Year: 2023 (Page 1 of 4)

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) Where Love Is in the Home (Bryan Gibson)
2) How To Be Happy (Ken Weliever)
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-1-

Where Love Is in the Home

Bryan Gibson

Years ago, I remember hearing our brother in Christ, R.J. Stevens, along with some other men, singing a hymn entitled, “Where Love is in the Home.” It was written by Joe Parks, and the first line helps us to see what the song is all about: “Where love is in the home there’s happiness…” Not just happiness, but a whole lot of other good things, too, and this song details at least some of them.

The love of which this song speaks is not what the world typically defines as love; it’s the love rooted in the very character of God. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” When both husband and wife have been born of God and know God, they will know love in its highest form. So, when this love is in the home, what else should we expect to find?

Where love is in the home, there’s strength, or stability, an element sadly missing in so many homes. Think about what is often said in traditional vows: “For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…” These vows anticipate times of adversity, right? Ecclesiastes 7:14 speaks of a “day of prosperity” and a “day of adversity,” and says “God has appointed the one as well as the other.” How does love, then, behave in times of adversity? “Love bears all things…endures all things…love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:7-8). Think of the strength, the stability you can have in the home when the two at the forefront are both saying this: “My love, it’s here for the duration; come what may, it’s not going anywhere.”

Where love is in the home, there’s peace. Understand, there can’t be peace with one another unless there is first peace with God. One is designed by God to be a byproduct of the other. But in terms of peace with one another, think of that great command in 1 Peter 1:22, “love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Pure love means it’s free from impurities or contaminants, some of which would greatly disturb peace in the home. Think of the peace you can have when love is free from selfishness, and free from other fruits of selfishness, like envy, and bitterness, and vengefulness. Take those impurities out and here’s what love look likes in the home: “love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own; is not provoked…” (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Where you have THAT love in the home, there is peace.

Where love is in the home, there’s joy. We rejoice in God’s great love for us, right, so why wouldn’t we rejoice when we experience that same kind of love from one another? And that joy is not just in receiving it, but in giving it. One of God’s greatest blessings to us is the capacity to love, to love fervently, deeply, to love as Christ loved us. Yes, to be on the receiving end is pretty awesome, but Jesus did say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Where love is in the home, there’s truth. Marriage ceremonies often quote the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:6: “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” Jesus, of course, was speaking about husband and wife. But God has also joined together truth and love, and we best not try to separate them, because neither can be what it ought to be without the other (2 John 1:1-6). Love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). What a beautiful thing indeed when you can see in a home an uncompromising stand for the truth.

Where love is in the home, it’s a beautiful thing.

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, September 20, 2023
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-2-

How To Be Happy

Ken Weliever

Today is “National I Want You To Be Happy Day.” At least the calendar of weird and obscure holidays says so.

I chuckled a bit when I read it. (Hmm, I guess it’s working). But I thought of Abraham Lincoln’s thought-provoking insight, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

We live in a world obsessed with happiness. There are thousands of books on Amazon advertising how to be happy. Among them are “The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People.” “The 18 Rules of Happiness.” “9 Habits of Maximum Happiness.” “How to be Happy, or at least less Sad.”

In their excellent book, “Happiness is a Choice,” Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, observed that many are looking for happiness and seeking inner peace in the wrong places. “They seek for happiness in materialism and do not find it. They seek for joy in sexual prowess but end up with fleeting pleasures and bitter long-term disappointments. They seek inner fulfillment by obtaining positions of power in corporations, in governments, or even in their own families (by exerting excessive control), but they remain unfulfilled.”

The Bible has a good bit of advice about happiness that is applicable to the 21st century. Consider these three starting points.

(1) Real happiness begins with God. “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Ps 144:15). Since God made man, He knows what makes him tick. What he needs. How he can enjoy life to its fullest. A genuine relationship with the Lord is the right starting place.

(2) Wisdom produces happiness. In Proverbs 3:13-18, the wise man expressed it this way:

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.

Read those words again. Let them sink in. Wisdom is better than silver or gold? Wisdom is more precious than rubies and riches? Wisdom produces pleasantness and peace? Wisdom brings happiness? Yes. Yes. And yes!

(3) Happiness comes when we trust and obey. “He who heeds the word wisely will find good,” observed Solomon, “And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20).

There’s an old song by the 19th-century hymnist, John Sammis whose refrain repeats this truth.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

I believe that the Biblical definition of happiness leads to something even better–real joy. The joy of the Lord. The joy of faith. Joy in the Holy Spirit. And the joy of salvation. The Bible speaks of this kind of joy 158 times. The word “joy” is closely connected to “grace.” It is that which bestows or occasions pleasure or delight. Grace comes from God. And when you obey God you experience joy.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11)

Paul penned, “the fruit of the Spirit is joy” (Gal. 5:22).

And it is this joy that can sustain us even in times of trial and support us during days of suffering (Jas 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:13).

Actually, happiness is a by-product and not the goal. When we are seeking God, growing in wisdom, obeying His Word and trusting His guidance, we will find inner joy, peace of mind, and contentment of spirit.

– Via The Preacher’s Word, March 3, 2022

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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 Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) The Providence of God in the Life of Ezra (Bryan Gibson)
2) The Zeal of Jesus (Heath Rogers)
3) Sword Tips #161 (Joe R. Price)
——————–  

-1-

The Providence of God in the Life of Ezra

Bryan Gibson

For an Israelite who lived under the law of Moses, no finer words could be said of a man than were said of this man: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

In the 7th year of King Artaxerxes (ca. 458 B.C.), Ezra led a group of Jews on a four month journey from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:6-9). About 1700 men took this trip, along with their families (Ezra 8:1-20). That God helped them on this journey is indicated by the repeated use of the phrase, “the hand of the LORD,” and other slight variations (7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31). Here are three specific ways God helped Ezra and his fellow-Israelites:

God helped provide them servants for the house of God (Ezra 8:15-20). Ezra noticed that among the group set to return there were no sons of Levi, and so he commanded certain men “that they should bring us servants for the house of our God” (Ezra 8:17). Servants were brought, and while human effort was certainly involved, Ezra attributes this provision to “the good hand of our God upon us” (Ezra 8:18).

God guided them on their journey to Jerusalem and protected them from harm. Traveling without an armed escort, they prayed to God for help and protection, and He answered their prayer (8:21-23). “And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road” (8:31).

We don’t know all the means He used, but in some way God influenced King Artaxerxes to provide the Israelites all the assistance they needed for this journey—and then some (7:6, 11-26). Ezra petitioned the king, and “the king granted him all his request, according to the good hand of the Lord upon him” (7:6). Here are some highlights of the king’s decree, issued in response to Ezra’s request:

Any Israelite who wants to go with Ezra, you’re free to go (7:13).

For all you need to make sacrifices at the temple—here’s a “blank check” (7:14-22).

Whatever God commands to be done for His house, let it be done (7:23).

No tax will be imposed on those who work at the house of God (7:24).

Appoint magistrates and judges who know the law of God to rule over you, and for those who don’t know the law of God, make sure you teach them (7:25).

Punish severely those who do not observe the law of God or the law of the king (7:26).

And what was Ezra’s reaction to these amazing concessions from the king? “Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.’ So I was encouraged, as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me” (7:27-28).

When I read the Book of Ezra, especially chapters 7-10, I’m impressed with Ezra, but I’m even more impressed with God. I want the “good hand of our God” to be upon me, too; but for that to happen, I need to become more like Ezra—I need to prepare my heart to learn the will of God, obey the will of God, teach the will of God, and pray fervently to God.

