Month: June 2022

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) God of Wonders (Tony Mauck)
2) Murphy’s Law and Eternity (Greg Gwin)
3) God’s Love for Us (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
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God of Wonders

Tony Mauck

Habakkuk decries the evil running amuck among the Lord’s people and asks God to act. He could not have anticipated God’s reply, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days—you would not believe if you were told” (Hab. 1:5). God further reveals that the Babylonians would serve as God’s instrument to judge His wayward people. Habakkuk was not particularly excited about the news and it only raised more questions in his mind.

The last statement of verse 5 is worthy of much meditation as it summarizes the ways and activity of God. Our God is a God of Wonders! “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways” (Rom. 11:33). While we may greatly struggle to fully process the depths of this statement about God, such lofty thoughts of Him should be often frequented in our minds.

Three important thoughts flow out of God’s words to Habakkuk: 1) God’s activity astonishes; 2) God’s activity is not thwarted by powerful men; 3) This same God is still active today.

The whole Bible story continually reveals the grandiose nature of God’s doings. Anticipating the role of a suffering Savior in man’s redemption, the inspired psalmist writes, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:22-24).

Extraordinary signs demonstrate God’s limitless ability. He makes an axe head float. Jesus walks on water. He feeds thousands with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread while the leftover fragments exceed the original amount of food. While astonishing, such acts are easily consistent with a God whose “understanding is infinite” and One who is “abundant in strength.” After all, “He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them” (Psa. 147:4-5).

Particularly impressive to me is the day of which it is said, “And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel” (Josh. 10:14). Following the dramatic victory at Jericho and ultimate victory at Ai, the Amorite kings and a quite formidable army unite to attack Gibeon, who had made a life-saving alliance with Israel. God informs Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands, not one of them shall stand before you” (Josh. 10:8). Joshua and his army march all night and suddenly fall upon their foes. The Lord confounds the Amorites and pummels them with hailstones as they flee. Joshua needs more daylight to finish them off and pleads, “O, sun stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon” (Josh. 10:12). Both the sun and moon stop, “And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day” (Josh. 10:13).

Some claim, “Impossible!” We know what Joshua did not. It’s not the sun moving around the earth but the earth’s rotation that gives the appearance of the sun moving from the east to west. We are told by skeptics, if the sun stood still for “about a whole day,” the effects would be cataclysmic. But remember, this is the Creator we’re talking about. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

When God speaks to Habakkuk of His wonder He is about to perform, nothing miraculous is under consideration. Assyria, the present world power, is going to eventually relinquish world dominance to the Babylonians and God is going to use them to judge and teach His people in Judah as He had used the Assyrians— “the rod of My anger”—to punish Israel (Isa. 10:5).

A careful reading of the last several chapters in Daniel causes one to marvel at the activity in the spiritual realm that is behind what is playing out in the kingdoms of men. Government leaders rarely see themselves for what they really are, nothing more than God’s pawns to accomplish His purposes (cf. Isaiah 40:12-25). Even the Babylonians did not see it, “…they whose strength is their god” (Hab. 1:11).

No elected official or government in this whole world is capable of overthrowing what God has done or is planning to do. Certain freedoms might be restricted that we might presently enjoy, but God’s salvation will still be provided to those who seek it. His spiritual kingdom will continue on (cf. Dan. 2:44). History will culminate the way God intends and at the time He decides. Only due to God’s patience does the world still exist to this time (2 Pet. 3:9, 15).

The appropriate reaction to the God of wonders is to fully submit to His purposes. Find your purpose in His great purposes. No greater purpose for our lives can be pursued. If you think about it, how do most people spend their days? They work, accumulate things, improve their circumstances, enjoy family, seek fun and then ultimately someone else ends up with all of their stuff and their position. Eventually, they become just a footnote in history and most are forgotten. How much do you know about your great-great-grandparents?

