Month: February 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) Lessons from the Ark (Kyle Pope)
2) Memorials (Dennis Abernathy)
3) Don’t Treat Prayer Like a Spare Tire (Mike Johnson)
4) The Peaceful Coexistence of God’s People in His Kingdom (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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Lessons from the Ark

Kyle Pope

In 1981 a movie came out that was a fictional adventure entitled Raiders of the Lost Ark about an adventurous archaeologist named Indiana Jones who gets caught up in a search for the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The film was not only the top-grossing film of that year, but has remained one of the highest grossing films of all time. Most people have seen the movie and could tell the highlights of its story line. Fewer people, however, could relate the true lessons that the real Ark of the Covenant teaches us.

What Was the Ark of the Covenant?

The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlaid with gold that God commanded the Israelites to construct after their exodus from Egypt. It sat in the most holy part of the tabernacle (and later in the temple). On its sides were rings into which two wooden poles, also overlaid with gold, were inserted. On top of the chest was a lid called the “mercy seat,” with two angelic figures called “cherubim” on each end of the lid. While the Bible doesn’t give a detailed description of these cherubim, we know they had “wings” stretched out towards one another (Exod. 25:20). In many ancient Near Eastern cultures cherubim were portrayed as creatures with the body of a lion, wings of a bird, and the head of a man. The Ark contained the tablets of testimony, Aaron’s rod that budded and the golden pot of manna (Heb. 9:4). A complete description is given in Exodus 25:10-22.

The Ark was a sacred object around which all Israelite worship of God centered. It was sacred, not because of its beauty or as some type of idolatrous relic to be revered. It was sacred because it was the place where God spoke to Israel. Referring to the “mercy seat” God said, “there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Exod. 25:22, NKJV). The Ark was only to be carried by the Levites, the tribe from which all priests were to come (Deut. 10:8). It was placed in the most holy place of the tabernacle, then later in the most holy place of the temple. The High Priest came before the Ark once a year, after offering a sacrifice for sin (Lev. 16:2-3; Heb. 9:7). While God’s presence fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:24), during the time God’s covenant was in place with the Israelites, His presence was focused in a special way upon the Ark of the Covenant. In the destruction of the city of Jericho the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the priests as they marched around the city seven days leading to the collapse of the walls in accordance with God’s command.

What lessons does this ancient object of Old Covenant worship teach us today?

1. Obedience. When the Lord revealed how the Israelites were to construct the Ark and then how it was to be used, the Lord expected obedience! Scripture tells us that Bezaleel, an Israelite craftsman, followed every detail of the instructions that the Lord had given (Exod. 37:1-9). Years later God’s expectations of absolute obedience were further underscored. A man named Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark as it was carried on an ox-cart. Uzzah was not authorized to touch the Ark and because of this the Lord struck him dead! (2 Sam. 6.) The Ark teaches us that God demands our obedience.

2. The Holiness of God. Scripture tells us that the Ark was a symbol of the heavenly realities of God’s glory. The Hebrew writer describes the various objects that were in the two chambers of the tabernacle (and later the temple) called the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. In describing these things he calls them “copies of the things in heaven” (Heb. 9:23). It is unclear if this is literal or these objects symbolized spiritual realities of things in heaven. It is clear that in several passages in the Old Testament God is described as the One who “dwells (or “sitteth” KJV) between the cherubim” (Psa. 99:1; cf. 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chron. 13:6; Psa. 80:1; Isa. 37:16). One principle this clearly illustrates is God’s separation from sin. Do we remember what happened after Adam and Eve sinned? Before their sin they enjoyed direct access to God in Eden. God’s nature, however, is such that any violation of His word cannot be tolerated. Sin cannot come into His presence. When the man and woman were expelled from Eden we are told that God “placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). The Ark symbolized God’s separation from man because of sin and the absolute holiness of His nature.

3. The Means of Access to God. Whether the Ark of the Covenant still existed in the time of Jesus or not is unclear. In Josephus’ account of the Roman general Pompey entering the Most Holy Place before the time of Christ, he mentions the presence of the golden table and lampstand, but not the Ark of the Covenant (Antiquities of the Jews 14.4.4). The original Ark may have been destroyed or carried off in the fall of Jerusalem recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:19. Jesus’ life and death, however, introduced a new and profound opportunity to mankind. Jeremiah had prophesied about a time when the people would no longer have to look to the Ark. Generations of souls had not been granted access to the most holy part of the temple before the time of Jesus’ death. Yet, the Bible tells us that when Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matt. 27:51). This event demonstrated what Jesus offered to mankind — access to God. Was mankind no longer separated from God because of sin? No, but a means of access to God had been opened. The Hebrew writer tells us that in Jesus’ death He opened the way of access to God. He declared, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). Christ offers mankind the way to access the holiness of God. The lesson is that while God still requires obedience, and is still separate from sin, through Christ (and Christ alone) there is access to God. All human beings must take advantage of the opportunity that is granted to us to attain access to God through faith and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Failure to do so leaves us cut off from access to God.

