“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) Boaz and Ruth: Ancient Examples for a Postmodern World (Greg Chandler)
2) Walking (Wayne Goff)
3) “OMG” (R.J. Evans)
4) Divisions That Should Not Be (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
Boaz and Ruth: Ancient Examples for a Postmodern World
The people of God are troubled by the rapid downward spiral of morality. While there is a host of reasons for this decline, the overarching principle can be summed up in the word postmodernism. Briefly defined, postmodernism is the belief that there is no absolute truth; instead, each determines personal truth and lives by this personal standard.
Though the term postmodern makes this idea sound new, it is ancient. The book of Judges attests to this fact with the author stating, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25). The book of Judges illustrates Israel descending into tribalism and taking on the character of their Canaanite neighbors instead of their holy God. Several of the accounts recorded in the book are shocking even by 21st century standards. However, not everyone fell prey to this postmodern wickedness.
The short book of Ruth begins with the timestamp “in the days when the judges ruled” (1:1a). A reader who just finished the preceding book of Judges might expect a terrible story to follow and would likely continue that belief through the first part of the book. The storyline begins with a famine-stricken family traveling to another land. In their exile, the husband and two sons die, leaving only the now-widowed Naomi. Consumed with grief, she changes her name to Mara (bitter), stating, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (1:20). While one can sympathize with the plight of Naomi, her bitterness temporarily shielded her from seeing one of the greatest blessings an individual can have: a friend.
While in exile, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. After the sons’ deaths and Naomi’s decision to return home, both daughters-in-law offered to go with her, with Ruth making this a reality. Renouncing her people and gods, Ruth promised to stay by her mother-in-law’s side: “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge” (1:16). Impoverished, Ruth took advantage of God’s protection of the poor (see Leviticus 23:22) and worked to provide for this family of two destitute women. With nothing for personal gain, she showed a spirit of selflessness uncommon in this wicked time.
As she cared for her mother-in-law, Ruth harvested in a field belonging to Boaz. While there was a likely physical attraction to Ruth, Boaz was more impressed by her ethic: “But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!’” (2:11-12). Boaz protected Ruth and blessed her with abundant portions. In a happy conclusion, Boaz married the young woman and willingly cared for her and Naomi. These two godly souls did right by others while their fellow countrymen did right in their own eyes.
Like Boaz and Ruth, godly individuals of the 21st century are surrounded by corruption; lack of respect for God, deviant sexual behavior, and antagonism for others are but a few of the commonalities with the time of the judges. In this situation, it would be easy to imitate Naomi and become bitter at the prospects that lay ahead. However, to do so would miss what Boaz, Ruth, and a host of godly people who lived in godless times teach: Be the light in the darkness. This is done by not giving up on God. While it may appear that “the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me,” such a spirit restricts one from finding opportunities to let light shine. Just after explaining how His people would be persecuted, Jesus commanded, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Even when it looks like the cause of righteousness is being defeated, give glory to the Father.
Echoing the Lord’s words, the apostle Paul encouraged godliness in this way: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). The people of God will not defeat postmodernism at the ballot box, nor will they be able to lead a massive uprising to reclaim culture. Emulating the example of Boaz and Ruth, wickedness can be repulsed by doing good when and where one can. If the evening news creates alarm about the direction of society, turn it off and find an opportunity to help someone. In doing so, light will shine in darkness and God will be glorified.
This godly couple had no ambitions to have their story recorded for future readers; however, God knew it was needed. Not only did He record their story, He also allowed them to have a place in the genealogy of His Son. Christians have also been allowed to be a part of this family; commitment to glorifying God allows entry into His family through His Son (see II Timothy 1:9). In humility, may each modern child of God live like these ancient saints. May each honor God by doing good and, in the words of the old hymn, “brighten the corner where you are.”
— Via Bible Articles from the Gooch Lane church of Christ, March 7, 2021
After my total knee replacement surgery, everyone has been concerned with how well I walk. Are you using a walker? Have you progressed to a cane? Are you able to walk unassisted? I appreciate the concern, and with the Lord’s help along with the doctor, nurses and therapists, I am progressing well. But like everything else in my experience, I began to compare my physical walk to our spiritual walk.
Walking: The Gospels
The word “walk” and its derivatives appear more than 100 times in the New Testament alone. This is not surprising, since man needs mobility to get along in life. Often in the Gospel accounts, “walk” refers to literal walking, or man’s inability to“walk.” Jesus cured the lame and gave them the ability to walk again (Matt. 9:5; 11:5). What a blessing! If Jesus could restore my original left knee to its perfect condition, how blessed would I be?
