Month: March 2023

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)  PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE: The Need for Humility (Matthew Bassford)
2) Sword Tips #2 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE:

The Need for Humility

Matthew Bassford

Pride is one of Satan’s most effective poisons; humility is its antidote. Let us manifest a spirit of lowliness in our walk and our worship.

Introduction

Humility is the spiritual equivalent of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Everybody acknowledges that it’s essential, but most of us find it difficult in practice. There’s a little voice of self-will inside each of our heads; as a result, we struggle to submit.

Humility is often absent in the pages of our history books. During the Civil War, both sides lost battles because subordinates chose not to follow their commanders’ orders. Most of us wouldn’t have to think very hard to come up with examples of pride in our own lives, whether in others or (if we are painfully honest) ourselves.

However, our battle to be humble is most important in our relationship with God. Here, the need for humility is more obvious than anywhere else. God is God; we are not. Nonetheless, human arrogance has impeded our walk with Him since the beginning. “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” Pharaoh proudly asks in Exodus 5:2.

He found out. Indeed, all of us will find out sooner or later. However, humble submission is a far better way to come to know the Lord than the path of proud defiance!

Among its many other purposes, our worship of God helps us to develop this humility. It is both a vital product of our praise and a vital part of the process of praising. As we learn to humble ourselves before God, we find ever greater favor with Him.

Humility in Receiving Truth

The humility that must be part of our praise takes several different forms. The first involves humility in receiving truth. James highlights this essential link in James 1:21. If we want the implanted word to save our souls, we must receive it humbly.

This certainly applies to our sermons and Bible studies, but it applies equally to our song worship. Too much of the time, brethren think of singing as a primarily emotional experience. As long as our hearts are filled with love and joy while we sing, we must be doing it right!

Though accurate as far as it goes, this picture is incomplete. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 reveal that singing has a teaching function that is as important as the emotional fulfillment it provides. If we don’t both teach and learn as we sing, we aren’t honoring the whole counsel of God.

James’s wise counsel about humility, then, ought to inform our approach to song worship. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul notes that the Thessalonians received his preaching not as a human message but as the word of God. In the same way, once we have assessed the truth of the songs we sing, we ought to receive those truths as coming (though indirectly) from God. If we do, the truth will change us as it changed the Thessalonians.

This is true not merely of the hymns we recognize as didactic (“Take Time to Be Holy,” for instance) but also of those we think of more as emotional outpourings. Consider, for example, “Be with Me, Lord.” The opening line of the hymn reads, “Be with me, Lord; I cannot live without Thee.” This is a statement that all of us ought to assess as Biblically accurate. Once we decide that it is true, James calls us to receive it with humility and ask what that truth reveals about God and us.

Humility in Self-Assessment

When we perform this crucial assessment of ourselves and our relationship with our Creator, humility should not only inform the process but the result as well. Hymns like “Be with Me, Lord” should bring a host of passages to our minds and awaken in us a proper appreciation of our status.

One such passage is Jeremiah 10:23. It teaches, “Be with Me, Lord,” reaffirming that we are not capable of making our way through life on our own. Of all the hard truths of Scripture, this is one of the least palatable. We all want to believe that we are capable and competent, that we “don’t need nothin’ from nobody!” Even Christians who have walked with the Lord for decades still battle the temptation to trust in themselves.

In this spiritual strife, we need all the help we can get, and humility-focused hymns are a powerful source of aid. Simply because of how human minds are wired, we are inclined to become what we say we are. When we sing and are taught by others that we constantly depend on God, the process embeds the truth in our minds so that it becomes part of how we look at the world.

Indeed, it becomes part of the way that we worship. It’s easy for an atheist to mouth, “I cannot live without Thee.” There are no big words in the sentence. However, when we express those words from our hearts, we demonstrate an understanding of what God means to us, which pleases Him.

Similarly, there are hundreds of hymns that remind us of the truth that originates in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2. God is in heaven, and we are on the earth. It is His glory that is “exalted far above the earth and sky.” Indeed, any halfway decent song of praise will remind us that God is our superior.