— Via Faithful Sayings, Issue 15.46, November 17, 2013
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Memorials

Dennis Abernathy

A memorial is “anything, as a monument, intended to preserve the memory of a person or event.” There are many memorials, located in prominent places in many cities and towns. Countries have statues celebrating leaders and great men, and their various accomplishments. Memorials also take the form of special days, set aside to remember special events, like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc., or special men, like Lincoln, Washington, or Christopher Columbus. But the greatest of all memorials is the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus at the Passover Feast, just prior to His crucifixion. Its greatness is seen in what it represents: the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus. Jesus said in Matt. 26:28: “Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it the disciples and said, take eat, this is my body. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink from it all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” The apostle Paul reiterated the same (1 Cor. 11: 23-26), showing its solemnity and purpose (vs. 27-33). Could there ever be a greater and more fitting memorial?

We can memorialize men, but we can never pay tribute to anyone who did more for mankind than did Jesus. We can pay tribute to many battles, but never one that had more significance than when Jesus overcame sin and death for fallen man. Each first day of the week, we are again reminded of His great sacrifice. Observing this great memorial helps us remember, until He comes again, what He has done for us. It is central to our faith and service to the One who died for us. What a great memorial, with great meaning, to be observed with great joy and reverence. Think on these things.

— Via Search for Truth, Volume XIII, Number 30, February 21, 2021
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Don’t Treat Prayer Like a Spare Tire

Mike Johnson

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the spare tire in your automobile?  Many people do not.  Many do not even check to see if they have a spare tire in their trunk.  However, there is a time when all attention is on the spare tire, and that is when one of the other tires goes flat.  Suddenly, in this emergency, the spare tire gets much attention.

Many people treat prayer in the same way that they treat their spare tire.  They neglect prayer most of the time and only turn to it in cases of an emergency.  Prayer is not a part of their lives, but it is just something that they occasionally turn to when there is some great need.

Prayer should be an essential part of the life of a child of God.  It should not be an occasional endeavor.  Jesus prayed a great deal, and we are to be followers of Jesus.  A good question is, “How can a prayerless person be a follower of Him who prayed so much?”

I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  This verse does not mean we are to be involved in constant prayer.  Instead, “without ceasing” means that we are to be regularly engaged in prayer.  We are never to abandon it; it is to be a part of our lives.

Another critical passage is Romans 12:12.  This passage says that we are to “continue steadfastly” in prayer.  The NASB says, “devoted to prayer.”

 We need to make sure that we do not treat prayer like people generally handle their spare tires.  Prayer should not merely be something to which we turn in an emergency.  Instead, it should be an essential part of our lives.

— Via Seeking Things Above, Volume 1, Number 2, May 2020
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The Peaceful Coexistence of God’s People in His Kingdom

Tom Edwards

The above is the title for the sermon preached February 28, 2021 and can be accessed at the following link:

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

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Ginger Ann Montero,
who has been having shortness of breath recently, was diagnosed last week with congestive heart failure, which she is now on medication for and will be undergoing more tests.  

Rick Cuthbertson did well with his 2nd covid-19 vaccine last Wednesday and will be resuming his cancer treatments — 1 pill every day (Monday through Friday) for 2 weeks, and then 2 weeks off, etc.

Donald & Michelle Sears are both over their recent illnesses (pneumonia preceded by covid-19).

I was also glad to hear that Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse, who both had their 2nd covid-19 vaccine Friday, will be able to start back to church with us this coming Sunday.

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home,  Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood,  Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, 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) Understanding Apocalyptic Literature (Mark Mayberry)
2) Is Ezekiel 28:14 Referring to Satan? (Kyle Pope)
3) Bible “Math” (Part 4: More “Division”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Understanding Apocalyptic Literature

Mark Mayberry

The Book of Revelation is one of the most neglected and one of the most abused books in Holy Scripture. Many consider it baffling, and lay it aside, unread and unappreciated. Others, spellbound by its symbolic nature, twist and pervert its message to fit their preconceptions. Neither approach is acceptable. Christians believe that all inspired Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To comprehend the Patmos message, we must recognize its distinctive characteristics.

The Book of Revelation is written in an apocalyptic style. Like poetry, fictional novels, or historic narratives, apocalyptic literature has its own distinct forms. Several examples are found in the Old Testament: Ezekiel (chapters 37-41), Daniel (chapters 7-12), and Zechariah (chapters 9-12). The New Testament makes limited use of this technique. John’s Revelation is apocalyptic, along with those sections in the synoptic gospels that describe the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).

Various extra-Biblical writings also employed this style: The Secrets of Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, Baruch, Fourth Ezra, etc. Although the Book of Revelation is similar to these noncanonical books, it is distinctive in several respects. The Revelation of John is divinely inspired; these other documents are the product of human wisdom. The Apocalypse identifies its author, while many apocryphal books are pseudonymous. There are also differences in content, form, and message. Moreover, John’s message harmonizes with the rest of divine revelation, while the aforementioned apocryphal books often contradict Holy Scripture.

Apocalyptic literature reflects an hour of desperate need. Trials, suffering, sorrow, and near-despair furnish the soil in which this style flourished. Daniel and Ezekiel wrote during the Babylonian exile, providing comfort and strength to God’s people. Many non-canonical apocalyptic books were written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100 when the Jewish nation was struggling for its very life. Early in this period, Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to obliterate the customs and religion of the Hebrews. Later threats also arose. In like manner, Revelation was written in a time of persecution. First Century Christians suffered under an autocratic, contemptuous, and corrupt political system. John sought to encourage believers to remain faithful. Looking beyond the perilous present, Revelation portrays God’s ultimate triumph over sin and Satan.

