“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) 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
Healing a Blind Man
“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
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
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
Gifts from God
For the video sermon with the above title, just click on the following link while on the Internet:
“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.”
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.
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).
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
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.)