While our deeds in human history may not be remembered by future generations, involvement in God’s things contains far-reaching and eternal implications…the destiny of souls! Can anything in this world exceed being “a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21)? People get excited about a lot of different things that have a temporal purpose and a temporal reward. We stack those things back to back to back and they become the stuff of life. But those things must be secondary to our greater spiritual purpose and pursued in light of it or they become a snare to our souls. Ultimately, only one thing matters, “…rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 17:20). And God will not forget the things we have done to promote His cause in the world (Heb. 6:10).

Christians find liberation from the anxieties that plague so many. God equips us to face and endure the crippling pain and troubles associated with life in this world. We trust in the God of wonders! We know “Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 20, Issue 35 (September 2, 2018)
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Murphy’s Law and Eternity

Greg Gwin

Have you heard of Murphy’s Law? There are many versions, but the basic notion of Murphy’s Law is this: “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” Any Saturday mechanic, weekend repairman, or home owning handyman will have to admit that this Murphy, whoever he was, had pretty good insight. Skinned knuckles, stripped threads, broken parts, missing pieces, and malfunctioning equipment are a continuing testimony to the apparent accuracy of Murphy’s pessimistic view.

However, there’s one realm where this ‘law’ is clearly not true. Paul wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). This is a wonderful promise, and a great blessing. But note; it is only for “them that love God,” and we know that love for God must be demonstrated by humble obedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3). Those who will not fully surrender to Him need not expect this outcome in their lives.

But wait! Are we to believe that the life of a faithful Christian will be all roses; no troubles? No. Paul writes again, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Persecution is never a pleasant thing, but those who serve God are told to expect it. So, how can we reconcile these two statements from Paul?

The answer lies in our perspective; whether we view things temporally or eternally. Only when we are able to see the events of this life in relation to death, judgment, and eternity will we be ready to agree that “all things work together for good.” Ultimately, anything that makes us more like God wants us to be – anything that prepares us for a home in heaven – is a good thing. Think!

— Via The Beacon, June 19, 2022
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God’s Love for Us

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/God’s_Love_062622.mp4

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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.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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) “Jesus Christ is the Same” (Kyle Pope)
2) “Do To Others…” (Robert F. Turner)
3) The Importance of Good Fathers (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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“Jesus Christ is the Same”

Kyle Pope

Last month I turned a year older. This happens to all of us every year. Behind us are memories of joys, new beginnings, and achievements; but also losses, times of sadness and heartbreak. We cannot turn back the clock, nor should we waste our time wishing that we could. The wise man said it is foolish to ask, “Why were the former days better than these?” (Eccl. 7:10, NKJV). All the good things that have passed came with their own share of pain and hardship. As long as the Lord allows the world to stand, in the time that lies ahead there will be more of both good and bad in varying degrees. It is impossible to take the good and cause time to stand still so that it may endure longer. Every passing moment brings a new assortment of circumstances and situations that have never existed before, nor can ever be repeated. The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus compared this to a river. Just as we can never step into the same river twice, because the water that fills it at the moment we take each step flows on and never returns, so time is an ever-flowing and ever-changing stream. As he put it, “everything changes, and nothing stands still” (Plato, Cratylus 402a).

Heraclitus was right as it pertains to earthly things. Change is constant. The phone you buy today will be outdated before the year is over. The skill you learn to earn a living today will be modified and refined tomorrow and you will likely have to receive ongoing training. People whom you love and trust today will change and your role in their lives tomorrow will also change. Those who cared for you today may come to need your care tomorrow. Those who fill your life with joys today may no longer be there tomorrow. Relationships that shaped your view of your own life and family today may leave you empty tomorrow. Even the places and surroundings you consider constant today will change tomorrow. That restaurant you like today may close tomorrow. The park where your child plays today may become a parking lot tomorrow. Even the values and attitudes of the culture around us will change, until one day you may look around and feel like a stranger in your own hometown. This can be quite unsettling.

Heraclitus was a pagan. He did not know the god of the Bible. He lived 500 years before Jesus was even born. He could not know what we are now privileged to understand. The Hebrew writer made the simple and profound revelation, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). This does not mean that Jesus always does the same thing. In the beginning Jesus “was with God” and “was God” (John 1:1). It was not until He came to this world that He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). As God in the flesh He was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28a). Now as our High Priest, He is “at the right hand of God” and “makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34). One day for “those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb. 9:28b). Even so, His Deity, His constituent nature, and His character have not changed.