Remember what they said to the king, when they were ashamed to ask for an escort: “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him” (8:22).

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, August 7, 2023
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-2-

The Zeal of Jesus

Heath Rogers

In just three and a half years, Jesus accomplished the greatest work ever done. He preached the gospel of the kingdom throughout Galilee. He did mighty works that proved He was the Son of God. He trained the 12 apostles. He offered the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus completed these amazing tasks because of His incredible work ethic, a work ethic driven by great zeal.

Jesus began at an early age. When He was 12 years old, His parents searched for and found Him in the temple listening to the teachers and asking them questions. When questioned about this, Jesus responded, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

Jesus’ zeal is seen at the beginning of His earthly ministry (Mark 1:35-39). Knowing His days would be busy, He made it a habit to awaken early in the morning and find a secluded place to be alone with the Father in prayer. After preaching the gospel in one place, He made it His aim to go to other towns. “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43).

Statements Jesus made during His ministry reveal His zeal for the Father’s work.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Jesus was hungry and tired when He encountered the Samaritan woman at the well (vv. 6, 8, 31-33). Despite these circumstances, He took time to initiate a life-changing conversation with her and help her come to a point of faith. He stirred up her zeal (vv. 28-29). Jesus came to finish the work the Father gave Him. The opportunity to reach this soul presented itself, and it wouldn’t wait (v. 35). How many times have we allowed opportunities to slip by because they conflicted with our schedules?

“I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). As our Lord’s ministry grew, so did His conflicts with those who opposed Him. He knew enemies were plotting against Him and that such efforts would eventually end in His death. Despite what the Jewish leaders thought and/or said, Jesus never backed down. He made it His aim to always do the things that pleased His Father. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Are we always seeking to do the things that please God?

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Jesus and His disciples were escaping some Jews who were seeking to stone Him when they encountered a man born blind (John 8:59-9:3). The disciples asked about the man’s condition, and Jesus took the time to heal him. The Lord had a sense of urgency regarding the completion of His work. It had to be done because of the rapid approach of a time when no work could be done. Do we serve the Lord with a sense of urgency, or do we believe there will be plenty of time later?

“It is finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus died at the age of 33. With His dying breath, He could honestly say He had fulfilled His purpose. He had completed His Father’s will for His life. He worked right up to the very end. “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). Most of us will probably leave this world knowing we could have done more to serve and glorify God. Will we be motivated by our Lord’s example and work until the end?

Conclusion: Jesus showed great zeal in His work. It was motivated by His love for the Father and commitment to finish His task. Jesus did not come to earth to be served as a King. He came on a rescue mission. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). This work was urgent.

Jesus is our perfect example in all things. He shows us exactly how to please the Father. We need to develop Christ-like zeal for God’s work and honor.

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, September 2023
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-3-

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

SWORD TIPS #161

Joe R. Price

“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Proverbs 29:11)

It is not wise to “lead with your emotions.” Our feelings can blind us and lead us down paths we later wish we had never traveled. Restrain your emotions and do not be rash with your words. Solomon went on to observe that there is more hope for a fool than for the person who speaks before he thinks (Prov. 29:20). Self-control is much wiser than “venting” your emotions. Words spoken in frustration, anger or hate, for example, can never be retrieved. The damage is done. How much better to be wise and control yourself so you will not have to say, “I regret having said that!”
——————–

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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) Precious Kingdom, Precious King (Bryan Gibson)
2) The Christian’s Inheritance (Heath Rogers)
3) Sword Tips #27 (Joe R. Price)
4) John 8:31-32 (NASB)
——————–

 -1-

Precious Kingdom, Precious King

Bryan Gibson

The kingdom of heaven is so valuable, so precious, that we should be willing to pay any price to be a citizen of it (Matthew 13:44-46; 11:7-11).

What is it that makes this kingdom so valuable? And why is it such a great thing to be in this kingdom? Clearly, it’s not the subjects of the King that make it so precious; it’s the King Himself. This kingdom is great, primarily because it has a great King. And here’s why Jesus is such a great King.

This King is King of all kings, Ruler of all rulers,Lord of all lords. “All authority” belongs to Jesus (Matthew 28:18), which puts Him “far above all principality and power and might and dominion…” (Ephesians 1:20-21). This kingdom “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28), “shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44), because its King has the power to squash any threat to His kingdom (Revelation 11:15; 17:14; 19:15-16). You won’t ever find a more secure place than the kingdom of Christ.

Despite the absolute authority He possesses, this King is still a servant of His people. He served us by dying for us (Matthew 20:25-28), and He continues to serve us—as our High Priest, by interceding for us before God (Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25); and as our Shepherd, by leading us, feeding us, and protecting us (Psalms 23; John 10:27; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4; Revelation 7:17). No one cares for His subjects like Jesus does.

This King will never lead us astray, because He rules with righteousness and justice, mercy and truth (Psalms 89:14; Jeremiah 23:5; Hebrews 1:8). None of His policies or laws will ever fail us; we can do everything He says with full confidence that it’s right and beneficial to all.

This King shares His wealth with His subjects, unlike other kings, who often live in splendor while their subjects live in poverty. This King even became poor so that we could be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). And just how rich did He make us? We have a vast storehouse of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3); we enjoy redemption and forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:8-9); we experience the kind of joy, peace, and contentment that cannot be found elsewhere (John 14:27; 16:20-22; Philippians 4:10-13); and we can look forward to living forever in the most wonderful place imaginable (John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:4, 23, 27).

This King offers the same blessings and benefits to all, regardless of gender, nationality, social status, etc. (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). Of those who submit to Him, no one gets the crumbs or the leftovers; and no one is treated as a second class citizen, because this King “is rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:13).

From the King Himself: “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11). And now (at least in part) we know why.

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, August 12, 2023
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-2-

The Christian’s Inheritance

Heath Rogers

Peter wrote his first epistle to Christians who were suffering for their faith. Such suffering is one of Satan’s efforts to get us to give up on the Lord, deny our faith, and lose our souls. The purpose of this epistle is to encourage faithfulness in the face of suffering.

The letter begins with a reminder of one of the greatest blessings found in Christ – we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Pet. 1:3). This living hope is important to us. It is our anchor (Heb. 6:19). It has the power to sustain us in our sufferings.

Peter continues, “to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (v. 4). The object of our living hope is the great inheritance that awaits us if we are faithful. Let’s consider the three descriptive phrases used by Peter.

1. Incorruptible. Translated from the Greek word aphthartos which means imperishable, not liable to corruption or decay. The treasures we can inherit and lay up for ourselves in this world are subject to decay and corruption – “where moth and rust destroy” (Matt. 6:19-20). Physical items I have inherited from my grandparents show the wear of age. The great monuments of the world, which were built to endure the ages, show the wear and tear of the passing of time.

Heaven is a spiritual existence. It does not consist of atoms that slow down and break down with the passing of time. It can’t wear out or be destroyed.

2. Undefiled. From the Greek word amiantos meaning unsoiled or free from contamination. It is taken from a word meaning to dye or stain with another color. We live in a world that places a premium on things that are free from contamination – preferring pure water, air, and food. Our heavenly inheritance contains no pollution or contamination. “It is free of all that would render it undesirable or soiled” (Hamilton 15).

John described the purity of the heavenly city with the following words. “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27). Heaven doesn’t have a city dump. There isn’t anything there that needs to be taken out and burned or buried. It may be hard for us to imagine, but we can certainly see the appeal of an existence that is completely undefiled.

