“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) “Finally, Brethren…” (Don Wright)
2) Growing in Littleness (Dan S. Shipley)
3) Psalm 139:16-18
4) Fathers Learning from the Father Above (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
Often times when Paul would conclude a series of points in an epistle, he would end the closing section with the words, “Finally, brethren…” That would follow with a final point that he wanted to convey to the brethren to whom he wrote. Let us look at a few places where he did this.
“Finally, brethren…be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace…” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
This was certainly an appropriate way of wrapping up this epistle to the saints at Corinth. It has to do with their relationship with each other. To be perfect does not mean to be sinless, rather it points to being complete. Vine says it denotes the idea of making progress. To be perfect is to be heading in the right direction, becoming more mature in Christ and His Word. To be a complete Christian one must have a proper relationship with brethren. We should live in agreement with one another. If we have sinned against a brother in Christ, let us go to him and get it right (Matthew 5:23-24). If a brother has sinned against us, let us go to him and talk about it (Matthew 18:15). Being able to handle sin in this way is a sign of maturity or perfection in Christ. This is what Paul exhorted the saints at Corinth to do.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
This should be our battle cry every day we go out into the world. The devil is always waiting for us. He is always in attack mode. We must be strong every day if we are to be victorious in this spiritual war in which we are engaged. Being strong means allowing our Lord’s strength to become our own. Paul said we should be strong “in the power of his might.” We must, as Paul goes on to say, put on the whole armor of God, shield ourselves with truth, righteousness, peace, and faith, and arm ourselves with thoughts of heaven and with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. This is what it takes to be strong. It does not happen by accident. We are strong only when we purposely do those things that strengthen us as Christians.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord…” (Philippians 3:1).
We have so much to be thankful for as Christians that rejoicing should not be that difficult. The problem is, we too easily take our minds off of what is truly important and get bogged down with the affairs of this world. When we think about what Christ has done for us, we should rejoice. When we think about what we have in Christ we should rejoice (Ephesians 1:3; Romans 8:1; 2 Timothy 2:10; Revelation 14:13; 1 Peter 1:3-9). When we think about the special privileges we have in Christ (prayer, fellowship, the Lord’s supper, proper worship, etc.), we should rejoice. With these things in view, it should be clear that if a Christian is not rejoicing in the Lord, it is because he has taken his eye off the goal.
“Finally, brethren…think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
If there is any doubt about the importance of the things we think about, this verse removes it. We can either fill our minds with worldly things that are unhealthy for our souls, or we can fill our minds with things that are pleasing to God. Which will it be? The devil wants to win the battle for our minds. He knows that if he can fill our minds with sinful things, he can win our souls. On the other hand, if we think about things that are true, honest, and just, we can defeat that old red dragon. We need to fill our minds with the Word of God (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16).
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
Is there anything more powerful in our possession than prayer? Through prayer, we have direct access to God and His power (Hebrews 4:16). In times of weakness, we should pray to our Father for help (Matthew 26:41). In times of prosperity, we should pray, giving thanks to God for the blessings He has given us (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We should thank God every day for the sending of His Son, and the sacrifice they both were so willing to make (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 8:9).
Finally, brethren, let’s take the exhortations set forth by Paul in these passages and apply them to our lives. We will be better Christians if we do.
— Via Brown Street Beacon, November 1, 2020
Growing in Littleness
Dan S. Shipley
There was a time when king Saul was useful to God’s purposes. At that time he was anointed king of Israel; at a time, as Samuel tells him, “When thou wast little in thine own sight” (1 Sam. 15:17). The sense of littleness that helped qualify Saul for his crown is no less essential for those who seek a better crown (2 Tim. 4:8).
In fact, nothing is more needful in the quest for godliness (acquiring a right attitude toward God). Man’s view of self determines his view of God, and vice versa. When Saul was little in his own sight, God was big. When Saul came to be big in his own sight, God became smaller. That is, God and God’s will became of less importance to him. Nebuchadnezzar had the same problem. After being made to live as a beast of the field and to eat grass as the oxen for a time, his sense of littleness and understanding returned. When humbled, he could see God’s bigness; that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will” (Dan. 4:32). Then, he blessed and praised and honored “Him that liveth forever” (v. 34) — as do all “little” men.
Only the man with a sense of littleness acknowledges his inability to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23) and willingly submits to God’s leading. Others, like king Saul, presumptuously set aside God’s will when it conflicts with their own — not in all things, mind you, nor even in most. Many are willing to do much of what God says; but, as with Saul, we learn that partial obedience is not submission at all. In fact, God calls it “rebellion” (1 Sam. 15:23). Sound harsh? It shouldn’t. Not when you realize that man arrays himself against God in every act of deliberate disobedience and says, in effect, “NO, I will not submit!” Perhaps this is what prompted someone to observe that the first lesson to be learned in serving God is humility. Whenever men conclude (by any process of reasoning or rationalizing) that their ways are as good as God’s, they prove themselves too big to work in God’s harness.
But, not only does man change his attitude toward God in losing his sense of littleness, he also changes his attitude toward men. As men acquire those things that make them “somewhat” (whether thrones, money, position, success or education), they are apt to see their peers as somewhat less. The kind of pride that kept Saul from appreciating David is still a threat to the unity of God’s people — and not only in others, for all can forget their littleness at times (like the man who became proud of his humility). God’s way is “doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). When every brother looks up to all other brethren and looks down on none, we are growing in the kind of littleness that makes us strong (2 Cor. 12:10). May God help us to cultivate this sense of littleness; the kind that truly appreciates God and brethren; the kind that confesses weakness and wrongdoing and says, “God, be thou merciful…”
— Via The Oak Grove Messenger (Walnut Hill, FL), November 17, 2019
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You” (NASB).
Fathers Learning from the Father Above
To play this video sermon on “Fathers Learning from the Father Above,” just click on the following link while on the Internet:
News & Notes
Folks to keep in prayer:
Rex Hadley is back in the hospital, mainly for his heart and kidneys, and might need to receive a pacemaker.
Marie Pennock has been under the weather lately, but is gradually getting better.
Bennie Medlock has been having some eye trouble with cataracts and glaucoma, which he saw an eye doctor for and will soon be receiving lens transplants.
We are sad to hear that Marde Sweezy and her husband Charles will soon be moving to California, but we wish them well in their new life there.
Also for prayer: Rick Cuthbertson (cancer), Nell Teague (cancer), Ginger Ann Montero (healing from a pacemaker procedure), Deborah Medlock (non-malignant nodules near voice box, and nerves in her spine are giving trouble), Jim Lively (physical weakness and often falling over the last couple years), Ronnie Davis (back trouble), Ritt Rittenhouse (healing from a stroke and has a degenerative disc in his neck), and Doyle Rittenhouse (neck, shoulder, and arm pain)
Also our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, and Shirley Davis
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/ (This is for the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)