The fact that Jesus is “the same” does not mean that His law for man has never changed. Before the Law of Moses was given God did not expect man to follow the laws it would reveal. That “law was given through Moses” (John 1:17). In it God “made known to them” all of the “precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses” (Neh. 9:14). But the Law of Moses foretold the coming of Christ as a “lawgiver” from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). Now, “in these last days” God “has spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. 1:2). Now, all are accountable to “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2) and all will be judged by His word (John 12:48).

While the revelation that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” doesn’t mean His deeds or laws have not changed, it does offer us great comfort in the midst of this ever-changing world. It means. . .

1. No Matter How Much Everything Else Changes Around Us, God Remains the Same. A prayer written by Moses and included in the book of Psalms reads, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psa. 90:2). The changes that go on around us can easily make us forget the eternal nature of God. We can’t allow ourselves to think that advancing technology, modern tolerance of immorality, or increased knowledge of science, philosophy, or medicine has the power to change God. These tiny ripples in the flow of the stream of time that carries our brief lives is nothing to a God that has always been and will always be. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

2. No Matter How Much People Around Us Change, We Can Count on Jesus.
People will let us down! Either because we unfairly place expectations on their behavior that we should not, or because by their own freewill people can and do choose to do things that are wrong. Sometimes we allow this to shake our faith, but the truth is if every human soul who has ever lived chose to reject the will of God and act with falsehood, sin, and rebellion it would not change in the slightest anything about God or the covenant He makes with His people. Jesus promised His disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Even in a faithless world “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

3. No Matter How the World Changes, His Word Remains the Same.
Peter declared centuries ago, “The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:24b-25a). Centuries before Peter wrote, the Psalmist proclaimed, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89). Why do we imagine that changes in our thinking somehow changes what God has commanded? Why do we suppose that because His word was first revealed to people with no cars, computers, or airplanes it is somehow less relevant? The same eternal God who sent Jesus to die for our sins thousands of years ago, still offers salvation through the message of Christ’s coming. Nothing that changes around us can remove the demands that His word places upon our lives. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 24, Issue 18, May 1, 2022
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“Do To Others…”

Robert F. Turner

The Lord gave me a yardstick by which to measure every relationship in my life. It is easy to understand, and easy to apply if I have the will to do so. It involves no complicated formula; it is with me every wakeful hour. Its strength is in direct proportion to my weakness; binding me with cords of my own weaving, or freeing me as I free my own heart. It comprehends my whole duty to man.

While yet a child I learned it as: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;” but later I found it is properly stated: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12, see Luke 6:31).

“All things” is very broad. This includes my driving on the highway, selling a rifle, working for an employer, living with my wife, writing to my brethren, or about them.

“Whatsoever ye would” — is not “whatsoever they do.” This rule does not depend on the other fellow — it is determined in my own heart. How would I like to be treated? The rule is so reasonable, so unquestionably just, that it defies objection. It asks no pound of flesh, because its regulator would give none. It prescribes fair, honest treatment, because the party of the first part desires such. Self-interest, which so often blinds me to my duty to others, becomes the very indicator of those duties. God made the rule, but I am left to apply it — with the intensity gendered by man’s most powerful inner force, self-love. “No man ever yet hateth his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it…” (Eph. 5:29)

“Do ye even so –” Lenski comments: “what we would like to have men do to us, whether they do that to us or not, we are to keep doing (poieite, durative) to them.” Till seven times? Nay, but until seventy times seven. This regulates conduct, but it is far more than a law of “doing” — it is a basic principle of attitude, of underlying motive, which demonstrates itself in what we do.

“The law and the prophets” Jesus said; making it clear that this is no new rule, but one inherent in God’s will for man in all times. Further, this clearly relates the rule to the giver of law, emphasizing the external authority of God. Those who seek to limit the “whole duty of man” to humanitarian obligations seem to miss this all-important point. I Jn.3:14-f clearly relates our love for our fellow man with our prior love for God. Because He laid down His life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (Vs. 16) “And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (Vs. 23).