3. Does Not Fade Away. From the Greek word amarantos meaning unfading or perennial. Things of beauty can lose their attractiveness and appeal over time. A flower is beautiful when it first blooms, but the petals begin to wilt in a matter of days. The smooth skin of a newborn baby eventually becomes coarse and wrinkled with age. Colored photos lose their tint over time. The perfectly glossed finish of a new guitar will become nicked, worn, and dull with use. This is expected here on earth, but this will never happen to the things that make heaven beautiful.

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. It is very beautiful there, but I never thought much of it when I was growing up because I saw it every day. I remember hearing visitors say things like, “You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.” Like a typical teenager, I would say to myself, “Whatever.” This will not happen with our heavenly inheritance. Not only is heaven eternal – it is also eternally new. Heaven will never lose its original beauty, brightness, or shine. The awe, wonder, and amazement that we experience when we first enter heaven will never go away! We will never get bored with heaven or take it for granted.

“Imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (ESV). This is what is being reserved for us. Don’t lose faith. Heaven really will be worth it all.

— via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, August 2023
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-3-

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

Sword Tips #27

Joe R. Price                                         

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

In this age of moral relativism we are bombarded with the same sort of foolishness and folly as Isaiah saw in his day.

There is evil in this world – and it must not be confused with what is good! It is a great deception to say there are no moral absolutes in our world.

Commit yourself to the truth (Jesus defined truth as God’s word, Jno. 17:17).

Sin is real, and it brings pain, sorrow and death. See it for what it is.

Furthermore, know the truth; it will make you free.

——————–

-4-

John 8:31-32

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'”

— NASB

——————–

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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) Humility Test (Bryan Gibson)

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Humility Test

Bryan Gibson   

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord” (James 4:10). “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). Humility is not optional, not if we want to please God and go to heaven. But exactly what is humility, and how does it manifest itself in our lives? How can we tell if we’re truly humble?

Understand, it’s not just making a few self-effacing remarks from time to time (“You know I’m not the smartest person in the world”; “I’m still working on myself, because I know I’ve got a long way to go”). Nothing wrong with these remarks, if said sincerely, but true humility is much more. It’s exhibited in real life situations—in one’s attitudes and actions—especially in situations that really test one’s humility.

So let’s do this—let’s take a humility test and see how we do. These questions may sound familiar if you’ve read Sewell Hall’s excellent book, “Hallmarks,” (page 267). I’ve taken some of his questions, expanded on them some, and added several more. We’ll need to do this over several articles, which is okay, because this subject deserves that much attention. Let’s make sure we give honest answers; it’s the only way to know if we have truly humbled ourselves in the sight of the Lord.

1. Do I ever question the righteousness of God’s actions (or inactions)? Job did, but he learned better: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3, 6). The Psalmist said, “My tongue shall speak of Your righteousness all day long” (Psalms 71:24)—it’s awful hard to do that and question Him at the same time.

2. Do I question the reasonableness of any commandment given by God? Maybe I don’t actually say it’s unreasonable, but if I neglect to keep it on the same basis, or reshape it to make it more “reasonable,” haven’t I “said” the same thing? For me to question the reasonableness of God’s commandments is to question both His righteousness (“the entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endure forever”—Psalms 119:160) and His love (“the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes…for our good always”—Deuteronomy 6:24).

3. Do I ever think in terms of what God owes me, or what I deserve from Him? “Who has preceded Me (“given to Me”—NAS) that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). How humbling is that—to know that God doesn’t owe me anything, that to whatever degree I feel entitled or deserving, I couldn’t be more wrong. It’s humbling, but it’s also liberating, because I’m no longer burdened with thoughts of what God should do. Free from those thoughts, I can now express humble gratitude for every single day God gives me, and for every single blessing He bestows on me, including my soul’s salvation.

4. Do I take for granted what others do for me, or give me, or do I always express thanks? The extent to which they help me, the size of the gift, etc.—none of that matters. Am I thankful for each and every gesture of kindness, no matter how large or small? Paul sure was, for the many ways in which many people served him and the gospel—people like Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2), Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16-18), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30), Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:3-4), Timothy and Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6-7; Philippians 2:19-20), just to name a few. Make no mistake about it; humility and a deep sense of appreciation go hand in hand.

5. In my marriage, which concerns me most—what my spouse does for me, or what I do for my spouse? Do I esteem my spouse better than myself—have I become her servant? (Philippians 2:3). Have I become too busy looking out for my own interests that I’ve neglected my spouse’s? (Philippians 2:4). I know what Christ gave up to look out for my interests (Philippians 2:5-8)—what do I give up for my spouse? And what about my brethren in Christ—am I waiting for them to do for me, or I am too busy doing for them?

6. Do I ever look with contempt or disdain on others due to their race, their less than stellar background, their lack of intelligence, poverty, ignorance, etc.? Are there people I consider “beneath me”? Job was held in high esteem, at least before he suffered so greatly, but look at the manner in which he spoke of his servants: “Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15). “Showing all humility to all men”—that’s what the Lord teaches us to do, for this important reason: “for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:2-3).

7. Do I ever try to impress others with my superiority over them? Do I boast of my good works, my wealth, my education, or any other accomplishment? Or, do I perhaps try to do the same through my children? Could there possibly be some smugness in my speech and behavior toward others? Bottom line, is my speech and behavior consistent with the One who described Himself as “meek and lowly” (Matthew 11:29)?

8. Do I consider any act of service beneath my dignity? Do I consider myself too important to do “less important” things? Would I wash feet, or anything comparable to that? “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). A cup of cold water—doesn’t sound like much, but hear Jesus: “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). To keep a local church functioning properly, a number of “mundane” things have to be done. Can the Lord, and my brethren, count on me?

9. Am I as eager to serve when I’m NOT seen as when I AM seen? “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:3-4). Which do I desire more, the honor of men, or the honor of God? (John 5:44). Quiet, humble service—the kind that receives little or no recognition from other people—am I okay with that? And another closely related question—am I as eager to serve those who can’t pay me back as those who can? “When you give a dinner…do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14).

10. Do I rejoice in the honors and accomplishments of others, or do I envy? “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). The second part typically comes much easier to us, but the first part, the rejoicing part—well, that can sometimes be a different story. When others have reason to rejoice, do I feel the need to “one up” them? Or, do I ever feel the need to “block” their moment in the sun, to do or say something that might diminish their good news? If any of this sounds even vaguely familiar to me, then I’ve got serious work to do.

11. Am I sensitive and easily offended, especially when it comes to advice or correction in spiritual matters? Am I that person everyone talks about, the one around whom everyone must “walk on egg shells”? If that’s me, eventually most people will give up on me—they’ll no longer give me the advice or the correction I so desperately need. Here’s the humble approach: “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it” (Psalms 141:5). What we call thin-skinned is really self-centered.

12. Do I enjoy holding a grudge, or do I have the same spirit as my Savior? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). What if they DO know what they do—is it okay then? It’s awful hard to be “ready to forgive” (Psalms 86:5) and hold a grudge at the same time. If I continue to be upset over something said or done to me, it must mean I haven’t died—“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20). Indeed, Christ did live in Paul, because his spirit toward those who wronged him was the very same as his Savior’s: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Timothy 4:16).

13. Do I have any trouble saying, “I’m sorry”? It may be that I forgive easily, because at least in that situation, I’ve got the “upper hand.” But, when I’m the one in the wrong, the right words, the right attitude, may not come as easily. “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). “I’m sorry” is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength, the kind of strength which comes from true humility.

