of mammon in our society is strong and ever-present. We must constantly guard our hearts and minds against its pervasive influence; otherwise, we will find ourselves outside the kingdom of heaven.

Source

Geller. “Mammon—Greedy Demon in the Bible.” Mythology.net. January 04, 2017. https://mythology.net/demons/mammon/.

Author Bio: David and his family have labored with the Thayer Street congregation in Akron, Ohio since 2008. The church website is thayerstreetcoc.org. He can be reached at dflatt85@yahoo.com.

— Via Truth Magazine, January 2019, No. 1, Volume 63
——————–

– 2 –

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Deborah Medlock
had been in the hospital since Tuesday of last week until about 2:45 this afternoon.  She is feeling a little better and sounded stronger on the phone.  To help her breathe, she is now using oxygen continually. Her sense of taste has not yet returned, but she is eating.  For the next couple weeks, she will have to remain in quarantine.

Bennie Medlock’s  condition of the covid-19 has somewhat improved.  He can now taste food again, but is still in the healing process.

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

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.
——————–

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)

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) “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
——————–

-1-

“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
——————–

-2-

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
——————–

-3-

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
——————–

-4-

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
——————–

– 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.
——————–

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)

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) 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
——————–

-1-

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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-2-

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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-3-

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.
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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)

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