But we are more interested now with the figurative “walk.” The Pharisees asked Jesus the question: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders…?” (Mk. 7:5). They were obviously referring to the lifestyle of a Jew. John used this figure when the multitude of Jews stopped following Jesus: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (Jn. 6:66).
The disciple of Christ is expected to live according to the instructions of Christ. Jesus said in John 8:12, “…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” To walk in darkness is to walk in ignorance of Jesus’ teaching. Read John 11:9-10 and John 12:35 as well.
Walking: Acts & Epistles
The figure of “walking” is expanded in the rest of the New Testament. Acts 9:31 says, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” The new converts which made up churches of Christ in the first century walked “in the fear of the Lord,” or in obedience to His commands.
Throughout the world’s history, God has given man free will and permitted him to “walk” in his own ways (Acts 14:16). Free will though does not mean permission! God’s love, patience and longsuffering allowed man to walk according to his own dictates in order to learn that it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23)!
Disciples of Christ today “walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had…” (Rom. 4:12). One is saved at the point of baptism and arises from the waters to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). This new walk is in harmony with the Spirit (Rom. 8:1). It requires faith (belief, trust) in Jesus to live this way. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). So how do you walk by faith? By reading the New Testament, understanding what it says, and following its instructions.
Paul said “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3). We walk physically in this world, just like every other human being. But we do not live according to the walk of the world!
In the book of Ephesians, Paul repeatedly instructs us to “walk” properly. Walk “worthy of the calling with which you were called” (4:1), “walk in love” (5:2), “walk as children of light” (5:8), “walk circumspectly” (5:15). It is extremely important to “walk” (act) like a Christian should.
Finally, with a new knee, it is important not to fall. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). How important it is to not fall — in both the physical and the spiritual realm. So, dear reader, how is your walk?!
— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 10, Page 3, March 7, 2021
There is an expression, involving the name of God, which is used extensively today — “Oh my God!” We hear it on TV, at work, at school, in the home — just about everywhere! One of the most commonly used texting expressions today is “OMG” — “Oh my God!” How close do we pay attention to the words that we use? The words we choose to express ourselves are very important. Our Lord tells how important it is to use proper speech in Matthew 12:36-37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Thus, we should be very selective in choosing our words.
Since God is our Creator and Lord, we ought to speak of Him respectfully. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer. He begins with “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” “Hallowed” means “to hold as holy, sacred or revered.” Under the Old Law (one of the Ten Commandments), God told the Israelites, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). Taking God’s name in vain is to treat it lightly, as if it is useless, a part of idle speech, which manifests disrespect for His name. The Hebrew word for “vain” comes from a word that means “to rush over something or to be careless with it.” Some of the Jews were so concerned about not committing this sin that they went so far as to totally avoid using certain names of God (such as Yahweh/Jehovah) in their normal conversations.
In Leviticus 19:12, there was a warning not to profane the name of God. To profane the name of God is a serious matter. The term “profane” means “to treat something sacred with abuse, irreverence or contempt.”
Let it be understood that we are not saying, nor are we implying, that the various names of God cannot be used in conversation. They can and should be used, but, always in a reverent and respectful manner. His name should never be used as an exclamation, “filler” or slang word, as is the case in today’s use of the phrase “Oh my God!” At times we hear people using other expressions as slang such as “My Lord!,” “Good Lord!,” “Lordy, Lordy!,” or “Oh Lord!” And, again, the most commonly used expression in texting today is “OMG” — “Oh my God!” As Christians we have the responsibility of keeping our speech pure and above reproach. We must constantly guard against using the Lord’s name as an exclamation, a “filler,” flippantly, or in a vain and derogatory manner.
We are reminded of the words of the Psalmist: “Holy and reverend is His name” (Psa. 111:9)
— via R.J. Evan’s Facebook site, March 3, 2014
Divisions That Should Not Be
This video sermon, as titled above, was preached March 7, 2021. To play it, just click on the following link:
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Ann Vandevander who passed away recently.
The medication Ginger Ann Montero is now on for her shortness of breath and congestive heart failure has been helping. She will be have some more tests performed this Wednesday.
Melotine Davis had an allergic reaction toward something that has caused her right eye to be swollen and shut and has affected the other eye almost the same way.
Doyle Rittenhouse had been nauseous last Sunday morning, due to the 2nd covid-19 vaccine he received. But he is now doing better.
And for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
Daylight Saving Time begins March 14 at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to set your clock forward one hour before going to bed.
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)