14. Do I listen to those older and wiser than me—those who are more experienced and mature in the faith? “Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding” (Job 12:12). Yes, there are exceptions to this “rule,” but generally speaking, the older folks have a lot to offer—if we’ll just listen. King Rehoboam sure wishes he had (1 Kings 12:6-11).

“You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down” (2 Samuel 22:28).

— via Plain Words from God’s Word, August 31, 2023  

(This article was originally in three parts at Bryan’s Facebook site, but have all been combined for this bulletin.)
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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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) I Am Resolved: To Submit (Phillip E. Stuckey)
2) Sword Tips #11 (Joe R. Price)
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I Am Resolved: To Submit

Phillip E. Stuckey

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Synopsis: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit all expect believers to exhibit a spirit of submission in relationships in this life—in our families, toward government, in the workplace, and especially in the church.
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You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling (Ps. 2:9-11, ESV).

When it comes to our faith in Christ, many things about the gospel appeal to us. The mutual love, honesty, commitment, comfort, and encouragement that we get from one another sounds good to most people—but what about submission? This is something that children of God must do to be pleasing to God (Jas. 4:7; Eph. 5:21).

This concept is difficult for many to accept. Many people, even Christians, have a disdain for authority. They struggle with being told what they must do. Why should the Christian resolve to be submissive in his life, and what does a life of submission in service to God look like?

Submission to God

Long ago, Pharaoh asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?” (Exod. 5:2). This same question is asked by many today, if not in words, then by the way they live. Every human being should submit to the authority of Almighty God.

God the Father, as Creator of all things, has the right to govern our lives (Rev. 4:11). He needs nothing from us, yet He graciously gives us all things. He pours out His love on all of creation, providing life and sustenance to all. He does this for all, whether we are good or evil (Matt. 5:45). Above all, He graciously offered His Son as a sacrifice for mankind to save us from our sins (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-8). He has given us His word that tells us how to live and serve Him and how to enjoy the best life possible, both now and in eternity (Deut. 6:24; Jer. 32:39; 1 John 5:3). Even though He has the right to demand our obedience, He graciously allows us to choose whether we will or will not submit to Him. However, since we read in Scripture of His great power, might, and wrath as well as His goodness and severity, would it not be wise and prudent to willingly submit to Him now before it is too late (Matt. 10:28; Jas. 4:7; Rom. 2:1-11)?

Not only should we be submissive to God the Father, but we should be submissive to Jesus Christ. As the Lamb of God and Savior of all mankind, He is worthy of our obedience. He laid down His life for us, and we should lay down our lives in service to Him (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Even though He was with God, Jesus humbled Himself in obedience to the Father’s will (Luke 22:42; Heb. 5:7-8). Because of His submission to the Father’s will, God the Father has made Him King of kings and Lord of lords (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). Like the Father, the Son does not force anyone to submit to Him but gently entreats each of us to surrender ourselves to His will (Matt. 11:28-30). Since we read in Scripture that He has also been given the authority to judge us, would it not be wise to submit to His will before it is too late (John 12:48; Acts 17:30-31)?

Submission to God also involves the Holy Spirit. When Jesus returned to the Father, He sent the Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth and to reveal the New Covenant unto man (John 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). Because of His gracious work, we know what sin is, we have learned the way of salvation and truth, and we know the wonders of God and the Lord’s love for us (John 16:8-11). His work brings the Christian comfort and peace as we fight the good fight of faith (Rom. 8:14-17). Why would we grieve or anger Him by refusing to yield to His teaching (Heb. 10:28-29; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19)?

Because of the Godhead’s power, might, grace, love, mercy, and wrath, the Christian and all humanity should live a life in submission to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Submission in the Church

Our submission to God should lead us to have a spirit of submission when it comes to our life in the church. After all, the Lord purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). For this reason, when it comes to the work, worship, and organization of the church, she must yield to the rule of Christ (Eph. 5:24; Col. 1:18).

What does a life of submission in His church mean? First and foremost, it means submitting to the Word, the will of Christ, in all we do (Jas. 1:22-25; Col. 3:17). Regardless of our feelings, opinions, or beliefs about how the church should function, Christ’s word is more important. He knows what is best for us both in our individual lives and our life together as His body.

It also means that we must learn to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21; 1 Cor. 16:15-16). Instead of being selfish and insisting on our way, we should yield to one another out of respect for Christ and in imitation of His example (Phil. 2:3-8). Our Lord was willing to lay down His life for us; therefore, we should be willing to do the same for one another (1 John 3:16; 4:11-17). Can you imagine what your local church would be like if everyone submitted like Jesus?

Submission in the church also means submitting to those whom the Spirit has qualified to watch over our souls (Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Such men are not serving themselves, but the church on behalf of the Chief Shepherd, who is Christ (1 Pet. 5:1-5). Instead of being willful and defiant, we should esteem, respect, and yield to those who imitate and follow the Lord and perform the work of shepherding the flock (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

Submission in the church is a part of God’s plan to help the body grow to maturity (Eph. 4:11-16). Defiance and division in the church are unwise and perilous (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Through reverence to God and Christ, we should submit to one another in the church (Eph. 5:21; cf. Rom. 15:1-7).

Submission in All of Life

Our submission to God not only affects our relationships in the church, but it should permeate our entire lives.

In the home, the Christian must exhibit a spirit of submission. Wives should submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18). Children should submit to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20). The younger should submit to the older (1 Pet. 5:5; Titus 2:1-5). God also expects those who are in authority to lovingly lead and serve those under their care without abusing their authority (Eph. 5:25-33; 6:4).

In the workplace, the Christian must exhibit this same spirit of submission (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-24). Even when it comes to the government, as long as we are expected not to violate God’s word, the Christian must submit to those who rule over them (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1). Out of love and respect for God, the Christian must live a life of submission (Col. 3:17).

Conclusion

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all expect Christians to exhibit a spirit of submission in relationships in this life—family, government, workplace, and especially in the church. God is our loving Father and Creator who knows what is best for us (Heb. 12:9). Who are we to challenge Him or refuse Him (2 Chron. 20:6; Rom. 9:20)? Resolve not to be puffed up with arrogance, but to lovingly trust His judgment and submit to Him in all things before it is too late (Luke 14:31-33).

Author Bio: Phillip has worked with Robison Street church of Christ in Edna, TX for over four years. He and his wife, Beth, have three children. The church website is ednachurchofchrist.org. He can be reached at philstuckey@gmail.com.

— via Truth Magazine,  Volume 63, No. 1, January 2019

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2019/2019-01-jan/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_04.htm

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“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

Sword Tips #11

Joe R. Price

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. (Psalm 107:21-22)

Thanksgiving is a national holiday assigned to pause from our daily routine to remember the Almighty as the giver of all good gifts and to thank him for his blessings on our nation.

Oh, that this nation would return to having a heart of thanksgiving! The gospel of Christ teaches us to give thanks in everything and at all times (1 Thess. 5:18). We know every day must be a day when we lift our voices heavenward and thank God for his goodness and his great works.

God’s goodness is absolute, and his works are wondrous! His redemptive work to save sinners in Christ Jesus, His Son, astonishes us and humbles us. Oh, what great blessings God’s goodness bestows on us!

Be thankful that God is good and rejoice in his great works. And tomorrow, do it all again. Let us honor our God with joyful thanksgiving every day.

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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 Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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, the Compassionate High Priest (Daniel H. King, Sr.)
2) Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB)
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Jesus, the Compassionate High Priest

Daniel H. King, Sr.