This, too, is an essential part of our spiritual makeup. We submit to God because we acknowledge His greatness. He deserves all the glory that we can give Him, but He also deserves our humble obedience. When we praise Him as we should, it helps us to honor Him daily as we should.

Finally, humility in praise calls us to repentance. As James observes in James 4:7-9, the penitent heart also must be a humble one. If we maintain our pride, we also will maintain our sin.

It’s difficult to spend very much time in song worship without encountering hymns that play on this theme. We often sing about our sins, which forces us to admit that it’s not just all those other sinners out there who need God’s grace. We do too!

Perhaps most powerful in this area, though, are the hymns that call us to discipleship. Look at the words of the third verse of “Oh, to Be Like Thee!”

Oh, to be like Thee! Lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave, Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save.

Ouch! This is a beautiful description of the Lord’s character, but it doesn’t describe my character. Few Christians would be willing to claim that it describes theirs. When we sing it with an open heart, then, it reminds us of what we want to be and highlights how far we are from being there. We can’t sing these words honestly without lamenting past failures and resolving to do better.

Conclusion

Humility is both an essential ingredient and a vital product of our praise. The proud are not interested in worshiping God in the first place, nor are they interested in accepting His truth and examining themselves by its light. However, all these things must be among the spiritual disciplines of the Christian.

None of us enjoys being humbled, even if we are the ones doing the humbling. When we do, we chasten our egos, and as Hebrews 12:11 observes, no chastening is pleasant at the time. However, it does bear the fruit of righteousness, and the chastening of humility is no exception. It bears the fruit of openness to the truth, acknowledging our inadequacy, admission of God’s superiority, and genuine repentance. May all of us be ever humble in our worship!

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 65, No. 3, March 2021

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-03-mar/05_Praise.htm

——————–

-2-

Sword Tips #2                                          

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).

God has borne witness to the world of His truth, His love and His grace. Here, the apostle John teaches us that God, the giver of all good gifts, has given the world the gift of eternal life (Eph. 2:8). This gift is available to the world in His Son, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).

Today, remember to thank God for His great love, mercy and grace that you as a Christian have in Christ. Live by faith, trusting and obeying His word to lead you to heaven. God be praised for His wonderful gift of eternal life in His Son!

— Joe R. Price

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Congregational Song Service at 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)  PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE: Examples of Reverence (Matthew Bassford)
2) Sword Tips #1 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE:

Examples of Reverence

Matthew Bassford

Synopsis: Reverence is reflected in our obedience (Heb. 11:7), worship (Heb. 12:28), and in sharing the gospel with others (1 Pet. 3:15). Matthew surveys Sacred Scripture for examples of those who exemplified reverence and those who did not.

———————-

In creating their pantheons, the ancient pagans imagined gods who were much like themselves. The Greek and Roman gods frequently engaged in family spats, committed adultery, and were given to jealousy and pettiness. The God of the Bible is very different. We are created in His image, not vice versa, and we no more capture the fullness of His nature than a statue captures the fullness of the nature of a man. God has done many extraordinary things, but one of the most mind-boggling of all is that, through Him, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. I accept that in Jesus, the fullness of deity was contained in bodily form, but I cannot comprehend it!

God is very different from us, unimaginably greater, so it is right for the creature to worship and revere the Creator. Presumably, every reader of this article regularly worships God, but our very familiarity with worship can blind us to the depth of the reverence that we ought to be exhibiting. Apart from the blood of Jesus, none of us has any business anywhere near the throne of the Holy One.

If we have any doubt about this, we should consider the behavior of those who were permitted to see a vision of God. No man can see God and live, so even the men who experienced the great theophanies of Scripture did not encounter His reality. In Ezekiel 1:28, the prophet reports that he saw “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” Ezekiel and the rest beheld only the shadow of a shadow of a shadow of the majesty and dread of God.

