Month: September 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) Singing with Grace (Ron Halbrook)
2) Refinement (Terry Wane Benton)
3) Six Dangers for the Christian to Avoid (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Singing with Grace

Ron Halbrook

Two of the passages which point to the importance of congregational singing are Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16.

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:19

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:16

Two aspects of worship in song are clearly taught in these passages. The first aspect is singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord — singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. All true obedience to God presses the faith and submission of the heart of man toward God. All true worship is the outpouring of our hearts unto God. Our hearts should be full of grace, love, and truth of God as we sing praises to him.

The second aspect is speaking to yourselves — teaching and admonishing one another. We teach and encourage one another by the words we sing. Daily, private singing is appropriate and expresses the thanksgiving of the heart to God. “Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13). But public, congregational singing adds the dimension of each one who worships God edifying others as they worship God.

These two passages, like every other passage on music in worship during the gospel age, authorize vocal rather than instrumental music. The thanksgiving and melody of the heart are to be expressed by speaking, teaching, and admonishing by means of singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Instruments of music such as harps, horns, guitars, banjoes, drums, clarinets, organs, and cymbals cannot speak the truths of God’s Word. The word of Christ cannot dwell in the heart of a mechanical instrument — no such instrument can teach and admonish people with the divine word. Both passages urge God’s people to sing from the heart, but neither authorizes them to play upon a harp.

“By his prophets” the Lord commanded the use of cymbals, psalteries, and harps in the temple worship under the law of Moses (2 Chron. 29:25). While trumpets and other instruments were being played, animals sacrifices were burned (v. 28). The Psalms speak of worshiping God with various musical instruments and with “burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats” (Ps. 150; 66:15). Noah was commanded to build an ark — Israel to march around the walls of Jericho — Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan River (Gen. 6; Josh. 6; 2 Kings. 5).

We do not serve God today under the covenants and commandments of the Old Testament fathers, but under the new covenant of Jesus Christ. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).

Jesus Christ in the New Testament does not command us to dip seven times in Jordan, to march around Jericho, to build an ark, to offer animal sacrifices, or to play musical instruments in worship!  We read his command in the New Covenant to sing in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, but where do we read any command to play?

Christ teaches us to glorify God in our worship rather than man — singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Christ commands personal participation by all saints in worship rather than professional performances by a few — yourselves, one another. Christ commanded our worship to be edifying rather than entertaining — teaching and admonishing.

The modem use of solo, quartet, and choir singing violates the design of New Testament worship. Men are touted and glorified for making a display of their musical “talents.” Not all who make up “yourselves” and “one another” can qualify for the solo or choir, so the participation of all the saints is sacrificed on the altar of professional performance. The “program” is sure to be entertaining, but spiritual edification is lost. Tryouts, contests, and competitions are held — performances presented, entertainment exalted, and men glorified — in the name of worship. It is all carnality and a vain display of religion “after the commandments and doctrines of men,” “which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship” (Col. 2:22-23). In other words, in the name of doing God’s will men are doing their own will.

True worship glorifies God and edifies saints. As the heart overflows with the word of Christ and the praise of God, we sing with grace. True Christians worship according to the commands of Christ and not according to their own will. New Testament churches find their pattern for worship in the New Testament, not in the Old Testament, not in the vain traditions of men, and certainly not in the carnality of this modern age!

— Via Articles of the Knollwood church of Christ, August 2021
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-2-

Refinement

Terry Wane Benton

All that happens to us in this life is part of refining us. Like gold is purified through the harsh fires of testing, and as testing refines and strengthens our quality of faith and character, we come out in the end with a glory that looks more like the glory of Jesus. That depends on how genuine our faith is in Jesus!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10). Think about how Job was tested, yet he believed he would come out somewhere as gold.

David went through many heartaches and difficulties, and yet, this is the refining process in him, and here is how he looked at it all:

“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance”(Psalm 66:10-12 ESV).

We are either refined or we get burnt up. If we are refined, the end product will be beautiful in God’s hands! Be sure you have gold quality faith in the Lord!

— Via La Vista church of Christ, August 13, 2021
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-3-

Six Dangers for the Christian to Avoid

Tom Edwards

To hear the video sermon with the above title, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/6_Dangers.mp4

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Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

— NASB
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-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rich and Tammy Griffey
have not yet heard the results of Tammy’s recent testing.  She is still not feeling well.

I’m glad to report that A.J. & Pat Joyner, and their daughter Pam, are all healed from the Covid-19.

Also Philip Hickox is now healed from Covid-19.

Shirley Davis, Lee & Vivian Foster, and their family have also been healing from Covid-19.

Ronnie & Melotine Davis have had only the one injection for their back pains, so far. They will also be having a couple more for the completion of it.

Also to keep in prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Jeff Nuss, Frank & Ossie Andrews, Joshua Harvey, Nell Teague, Rex Hadley, Deborah Medlock, and Jim Lively.
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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, the Son of God (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

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (This is a link to the 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) Two Unchangeable Things (Matthew W. Bassford)
2) Why Are Second Peter and Jude So Similar? (David Dann)
3) Considering Some “Let Us” Verses (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) Psalm 121 (NASB)
5) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Two Unchangeable Things

Matthew W. Bassford

In addition to the other things that make Hebrews challenging for us to follow, the writer assumes that his readership is familiar with the Old Testament. He jumps from allusion to allusion, rarely pausing to explain his references to the Law with more than a phrase or two. However, because our Old-Testament knowledge is rarely the equal of a first-century Jew’s, it’s often worthwhile for us to slow down, flip back to the front part of our Bibles, and figure out what in the world the writer is talking about!