Apocalyptic literature was relevant to the historical situation of the day; its imagery reflecting the realities of a specific time. This is not to say that it has no meaning for succeeding generations, including our own. In writing to Christians at Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus, Paul dealt with particular problems and concerns. Nevertheless, New Testament epistles continue to instruct and exhort successive generations. So also with the Book of Revelation. It was written to First Century Christians who were suffering persecution. Yet, its message remains relevant today.

Through signs and symbols, the Apocalypse of John presents a message of hope, illustrating the maxim that man’s adversity is God’s opportunity. The Omnipotent-Omnipresent-Omniscient One is still in control. We may not know what the future holds, but we know Him who holds the future. No matter the obstacles or opposition, despite the fury of the evil one or the flames of persecution, God’s plan, purpose, and people will finally triumph. Victory is assured, if we remain faithful to the end.

Like all apocalyptic literature, the Book of Revelation is symbolic, setting forth its message through signs, symbols, and visions. John wrote in dangerous times when it was safer to hide one’s message in images than to speak plainly. Drawing heavily upon symbols found in the Old Testament, his writing could be clearly understood by those who were familiar with the Sacred Writings, but it was opaque and incomprehensible to outsiders. Nonetheless, the primary purpose of such symbolism was not to confound and confuse, but rather to enlighten and inform, to stabilize and strengthen, to exhort and encourage. Early Christians had no difficulty understanding the Patmos visions because they were familiar with this style of writing. We can also understand John’s message if we interpret it as those First Century disciples would have.

A unique characteristic of Revelation is its symbolic use of numbers. Apart from numeric sequences, one symbolizes singularity, two symbolizes strength, three symbolizes the godhead, four symbolizes the earth with its four corners, six symbolizes brokenness, i.e., that which falls short of perfection. Seven and ten symbolize completeness, fullness, and perfection. Twelve carries religious connotations, such as the twelve tribes of Israel, or the twelve apostles of Christ. Combinations of these numbers, such as 24, 1,000, or 144,000, expand upon these ideas.

Visual imagery dominates apocalyptic literature. In the book of Daniel, successive world empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome are depicted as a great image of diverse metals; later they are characterized as savage beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a nameless and dreadful horned beast that devoured, crushed and trampled down all that had gone before. In the Book of Revelation, evil forces are portrayed as fearful and foreboding beasts, arising from the sea and the land. Satan himself appears as a great red dragon. These symbols appeal to the senses as well as to reason – creating impressions, stirring emotions, and not merely communicating propositions. As a divine unveiling, it commands, “Come and See,” as well as “Hear and Understand.”

John’s Apocalypse depicts an epic struggle between good and evil, revealing the power and majesty of Christ, setting forth the foreknowledge and sovereignty of God, foreshadowing the downfall of those forces arrayed against God’s people, and foretelling the defeat of Satan. The Book of Revelation is a message of victory and triumph. Although the present distress may seem great, the Almighty is upon His throne. No persecuting power can frustrate the righteous purpose of God.

Revelation pictures the conflict between two warring powers: God and Satan. However, it would be a mistake to consider these two as equal in might. God is infinitely stronger than Satan. The great deceiver continues his scheming plots only because God permits him to do so. In the end, Satan and his followers will be utterly destroyed by fire from heaven. His doom is portrayed as a “fait accompli” (Rev. 20:7-10). Forces of good will ultimately triumph over the forces of evil.

The central figure in this story is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is variously depicted in the book: John’s first vision is of Christ standing in the midst of His churches with eyes like fire, feet like fine brass, hair like wool, white as snow, and with a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. Later He appears as a lion, representing regal and royal power (Rev. 5:5). When pictured as a root, He represents Davidic lineage (Rev. 5:5; 22:16). As the rider on a white horse, He symbolizes victory over evil (Rev. 19:11). Most important is the symbol of Christ as the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:6). Redemption and salvation are made possible by His sacrifice on the cross (Rev. 1:5). Because of His humble obedience to the will of the Father, He alone is worthy to open the sealed book that discloses events to come (Rev. 5:6-10).

In its own way, each metaphor tells an important truth about Christ. He is before all things; all things were created in Him, and for Him (Col. 1:16-18). This is the abiding message of Revelation: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of our hope, no matter how grim circumstances may appear. Christ, the Lamb and Lion, will triumph over Satan. His victory is certain. The only uncertainty is, “What will disciples do?” Will they/we cower in fear? Will they/we compromise their/our faith? Will they/we courageously stand for the truth, even in the face of death? “If anyone has an ear, let him hear!”

— Via Truth Magazine, October 2011, Volume LV – Number 10, Pages 26-27
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Is Ezekiel 28:14 Referring to Satan?

Kyle Pope

Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight begins with the prophet being instructed to speak to the “prince of Tyre” (vs 2). In the middle of the chapter the prophet is told to “take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre” (vs. 12). What follows, in this lamentation is wording that has led some commentators to conclude that this is speaking of Satan. The lamentation says to the king of Tyre, “you were in Eden, the garden of God” (vs. 13), “you were the anointed cherub” (vs. 14) and “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you” (vs. 15). In my judgement there is nothing in the text that indicates that this is referring to Satan, but rather it is using references to Eden and heaven to illustrate the change in the relationship which Tyre enjoyed with the Israelites and God, as a result of the sins of the current king of Tyre.