Nonetheless, to a man, the shadow of a shadow of a shadow of the divine overwhelmed them. In the same verse, Ezekiel recalls that he fell on his face and stood up only when God told him to get up. The same thing happens to John when he encounters Jesus in Revelation 1:17. During the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, the people bow low and worship when they see the glory of the Lord fill His house.

In Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah describes what it feels like to meet God. He cries out, “Woe to me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah was a righteous man. From the beginning to the end of his career, he served God faithfully. However, every imperfection in his life was harshly exposed in the light of God’s perfect purity and holiness. The man who proclaimed the word of the Lord exclaimed over the uncleanness of his lips! Once more, only a display of mercy from God allows him to continue.

None of us should believe that we are any more righteous than our fathers. If God were to reveal the merest fragment of Himself to us, we, too, would be reduced to abject terror. The experience of modern warfare is shattering, and veterans commonly have post-traumatic stress disorder. How much more shattering must it be to be exposed to more power than any human ever will unleash!

Of course, it is appointed to man once to die, and after that comes the judgment. All of us will experience God not just in metaphor but in His true fullness, and before Him, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess. We do well to prepare for the day when we will see God by showing Him proper reverence now, even though we cannot see Him.

Indeed, this behavior is evident in the most devoted worshipers among God’s people, even when He has not revealed Himself. Look, for instance, at the worship of the people of Judah after Ezra’s sermon at the Water Gate, in Nehemiah 9:1-3. Here there is no theophany, but all the other parts of the theophany pattern are present. The people acknowledge their unworthiness. They confess their sins. They worship. In fact, in Nehemiah 8:9-12, we even see the Levites having to prompt them to rejoice, much like the angel had to prompt Isaiah (cf. ch. 6).

Consider, too, the behavior of Daniel before the great prayer of Daniel 9. In the second verse of the chapter, he prepares himself with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Even a man like this, one of the few major Bible characters about whom nothing negative is said, comes before the Lord with deep reverence and a profound sense of his unworthiness. Great character does not produce great confidence in the flesh. Instead, it produces the opposite.

If we want to find those who approach worship with self-confidence, a casual attitude, and a lack of concern about coming before the Creator, we cannot look to the righteous. Instead, we find such people in places like Leviticus 10:1-3. Nadab and Abihu could not be bothered to treat God as holy by worshiping Him according to the commandment. God’s judgment on their insolence was as final as it was unmistakable.

In Malachi 1:6-14, the worshipers under discussion regard God’s worship as tiresome, a matter for disdain. Rather than bringing their best, they offer the blind and the sick and the lame, as though they were the masters and God was the suppliant, as though He ought to be content with whatever they felt like sacrificing. In answer, God describes their sacrifices as useless, unacceptable, and profane. He places them under a curse and expresses the wish that someone would shut the temple doors rather than allowing the continued defilement of His altar.

Worship is serious business. It is true that, like Ezekiel, we have been invited to stand before God. Like Isaiah’s lips, our lips have been purified. However, we must not confuse boldness through Christ with contempt for the Lord of heaven and earth.

We do not “have to” worship God every week because it is one of the five checklist acts of worship. We are allowed to worship, permitted to worship, and privileged to worship. When we appear in His presence, it is only because the most precious sacrifice ever offered put us there. We must be conscious that we are treading on holy ground.

When we are there, no prostrating of ourselves or exalting of Him ever can be excessive. This, of course, does not refer to outward form. When we worship God in spirit and truth, physical posture is neither here nor there. One is reminded of the hypocritical worshiper of Isaiah 58:4-5, who bowed his head as easily as a reed bending before the wind but with as little lasting impact.

Instead, we are called to true reverence, to the prostration of the heart. We must be awed that such a One as He would deign even to hear our praises. To draw near to Him without this spirit is very dangerous. The profane worshiper of today may not be judged as immediately as Nadab and Abihu were, but in the end, his fate will be no different. In all our days, may each of us heed the wise words of the Hebrews writer, who said, “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29).

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

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-02-feb/05_Praise.htm

——————–

-2-

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

Sword Tips #1  

Joe R. Price

 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him (Luke 15:20).