Christians are in a position to understand and apply the “Golden Rule,” as are none others. But the sad fact is that many so-called Christians make little practical application of this rule in their life, and seem a bit embarrassed if the preacher uses it as a text. Until we learn well the “second table of the law” (Matt.22: 39) we preach the “gospel” (?) in vain.

— Via The Beacon, June 12, 2022
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The Importance of Good Fathers

Tom Edwards

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

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

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News & Notes

The treatment for June Peters’ brain cancer has been discontinued. Please remember her and her husband Wayne in your prayers.

Sunny Nichols is now in rehab, following her recent stroke.

Danielle Bartlett, who is awaiting a kidney donor, also began having some heart complications recently.

Melotine Davis had a recent procedure that she has now healed from, but is also awaiting another that she has not yet been scheduled for.

Others to also keep in prayer: Rex Hadley,  Alex Cornelius, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Donald Sears, Ronnie Davis, Jim Lively, Kayla Williams, Doyle Rittenhouse, Tammy Griffey, Deborah Medlock, Lois Fletcher, Vivian Foster, and Kim Rowell.
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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 Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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) Seeking God (Tim Jennings)
2) “Hellenist” Christians? (Wayne Goff)
3) Developing as a Christian (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Seeking God

Tim Jennings

Knowing God is the essential pursuit of life. Now is time for the Lord to take his rightful place in our affections and be the object of our investigations. Now is time for God’s people to be captivated by the Lord’s infinite character and glorious works. “I want to know Him,” needs to be the ambition which makes all other pursuits insignificant (Phil. 3:8-10).

It may seem strange to suggest that Christians need to consider Christ. Yet, religion has always been a respectable place to ignore God. We are constantly tempted to enthrone our own feelings and pursue our own pleasures. We end up with Christless churches filled to the brim with disciples of religious celebrities.

Is that off the mark? Just look what happens when a little “crisis” arises. We splinter in a hundred directions! Why? Because we are more acquainted with our rights than God’s ways. A pursuit of the knowledge of God vaccinates us against the sickness of self-worship which lies under a thin veneer of religious justification.

I wonder, could our faith survive the transition the early church made from popularity to persecution (Acts 2-8)? Do we have the courage to share the gospel and start a church in a new city (Acts 8:4; 11:19-26)? Do we have the love to yield our rights to live in fellowship with others (1 Cor. 8:1-13)? Do we have the humility to serve someone vastly different from ourselves (Acts 6:1-7)? Or do we simply find a place we feel comfortable?

The solution to this Christless Christianity is to know the Lord. This is much more than knowing doctrines, traditions, and institutions. It is to launch into the inexhaustible journey to discover the nature of God.

This is possible because God made himself known to us. He placed his signature on Creation. He recorded his deeds and values in the Scripture. Ultimately, he modeled his ways in Jesus, “the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). God wants us to know Him!  So, he says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

To do this requires a reorientation of our reading of Scripture. The primary purpose of revelation is not human happiness or church policy, it is to know God (Ex. 20:1; John 1:18; 5:39; et al.)! His glory engulfs each story. His power is to be praised. His character is to be embraced.

This focus spills over into our hymns, prayers and preaching where we speak more of God than self! We do this until we recognize God is on his throne and we are on our knees. Only then will we be rightly directed by what he says and reflect who he is.

Jesus prayed, “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Human movements often devolve from noble ideals into an arrogant struggle between personalities. The history of religion is no different. But rescue comes when we turn our eyes upward with a singular passion to know the Lord. This is the time to know Him!

Extra Bit:

At the base of Mount Sinai Israel thought they knew God. To them, God looked like a golden calf who was worshipped with bodily comfort, pleasure, and riches (Exodus 32). By the end of the day 3,000 died because their knowledge of God was corrupted. We laugh at their foolishness and sneer at their rebellion, but do we also mix our knowledge of God with tradition and cultural expectations?

Israel made their “god” out of gold and fashioned him with the glory of their talent and worshipped him with the pleasures of their flesh.

