Author: Tom Edwards (Page 1 of 46)

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

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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

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“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.

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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).
——————–

Contents

1) The Dimensions of DNA (Tom Edwards)
2) Thinking More of DNA (Tom Edwards)
3) Harsh Words (Doy Moyer)
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The Dimensions of DNA

Tom Edwards

Recently, I was very impressed by the following statement:

It has been estimated that if all of the DNA in an adult human were placed end-to-end, it would reach to the Sun and back (186 million miles) 400 times. (Lesson 3 “The Existence of God — Design”; Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/hsc0103.pdf).

Another source had put that number of trips of DNA to the Sun and back at 600 times, while another did so at 300 — but even the shorter distances are still astronomical and amazing!

If you wonder how this can be so, when thinking of cells as being so microscopic, read on.

What are the dimensions of DNA?  You might find this truly amazing if you do not already know — and even still amazing if you already do know. For how can it ever be anything but amazing! 

Though DNA is said to be only about 2 nanometers in diameter (which is just two-billionths of a meter or two ten-millionths (0.0000002) of a centimeter, yet it has a length when stretched out of about 2 meters!  So, in other words, its length is about 1 billion times longer than its diameter.

And even putting the DNA slightly shorter at 6 feet (as some do) will result in a total distance of 914,400,000 times longer than its diameter!

Yet, the nucleus in which DNA is stored is said to be only about 5.5 to 6 microns in diameter.  Six microns is the equivalent of 6 millionths of a meter, or six ten-thousandths (0.0006) of a centimeter.  So DNA, which has been tightly coiled and packed in the nucleus, has been likened to “packing about 24 miles of very thin, double-stranded string into a tennis ball.”

In thinking of this, I am reminded of what David declares to God in Psalm 139:13-16:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.  (NASB)

So the next time you think about your DNA, imagine all of it being stretched out and placed from end to end, and making 400 trips from you to the Sun and back!  For DNA is an awesome part of you! 

DNA is just one of the many intricate and intelligent designs which makes our lives possible. Try making a list of all the other things, too, that you are made of that is necessary for your very existence — such as a brain, a heart, at least one kidney, a liver, blood, a circulatory system,  a respiratory system, etc. How vitally important they each are!  Not having even one of these would be fatal.  But how would a source that is non-intelligent know of the need for these things and also develop them, along with everything else that is necessary for our existence?    

How can one not believe in an Intelligent Designer when considering all of the facts that reality reveals!

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Thinking More of DNA

Tom Edwards

In doing Google searches, you can easily run into different figures as to the number of cells in the human body. NOVA online, on “Cracking the CODE of LIFE,” put the total number of all kinds of cells at “about 100 trillion.” Lesson 3 in “The Existence of God–Design,” which I had cited in the previous article, concerning the 400 round-trips DNA (if stretched out and placed end to end) could make to the Sun, also gave that same number. For it states: “A body is composed of over 250 different kinds of cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, nerve cells, etc.) totaling approximately 100 trillion cells in an average adult.”

But even if the total number of cells were much lower, DNA would still be an amazing part of us, and its length when stretched out and placed end to end could still make numerous round trips to the sun. For consider the following chart:

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Harsh Words

Doy Moyer

Somewhere along the line, it seems our culture has been convinced that insulting people is the way to win others to their way of thinking. Harsh words that disparage intelligence coupled with character-destroying insinuations have become embedded in our arguments and disagreements. This is the way of the world, a path lacking grace and mercy and which can only lead to further division and hatred.

In leading up to the point that we need to take on the mind of Christ, the apostle Paul argued, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Phil 2:1-2, NASU). Notice the terms: encouragement, consolation, love, fellowship, affection, compassion, joy, united. These are produced by the Spirit. How could this be accomplished? The answer is given: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (vv. 3-4).

The mind or attitude of Jesus is what we are aiming for (v. 5), and this was demonstrated by His self-emptying act of dying for us. And as John would say, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

For the child of God, we are to speak with grace (Col 4:6), love (Eph 4:15), and kindness devoid of bitterness (Eph 4:31-32). We don’t revile or insult in return when such is hurled at us (1 Pet 2:21-23). And Jesus is our example in this.

I am aware that there were times Jesus spoke more harshly, calling out hypocrites for what they were (Matt 23). Yet Jesus knew hearts in ways we do not. He can judge what we are not capable of judging. Be very careful in trying to justify hard language, especially that which is graceless and insulting. We can be direct and straightforward and still be respectful.

We can do better, can we not? I can, and I intend to. If we have arguments to make, make them without rancor and insult. Whether we are talking with unbelievers or fellow saints, we gain nothing by harsh rhetoric that requires us to know the hearts of those with whom we have our discussions. Let the truth be spoken so it can do what the Lord intends for it to do, and let us avoid speaking in a manner that gets in the way of that truth.

— Via Doy Moyer’s Facebook site, April 13, 2024 (Doy had no title for this article, so I thought “Harsh Words” would be a good one.)

——————–

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) Philip the Evangelist (David Watson)
2) The Resurrection — Proof that Jesus is the Son of God (Doug Roush)
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Philip the Evangelist

David Watson

Philip (Acts 6:5) is easy to skip over because we usually focus on the people he dealt with—Simon the magician and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8).  But there are 3 things I want us to notice about Philip and his work that will inspire us to become better Christians.