The parable of the prodigal (wasteful) son magnifies God’s mercy toward sinners by contrasting it with the unloving and unforgiving treatment of sinners by the Pharisees and scribes (Lk. 15:1-2). God is moved by compassion to forgive us when we repent and return to him; He is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4)! When we repent from the wastefulness of sin we can return to God and he forgives us. Therefore, let us remember to forgive others as God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32). If we refuse to do so, we will not be forgiven by God (Matt. 6:14-15).

Has someone sinned against you? If so, be rich in mercy and compassion. Forgive them as God has forgiven 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.  We also have a Congregational Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1)  PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE: The Need for Reverence (Matthew Bassford)
——————–

-1-

PRINCIPLES OF PRAISE:
The Need for Reverence

Matthew Bassford

Synopsis: With the start of a new year, we begin a new column that focuses upon principles of praise. As a faithful gospel preacher and gifted writer of spiritual hymns, Matthew is well qualified to guide us in this study. Welcome, brother!

Introduction

Our society is not particularly given to reverence. To modern Americans, no human being is above mockery: not the President, not the military leaders, and not the heads of any religion. Furthermore, there is no being whom all of us acknowledge to be above us. Even as the philosophy of naturalism has reduced man to the level of an animal, it also has denied the existence of anyone superior. When we all are down in the mud together, no place remains for reverence.

Not surprisingly, modern Christians often struggle to feel the deep respect tinged with awe that is characteristic of reverence. We aren’t used to being reverential, so it is easy for us to develop a casual attitude toward the worship of God. This spirit is obvious—not so much in open disrespect but in a lack of appreciation of what we are doing when we praise Him. When we sing, we go through the motions, but too often, we don’t consider the awesome nature of the One whom we are addressing.

This is a serious problem. In Malachi 1:6-14, God condemns the sacrifices being offered by the post-exilic Jews. The problem wasn’t that those sacrifices were idolatrous or directed toward the wrong god. Instead, it was the poor quality of the sacrifices being offered to the right God. The Jews dismissed the worship of the Lord as tiresome, so they offered Him the blind, the sick, and the lame rather than the unblemished sacrifices He deserved.

If we desire to please Him, we must do better. As His words in Malachi 1:10 make clear, God would rather have no worship at all than worship that is lukewarm and inconsistent with His greatness. When we sing, we must continually bear in mind the characteristics that make God worthy of our reverence.

His Nature

First, God is deserving of reverence simply because of who He is. The gods of the Greeks and the Romans were anthropomorphic. Though supposedly possessed of powers far greater than our own, their nature was the same as ours. They quarreled, pouted, and committed adultery just as human beings do.

God is different. Indeed, He is incomprehensibly different. As Isaiah 55:8-9 reports of Him, His ways and thoughts are as far above us as the heavens are above the earth. According to 1 Corinthians 1:25, His weakness is stronger than our strength, and His foolishness is wiser than our wisdom.

Humanists place man at the top of the cosmic heap. However, the Scriptures reveal that, compared to God, we aren’t even on the heap to begin with! We don’t like to acknowledge anyone as our superior, but an honest appreciation of the Holy One of Israel leaves us no choice.

Thus, we see the heavenly beings of Revelation 4-5 acclaiming God and Christ as worthy. They aren’t going through the motions. They aren’t doing the expected. Instead, they are overwhelmed by the revealed glory of God and are reacting in the only appropriate way. All of the continual casting down crowns and falling down in worship before His throne might seem a little over-the-top to us, but that is only because we have not seen what they have.

However, reverence for an unseen God is no less fitting than reverence for a God who is seen. The vast gulf between Him and us is no less real, and He intrinsically deserves our worship.

His Works

God is worthy of reverence because of who He is, but we also ought to revere Him because of what He has done. This concept is well captured in Psalm 95:1-7. God is the Creator, the One who controls the earth, from the depths to the mountains. He made the sea, the dry land, and all of us. Thus, we ought to shout joyfully to Him, to worship, to bow down, and to kneel before Him.

