“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) 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
Job: A Great Man of Faith
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
Right Attitudes for Faithfulness
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
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
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:
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.
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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)