Centuries before the time of Ezekiel, the Davidic monarchy had established a special relationship with the kingdom of Tyre and its head, Hiram. When David took the throne, Hiram sent cedars to David, from which his palace was built (2 Samuel 5:11;1 Chronicles 14:1). There was a friendship and affection which these two kings shared for one another. After David’s death, Scripture says that “Hiram had always loved David” (1 Kings 5:1). Upon learning of Solomon’s rise to the throne, Hiram declares to Solomon:

“…Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them” Hiram also said: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, for He has given King David a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, who will build a temple for the LORD and a royal house for himself!” (2 Chronicles 2:11, 12, NKJV).

Hiram is very instrumental in the construction of the temple, to which he refers. Solomon made a treaty with Hiram (1 Kings 5:12), Hiram supplied Solomon with many of the supplies necessary for the building of the temple (1 Kings 5:8-10) as well as a master craftsman named Huram (or Hiram) who was half Israelite (2 Chronicles 2:13-16) who made many of the articles in the temple. Solomon gave Hiram wheat, pressed oil (1 Kings 5:11) and twenty cities in Galilee (1 Kings 9:11). Even after the building of the temple, ships from Hiram brought gold, silver, and ivory to Solomon every three years (2 Chronicles 9:21). This bond of friendship and cooperation was remembered long after Solomon. In the time of Amos, when Tyre had not given assistance to Israel in conflict with Edom, Tyre is rebuked because it “did not remember the covenant of brotherhood” (Amos 1:9).

As time went on, Tyre further betrayed this “covenant of brotherhood.” The Lord through Joel, rebuked Tyre for carrying off gold from the Israelites and selling some of them into slavery to the Greeks (Joel 3:4-6). By the time of Ezekiel, this covenant had been even further betrayed. Ezekiel was a priest who had been carried off with some of the early captives taken with Jehoiachin, king of Judah (Ezekiel 1:1-3). While Babylon exercised control over Judah, God had instructed the people through Jeremiah not to resist Babylon, but to submit to their yoke (Jeremiah 27-29). God gave a similar instruction to the king of Tyre (Jeremiah 27:3) a man history records was named Ithobal or Ethbaal III (Josephus’ Against Apion, I.21). Unfortunately, Zedekiah, the king who reigned in place of Jehoiachin, did not follow this instruction, leading Nebuchadnezzar to besiege Jerusalem and eventually destroy the temple and kill him (2 Kings 25). During this time Ithobal, the king of Tyre, looked on the fall of Jerusalem with joy, saying of Jerusalem, “Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste” (Ezekiel 26:2). In response to this arrogance, and failure to heed the Lord’s instructions regarding Babylon, the Lord begins a three chapter rebuke of Tyre in Ezekiel 26-28, declaring, “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people” (Ezekiel 26:7). Josephus records that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years, after which its rule was reduced from a monarchy to simply judges (Against Apion, I.21).

Some conclude that chapter twenty-eight refers to Satan because of its similarity to Isaiah’s proverb against the king of Babylon which refers to “Lucifer” (Isaiah 14). This text, like Ezekiel, starts off talking about the king of Babylon and then speaks of “Lucifer” (a name meaning “Day Star”) lifting himself up only to be brought down (Isaiah 14:12,13). While modern man associates the name Lucifer with Satan no such association is ever made in the Bible. It is not until the Middle Ages that commentators begin to interpret Isaiah as a reference to Satan, applying the name Lucifer to him, rather than to the king of Babylon.

Ezekiel 28 is a similar text. Many of the references refer directly to the kinship between Israel and Tyre, particularly as it relates to the temple. Tyre was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (28:12) as the supplier and craftsman that fashioned the temple. The precious stones (28:13) were those found on the priests’ breastplate (Exodus 39:10-13), an image which Ezekiel, as a priest would clearly associate with the temple. Tyre was the “anointed* cherub that covers” (28:14a) in the sense that Huram, the craftsman which king Hiram sent appears to have constructed the large extended cherubim that covered the ark in the center of the temple (2 Chronicles 2-4). She was “upon the holy mountain” (28:14b) as a neighboring ally assisting Israel in the construction of the very house of God. Yet, because so much had changed from the time of Hiram to the time of Ithobal, God declares “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you” (Ezekiel 28:17). The “covenant of brotherhood” was gone. These are sad words, to the king of Tyre —but they refer to the king of Tyre and not to Satan.
____________________
* Gesenius translates this “extended cherub.”

— Via Faithful Sayings, November 8, 2009, Issue 11.45
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Bible “Math” (Part 4: More “Division”)

Tom Edwards

To hear and see this video sermon that was preached February 21, 2021, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_4.mp4

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-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson
recent scan showed that part of his cancer has increased, but also that another part has decreased.  So the plan is to continue with these new treatments.  But they will first wait to see how things go after his second covid-19 vaccine that he will receive this Wednesday.

Ginger Ann Montero has been having some shortness of breath, which she will be seeing a doctor for.

