Month: December 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) Conquering Temptation (Bob Dodson)
2) Christ’s Birth (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
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Conquering Temptation

Bob Dodson

How can we overcome temptation? We do not sin by being tempted — we sin when we yield to the temptation. God’s word provides some guidelines to help us.

Remember God’s word. Use God’s word as a weapon in your spiritual battles with Satan and temptation. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Each time Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He replied, “IT IS WRITTEN” (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). David said he hid God’s word in his heart that he might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). In the midst of persecution, holding to God’s word sustains us (Psalm 119:153, 157, 176). When tempted to do wrong, reflect on the word and what it says regarding the matter. In order to be able to use the word effectively, we must know what it says.

Avoid temptation. Rather than seeing how close to sin we can get, without going over the proverbial line, we need to run in the opposite direction. “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Joseph ran from the temptation Potiphar’s wife placed before him (Genesis 39:12). We are obligated to “watch” where we are going (Matthew 26:41). The Proverbs writer warned the young man not to go near the harlot’s door (Proverbs 5:8; 7:25).

Staying clear means not placing ourselves in situations where we will be tempted to violate God’s will. Many times, we sin because we position ourselves to provide opportunities for Satan to tempt us. If you play in Satan’s backyard, according to his rules, you will lose every time.

Pray. Jesus taught His disciples to pray that they would not be led into temptation. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one…” (Matthew 6:13). We should pray for strength to overcome life’s trials. Again, Jesus told His disciples, who were sometimes weak, “pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). It is interesting that in the context where Paul discussed putting on the whole armor of God to fight against the wiles of the devil, he added: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

Make an honest self-examination. We must consider ourselves, lest we also be tempted. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted… But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load” (Galatians 6:1,4). We must constantly examine where we are, and where we are heading. Am I walking in the paths of God or of the world? “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Do I flee temptation, or run right in its face? Could I be guilty of creating my own tempting situations? Each of us must be honest enough to examine our actions to see if we are taking the proper precautions, or blindly heading into danger by using human, rather than divine, wisdom. “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). This takes self-discipline and the willingness to look at things as they really are–not how we wish to believe they are. Each of us must take personal examination seriously and perform it daily.

Understand how the tempter works. Any military leader can tell you that knowing how your enemy operates helps with your effort to defeat him. Satan has three avenues through which he appeals to us. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Satan attacks us at what he knows to be our weakest points. Don’t underestimate this adversary! He is sly, cunning, crafty, and has in mind only one goal–to destroy our souls.

Choose your companions wisely. Obviously, our friends have a great deal of influence–either good or bad–on us. Godly, moral companions are a good influence because they encourage us to do good things. On the other hand, evil and ungodly friends are a bad influence, because they seek to lead us away from God. In the Scriptures, Paul gave a stern warning about this very truth. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). None of us is so strong that associating with sin cannot affect us. Many young people are lost to the world simply because they got with the wrong crowd. Influence is a powerful force, when it is used for good. The reverse is also true.

Remember sin’s consequences. It seems that Joseph was thinking about this very fact when he resisted sin in his life. “But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’” (Genesis 39:8,9). Sadly, many learn too late that the pleasures of sin last only for a season–they do not endure. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). Sin’s wages never change. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). If we die in sin, we’ve earned eternal separation from God (Revelation 21:8). Is it worth the risk?

Look for a way of escape. Temptation is like being in a room that has more than one door–there is a way to escape. God has promised a means of escape for every temptation known to man. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes we ignore the escape route and yield to the temptation. Sometimes the way to escape is by not putting yourself in a susceptible position. Look for the way to do the right thing–then do it!

Conquering makes us better. If we overcome enticement and bear our trials, we become stronger and are better prepared for the next trial Satan places in our way. Each trial or temptation can be either a stumbling block or a stepping stone toward Christ-like maturity. Each time we yield, we become weaker. Each time we resist, we grow stronger. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9). (edited–KMG)

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, December 2001
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It is said of Jesus: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NASB).
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Christ’s Birth

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Christ’s_Birth.mp4

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News & Notes

Let us be praying that God will bring comfort to all the family and friends of Ron Montero (Bud’s oldest brother) who passed away Wednesday evening.