Synopsis: Down through history, countless men served as Jewish high priests—offering gifts and sacrifices, serving as intermediaries on behalf of the people. Jesus, our Great High Priest, excels them all.
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Introduction

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews stressed the overshadowing of the old covenant by the new in several well-planned and carefully orchestrated ways. The special position of the legal system (the Torah), its central shrine (the Temple), and its personnel (the priesthood), with its central figure (the kohēn gadōl, i.e., the high priest), the author argued, must give place to a different and superior reality under the aegis of the Messiah, Jesus. “If that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second,” he wrote (8:7). This position is forcefully advanced throughout the letter, suggesting that every aspect of the old Jewish system had been displaced by the work of Christ on the cross (cf. 9:11-28).

Early in his discussion, the author emphasized the High priesthood of Jesus, in comparison with that old order of things, saying, “Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted” (2:17-18). The word translated “succor” in this context is boētheō which means “to aid or relieve; to help or succor.” The context suggests that this aid and relief is given, especially in times of trial or temptation.

In the verses that follow, he urged his readers to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus” (3:1). Clearly, the high priesthood of Jesus is a significant element of his overall argument in the epistle. Throughout his further elucidation of this theme, he makes the following important points about that One whom he designates “our compassionate High Priest”:

Merciful

He was a merciful High Priest. This feature of His character is introduced at 2:17, but is emphasized at 4:15, which says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” For our part, this is perhaps the most critical aspect of the Lord’s priesthood, for it shows why the incarnation was central to the divine plan for human redemption. Christ was made flesh so that He could serve as a High Priest who understood the human condition and showed mercy to repentant sinners.

Faithful

He was a faithful High Priest. His faithfulness is stressed in 2:17. The author follows up on this notion in 3:5-6, noting how much more so He was, even than the great man Moses. No doubt, people of that time would have compared the transcendent figure of the flawless Christ, Jesus, to the extremely flawed high priests who served in the Jerusalem sanctuary. Caiaphas and his son-in-law, Annas (or Ananus ben Ananus; Hebrew: chanan, meaning “merciful” or “gracious”), were two men mentioned in the gospels. This unfortunate name for Annas may even have helped to cement the appropriateness of the term to describe Jesus, for it was common to refer to that Jewish high priest as a “viper” rather than a merciful man, despite his name.

Successful

As a High Priest, He was successful in an unprecedented way. The deliverance from sins, which His ministry affords, is without limitation. He is able “to save to the uttermost” those who draw near to God through Him (7:25). Previous priesthoods were limited by their human aspect—occupied by mere men, restricted by the limitations of their humanity, and often troubled by their faults and foibles. Jesus was not so, and His priesthood was not thus bounded. The saving power of His ministry had no precedent, only shadowy figures to presage it.

Eternal

He was a “for ever” High Priest. Previous human priests were limited by lifespan. Most died in office and were succeeded by sons or other relatives. Jesus abides a priest forever by the power of an endless life: “He abideth for ever” (7:17-24). Previous priesthoods brought great change to the community owing to the change in nature of the man involved. The high priest might be a good man, but he also might be a bad man. He might be greedy and self-serving. He might be quite immoral. Thus, with the changing of leaders, there was an accompanying change of atmosphere and climate in the religious circumstances of Israel. With Jesus as High Priest, however, all of that changed. Because His is an eternal priesthood, it is also an “unchangeable” one (7:24).

Holy

He was a High Priest who was holy, guileless, undefiled, and separated from sinners. All of these words are descriptive of a singular aspect of His nature. Each of these picturesque terms is employed to describe Him in Hebrews 7:26. They mean that He was pious and consecrated to God, that He was harmless or free from evil in His own being, that He was not defiled by stain contracted from others (temptation left no trace of evil in him). He was distinct from those who have themselves committed transgression, and thus need to be cleansed themselves for them to be in a position to purge the dross from other souls. Simply put, He was not personally a participant in any disobedience to God. Therefore, He was worthy to be, not only the High Priest proffering the sacrifice for human sin, but the offering itself, the sacrifice! He “through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish unto God” (9:14). How efficacious was this offering? The writer proclaims, “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (10:10). Such a thing had never happened before, and it will never happen again. Furthermore, there is no need for it to be repeated (contra the “sacrifice of the Mass”).

Exalted

He was a High Priest made higher than the heavens. So the writer declares in 7:26b. Why so? Because, as it is further explained elsewhere (4:14), He “passed through” or “passed into the heavens.” So, the Gospel of Mark concludes with the words, “So then, the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” This was unprecedented. High Priests never sat down in the Temple complex. There were no seats as furniture within that holy place, nor was a need for them. In that former sanctuary, there was always more work to be done. They went inside to offer sacrifices, and when they had finished for the time, they left until it was needful for them to go there again to offer other sacrifices. There were always new sacrifices to offer under the law. Jesus offered one sacrifice and was finished. The Bible says He “sat down.” This was so because His work was complete, His sacrifice was singular and sufficient. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (10:14); and, “when He had offered one sacrifice for ever, (He) sat down at the right hand of God” (10:12; 1:3; 8:1; 12:2).

Eternally Perfected

He was a High Priest who was eternally perfected. In 7:28, the author opined that human priests throughout history had all received appointment to their ministry, “having infirmity,” (or “in their weakness”), that is to say, imperfect in their humanity in all respects. Jesus, on the other hand, presented Himself as “a Son perfected forevermore” (huion eis ton aiōna teteleiōmenon). He had been made perfect for His sacrificial work by the things which He suffered (2:10; 5:9).

Conclusion

The high priests under the old covenant were inferior in every way, therefore, to our “great priest,” Jesus, “having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith. . .” (10:21). Here is the point: Our High Priest has performed all of His functions with flawless perfection. Now it is time for us to do our part. Rather than pulling away or drawing back, we must draw closer to God. After all, that is what He did in order to make possible (Heb. 7:19; Jas. 4:8).

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 65, No. 2, February 2021

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-02-feb/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_04.htm

——————–

Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

– NASB

——————–

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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) I Am Resolved: To Study (David Dann)
2) Sword Tips #31 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

I Am Resolved: To Study

David Dann

Synopsis: David challenges each of us: “Will you make up your mind to search the Scriptures daily so that you can become what God would have you to be?”
——————–

The psalmist writes, “The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them” (Ps. 111:2). Our English word “study” is defined as: “to read in detail especially with the intention of learning” (Merriam-Webster). More than just reading, study involves properly understanding and learning from what you read. It may require looking up the definitions of words that appear in the text, pausing to define concepts, asking questions, and finding the right answers to those questions as we read a passage.

True study of God’s word involves reading, pondering, and seeking to understand and apply what we’ve read (Ps. 119:148). Ezra studied the Scriptures so that he would be prepared to do the will of God and help others to do the will of God (Ezra 7:10). Excuses for failing to follow Ezra’s example range from, “I don’t have time,” to, “I always forget to do it,” to, “I just don’t like to read.” Please consider the following reasons as to why we must put away such excuses and resolve to make personal Bible study a daily habit.

It Will Increase Your Knowledge

The apostle Peter wrote to those who had already become Christians, saying, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge” (2 Pet. 1:5). Peter also exhorts Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3:18). The only way we can grow and increase in spiritual knowledge is by taking the word of God into our hearts and minds, and the only way we can know the truth is to abide in the Lord’s word (John 8:31-32). We are constantly bombarded with lies about religious matters, morality, and man’s origin, along with the lie that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and that all beliefs need to be treated as though they have equal value. How will you know what to believe and what to follow?