Sawyer James Sweat, who was born prematurely and spent a few weeks in the hospital, is now home for the first time and doing well.

It was good to have Bennie & Deborah Medlock back with us, after their having recovered from covid-19 and completing their quarantine!

We are also glad that Jan Bartlett’s recent follow-up continues to show that all is well.

I was also given for the “News & Notes” a prayer request for our nation and our leaders.

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home,  Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, 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) Job: A Great Man of Faith (Robby Davis)
2) Right Attitudes for Faithfulness (Warren Berkley)
3) Strength in Unity (Tom Edwards)
4) Ezekiel 37 (The Vision of the Dry Bones, The Sticks of Judah and Joseph, and God’s Servant “David” to Be King) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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-1-

Job: A Great Man of Faith

Robby Davis

The Bible gives some good examples of great people of faith. One of which is the story of Job. The story of Job is the story of faith, endurance, and patience winning out against amazing odds.

Job’s life proves that godliness is no defense against adversity. Although Job lived in a way that was pleasing to God, the Lord allowed Satan to test him. The most important aspect in Job’s life was his faith in God. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Job had this faith and feared God (Job 1:1). The Bible tells us that he was “blameless” (“perfect,” KJV), “upright,” “fearing God,” and “turning away from evil.” In addition, Job had great prosperity. His sheep provided clothing and food; camels and donkeys provided transportation; and oxen provided food, milk, and the power for plowing. He even owned slaves (1:15-17; 31:13). It is interesting and very rare to see wealth and godliness in the same man. These two characteristics of Job’s life demonstrate how great a man he was.

Job was also concerned with the spiritual condition of the next generation (1:4-5). His godly character manifested itself in his concern for the spiritual welfare of his children. He offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord to atone for the sins, whether ignorantly or presumptuously committed, by his children.

All of the wonderful things that Job did adds to the irony of the things that the Lord allowed to happen to him. Despite all the good things Job did, he had calamities as well.

Job was subjected to three tests. The first was to accept, without sinning, the loss of his possessions and offspring (1:6-22). The second was to endure the destruction of his health without blaming anything on God (2:1-10). The third was to endure false accusation. This is an example of God allowing one of his servants to be persecuted to prove the individual’s fidelity. In each test, the author displays two scenes, one in heaven and one on earth. In heaven, Satan is making a false accusation against Job; on earth, Satan is making a terrible assault against Job.

Job’s first test came when God allowed Satan to destroy all of his possessions. Satan reasoned that the only reason why Job worshiped God was to receive God’s material blessings. He thought that if he took every material blessing away Job would renounce God. God allowed Satan to do this, but Job remained faithful (1:22). Four messengers reported to Job what had happened. The first messenger said that a tribe called the Sabeans had executed his servants and carried away his animals (1:13-15). The second said that the fire of God fell from the sky and had consumed the sheep and more servants (v. 16). The third said that three raiding parties of the Chaldeans carried away his camels and executed more servants (v. 17). The fourth said his family had been killed because a strong wind caused the house to collapse on them (v. 19).

Most men would respond to this situation by blaming these evils on God’s inaction. But, Job showed humility in the sight of God. He tore his robe, shaved his head, fell down, and worshiped God (v. 20). After all of the tragedies that had befallen Job, he never sinned before God.

Job’s second test came when his flesh was tormented by Satan. Satan now figured that Job’s faithfulness remained because he had not afflicted his physical body. God allowed Satan to touch his flesh, but not to kill his body (2:6). Satan struck Job with boils from the “sole of his feet to the top of his head” (2:7). No one believed that he would ever recover so Job’s wife lost all hope for Job and insisted that he curse God and die (2:9). But, Job refused to speak against the Lord and declared his wife a foolish woman.

The third test Job endured was the torment of his three “friends” (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite) who accused Job of being a willful sinner. At first they went to Job and comforted him, but when they saw him, they could hardly recognize him.

They began to weep aloud, tore their robes, and sat with Job for seven days in complete silence (2:13). Then Job cursed the day of his birth and wished he had never been born. His three friends, although well-meaning, tormented Job instead of helping him by demanding that he confess the sins that brought these terrible curses upon him.

Job has now reached the depth of human suffering. He has been robbed of his possessions, his family, and his health. His wife wishes him dead. He is charged of heinous evil by his closest friends. His dignity is gone. His strength is poured out like water, his heart melted like wax. His feeble body sits in ashes wondering why. He has no explanation for the fate that has befallen him. God has spoken nothing.

As Job’s three friends debated Job’s proper course of action, Jehovah manifested himself. In chapter 38 the Lord speaks from a whirlwind. The Lord asked various questions that demonstrated his knowledge and great power. Job replied in chapter 42 that he recognized God as the true God. He despised himself and repented (42:6). The Lord spoke to Eliphaz in anger for him and his two friends because they spoke falsehood about God. He commanded a sacrifice be made of seven bulls and seven rams for themselves (42:7-8). Job prayed for these three friends and the Lord accepted his prayer. After this, Job’s possessions were given back to him twofold. He had 14,000 sheep, 6, 000 camels, 1000 oxen, 1000 donkeys, seven sons, and three daughters (42:12-13).