Particularly, we must acknowledge that God is more than merely the Watchmaker of the deist’s imagination. His activity did not cease on the sixth day of creation. According to Colossians 1:17, it is through Christ that all things continue to hold together. If He stopped upholding us with His powerful word even for a moment, the universe and we ourselves would cease to exist. We fear the things that could destroy us through the exertion of some force, but only God can destroy us by choosing to do nothing.

Several months ago, my family and I vacationed in Rocky Mountain National Park, just before it was devastated by wildfires. One morning, as my children and I were hiking through an alpine meadow, two bull moose emerged from the brush about twenty yards ahead.

The average bull moose stands about six feet high at the shoulder and weighs half a ton. Moose have hooves the size of dinner plates, and they injure more people than any other wild mammal in the Western Hemisphere. I tell you, we backed down that trail as quickly as possible!

If we show such respect to an overgrown version of Bambi, how much more should we revere the One who formed and sustains the universe?

Our Responsibility

Such a God does not behave capriciously. If He created us, He had a reason for so doing, and we see it explained in Ecclesiastes 12:13. The purpose of our existence is to fear and obey Him.

Irreverence, then, is not merely an insult to a Being of unimaginable greatness and power, but a rejection of the only activity that makes life meaningful. Without a reverential heart, we have nothing and are nothing.

The futility of godlessness is evident even in this life. There are few more ominous phrases in Scripture than the refrain of “God gave them over” in Romans 1. As we survey the catalog of the depravity of the Gentiles in the second half of the chapter, though, we must remember where their problems began. In Romans 1:21, Paul notes that although they knew God, they did not glorify Him or give thanks. In other words, they refused to show reverence.

From that failure, every other spiritual problem proceeds, from idolatry through sexual immorality to the rejection of everything that is good in Romans 1:28-32. The slaves of sin are never happy, and we see the misery of the devil’s thralls around us daily. Ultimately, though, they are enslaved not by some external force, but by their own pride, by their arrogant refusal to bend the knee to God as they were designed to do.

Of course, it is in the judgment that the full vanity of this vain rebellion will be exposed. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess. Everyone, even the false prophet, even the atheist, will carry out God’s purpose for them in the end. However, on that day, their forced submission will do them no good.

By contrast, when we submit to God’s purpose for us now and glorify Him appropriately, every other aspect of our lives comes into focus. When we choose not to kick against the goads, we experience life as it is meant to be lived and gain eternal life as well.

Conclusion

Reverential worship, then, is no spiritual extra. It is the only reasonable response to a God who is so great and mighty. Indeed, it is the only proper way for us to exist.

The same spring will not produce both fresh and salt water. The heart that will not revere God appropriately will not serve Him appropriately either. Conversely, when we align our hearts with His will in worship, it becomes far easier to align our lives as well.

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

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-01-jan/05_Praise.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.  We also have a Congregational Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Life and Death Are In The Tongue (Larry Bilbo)
——————–

-1-

Life and Death Are In The Tongue

Larry Bilbo

Jesus said, “. . . out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). With but casual thought we easily recognize the truthfulness of His statement. Our words are a reflection of the mainstream of our thoughts, and hence, our characters. If you associate with a person for but a short time you can soon determine the stuff with which his heart is filled, good or bad, by his speech.

One’s true character can not be long hidden. In his casual conversations, his intense discussions, in his passionate cries, in times of provocation, in times of frustration, in times of joy, his lips and tongue declare the arena of his heart’s activity. Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Pro. 18:21). Indeed it is true that we can buoy men to great heights of life and joy and success by our words, but we can also plunge them into abysmal depths of sin, sorrow, sadness and despair by our words.

Solomon has quite a lot to say about the proper use of the tongue in his book of Proverbs. Let’s focus on some of his statements. First the good:

“A word fitly spoken is as apples of gold in a network of silver” (Pro. 25:11).

“Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones” (Pro. 16:24).

“A word in due season, how good it is!” (Pro. 15:23).

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Pro. 15:4).