God’s word is truth (John 17:17). Spending time in God’s word will keep us from having our thinking shaped by false teachers, deceivers, and godless philosophers. When Paul preached to the Bereans, the Bible says, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Each of us needs to search the Scriptures daily so that we know the truth and so that we can see the difference between truth and error.

It Will Spiritually Strengthen You

Paul writes that his prayer to God for the Ephesian Christians was “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16). We can be strengthened and built up in the inner man by taking God’s word into our minds and hearts (Acts 20:32). God’s word is able to build up and strengthen us so that we remain faithful to the Lord; yet, for this strengthening to take place, we have to read, study, and apply it. It is important to be reminded that only the faithful will be rewarded with a home in heaven (Rev. 2:10). Since the temptation to turn back from following the Lord or to engage in sin is always present, the study of God’s word is needed to defeat the fiery darts of the devil. Along these lines, the psalmist spoke to God, saying, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!” (Ps. 119:11). Each of us needs to study the Scriptures daily so that we can be strengthened to overcome in the battle against temptation, sin, and error.

It Will Help You to Grow

In his letter to the saints in Rome, Paul writes, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Our faith grows as we read, study, and apply God’s word in our lives. Peter instructs Christians to “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). A Christian who lacks desire for the word of God is one who is spiritually dying. The Lord maintains a relationship with those who put forth the effort to learn and follow His word (John 14:23-24). If you want God to draw near to you, then you need to spend time drawing near to Him by reading and learning from His word (Jas. 4:7). Each of us needs to study the Scriptures daily so that we can develop a deeper faith and a closer relationship with God.

It Will Equip You to Serve

The life of a Christian is a life of service to the King of kings in which we do those things that are pleasing to Him. Paul instructed Titus, saying, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8). We are to constantly serve the Lord by maintaining the good works in our lives that God would have us to do. How do we know what those good works are? Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We can know what kind of work the church should collectively perform and we can know what kinds of works that we, as individuals, are responsible for carrying out in our lives because the Scriptures provide that information for us. Each of us needs to study the Scriptures daily so that we will be equipped to do those things that are pleasing to God.

It Will Enable You to Teach Others

Jesus instructed His apostles following His resurrection, saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Nothing in this world is more important than receiving forgiveness of sins from the Lord and becoming one of His people. One of the basic problems with bringing the lost to salvation is that you can only teach someone else that which you already know yourself. Paul instructed Timothy, saying, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Just like Timothy, we will need to put forth the effort to study and learn the word of God ourselves so that we will be equipped for the work of teaching others. You can’t give someone a Bible answer if you don’t know what the Bible says. How many opportunities to help lost souls come to salvation have been squandered because we didn’t study and prepare ourselves to teach others? Each of us needs to study the Scriptures daily to enable ourselves to bring lost souls out of darkness and into the light of the Lord.

Conclusion

The psalmist spoke to God, saying, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). By studying and applying God’s word, we can know that we are following the right path in life. If we ignore our need for Bible study, then we will stumble in the darkness and follow the path the world has set before us. May we resolve to study the Scriptures daily so that we can please the Lord.

Sources

“Study.” Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/study.

Author Bio: David has been working with the Hebron Lane church of Christ in Shepherdsville, KY since 2016. He and his wife, Cynthia, have been blessed with six children. The church website is hebronlane.com. He can be reached at ddann1@hotmail.com.

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 63, No. 1, January 2019

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2019/2019-01-jan/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_03.htm

——————–

-2-

And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

Sword Tips #31

Joe R. Price

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

One of the magnificent qualities of God is his complete trustworthiness. He is always present to hear and to respond in love to cries of help from his people.

God hears and answers the prayers of his children. Do not hesitate to pour out your heart to the Lord; He is a “very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1).

Whatever storm you face today, put your faith in him.

He will never leave you or forsake you.
——————–

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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) Reflections on Psalm 2: The Son Rules (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

Reflections on Psalm 2: The Son Rules

Joe R. Price

Synopsis: The divine proclamation of God’s Son as His Anointed King prompts Christians to remain loyal to Christ when earthly rulers dishonor Him by denying His rule.
——————–

Introduction

In unstable times, saints of God should recall settled veracities:

I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2:7-9, NKJV).

America has just passed through a tumultuous election cycle. At this writing, some outcomes are facing unresolved court challenges. Citizens experience uncertainty, doubt, disappointment, and discouragement. What will come from our next leaders? Whose rule will prevail from sea to shining sea: The President? The Congress? The Supreme Court? We, the people? The Bible assures us that regardless of who rules earthly kingdoms, Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and He rules over the kings of the earth (1 Tim. 6:15; cf. Matt. 28:18; Rev. 1:5).

Also, at this writing, we continue to pass through the throes of the Covid-19 virus. Death tolls continue to rise. Hospitals are nearing capacity. Measures are mandated to stop the spread and lessen its impact. Businesses, livelihoods, families, and churches have not been spared. False points of friction occur between the rule of civil government and the rule of God. Christians and churches face the challenge of deciding what to render to Caesar and what to render to God (Luke 20:20-26). Faithless rulers and lawless citizens will continue to test our resolve to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

When seas of doubt churn and toss nations with doubt, discouragement, and dread, God’s sovereignty over the nations by His Christ assures and secures our faith. God “rules in the kingdoms of men,” and mortals do not overthrow His purposes (Dan. 4:25, 32, 34-35). Divine Providence protects and preserves the righteous through momentary trials and tears. Our hope in the promises of God in Christ anchors our souls (Ps. 37:25; Matt. 6:25-34; Heb. 6:16-20).

God’s Anointed King Is His Son

Psalm 2 confirms our faith in God’s abiding care and the rule of His Christ while we face the rising challenges of secularism, humanism, skepticism, and atheism, both in the USA and around the world. This Messianic psalm is a prophetic call to the nations anticipating the rule of God’s Anointed. God’s Anointed King is none other than His Son, to whom God would give the nations for an inheritance (vv. 2, 6-8). Although opposed and rejected by Gentiles and Jews, God’s purposes prevail, gloriously fulfilled in the exaltation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (vv. 6-9). Earthly rulers are warned of divine wrath if they fail to honor the Son and trust the Lord God (vv. 10-12). Neither Gentile rulers nor Jewish leaders would prevent God from crowning His Son as King (Acts 4:23-28). Ruling in righteousness, the Son blesses those who honor and trust Him while punishing the wicked.

Psalm 2 paints a portrait of Christ as King on God’s “holy hill of Zion” (v. 6). The resurrection of Jesus and His subsequent ascension and exaltation at God’s right hand fulfilled this prophetic pronouncement (Dan. 7:13-14; Eph. 1:20-23). Today, Jesus, the Son of God, rules as “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

The expectation of a future earthly kingdom corrupts the nature of the King and His kingdom (Luke 17:20-21; John 18:36; Col. 1:13-14). This false doctrine necessarily rejects the fulfillment of Psalm 2 that is announced in the gospel by the resurrection and ascended exaltation of Jesus. Either Jesus rules as King today in fulfillment of Psalm 2, or He does not. If Jesus is King now, then earthly kingdom expectations are false (Mark 9:1). If Jesus is not yet King, then Psalm 2 remains unfulfilled. However, such a conclusion means that the multiple New Testament declarations stating this psalm’s fulfillment in Christ are false (Acts 4:25-28; 13:32-33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5).

Psalm 2:7-9 prophetically announces the Son of God’s rule as King. The New Testament fulfillment of this psalm assures our faith and strengthens our resolve to steadfastly serve Christ, confident that the Son continues to reign in these troublesome times.