Job’s life is an example for Christians everywhere. There are many lessons that Christians can learn from the story of Job. Here are a few:

1. Serving God is a lifelong job (1:1-5). Christians need to sacrifice and pray every single day of their lives in order to go on to perfection. We can also help others by praying for them like Job did. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).

2. The righteous are not exempt from suffering. Just because someone is poor or ill does not mean that he is a sinner. We must not confuse wealth with approval from God or illness with sin. See Matthew 9:21-22 and John 9:2-3.

3. Suffering can come “overnight” (1:13-19). No one knows what will be on the morrow. Christians need to be ready for trials. James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

4. Suffering can be devastating (2:1-8). Be humble in the sight of the Lord and in regard to your ability to endure.

5. Friends and family cannot be relied upon in the end (2:9-13). The importance of individual faith needs to be emphasized in the lives of Christians everywhere. Each individual is accountable for his own life. Well-meaning friends and family may give bad advice, but obedience to the Lord’s commandments will ultimately always be right.

— Via Guardian of Truth XLI: 7 pp. 10-11, April 3, 1997
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Right Attitudes for Faithfulness

Warren Berkley

It is clear to every Bible student: you cannot be faithful to the Lord if your attitude is not in keeping with the teachings of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:17). Attitude has to do with the content of your mind, your disposition and the control you exercise over your emotions.

The simple truth is, the New Testament is loaded with teaching, examples, prohibitions and warnings about attitude. This spiritually healthy instruction should be the basis of our  discipline over our mind. Your attitude toward God is basic. All other phases of attitude are rooted in your attitude toward God. We must hold Him in the highest esteem, revere Him, worship Him and obey Him with wholehearted love and trust (Eccl. 5:1,2; Matt. 22:37; Rom. 12:1,2; Prov. 1:7).

Once your attitude toward God begins to weaken, all other phases of attitude will likely deteriorate. Let us be aware of this and constantly monitor our attitude toward God, seeking to enrich our relationship with Him. Your attitude toward Christ is a component of your attitude toward God. If God is your father, you will love His Son (Jno. 8:42). If you love God and want to obey Him, you will have a favorable and grateful acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. You will regard Him as the perfect expression of deity and humanity, the spotless Son of God who died in order for you to be free from sin and enjoy eternal life. Likewise, you will read and study about His attitude with the highest esteem, seeking to imitate Him in all your behavior.

Your attitude toward others develops out of your reverence for Deity. If you believe in God and follow His Son, your behavior toward others will be based on that. You will seek to do all God has said about how to treat people. You will study and follow the compassion of Christ, as well as His boldness in seeking to save the lost. His relationship to others becomes your pattern (see 1 Pet. 2:18-25).

Your attitude toward other members of God’s family will be suitable, in keeping with all that is written about such relationships. Peter teaches God’s people to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22), and John taught extensively that “we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

Our attitude must endeavor to follow the pattern of unselfish humility demonstrated by our Lord (Phil. 2:1-5). Your attitude toward sin will be fitting. To remain right with God, it is necessary to maintain an abhorrence of sin (Rom. 12:9). If you court the favor of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). It is essential to arm yourself with “the same mind” or attitude Jesus had against sin and error (1 Pet. 4:10).

Your attitude toward life should be realistic and godly, not bitter and angry. If you murmur and complain about your life, and this becomes your habitual attitude — you cannot be what you should be! And when you get to this low state, you need to stop and recognize that the devil has seduced and maneuvered you into this state of constant anger and resentment. While you remain in this mood you cannot develop the love described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, and you cannot grow and taste the kindness of the Lord (1 Pet. 2:1-3).

In the “beatitudes” (Matt. 5:3-12), the Lord addresses every phase or direction of attitude: Your attitude toward God (poor in spirit & hungering and thirsting after righteousness), your attitude toward yourself (meek), your attitude toward others  (merciful), your attitude toward those who oppose you (vss. 10-13), and your attitude toward sin (mourn and purity in heart). Growth and faithfulness depends upon the constant development of these qualities.

— Via The Beacon, January 5, 2020
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Strength In Unity

by Tom Edwards

I grew up in the Clearwater-Florida area where we had quite a few hurricane-related storms. I can still remember one such night in my youth when my friend Bill and I went out during a particular tempest in order to investigate the damages and disarray it was causing. It was a most exhilarating night to say the least.

The sky was dark and threatening, and many tree limbs had been snapped in two by the strong gales that ripped them apart relentlessly and scattered them about with the rest of the debris that was cluttering the streets and yards. Violently, the wind howled; and many a tree was tested of its pliability. The palm trees were swaying frantically; and huge pine trees appeared as if they were trying to run from the oncoming danger, but could only move their upper portions because their “legs” had frozen from the panic.

We had circled on foot a wide area during this riveting observation; and as we began to head back, we came near a rather large condominium — the Mease Manor. From an aerial view, its backside shape would appear somewhere between a “V” and a flat line: perhaps close to the same degree of a typical boomerang.

Little did I realize, as we walked past the front side of this building, that the back of it was serving as a huge scoop that caught the mighty winds and redirected them in a strongly concentrated turbulent path that we were soon to walk into unaware.

The unexpected encounter of this intense wind made it necessary for me to grab on to a nearby pole in order to stabilize myself. The wind’s velocity felt to be at its strongest point at this area, but perhaps that was because it had become such a concentrated force.