Danielle Bartlett is now in the hospital with Covid-19 and pneumonia, but she says it is a very mild case. So she might soon be going home.

Danny & Jan Barlett, along with Doug and Marie Pennock and Mikaela, all have the virus. Danny & Jan have many symptoms, but nothing serious right now. Doug and Marie are over the worst of it and getting better, and Mikaela has it only slightly and with a cough.

Though confined to rehab, Tammy Griffey appears to be in good spirits.  She still has a few more weeks to go and 5 times a week for therapy.  UPDATE: Richard & Tammy Griffey both now have the coronavirus. So far, it is like just a cold for Richard, but worse for Tammy. She can now no longer have visitors.

Due to a recent fall, Jim Lively is again having therapists come to his home a couple times a week. 

After having now received her referrals, Kayla  Williams is scheduled for a doctor’s appointment the second week of January, to be followed by another appointment that she has not yet been given the date for.

I’m glad to say that the fusion Ronnie Davis had in his back about 3 weeks ago is doing some good!  But, lately, he and his wife Melotine have both been ill.

Let us also be remembering Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Rex Hadley, Vivian Foster, and Kim Rowell in our prayers.
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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).
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Contents:

1) Healing a Blind Man (Frank Himmel)
2) Those “Strange People” (Robert F. Turner)
3) Live Peaceably (Frank Berthold)
4) Gifts from God (video sermon, Tom Edwards)    
5) News & Notes
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Healing a Blind Man

Frank Himmel

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (John 12:37). So begins John’s conclusion to Jesus’ public ministry. The problem was not lack of evidence; it was how people approached the evidence. Nowhere is that better illustrated than when Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9).

Jesus worked this miracle by rather unusual means. He spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle, applied it to the man’s eyes, then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Why do it this way? We do not know. Jesus frequently varied His procedure, perhaps to emphasize that the power was in Him, not in formulas or rituals. In this case, it tested the man’s faith. He obeyed and received his sight.

Initially, public discussion about this incident was whether a miracle had occurred or this was a case of mistaken identity. The blind man’s testimony settled that. When He attributed the miracle to Jesus, the neighbors brought the case to the Pharisees.

As was often the case, Jesus healed this man on a Sabbath. The Pharisees, therefore, quickly divided. Some said Jesus could not be from God because He violated the Sabbath. Others countered that He must be from God because He could make the blind see.

The blind man could clearly see that Jesus was a prophet. Wishing to avoid that obvious conclusion, the Pharisees questioned the man’s parents, hoping to find some reason to deny the miracle. The parents were too afraid to confess Jesus and so deferred to their son’s testimony.

Further interrogation of the blind man only proved embarrassing for the Pharisees. The witness became the prosecutor. With wit and sarcasm he asked if they, too, wanted to become Jesus’ disciples, and expressed amazement at what these experts did not know. They ended the matter by putting him out, evidently putting him out of the synagogue (note v. 22).

This incident illustrates four reactions to Jesus and the truth He revealed.

Some, like the neighbors, are curious and ask questions, but they then blindly accept whatever religious leaders tell them.

Some, like the Pharisees, already have their minds made up. They spend their time trying to deny the obvious. Old beliefs are indeed hard to abandon. Nevertheless, no one in this account looks more foolish than these hard-headed enemies of truth.

Some, like the parents, know the truth but are too afraid to acknowledge it. No one can remain neutral; you are either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

Some, like the blind man, simply accept facts, objectively examine the evidence, and draw the only realistic conclusion: “Lord, I believe” (v. 38). Which group are you in?

— Via Pathlights, November 7, 2021
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Those “Strange People”

Robert F. Turner

Years ago I shared a seat on the train with a “missionary” returning from work in Alaska. He told me he met some “strange people” up there who thought they could work out their own salvation.

I said, “With fear and trembling; Phil. 2:12.”