But Moses took a different approach. He asked the Lord, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). What Moses wanted more than personal charisma and admiration from his peers was to know God.  He was richly rewarded.

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation (Exodus 34:5-7).

Moses saw something more glorious than gold. He came to know God! The result: “Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8).  Israel worshiped the god of their own making and “rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6). Moses learned about the God of glory, and he “bowed down to worship.” The knowledge of God was so enlivening he continued to serve the stubborn people of God with a face that shined like the God he came to know.

— Via Focus Online, December 14, 2020

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“Hellenist” Christians?

Wayne Goff

“Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution” (Acts 6:1).

The church at Jerusalem was comprised of “Hebrew” Christians and “Hellenist” Christians. Both were Jewish people, but there was a difference between the two. For whatever reason, the widows of the Hellenists were being ignored in the first church at Jerusalem, and that caused a conflict which was biblically resolved.

“Hellenist” Jews were those who were caught up in the cultural revolution of Alexander the Great and his Greek Empire when Greeks dominated the world. This Greek (Hellenist) influence continued through his Generals after his death, and even when Rome became the world power they continued the process of Hellenization.

So Hellenist Jews were those who began to speak the Greek language over the Hebrew language and worshiped God and read the Law of Moses in Greek. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, called “the Septuagint,” was made in Alexandria, Egypt around 250 B.C., so that shows you how wide-spread and lengthy this cultural transition was to the world at that time.

The “Hebrew” was the one who continued to speak the Hebrew language, worshiped God in the Hebrew tongue, and considered himself more loyal to God and the Law than the “Hellenists.” Paul references this in Philippians 3:5 when he lists his own Jewish “RESUME” —  “… a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee.” Again you see this in 2 Corinthians 11:22 — “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.” So you can see how this could cause problems in the Jerusalem church when Hebrew Christians and Hellenist Christians are joined together. But even a “Hebrew” like Paul could learn and speak the Greek language so long as he worshiped in Hebrew. Read also Acts 21:40—22:1-2 where Paul speaks to an angry mob in the Hebrew tongue.

The real problem existed when Jews began to imitate not only the manners and customs of the Greeks, but then began to worship the gods of the Greeks! That was taboo to both Jews and Christians in the first century, but it is typical of those who are more influenced by “society” than by “God and religion.”

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 37, Issue 21, Page 4, May 22, 2022

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Psalm 138:6-8

“For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

— NASB

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Developing as a Christian

Tom Edwards

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

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

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News & Notes

Folks to remember in prayer, due to their health:

Rex Hadley, June Peters, Lois Fletcher, Alex Cornelius, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Danielle Bartlett, Donald Sears, Ronnie Davis, Jim Lively, Kayla Williams, Doyle Rittenhouse, Tammy Griffey, Deborah Medlock, Vivian Foster, and Kim Rowell.

——————–

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

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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) Faithfulness (Kyle Pope)
2) A Prepared Heart (Glenn Melton)
3) Growing Strong in the Lord (video sermon, Tom Edwards)   
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Faithfulness

Kyle Pope

In the message conveyed to the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 the Lord proclaimed — “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (NKJV). This admonition to faithfulness is one that all believers would do well to heed. Let’s consider what the New Testament says about faithfulness.

Faithfulness is described as part of the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22,23. The text reads — “…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” If we are to be spiritually mind; if we are to be filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit we should strive towards faithfulness.

To understand what faithfulness is we must see ourselves as servants (obeying a master) and stewards (given a trust). First Corinthians 4:2 teaches — “…It is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” If we hope for eternal life we must be faithful stewards. The “faithful and wise steward” is one who is said to be waiting when his Master comes, faithfully doing his Master’s will (Matthew 24:45-46; Luke 12:42-43).

In several parables Jesus teaches the importance of faithfulness. In the Parable of the Talents He describes the servant who had successfully used his master’s goods. The master says to him — “…Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23). In the Parable of the Unjust Steward the Lord states — “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12). We must see our lives as a trust from God. We are called to faithfully use our lives for God’s purposes.

Members of the Lord’s church are to be faithful. An elder is to be one who has — “Faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination” (Titus 1:6).