In retrospect, one lesson I can derive from this absorbing experience is the importance and power in a concerted effort. Just like the mighty winds which were made stronger through a concentrated force, unity can serve to increase the strength of God’s people today — and that’s not just a lot of wind!

The old wise man once gave his boys a bundle of sticks in order to illustrate a valuable lesson. Having given this bundle to the first son, the father asked him to break it. This he tried with all his might, but to no avail. The bundle was passed on, and each son strenuously attempted to accomplish his father’s request, but none of them could do so. Finally, the father took the bundle, untied the cord that had bound the sticks together, and began breaking each one individually.  What was the lesson he was trying to instill within his sons? That there is STRENGTH IN UNITY. If his sons would learn to always remain united and not become divided — to be there for each other, to provide moral support when any of them grows weak — their own strength would be greatly increased.

Solomon writes: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up….  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc.  4:9,10,12).

Yes, there is strength in unity; but let us be sure we are becoming united with the right cause. What more noble and needed pursuit could there be today than for the people of the world to become united in the peace and love which God’s word has to offer? To be united in the faith and to be of one mind when it comes to the Scriptures is certainly the desire and the prayer of Jesus Christ for each of us.  Unity in spiritual matters is not only possible, but also commanded (Phil. 2:2; John 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13). May we ever strive to increase our strength by this means.

— Via The Gospel Observer, October 28, 1990
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Ezekiel 37

Tom Edwards

This video sermon, which was preached February 14, 2021, deals with The Vision of the Dry Bones, The Sticks of Judah and Joseph, and God’s Servant “David” to Rule as King, as seen in Ezekiel 37. To hear and see, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Ezekiel_37.mp4

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-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson
will be having a scan tomorrow to determine whether the last two series of new cancer treatments have been effectual or not.

Nell Teague’s cancer is now in her throat, which she is receiving chemo for. 

Sawyer James Sweat, who was born prematurely a few weeks ago, is still in the hospital.  Though they thought he would be able to be released Monday, a setback has extended that for another 5 days.

Carole Drain
had been under the weather with a stomach bug and redness of throat since Thursday, but is now feeling and doing better.  She was able to have her second covid-19 vaccine Wednesday.

Heather and Cami Kellum are now over their covid-19.

Malachi Dowling is making some major progress since his recent accident.

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

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, 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) Heirs (Cecil Willis)
2) Why Do You Associate with Sinners? (Frank Himmel)
3) “Training” the Tongue (Wayne Goff)
4) Bible “Math” (Part 3: “Division”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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Heirs of God

Cecil Willis

The privileges and blessings of the Christian are very great. But one of our greatest privileges is that of being “heirs of God” (Rom. 8:16). The value of heirship is determined by the value of the inheritance. The inheritance of faithful Christians is one that is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).

In order for one to have a valid claim on an inheritance, he must be able to establish the grounds of his inheritance. The Christian’s claims to an inheritance are indisputable. He is a son or a daughter of God. God said, “I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters” (2 Cor. 6:17-18). But Paul said that if we are children of God, “then (we are) heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16). Our sonship establishes the very highest kind of claim to the inheritance.

HEIRS OF THE PROMISE. The Bible speaks of several different things of which the Christian is the heir. There was a blessing connected with the “promise” that God made to Abraham. God told Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8). This statement to Abraham is called “the promise” in the New Testament. Our inheritance is through the “promise,” and not through the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:18). Thus Paul said, “And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The Hebrew writer declares that God was “minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel” (Heb. 6:17). Thus every blessing that God referred to as coming through that descendant of Abraham (Christ – Gal. 3:16), the Christian is heir to.

HEIRS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The Bible speaks of the righteousness that is of God. “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20). The “righteousness of God” does not here refer to God’s personal righteousness, but to God’s plan by which man can be righteous in his sight. Man can never stand righteous in God’s presence on his own merits alone. Paul says our salvation is not predicated on “our works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves,” but on his “mercy” (Titus 3:5). When man is ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeks to establish his own righteousness in God’s sight, the result is he does not subject himself “to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). In order to be saved one must work righteousness. “. . . in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35). The righteousness of God can only be found in the gospel. In speaking of the gospel, Paul declared, “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God” (Rom. 1:17). Thus when one is an “heir of righteousness,” he is heir to that purity and uprightness in God’s sight which is revealed in the gospel.

HEIR OF SALVATION. To be an heir through the promise or to inherit the righteousness which is through the gospel is to be an heir of salvation. The Hebrew writer said that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). What one receives through the promise, or the righteousness revealed through the gospel, is personal salvation. Man is not intrinsically righteous. He is a sinner. Thus he must be saved from his sin, by the promise, and through the gospel.

HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM. The term “kingdom” is used in at least two senses in the New Testament. Frequently it refers to that “kingdom” into which we were translated when we were delivered out of darkness (Col. 1:13). It therefore sometimes refers to the church, over which Christ rules as King. But on other occasions the word “kingdom” refers to that eternal kingdom. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). On the judgment day, to some He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). It is in reference to this eternal kingdom that James said, “Did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him?” (Jas. 2:5).

We must all be careful as to how we conduct ourselves. We must seek to please him whose heir we are. Of his heirs in the Old Testament, God said when they digressed: “I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them . . .” (Num. 14:12). Let us therefore beware lest we lose our inheritance through the same kind of disobedience.