“No, No!” he said. “I mean they thought they could save themselves.”

And I said, “From this untoward generation; Acts 2:40.”

This was just too much for the old gentleman; and he sighed, and said he guessed I must be one of those folk. Well, I never did discover whether I was or was not; but I did try to make my point that there was nothing wrong in a faith that could be “spelled out” by the word of God.

It is common to hear preachers boldly assert that “the gospel of Christ must be believed — it can not be obeyed!!!” I just recall that Paul said the Lord was coming “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 1:8). When I hear someone say, “A child of God cannot fall from grace,” I remember that Paul told the Galatians who sought justification by the law, “ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Reminds me of the fellow in the jail cell who shouts at the jailer, “You can’t do this to me!”

I know that sinners cannot “save themselves” apart from the Lord; but there must be some way in which this admonition properly applies, or it would not be in God’s word. The facts of the gospel can only be believed, but there must be commands of the gospel, which must be obeyed, or this responsibility would not be placed upon us. It is foolish to contend that Christians cannot fall from grace, when Paul says some had done so. By the same token, there must be some sense in which we are saved by faith — for in various ways the Bible says this is so (Rom. 5:1). But it doesn’t say “faith ONLY” — and so we have no right to say so. If there were not some sense in which baptism washes away sins, the Bible would not tell us that it does (Acts 22:16). Ignoring God’s word won’t change it.

How wonderful it would be if we all had enough confidence in the word of God to accept it just as God gave it; neither “explaining away” the statements we do not like, nor acting as though they didn’t exist. The New Testament relates salvation to 18 or 20 different things. We are saved by grace, faith, works, baptism, hope, — and so, on and on. There is no ONLY attached to either of these things. It would seem that common “horse” sense would tell us that they are ALL necessary ingredients — fitting perfectly into the divine pattern, each in its place. No “doctrine” that denies any of these matters, or places emphasis upon one to the hurt of another, could possibly be God’s truth.

Folk who respect the word of God just “face up” to its statements and accept them. If this makes “strange people” — then so be it.

— Via Plain Talk, August 1967
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Live Peaceably

Frank Berthold

When God led the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery. He gave them moral laws to live by. If they were to be a community of people, they had to learn how to live in harmony together. God has also given us laws to live by that we may live in harmony together in the church, and with those around us, as a community of people. “Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrew 2:14, NRSV). Paul tells us, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18, NRSV). God tells us how to treat one another, things to do and not do. Of course, we will make mistakes (James 3:2) and not follow His advice as meticulously as we should. That’s where our forgiving one another comes in. And, when we ask for forgiveness, we acknowledge that we know we have done wrong and should strive not to repeat the offense. We must realize that our brothers and sisters are human as much as we are.

Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends” (NASB).

— Via The Exhorter, April 18, 1998
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Gifts from God

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Gifts_121921.mp4

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Psalm 63:3

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.”

NASB
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News & Notes

Let us pray that God will bring comfort to the family and friends of Ron Montero (Bud’s oldest brother) who recently passed away.

We are glad that the surgery went well for Tammy Griffey.  Let us now pray that all will also go well in her 6 weeks of rehab, in which she will be having therapy 5 days a week.

Danielle Bartlett will continue to have dialysis 3 times a week until she receives a donor kidney, which she is back on the list for.  Let us pray that will be soon.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Shirley Davis who recently passed away.

And also to be remembering Rick Cuthbertson, Ronnie Davis, Deborah Medlock, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, Vivian Foster, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell in our prayers.
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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 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) Casting Out Demons (Frank Himmel)
2) Garbage (Jason Moore)
3) The Human Body of Christ, God Incarnate! (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Casting Out Demons

Frank Himmel

Superstition and mystery surround the subject of demons. The Bible contains no discourses about them. All we can know must be discerned from the handful of incidents in which they were involved.

The New Testament word rendered demon was used by Greeks to denote an inferior deity. The Bible depicts them as members of the spirit world who are evil, operating in conjunction with Satan.

Jesus cast out demons on numerous occasions. Notice a few cases from Mark’s gospel.

