“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) The Transforming Power of the Word of God (Michael Molloy)
2) Unlikely Converts (Andy Sochor)
3) Don’t Let a Failure Keep You Down! (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
The Transforming Power of the Word of God
There are many reasons why studying the word of God should be a daily exercise for all of us. Proverbs teaches us practical lessons about how to navigate this life. Ecclesiastes documents Solomon’s search for happiness and contentment in this world and concludes with the knowledge that all of our lives should be focused on keeping the Lord’s commandments in reverential fear. Another great reason to study the Bible is the transformative power of God’s word. We come to God broken, sinful, and needing His grace and mercy; His word teaches us how to leave our previous life behind and begin the transformation into the image of Christ (Romans 8.29).
Throughout the Bible, there are many people whose interactions with God follow this pattern: God calls them, they respond to Him, and they are transformed by their interaction with Him or His word. Gideon is a great example of this. When we first meet Gideon, he is threshing wheat in a wine press so that the wheat will not be stolen: “Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites” (Judges 6.11). The Lord knew that with His help, Gideon could become Israel’s next great liberator and greeted him as such when He said, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6.12). Once Gideon understood that the Lord was calling him to become Israel’s next deliverer, he expressed the same doubt that many of us feel when we consider the things that God calls us to do.
Overthrow the Midianites? “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6.15). Tear down the altar of Baal? Well, okay, but only when no one is watching: “But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night” (Judges 6.27b).
Gideon was frightened to do the things that the Lord was asking of Him, but he prayed to the Lord. He first asked for the fleece to be dry and the ground to be wet, and then for the fleece to be wet and the ground dry. The Lord answered his prayers (Judges 6.36-40), and Gideon was emboldened to do the work that the Lord had called him to do. As his story continues, we see Gideon growing in faith and confidence in the Lord until he ultimately fulfills God’s plans for him.
The Lord has called us to do great things as well. He has tasked us with reflecting Him and His light in this dark world. We are to be neighbors to all of those who we find in our path. We are to show love for one another, even when it is difficult. We are to teach the lost the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may be scared to do some or all of these things at different times. But God’s word has not lost its transformative power. If we follow Gideon’s example, praying to the Lord and relying on His word, we will be transformed just as Gideon was, and we will accomplish the will of the Lord, just as Gideon did.
— Via Bulletin Articles of the Bartlett church of Christ, Bartlett, TN, May 14, 2017
Text: James 2:1-4
Sometimes when we think of evangelism and converting the lost, we may have a picture in our minds of the type of person who would be receptive. If we’re not careful, we could subconsciously reject/overlook some who may have otherwise been interested (the single mother, the person with tattoos, the immigrant who speaks broken English, the poor man who can’t afford nice clothes to wear to “church,” etc.). Sometimes the ones who are converted are not the ones we would expect. In this lesson, we’ll notice some examples in the New Testament.
The Context of James 2:1-4
* Warning against showing personal favoritism (v. 1) – example given of two men who arrive in the assembly; the rich man was given preferential treatment (v. 2-3) despite what was generally true of them (v. 6-7); the poor man was disregarded (v. 3) despite God’s choosing/welcoming the poor (v. 5; cf. Matthew 11:5).
* They were not to make such distinctions (v. 4) – guilty of the sin of partiality (v. 9).
* This specific example was about the rich and poor – but the principle would apply to other distinctions as well; we are not to judge by appearances (John 7:24).
NT Examples of Unlikely Converts
* The sorcerer from Samaria (Acts 8:9-13) – he was a deceiver and claimed to be someone great; we should not think that one’s arrogance will forever disqualify him (the gospel may humble him).
* The Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39) – he was isolated from Christians, going to and from Jerusalem without learning about Jesus and the church; we should not let a lack of proximity deter us from reaching others (those in other states/countries).
* The Roman centurion (Acts 10:1-8, 34-48) – he was a good man, but a Gentile without basic knowledge of the Old Testament; we should not think that one without a Biblical background is unreachable.
* The Philippian jailer (Acts 16:22-34) – he put Paul and Silas in prison, possibly even one who mistreated them; we should not think that one who persecuted us would never be receptive, but it may take a crisis for them to be open to the gospel.
* The leader of the synagogue (Acts 18:8) – many Jews opposed the gospel as they had opposed Jesus; we should not think that a “leader” of some other religious group could never be open to the truth.
* Those in Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22) – could have been family and/or servants, but this was during the reign of Nero (severely persecuted Christians); we should not assume that one is uninterested in the gospel because of who they are associated with.
* The chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:12-16) – Paul described himself as the epitome of an unlikely convert; if Paul can be saved, anyone can be saved.
Remember the Parable of the Sower
* The seed was sown on every kind of soil (Luke 8:5-8).
* Not every soil was receptive and produced sustained growth.
* The soils represented people’s hearts (Luke 8:11-15) – not their background, appearance, etc.
* We cannot know people’s hearts (1 Corinthians 2:11) – we can only sow the seed.
* We should not judge anyone as being unworthy of hearing the gospel (Mark 16:15; Titus 2:11).
* We should plant and water and allow God to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).
* We have a responsibility, individually and collectively, to try to reach others with the gospel.
* We need to be careful not to sabotage our own efforts by prejudging others – Jesus reached sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans, and more; the early church reached Gentiles, Roman soldiers, slaves, government leaders, and more.
* The gospel is God’s power for salvation (Romans 1:16) – let’s plant and water so that God will give the increase.
— Via Plain Bible Teaching, December 21, 2020
Don’t Let a Failure Keep You Down!
The following video sermon considers what the Bible says about Mark, a servant of the Lord:
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Ronnie Davis has an appointment this week, due to the trouble he has been having with his back.
Ginger Ann Montero is having to be rescheduled for her heart catheterization, which will probably be made this week.
Bennie & Deborah Medlock are both not feeling well, following their recent covid-19 vaccines.
Rick Cuthbertson has five more weeks to go on his meds until having another scan to see of the results.
Also for prayer: Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Gege Gornto, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jaydin Davis, Danielle Bartlett, 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)