God’s Son Rules Today as King

God Declared the Rule of His Son by Raising Him from the Dead (v. 7).

Another psalm records the Lord’s determination that His Son would rule amid His enemies (Ps. 110:1-2). To rule is to “have dominion, prevail against, reign” (Strong, 7287). Ruling power implies rank and the exercise of authority due to that rank. The rule of God’s Christ rests on the fact that He is God’s Son. He has been given power and might to command, enforce, and judge humanity (Matt. 28:18; John 5:26-27).

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the day when God definitively declared that Jesus is His Son (v. 7). God’s decree is acknowledged by His Anointed, “Today I have begotten you” and fulfilled when Jesus was raised from the dead. With His resurrection, Jesus was brought forth by God, “declared to be the Son of God with power. . . by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). The resurrection of Jesus convincingly and conclusively fulfilled Psalm 2:7 (Acts 13:32-33).

God Gave His Son Rule over the Nations and Possession of the Entire Earth (v. 8).

Christ’s resurrection identified Him as the Son of God, the King, who received the nations as His inheritance. His ascension and exaltation at God’s right hand secured His authority as King. By God’s mighty power,

He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph. 1:20-23).

The righteous rule of Christ comforts those who willingly serve Him in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3). Christians persevere through life’s trials and uncertainties, knowing that, come what may, Christ’s throne prevails and endures (Heb. 1:8-13). He rules over the affairs of nations (Acts 17:24-26), sin and death (Acts 13:32-39; 1 Cor. 15:24-26, 54-57), and the house of God, the church (Heb. 5:5; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Our trust in Him is not in vain.

God Gave His Son the Authority to Bless Righteousness and to Judge Evil (v. 9).

Jesus has been given “all authority” over “all flesh” both to provide eternal life and to execute eternal punishment (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2-3; 5:21-23). Every benevolent ruler and every despot, every unbiased judge and every partial jurist—all are under (and answer to) the authority of Jesus Christ, the King.

Behold the severity of God against those who rebel against His Son. The King will break them with the rod of divine wrath like one breaks pottery (v. 9). Consider this description of the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in the book of Revelation, as “in righteousness, He judges and makes war” against His enemies: “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:11, 15). Psalm 2:9 is the prophetic anticipation that God’s King is powerful to judge the wicked and defeat every foe. Anticipating the King’s just wrath is a proper and adequate incentive to honor Him (Ps. 2:10-12; Rom. 2:1-6).

Conclusion

God anointed and brought forth His Son to be King over the nations. Resurrected from the dead, Jesus is exalted on David’s throne at God’s right hand as “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:30-36). By the word of the gospel, Jesus Christ gives eternal life to the righteous and brings judgment upon the wicked (John 12:48-50; 5:28-29). Praise God that His King is exalted on high!

Sources

Strong, James. A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.

—  Via Truth Magazine, Volume 65, No. 1, January 2021

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-01-jan/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_04.htm

——————–

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 Classesand 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) I Am Resolved: To Serve (Allen Dvorak)
2) Sword Tips #28 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

I Am Resolved: To Serve

Allen Dvorak

Synopsis: Serving others is required for greatness in the kingdom and involves selflessness, sacrifice, and humility.

During His public ministry, Jesus taught His chosen disciples many things about being citizens of the coming kingdom, but it seems that they had difficulty with one basic concept—the nature of greatness in the kingdom.

On one occasion, Jesus and the twelve passed through Galilee from the mount of transfiguration to the city of Capernaum. On the way, the twelve argued among themselves. When they reached the house in Capernaum, Jesus asked them about the subject of their discussion. Perhaps embarrassed, they didn’t answer because they had been arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Mark 9:33-37). Jesus answered their question for them: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (v. 35). It is probable that His answer surprised them!

However, that wasn’t the end of the matter. As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with His disciples for the last time, the mother of James and John brought her two sons to Jesus and requested a favor from Him. She wanted her sons to sit closest to Him, on His right hand, and His left hand, in the kingdom, i.e., she wanted her sons to have positions of honor in the coming kingdom (Matt. 20:20-28). When the other ten apostles heard of the request, they were indignant with James and John who were apparently behind their mother’s request. Likely, the other apostles were upset that the sons of Zebedee had “beaten them to the punch!” Mark’s parallel account shows that Jesus used the occasion to emphasize to the apostles how their relationship to one another was to differ from the way that “the rulers of the Gentiles” lorded it over their citizens. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44). In that way, they would be like their Master who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45).

During the passion week, Jesus pronounced several woes against the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23). He described them as loving the attention of others and seeking honor for themselves. In contrast, Jesus instructed the disciples not to seek titles/accolades that elevated them above their fellows. He said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (vv. 11-12).

A few days later, Jesus observed the Passover with His apostles on the night of His betrayal. In the previous weeks, Jesus had informed the apostles of the events soon to transpire—His betrayal to the Jewish leaders, His death at the hands of the Gentiles and His subsequent resurrection (Matt. 20:17-19). The mood at the supper appears to have been somber. Jesus informed the apostles that one of them would betray Him (Luke 22:14-23). It is amazing that, in these circumstances, the apostles once again disputed among themselves “as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24)!

John’s gospel doesn’t record this Passover observance, but tells the story of Jesus washing the apostles’ feet on that same night (John 13). The apostles’ surprise at His action is seen in Peter’s initial refusal to allow his feet to be washed (v. 8). That was a task usually reserved for servants or slaves—not appropriate for the Master! I suspect that Jesus’ actions were prompted by the continuing competition among the apostles to be considered the “greatest” in the kingdom. When He had finished washing their feet, Jesus said to them,

Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him (John 13:12-16, ESV).

It certainly seems that the apostles were slow to learn the lesson of greatness in the kingdom. Yet, perhaps we shouldn’t judge them too harshly; it seems that disciples today sometimes have trouble with the same principle. In the business world, the person who climbs the corporate ladder to a position of authority over many people is considered a success. Although we definitely can find public examples of people who serve others, common opinion in our culture is that serving someone else is humiliating or degrading. “I want to be served, not to serve.” In contrast, as kingdom citizens, we need to use what God has given us to serve others, “as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10, ESV).

Serving Involves Selflessness

Every moment of time, every ounce of energy, every cent spent in the service of another is just that much that cannot be spent on oneself. Those committed to serving others have decided to put the needs of others before their own. I am not suggesting that disciples must neglect themselves, but Paul (the Holy Spirit!) said it well, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

The planned evening at home may end up being a visit to the hospital or taking food to someone who is sick. A Saturday off from work may turn into a day of work for someone unable to do yard work. A shopping trip may have to be postponed in order to babysit the young children of a harried mother, or one who is sick. Instead of several relaxing hours at one’s favorite hobby, it may be that a troubled marriage needs immediate help in the form of counsel.

Serving Involves Sacrifice

Serving others is often inconvenient. It doesn’t just cut into the time, energy and money that we might expend upon ourselves, but we often have to “extend” ourselves. In the scene of the final judgment pictured by Jesus, the “sheep” are commended for having provided food, drink, hospitality and clothing to the Lord and for having visited Him when sick and in prison (Matt. 25:31-36). Providing for the physical needs of others consumes time and assets. We must remember, however, that when we serve others, we are also serving the Lord (vv. 37-40).

Serving Involves Humility

Someone has said that the most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra is second fiddle. Everyone wants to be “first chair” (just like the apostles during Jesus’ public ministry). Yet, service to others means accepting the role of a servant. Because the proud man finds it difficult to serve others, the Scriptures often link the concepts of service and humility (e.g., Phil. 2:3-8; Matt. 23:11-12). Jesus “emptied himself” and took the form of a servant to provide salvation for mankind.