Early during His ministry, a man with an “unclean spirit” came to the synagogue at Nazareth where the Lord was teaching. He cried out, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus cast out the spirit to the amazement of the crowd (Mark 1:21-18).

Later in the same chapter, Mark records that Jesus cast out demons, not permitting them to speak, “because they knew who He was” (v. 34). Their knowledge was correct (see James 2:19), but theirs was an endorsement He could certainly do without!

Mark 5 records the case of Legion. This man was possessed by many spirits, hence his name. They made him unusually strong and given to self-abuse, out of his right mind. These, too, confessed Jesus. This case illustrates demons having emotions, desires, and reasoning power. They asked and received permission to leave the man and enter a herd of swine, resulting in the death of the herd.

Mark 9 records the case of a possessed boy. The spirit that tormented him made him mute. It threw him into convulsions and often threw him into fire or water to destroy him. The boy’s father brought him to Jesus’ disciples. The Lord had given them power over unclean spirits (6:7), but they were unable to cast this one out. Evidently, it was particularly strong or strong-willed. Jesus said the problem was the apostles’ lack of faith (Matthew 17:20).

Despite the varied physical effects produced by demon-possession, it is noteworthy that in no case did it cause one to be a sinner.

The prophet Zechariah foretold the day when prophecy and unclean spirits would be removed from the land (Zechariah 13:2). That day was in the era when the fountain for sin was opened for the house of David (v. 1).

Demon-possession corresponded to the time of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven. God allowed it because it provided one more proof of Jesus’ identity. Even critics knew that expulsion required miraculous power. Thus Jesus told them, “If I cast out  demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).

— Via Pathlights, October 31, 2021
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Garbage

Jason Moore

Some of the most significant finds of archaeology are not temples and palaces and treasures, but garbage pits. It is in the trash pits of ancient civilizations that archaeologists learn about the diet of a people. They find pieces of broken pottery and can tell such things as the time period in which a people lived, their economic status, their contact with other peoples and cultures. They may find samples of their writing, furniture, weapons, tools, and evidences of their daily habitudes. Yes, you can tell much about a people from what they throw away.

The sorts of things we toss in the garbage pit in our country will tell future generations some things about us. They may think us wasteful. With all the push being made toward recyclable goods and packaging, they may think us primitive that we could not find uses or reuses for discarded materials.

The more perceptive and morally conscious may be appalled by other trends witnessed in America’s dump sites. Isn’t it a telling mark that we live in a nation that discards the unborn? It says something about the value placed on human life. It tells a tale about a people obsessed with personal liberty. It exposes a people without natural affection.

To bring the matter a little closer to home, you can tell a lot about yourself by what you throw away. Paul said of himself, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).

Paul’s statement tells the tale of a man who had discarded inferior things for things superior. He gave up reputation among men that he might know and be known by Christ. He gave up a degree of political power that he might find a higher one, the “power of his resurrection” (verse 10). He threw away a life of material gain and relative ease that he might know the “fellowship of his sufferings” (verse 11).

But Paul acknowledged that he wasn’t “threw” yet. “I count not myself to have apprehended … forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14).

Conversion as Paul illustrates is largely a matter of knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep. When a believer is baptized God performs a surgery in which He removes the pollution of sin: “In [Christ] also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12f.).

Once we by faith have submitted ourselves to this operation of God, it becomes our responsibility to keep sin in the pile of discarded items. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth . . . seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:5,9,10).

So what do you find in your trash pile? Have you yet put off the old man of sin? Please note that the only way to discard sin is by the means that God has prescribed. A man would be a fool to tell his doctor that he trusted him and then not follow his doctor’s orders. What of the man who says that he believes in Christ and then ignores the procedure that He prescribes for sin’s removal?

Baptism is not contradictory to faith; it is an indication of faith for one is “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God….” (Colossians 2:12).