This is certainly useful in Hebrews 6:13-18. The conclusion here is relevant to every Christian—that we should have strong encouragement to seize the hope that is before us. However, the discussion before the conclusion omits the information we need to reach that conclusion. In order to figure out what’s going on, we have to go back to the incident he is discussing, the conversation between God and Abraham in Genesis 22:15-18.

Contextually, Abraham has just won God’s favor by demonstrating his willingness even to sacrifice his own son if God commands him to do so. Now, He is about to explain what this means for Abraham. God begins by swearing an oath by Himself. This is not usual; in fact, there are only three places in the whole Bible where God swears an oath by Himself. Then, He tells Abraham, “I will indeed bless you.”

This is what the writer is talking about in Hebrews 6:17. “I will indeed bless you,” is God’s unchangeable purpose. “By Myself I have sworn,” is the oath He used to guarantee His promise. As the writer observes in Hebrews 6:18, it’s impossible for God to lie in either of these things, which is where the strong encouragement comes from.

However, the writer does not explain (because he expects his audience to know already) what an ironclad promise that God made to bless Abraham has to do with us. If we can’t fill in that blank on our own, we have to go back to Genesis 22:17-18. There, God specifies that His blessing will take two forms. First, Abraham’s offspring will be as numerous as the stars and the sand. Second, through his seed (singular, not plural, as Paul notes in Galatians 3:16), all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Now we start seeing why this is relevant! According to Galatians 3:7-9, everyone who has faith is a descendant of Abraham, whether they are Jew or Gentile. Second, as per Galatians 3:16, the singular seed of blessing is Jesus.

Thus, God’s unchangeable purpose and oath have done two things. First, they have prepared a special people for Him, a people that comprises everyone who seeks Him in faith. Second, those two unchangeable things guarantee that those who seek will find blessing in Him through Christ.

Ever wonder if you really, really are going to inherit eternal life because you are faithful? You don’t have to wonder. God has both pledged and sworn it by Himself, and for us, that is strong encouragement indeed!

— Via Articles of the La Vista church of Christ, June 4, 2021
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Why Are 2 Peter and Jude So Similar?

David Dann

Upon reading the New Testament one may notice some obvious similarities in content between the books of 2 Peter and Jude. These similarities have at times raised questions in the minds of the readers. Some have made unwarranted assumptions concerning these similarities which have only complicated matters. For example, various views have been advanced, including among them the following ideas: both writers copied their material from an unknown common source, Peter copied Jude’s work, or that Jude copied Peter’s work. Some have even attempted to use the similarities between the two books in order to advance the idea that neither book was written by the man with whose name it is associated. However, these views are rooted in baseless speculation rather than in Scriptural evidence.

Concerning the harmony and consistency of the inspired writings, Jesus said that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Therefore, if similarities exist between 2 Peter and Jude, then there must be good reasons as to why such similarities exist. While the two letters do cover similar ground in some respects, the similarities between the two are representative of the harmony of truth. Consider the harmony displayed in the content of these two brief New Testament epistles.

1. Jude writes of the fulfillment of what Peter forewarned. Concerning the threat of false teachers, Peter writes, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1). While Jude also warns of false teachers, he speaks of them as presently fulfilling Peter’s words. Jude writes, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Peter warned that such men would come among the brethren; Jude notes that they had arrived.

2. Jude refers to the counsel given by Peter and the other apostles. Peter warned of those who would mock at the word of God, saying, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:1-3). Jude apparently makes reference to Peter’s warning, saying, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 17-18). Peter warned that these lust-driven mockers would come; Jude reminds his readers of the warning because the mockers had come.

3. Jude reinforces what Peter wrote. Peter bases the certainty of God’s judgment against false teachers on the judgments God has brought in the past on sinful angels (2 Pet. 2:4) and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 6), and provides a description of false teachers which serves to highlight their corruption and ultimate doom (vv. 12-17). Jude reinforces what Peter wrote by also reminding his readers of God’s judgments against wicked angels and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 6), and by further describing the corruption of false teachers and their ultimate judgment by God (vv. 12-15). Peter warned of the danger of those who would lead others into spiritual ruin; Jude reiterates and underscores Peter’s warnings with forceful clarity.

Conclusion. Why are 2 Peter and Jude so similar? The answer ultimately lies in the fact that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16) and that both men were “moved by the Holy Spirit” in what they wrote (2 Pet. 1:21). Peter and Jude were directed by God in delivering vital, harmonious, and complimentary messages which serve to warn believers against straying from the truth of God. Are you listening?

— Via Articles of the Knollwood church of Christ, October 2016
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-3-

Considering Some “Let Us” Verses

Tom Edwards

  Clicking on the following link, while online, will play the video sermon that is titled above:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Let_Us.mp4
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-4-

Psalm 121

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper.
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.”

— NASB
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-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Our condolences go out to all the family and friends of David Foster who passed away yesterday morning at just 51 years of age.

We also extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Dorothy “Dot” Jerrell (Carter) Sams who passed away August 30 at 80 years of age.

Shirley Davis had been in the hospital, due to a fractured foot and will soon be transferred to rehab. 

Frank Andrews and his wife Ossie are in the local hospital with Covid-19.  Frank is on a ventilator.

Joshua Harvey is going through a crisis in his life.

Carman Wells will be having tests run to see if she has breast cancer.

Deborah Medlock has been in pain that runs from her back to her feet

Bennie Medlock will be having cataract surgery around the middle of this month.

The injections to alleviate the back pain for Ronnie & Melotine Davis had been rescheduled for September 9 (Thursday).

Also for prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Jeff Nuss, Mia Music, AJ & Pat Joyner, Pam Sanders, Tim & Barbara Kirkland, Alisha Hunter, Nell Teague, Rex Hadley, and our shut-ins.
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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, the Son of God (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

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Classand 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)


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