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


1) What Happened to My Zeal? (Bryan Gibson)
2) Jealousy in the Heart (Michael Baker)
3) Sword Tips #17 (Joe R. Price)


What Happened to My Zeal

Bryan Gibson

We’ve all seen it happen—people on fire for the Lord one minute, only in the next to become very weak or possibly even fall away. It sure would help to know why this happens, for two reasons: to keep it from happening to us (if it hasn’t already), and to help others avoid the same fate.

For answers, let’s turn to 2 Corinthians 8-9. Paul was encouraging various churches to help relieve needy Christians in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-26; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Some had already given liberally and willingly (2 Corinthians 8:1-5), and here Paul urges the church at Corinth to do the same. Because these two chapters speak so often of zeal or diligence, let’s see what we can find to help us better understand how some people’s zeal can wane, or even disappear.

Their zeal, or diligence may be more style than substance, more talk than action. That was the very thing Paul didn’t want to happen in Corinth. These brethren were eager to help, had even promised to do so (8:10-11; 9:1-5), but it was time now to “complete the doing of it” (8:11), to “show…the proof of your love” (8:24). Zeal is not just what you’re eager to do, or promise to do; it’s about what you actually get done.

Their zeal, or diligence, may be more of the self-serving type. For these people, it’s not about bringing glory to the Lord (8:19; 9:13); it’s about bringing glory (or maybe happiness) to themselves. The churches of Macedonia were praised for their zeal, for giving so willingly and liberally (8:1-5), but they did so because “they first gave themselves to the Lord” (8:5); and they did that because the Lord had given Himself for them (8:1, 9). Could it be that the zealous person who fell away was in it more for himself than for the Lord?

Their zeal, or diligence, may not be well-rounded. Look carefully at what Paul said to the church at Corinth: “But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also” (8:7). His desire was that they show the same zeal in giving they had shown in these other areas. We’ve all seen Christians who were all fired up for various aspects of service, only to fade very quickly. A more well-rounded zeal may just be the antidote for that.

Their zeal, or diligence, may be mostly out of compulsion (“because I have to”). These brethren in Corinth needed to give, but notice the approach Paul uses in various passages: “I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love…” (8:8); “that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation” (9:5); “not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (9:7). When we can move beyond the “because I have to” stage to the “freely willing” stage (8:3), our zeal will remain strong.

Their zeal may have waned or died because they didn’t realize how much good God had done through them. To make sure that wasn’t the case with these Christians, Paul wrote, “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you” (9:12-14). Please don’t grow weary—diligent service in the Lord’s kingdom accomplishes more good than we can sometimes imagine.

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12).

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, April 8, 2024



Jealousy in the Heart

Michael Baker

Jealousy is an emotion that can easily affect anyone. Jealousy can be defined as the desire for something that someone else has. While we may not typically think of it in this way, jealousy is a very serious emotion that can take control of us. Yet some folks may not believe jealousy is all that serious. Let’s look at a time where jealousy was not dealt with and it manifested turmoil for those involved.

Genesis 37 shows us that jealousy begins to root itself in our hearts. Jacob loved his son Joseph more than any of his other sons. He did not hide his favoritism, but rather broadcasted it by making Joseph a coat of many colors. Genesis 37:4 reveals that the brothers took note of Jacob’s adoration for Joseph over them. Feelings of jealousy may not cause damage at first. But once it is allowed to fester, it produces hatred and envy, which is why it cannot be permitted in our hearts. How do you feel when you think about your friend’s income, possessions, or relationships? We must be honest with ourselves if we do feel jealous of others, because if we’re not, it will cause more damage later on.

Jealousy doesn’t just lead us to feel displeased within ourselves. It ruins our relationships. When jealousy entered the hearts of Joseph’s brothers, it led to the point that they could not speak to him peacefully. As Joseph receives dreams from God they not only mock him, but they “hated him even more” Genesis 37:8. When we begin to feel jealous of someone else, our relationship begins to change immediately. Family relationships are not immune to jealousy either. If brothers turned on one another here, it surely can happen today. So, let us see that nothing good comes from allowing jealousy to mature.

Like many other emotions, if allowed to grow they will be seen both inwardly and outwardly. Jealousy once it grows to maturity will only lead to bad decisions in the dark side of envy and hatred. One day Joseph approaches his brothers in a field and they immediately plan to kill him, Genesis 37:20. However, they do not kill Joseph but instead they cast him into a pit, before eventually selling him into slavery. Jealousy spares no expense to fulfill its desires. It can be manifested in our own lives. When it becomes our motivation, we may go to great lengths to satisfy our feelings. People murder others over possessions and love. But are there any actions that could really satisfy the feelings brought about by jealousy? The only emotions one feels after acting upon jealousy is hatred and sorrow.

Our actions committed upon the basis of jealousy will only hurt ourselves and those around us. Reuben tore his clothes in mourning, for he blamed himself that Joseph was sold into captivity, Genesis 37:29-30. Jacob was deceived by his sons when they told him that a beast had killed Joseph. Jacob said he would mourn the loss of his favorite child until the day of his death, Genesis 37:35. When we allow jealousy to manifest in action, we hurt those who we did not intend to.

It is hard to avoid acting on our jealous feelings. But those who live in jealousy will not enter the kingdom of God, Gal. 5:20-21. How can we deal with jealousy? We can overcome jealousy by being grateful for our current status. We have never been promised anything in this life and to think we are entitled to anything in this life is wrong. We must rid our hearts of jealousy and fill them with gratitude for what we do have so that we may enter the kingdom of God. 

— Via Glad Tidings, July 7, 2019



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

Sword Tips #17                 

Joe R. Price

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

 Being a Christian means making tough, consistent decisions to refuse and reject the devil’s enticements to sin against God. We may think being a Christian comes without sacrifice, as if there is no price to pay for following Jesus. This is not true. The devil will overwhelm you unless you “submit to God” in everything. Count the cost, and pay the price to be right with God. Effective resistance against the devil occurs as you completely surrender yourself to God’s will. The devil will flee from you when you obey God.


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

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

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evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917

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