The person who can spread abroad these kinds of sweet verbal fragrances throughout the sphere of his influence is one who is of inestimable value to his fellows. His company will be sought, and his presence will be cherished because of the positive influence his heart, his life and his words have on others. When his associates and friends are downtrodden, he can help them to stand again. When they are sad, he can make their hearts to sing again. When they are confused, he can point them in the right direction, and when they are prospering spiritually and in every other way he will exhort them to proceed circumspectly and cautiously and humbly lest they unwittingly fall into the snare of the devil.

This sweet-tongued, much loved and respected person was not born the kind of person he is. He could be as negative as the next person, but he knows there is no joy or profit in it for himself or others. Indeed, as Solomon said, “The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips” (Pro. 16:23). This person has trained himself to be of superior quality. Furthermore, “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge” (Pro. 15:7).  A person is not wise because his lips are able to disperse knowledge, but his lips are able to disperse knowledge because he is wise. And he is wise because he has sought wisdom as hidden treasure (Pro. 2:4). Such a person “. . . hath joy in the answer of his mouth” (Pro. 15:23).

Now, the bad tongue. . . It is amazing that the same mouth that is potentially capable of doing so much good can be productive of so much bad when directed by a godless heart (James 3:11)! “With his mouth the ungodly person destroyeth his neighbor” (Pro. 11:9). When a person has a wicked heart he, like a tornado skimming across the landscape, sows havoc everywhere he/she goes. Indeed, how much damage can be done by “fervent lips and a wicked heart” (Pro. 26:23).

This person calculates to do wickedness with his words either with profanity, obscenity, dishonesty, discouragement or backbiting gossip. He wants to hurt someone by his words or at least hinder someone’s moral, mental and spiritual progress by keeping them in bondage to sin and Satan. “The words of the wicked are lying in wait for blood” (Pro. 12:6). By perverseness of his tongue he breaketh the spirit of those around him (Pro. 15:4).

Furthermore, Solomon speaks of the person who does a lot of meaningless talking. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; but he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely” (Pro. 10:19). This is not just a statistical matter like saying, the more a person spends driving his car, the more likely he is to have a wreck. Anyone who talks a lot will probably make a mistake occasionally. Solomon is not talking about that. He is talking about the person whose thinking is not in proportion to his talking — the one who talks much and thinks but little. He will eventually run out of anything constructive to say and when this happens, if he pushes himself to babble on, he begins backbiting and gossiping about other people. There is always someone who is ready to hear the gossiper’s slanderous words, and to him “the words of the whisperer are as dainty morsels” (Pro. 18:8). Such backbiting is harmful to everyone involved in it: the gossiper, the listener and the one talked about. Solomon says, “a fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for stripes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare to his soul” (Pro. 18:6-7).

The Bible gives instruction to those whose experience puts them in proximity of a gossiper. “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets; therefore company not with him that openeth wide his lips” (Pro. 20:19). So many problems in the world and in the church could be prevented if we would learn not to gossip. “For lack of wood the fire goeth out; and where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth” (Pro. 26:20).

And finally, there is the problem of the person who wants to talk but does not want to listen. He wants to dominate the conversation and steam roll over anyone else who wants to speak. He is usually the person who wants to express his self-willed opinions without properly assimilating and analyzing the facts of the matter under consideration. Solomon says of this kind of person, “he that giveth answer before he heareth, it is folly and shame unto him” (Pro. 18:13). James says “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…” (Jas. 1:19).

Indeed, “life and death are in the tongue.” But the tongue expresses only what is in the heart, the mind. We might say the tongue is a barometer of the mind of man. Make the mind what it ought to be: righteous, pure, holy, and clear; and the tongue will say what it ought to say. In that case, only life will be in the tongue, no death at all. What is it for you, for me?

Let us exercise ourselves unto godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). “Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall,” so said Oliver Wendell Holmes.

— Via Viewpoint from the Valley Grove church Of Christ, December 11, 2022

——————-

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

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

Wednesday: 7 p.m. for Bible Classes

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

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

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