As an example to the flock, their home-life must be an example of how to raise children in faithfulness to the Lord. The wives of elders and deacons are to be — “Faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:11). Paul tells Timothy — “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

It would be a mistake to imagine that such faithfulness is only demanded of the leadership. Paul’s epistle to the church in Ephesus is addressed to — “…The saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1). In a similar way the letter to the Colossians was addressed — “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse…” (Colossians 1:2). In describing those who are with the Lamb in purpose and commitment, Revelation 17:14 declares — “…He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” If we consider ourselves on the Lord’s side we must ask ourselves if we are truly faithful.

There are many ways we can demonstrate faithfulness. We do so through faithfully assembling with God’s people in study and worship. We do so through faithful care of the sick and downhearted. We do so through faithfully teaching others when we have opportunity. We do so through faithfully giving ourselves to personal prayer and Bible study. We do so through faithfully resisting temptation, and faithfully imitating the life and character of Christ. Do these demonstrations of faithfulness characterize our lives?

A number of individuals in Scripture are referred to as faithful. When Lydia obeyed the gospel she said to Paul — “…If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay…” (Acts 16:15). Timothy was called Paul’s “faithful son in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:17). Epaphras was described as — “A faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7). Tychicus was called a — “Faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7). Onesimus, the slave whom Paul converted, is referred to as — “A faithful and beloved brother” (Colossians 4:9). Moses was said to have been — “Faithful in all His house as a servant” (Hebrews 3:5). Each of these individuals were those who fulfilled the tasks of service and obedience to the Lord that had been given to them. As a result they are said to have been “faithful” to their commission and to their Master (the Lord). Could someone look at us and describe us in this way?

May each of us always work to be faithful to what God commands us through Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. This doesn’t mean we never stumble, but let us always strive to do what God says. We must obey as quickly as possible. We may struggle, but when we do let us get up quickly and start over again in faithful service to the Lord.

— Via Faithful Sayings, Issue 17.8, February 22, 2015
——————–

-2-

A Prepared Heart

Glenn Melton

“Ezra the son of Seraiah . . . the son of Aaron the chief priest . . . went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses . . . for Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:1-10).

“So king Rehoboam . . . did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord (II Chronicles 12:13,14).

What a contrast between Ezra and Rehoboam. Ezra was helpful in teaching Israel the law; Rehoboam was instrumental in the cause of division among the tribes. What a difference preparation of the heart made. May we suggest some things that may have contributed to the preparation of Ezra’s heart?

(1) The influence of godly parents. Ezra’s father was a priest and possibly one who taught the law. The influence of such a man could tend to lead his children to God. Blessed are the children of the righteous.

(2) Seeing the consequences of disobedience. Ezra had been in captivity and saw firsthand the results of disobedience. This could well have had a part in helping him to see how much better it is to please God.

(3) Moral uprightness. Consider what it did for Joseph, David, and Esther. “Remember thy creator in… thy youth” (Eccl. 12:1).

(4) Purity of mind. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).

(5) Ezra’s knowledge of the law, Israel’s history, and the promises made to Abraham, Moses, and David could motivate him to please God. Also, Ezra may have known of Daniel, who would have been a good role model.

How well have we prepared our heart to seek the law of God, to do it, and teach it to others?

— Via The Beacon, March 20, 2022
——————–

Psalm 18:2-3

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.”

– NASB
——————–

-3-

Growing Strong in the Lord

Tom Edwards

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

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Growing_Stronger_060522.mp4

——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to remember in prayer, due to their health:

Sunny Nichols recently had sinus surgery.  While at home recuperating, she then had a stroke, which she is now hospitalized for.

Friday’s heart cath for Kim Rowell went well. Her previous bypasses are clear, and she will soon be receiving a new aortic valve.

Others to also keep in prayer: Rex Hadley, June Peters, Alex Cornelius, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Donald Sears, Ronnie Davis, Jim Lively, Kayla Williams, Doyle Rittenhouse, Tammy Griffey, Deborah Medlock, Lois Fletcher, Vivian Foster, and Danielle Bartlett.
——————–

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

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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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