It is possible for a man who has been baptized to have never really discarded sin. What about you? Did your conversion involve any putting off, any regarding of this world’s gain as dung, any circumcision of the old body of sin? Surgery is always accompanied with some degree of pain. If there was no discomfort in our conversion or if we are not familiar with the uneasiness of change, then it is likely that there has been no change.

Ever throw away something on accident only to have to return later to dig it out of the trash? Unfortunately we can sometimes discard habits and sins only to dig them up later. Do you not see the ugliness of that picture? How odious a sight to see a man wearing garments he has dug from the bottom of the dung heap. How much more sickening it must be in the sight of God when we who are to be clothed in His holiness put on the sin-stained, decay-ridden garments of our past.

Yes, you can tell a lot about a person by what they throw away. Be careful then what you throw away. And watch what you keep.

— Via The Beacon, November 28, 2021
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The Human Body of Christ, God Incarnate!

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Jesus’_Body.mp4


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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We are glad that the surgery went well for Tammy Griffey.  She is now in rehab, where she will be having therapy for 6 weeks.

Ron Montero is still undergoing cancer treatments and not doing very well.

Danielle Bartlett will continue to have dialysis 3 times a week until she receives a donor kidney, which she is back on the list for.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Shirley Davis who recently passed away.

Let us also be remembering Rick Cuthbertson, Ronnie Davis, Deborah Medlock, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, Vivian Foster, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell in our prayers.
——————–

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 Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service.
Every First Sunday of the Month: 5 p.m. Song Service 

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) Walking on Water (Frank Himmel)
2) The Needle’s Eye (Irvin Himmel)
3) The Body — and Some of Its Members (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Walking on Water

Frank Himmel

Modern “miracle workers” focus on two effects: speaking in tongues and healing. Neither accords with the Bible models. Speaking in tongues was speaking in other languages (Acts 2:4-11), not the characteristic gibberish of our day. Bible healings were bonafide cases that even enemies had to acknowledge, not unverifiable headaches, backaches, and the like.

If men today can work miracles, where are the others, the physical effects such as turning water into wine or miraculously multiplying food? And who can walk on water, as the gospel writers say Jesus did? (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:16-21).

The Sign

After feeding the 5,000, Jesus not only sent away the multitude, He also made the disciples get into a boat and leave. While He prayed alone on the mountain, they fought their way across a contrary sea. Somewhere between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. They were frightened, thinking it was a ghost. Jesus reassured them it was He. When He got into the boat with them, the wind stopped. John says immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

The Extension

Matthew records a unique aspect of this miracle. Jesus shared the effect by allowing Peter to also walk on water. “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:28-31).

Extending the miracle in this way had several benefits. It verified to the apostles the reality of what was taking place. It illustrated the Savior’s favorable disposition toward them. And it taught them the valuable lesson that even in the exercise of supernatural gifts, one must act from personal faith if he is to be successful.

The Purpose

Peter’s success when walking by faith is a great illustration. So is his failure when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on his circumstances. So is his simple, fervent prayer, “Lord, save me.” So is the Lord’s response.

As with all Jesus’ miracles, however, the main purpose was to show who He is. Mark’s analysis is interesting: “they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened” (6:51-52). It was not hard for them to envision how the creator and ruler of the universe could so easily set aside the “laws of nature.” It was just difficult to see Jesus as that one. Yet that is precisely who He is.

What do you see in Jesus? Have you submitted to His rule?

— Via Pathlights, October 17, 2021
——————–

-2-

The Needle’s Eye

Irvin Himmel

A rich young ruler came running to Jesus and, kneeling before the Master, posed the question, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus called attention to some of the basic commands of the law. The young man answered, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” Jesus, knowing that he lacked one important thing, told him to sell whatever he had, give it to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven, “and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

The young ruler reacted by a display of sadness. He went away grieved, for he had great possessions. Looking on the disciples, Jesus remarked, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

The disciples reacted with astonishment. Jesus explained, “Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:23-25).

A Gate or Sewing Needle?