— Via Truth Magazine,  XV: 26, pp. 3-4, May 6, 1971
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-2-

Why Do You Associate with Sinners?

Frank Himmel

One of the early disciples Jesus called to follow Him was Levi, also known as Matthew. Levi was a tax collector. Levi gave a reception for Jesus and a great crowd of tax collectors attended. The Pharisees and scribes grumbled and asked, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30).

Some viewed Jewish tax collectors as traitors because the taxes went to Rome. Additionally, the tax system then in place was conducive to fraud; doubtless some collectors were cheats (see Luke 3:12-13). Thus the Pharisees disparagingly viewed Levi and his friends as “sinners,” a term they used of those who in their view made no effort to live by the Law. Why would Jesus associate with such people?

Jesus answered, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). Jesus associated with sinners for the same reason a doctor associates with the diseased: to heal them. Ray Summers observed, “What the Pharisees considered to be a discredit to him, he considered to be his very purpose in life.” Consider three observations about Jesus’ answer.

First, Jesus surely did not mean to imply that the Pharisees were well and not sinners. They were just as sick as the tax collectors, sick with self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and pride, as Jesus frequently pointed out. On this occasion He simply answered their question without exploring the question of who is a sinner.

Second, Jesus’ association with these sinners did not in any way minimize sin. He did not associate with them in order to join them in sin. Nothing about His association overlooked or condoned any wrongs they might be doing. To the contrary, He said His purpose was to call them to repentance.

Third, Jesus’ answer does not dismiss the frequent Bible admonitions about choosing our company carefully. Psalm 1 begins with such a caution. Several Proverbs warn of the danger of becoming like those we associate with (e.g., 22:24-25). Paul bluntly wrote, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). In context, he is likely pointing to the spread of doctrinal error as well as sinful conduct.

Christians need balance. We dare not be so foolhardy as to think we are too strong to be influenced away from doing right (1 Corinthians 10:12). But we must not err in the other direction either, assuming a Pharisaic self-righteousness that looks through eyes of disdain instead of mercy. We, too, are the sinners Jesus came to call to repentance.

— Via Pathlights, January 31, 2021
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-3-

“Training” the Tongue

Wayne Goff

In our Wednesday night Bible study we have been looking at the proper use of the tongue. One question concerned the “training” of the tongue. “Training” means to “teach a skill or behavior,” and since the tongue itself has no mind but is only a tool of the human mind, it can be “taught” by  teaching the mind. As simple as this concept is, it needs to be repeated often. The body, including all of its parts, is an instrument for the mind. Romans 6 discusses this in detail and places responsibility for the body’s actions on the person housed in that body! Even if someone is born with genetic predispositions, that person can control the body with the mind, and is obligated to do so. But back to “training” the tongue.

The New Testament teaches us how to properly use our tongue in many places. What good would these instructions do if we could not “train” the tongue to act in a “controlled” manner? So God expects us to both train and control the tongue.

Ephesians 4:15 “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” The truth will find a more receptive audience if it is spoken out of love, and not out of bitterness, anger, sarcasm, or superiority.

Ephesians 4:29 — “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Some people think that they have no ability to control their cursing. They have had a bad habit for so long that it just comes natural to them. Some curse without even knowing that they are doing it! But God expects us to respect those who hear us, and “corrupt” words disrespect all those to whom they are spoken. If we thought more of our neighbors than we do of ourselves, then we would do a better job with our words.

Colossians 4:6“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Personally, I enjoy salt so much that my wife has to remind me to “taste the food before you salt it!” So I can appreciate how speaking with grace makes our words more tasty, more palatable, permitting our “answer” or “response” to others to be easier to accept. Let us not drive away people from the truth by our attitude.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” Paul taught the Thessalonians in a kind, gentle way when he converted them. But he still told them the truth! We cannot be so afraid of offending others that we compromise the truth! On the other hand, we can be both kind and firm in standing for what is right.

2 Timothy 1:13 — “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” So there is a standard of truth that is found in “the pattern of sounds words” taught by the apostles and prophets — the New Testament. Teaching error is “unsound,” and therefore spiritually sick and unhealthy.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 5, Page 2, January 31, 2021
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-4-

Bible “Math” (Part 3: “Division”)

Tom Edwards

To hear and see this video sermon that was preached February 7, 2021, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_3.mp4

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who passed away February 3 — just 25 days prior to her 94th birthday.  She and her husband Rex had been married for 67 years.  Having lived as a Christian for 62 years, Frankie’s life will continue to bring comfort, encouragement, and blessings in the remembrance of those who knew her.  Let us be keeping all of her family and friends in prayer.

Bennie & Deborah Medlock tested negative for covid-19 last week, which is good news; but Deborah still has 2.5 weeks more of quarantine.  Her taste buds have also continued to improve, but not completely yet.  Also, her back has been giving her some pain, which she attributes to the weather.

Nell Teague’s cancer is now in her throat, which she is receiving chemo for.  (She is Bennie’s cousin.)

Those with covid-19: Heather and Cami Kellum, Emma Thomas, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.

And also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home, Vivian Foster, Malachi Dowling, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, 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).
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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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