These three facts about serving others also apply to our service to God; serving one another is simply one aspect of our service to Him. Let us be resolved to serve one another. There are innumerable ways that we can show our love for others by serving them. If it becomes known that we are willing to serve, it may not be necessary to look for opportunities; opportunities will find us!

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 63, No. 1, January 2019

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2019/2019-01-jan/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_01.htm

Author Bio: Allen has worked with the Kelly Spring Road congregation in Harvest, AL for twelve years. He and his wife, Debbie, have two married sons and four wonderful grandchildren. The church website is spreadingtruth.org. He can be reached at allen.dvorak@reagan.com.

——————–

-2-

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

Sword Tips #28

Joe R. Price

“Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Christians anticipate their opportunity to worship together. Worshiping God is the first thing to consider when planning your Sunday, not the last.

Assembling together to worship not only serves the purpose of honoring God with our prayers and praise, it also gives us an opportunity to encourage one another to remain faithful and true to the Lord.

How will you spend your time this Lord’s day?

Set the habit of worshiping God.

You will be encouraged, and you will encourage your brethren.

——————–

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.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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) Reflections on Psalm 2: The Lord Responds (Warren Berkley)
2) Sword Tips #10 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

Reflections on Psalm 2: The Lord Responds

Warren Berkley

Synopsis: God’s people can be confident that no enemy or enemies of God will ever defeat or destroy any purpose or plan of God.

Introduction

As already observed, this royal psalm depicts the enmity and rebellion against His God that David knew was part of his world. Yet, he knew something else. The uproar of nations and arrogant despots never threatens the Lord, nor can it ever obstruct His plans. While evil men confer, consult and conspire, here is heaven’s response:

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying, “As for me, I have set My King on Zion, my holy hill” (Ps. 2:4-6).

This had wonderful meaning for David. He knew “his” throne would someday be occupied by the Messiah (2 Sam. 7:13; Jer. 33:17; Acts 2:29-35). He recognized that this would come to pass without any concern that the vain plotting of men on earth would stop the coronation.

Indeed history confirmed that neither punishment of Messiah nor death kept God from fulfilling His promise. As it turned out, the plans and plots of evil men were used by God to accomplish His purpose: On the day of Pentecost, Peter declared that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” The apostle affirmed that this Jesus, crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men, God has raised! (cf. Acts 2:22-24). Thus, David’s “heart was glad,” assured that the evil devised against God’s coronation of Christ would not only not succeed, but God would use their plan for His purpose.

Divine Laughter

“He who sits in the heavens laughs.” When this is first read, it may seem odd. We associate laughter with humor or pleasure. There is ample evidence in human history of this physiological response, where mind and body contract spontaneously to something festive or comedic, typically with vocal expression. There is also a darker side to laughter, i.e., a maniacal excitement of evil intended or accomplished.

Divine laughter doesn’t fit either of these two categories. It isn’t merely a response to humor and certainly is not expressive of some evil intent. Rather, it is the writer’s way of telling us that God isn’t worried about the threats of His enemies on earth, singular or in league.

History confirms this. God’s plan was not defeated by the tower of Babel. Pharaoh wasn’t able to keep the descendants of Abraham in bondage. The Assyrians and Babylonians could not hinder God in any way; instead, He used them for His purposes. Seeking to preserve his power, King Herod sought to kill the Christ child. Yet, after Herod died, the family of Jesus came out of Egypt and settled in Nazareth. Likewise, as mentioned above, God’s plan was not defeated but carried out by those who crucified Christ.

Consider the following quotations by Dale Ralph Davis and G. Campbell Morgan:

God is not fazed! The mighty politicians, the dictators in their military fatigues, the terrorists with their bomb loads strapped to their backs—God is unimpressed. If you have imbibed a western sentimental view of God as the great soupy softie in the sky, then you will not understand this picture of verse 4. In fact, it will likely ‘offend’ you. But the psalm implies that nations may strut out their nuclear bombs—it only convulses the Almighty in laughter! To think that a few swaggering sovereigns could destroy God’s kingdom with such trifles! After you hear the kings in verse 3, you need to see this picture of the laughing God in verse 4 in order to get refocused on the truth (Davis).

This derisive laughter of God is the comfort of all those who love righteousness. It is the laughter of the might of holiness; it is the laughter of the strength of love. God does not exult over the sufferings of sinning men. He does hold in derision all the proud boastings and violence of such as seek to prevent His accomplishment of His will (Morgan).

Divine Vocal & Active Wrath

“He will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His fury.” With us, wrath may be felt but not expressed (in some cases, this is necessary in administering proper discipline or showing forbearance [cf. Jas. 1:19). God, too, can “relent” or hold back (cf. Joel 2:13). However, in this context—of rebellious men who plot against God—His wrath is vocal and active. His wrath was vocal on this page (in this passage), as the Lord is responding. His words and actions carry the just intent to “terrify them in His fury.” This is that element of fearing God that each believer should recognize: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). We are blessed to know this about God, as was David.

Divine Affirmation

The schemers and rebels needed to hear this: “As for Me, I have set My King on Zion, My holy hill.” This carries the force of “this is what I will do. You cannot stop me. No matter the energy or numbers or power you think you have, My King will reign on Zion!” This conveys the absolute certainty of God’s innate power and His response to those who challenge Him.

This text was not only meaningful to David and those of his time; it became the “go-to” passage for early Christians who were suffering persecution. When Peter and John were threatened and as they prayed together about the difficulty, they referred to this psalm (Acts 4:23-31). To believe in the rule of Christ is one thing. To live under His authority is the point! Those who so live have the consolation announced in the second psalm.

Conclusion

What is so strongly expressed here has likely become one of our texts of consolation in 2020. Preachers have mounted pulpits with this Psalm open. Bible class teachers have postponed scheduled lessons to plug this passage into the curriculum. Men have prayed this psalm. Livestreams have broadcast that Christ is King. World leaders, revolutionaries, and dictators who stand against the Lord may not be listening to this or reading the Psalms. God’s people continue to rejoice in the Lord, knowing, singing, and thanking God—that those who are at variance with God, though they seem destined to win, will ultimately hear Him speak in His wrath. In closing, consider another quote from Dale Ralph Davis:

So you live in a world that hates. But you lift your eyes and see the throne that consoles. I rather like the way the Jerusalem Bible translates verse 4a: ‘The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing.’ It is the same message as in Revelation 4: there is a throne—and One who is sitting upon it. Keep your eyes there. Sometimes that’s all that will keep you sane (Davis).

Sources

Davis, Dale Ralph. Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life. Kindle Edition. Christian Focus Publications, 2010.

Morgan, G. Campbell. Searchlights from the Word: Being 1188 Sermon-Suggestions, One from Every Chapter in the Bible. Fleming H. Revell, 1926.

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 65, No. 1, January 2021

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-01-jan/08_Monthly_Theme_Lesson_03.htm
——————–

-2-

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

Sword Tips #10

Joe R. Price

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

We’ve all heard, “you are what you eat.” In a very real sense, we are what we think. Solomon said a man is what he thinks in his heart (Prov. 23:7). The Lord Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35). We speak what is in our heart. Period.

Begin to make a deliberate effort to think about what you are thinking. Think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and commendable (Phil. 4:8). By thinking on such things your words will reflect godliness and righteousness.

Meditate on what is right and speak what is good.

This is acceptable in the sight of God, our Redeemer.

——————–

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 Classesand 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. 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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