In my youthful years, I heard some preacher say that in ancient times there was a small gate in the wall around Jerusalem; and this tiny gate was called “the Needle’s Eye.” According to the preacher, the little gate was used when the big, regular-size gates were closed. It was so small, declared the preacher, that a camel could go through it only by getting down on his knees and squeezing through. The lesson then, according to said preacher, is that a rich man can be saved only by squeezing through — getting on his knees, so to speak, by the proper and sacrificial use of his wealth.

That story impressed me, and in ignorance I repeated it. A more objective study of the passage in which Jesus spoke of the needle’s eye led me in time to reject that story about the gate, and to come to the conclusion that the Lord was speaking of an ordinary kind of needle. First, I noticed that Jesus spoke of a rich man in the sense of one who trusts in riches, not merely one who possesses wealth. Read carefully Mark’s account and notice the following:

“. . . they that have riches” (10:23).
“. . . them that trust in riches” (10:24).
“. . . a rich man” (10:25).

Now, is it possible for people who trust in riches to be saved? Not at all! One must put his trust in the Lord to be saved. They that have riches, that is, they who trust in riches, can no more be saved than a camel can go through the eye of a needle. To a Jew the camel was the largest domestic animal, and the eye of the needle the smallest of openings visible to the eye. Such a large animal passing through such a small hole clearly conveyed an impossibility.

The disciples took Jesus’ illustration to have that meaning. They asked, “Who then can be saved?” Obviously, something would have to change before a camel could go through the eye of a sewing needle. Therefore, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (v. 27).

It is impossible for one who trusts in riches to be saved, whether he has five dollars or five million dollars. But with God all things are possible. Working through the power of the gospel, God can change a man so that he ceases to trust in himself, his riches, his own wisdom, etc., and puts his trust in Jesus Christ.

Also, it is worthy of note that the Greek word “needle” (rhaphis) used in Mark’s account comes from rhapto, meaning “to sew.” Vine says, “The idea of applying ‘the needle’s eye’ to small gates seems to be a modern one; there is no ancient trace of it. The Lord’s object in the statement is to express human impossibility and there is no need to endeavor to soften the difficulty by taking the needle to mean anything more than the ordinary instrument.” The word for “needle” in Luke’s account is belone, which according to Vincent, “is the peculiar word for the surgical needle.” A.T. Robertson says it “means originally the point of a spear and then a surgeon’s needle.”

McGarvey sums the matter up by saying, “The conceit, which originated I know not where, that ‘the eye of a needle’ here means a low and narrow gate through which the camel could not go except on his knees and after his burden had been removed, is not only without historical foundation, but is inconsistent with the context, which contemplates something impossible with men” (comments on Matt. 19:24).

This article is not designed to needle anyone, but to point out that we need to carefully study the language used before eyeing conclusions.

— Via The Beacon, October 3, 2021
——————–

-3-

The Body — and Some of Its Members

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Body_120521.mp4

——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Tammy Griffey will be having her surgery on her foot this Wednesday (December 8).  It will also require her remaining off her feet for 6 weeks, followed by 6 months of having to take it easy. Update: Tammy’s surgery went well, and she is doing fine.

Let us also continue to remember the family and friends of Shirley Davis who passed away November 22.

Kim Rowell (Ashley Law’s mother) was transferred to a Savannah hospital Friday evening, due to an infection and an ulcer in her dialysis graft, which she will be having surgery for December 5.  Update: Her surgery went well. She is now healing and will eventually receive a permanent catheter for dialysis.

Danielle Bartlett is back on the list for a donor kidney. In the meanwhile, she has resumed dialysis 3 times a week.

Ron Montero (Bud’s brother) is continuing with his treatments for cancer.

Rick Cuthbertson‘s treatments have been keeping some of his cancer from progressing. 

Vivian Foster has an intestinal blockage that has been giving her some trouble.

Congratulations to Danny and Jan Bartlett in the birth of their 8th grandchild!  Their daughter Andra and her newborn both did well.

Let us also be remembering the following in prayer: Ronnie Davis, Doyle Rittenhouse, Deborah Medlock, Kayla Williams, Jim Lively, and Rex Hadley.
——————–

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 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.)


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