First, Philip is a great example of loving our neighbors.  Due to Saul’s persecution, Philip leaves Jerusalem and goes—of all places—to Samaria and starts proclaiming Christ to them (Acts 8:5)!  Most Jews wouldn’t be caught dead with Samaritans (John 4:7-9; 8:48; Luke 9:51-56); but there Philip is, preaching the good news and baptizing men and women (Acts 8:13).  That shows us what the gospel of Christ will do for us—it will open our eyes to the value of a soul.  It will raise us above racism and bigotry and prejudice.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).  Let’s fix that worldview into our minds—that each person around us (friends, family members, complete strangers) has a soul!  Like Philip, I should be willing to share the gospel with anyone as an act of love.

Second, Philip shows us the power of the gospel.  He is later called “the evangelist” (Acts 21:8).  Evangelist means “one who declares the good news.”  After declaring the good news to the Samaritans, Philip preaches Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39).  Many religious people today teach that in order to understand and accept the gospel and be saved, the Holy Spirit has to miraculously affect you in some way (“irresistible grace”).  But notice that’s NOT what happened here.  Interestingly, you have an angel (v. 26) and the Holy Spirit (v. 29) directly involved in the conversion of the Ethiopian, but what did they do?  They got the preacher of God’s word connected to the person in need.  That’s what happens all through the book of Acts—preachers present the evidence and build a logical case for Christ—sometimes reasoning and explaining things over a period of weeks and months and years, and as a result of that, people believed and obeyed.  That’s what Philip did for the Samaritans (Acts 8:5, 12) and what he does now for the Ethiopian (Acts 8:35, 36).  Christianity is not based on blind faith or on a subjective feeling in my heart.  It’s based upon the inspired word of God!  No wonder Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).  May we learn to trust in the power of the gospel!

Third, Philip shows us that we can grow older without growing bitter.  Acts 8:40 mentions that he ends up in Caesarea.  He disappears from the record until a brief reference in Acts 21:8-14, where Paul and his companions stayed with him for several days.  It is here in the record where he’s identified as Philip the evangelist (one who declares the good news), about 20 years after the events of Acts 8.  Let’s appreciate that Philip is still at it years later.  It’s one thing to start with a bang, and maybe to have a zeal fueled by the events in Acts 7-8, but what about when the newness wears off?  Philip’s longevity serves as a great example to us.  Can I do that?  Can I live for Christ through the years?

But even more than his longevity, notice that Philip has not grown bitter during this time, even though he had plenty of reasons.  Remember that Stephen was one of the seven men chosen in Acts 6:5.  Thus, if Philip didn’t know Stephen already, he surely got to know him as they worked together.  Then Stephen is stoned (with Saul’s approval (Acts 7:58), and it’s very likely that Philip was one of the men who buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him (Acts 8:2).  And then Saul continues the persecution, which is the reason Philip gets run out of Jerusalem to begin with (Acts 8:3-5).  And then lo and behold, 20 some-odd years later, who knocks on the door wanting to spend a few nights at Philip’s house?  Saul, now called Paul.  Imagine that!  Imagine what feelings Philip could have harbored!  “You killed my friend, Stephen!  You threw my brothers and sisters in jail!  You ran me out of my home city!”  If Philip had been harboring hatred and planning revenge all these years, now was his chance!

But no, he’s not called “Philip, the grouchy old man who gripes all the time about how he was treated poorly and cheated out of a life in Jerusalem and all his friends were killed or thrown in prison.”  He is Philip the evangelist.  Philip, the proclaimer of good news.  In fact, he is probably included in the “local residents” trying to keep Paul safe (Acts 21:12).  Let’s follow his example.  Are you an old curmudgeon?  If somebody does you wrong, are you going to be sure that everybody and their dog is going to hear about it for the next 20 years?  Instead of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, do you spend your time developing traits like irritability, grudge-holding, gossiping, revenge, and bitterness?  Lots of bad stuff happened to Philip, too, but he didn’t spend his life in his rocking chair plotting revenge.  He became Philip the evangelist—Philip the proclaimer of good news!

May we imitate Philip, whose love for souls caused him to spread the good news about Jesus to whoever he could for as long as he could.

— Via Focus Online, May 6, 2019

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The Resurrection – Proof that Jesus is the Son of God

Doug Roush

Romans 1:4 states that Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus, more than any other single event, is the ultimate evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, the Son of God.

Although we have the Bible record of other people being raised from the dead, it certainly was not an everyday occurrence. Jesus raised Lazarus, the widow’s son at Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and perhaps others (John 11; Luke 7:11-15, 22; 8:49-56). Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41). In the Old Testament, both Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:32-35; 13:20-21). However, none of these resurrected individuals were thought to be “gods.”

The case of Jesus is different. As the body of Jesus lay alone in Joseph’s new tomb, no one took Him by the hand and commanded Him to rise. The tomb is sealed and closely guarded. No one stood outside the tomb and called for Him to come forth. No one even witnessed His actual resurrection – the angel rolled away the stone and the guards “became like dead men” (Matthew 28:4). The resurrection of Jesus was accomplished by the direct power of God. The fact that “God raised up” Jesus is declared many times in the Book of Acts (2:24, 32; 3:13; 4:10; 10:40; 13:30, 37). His resurrection is the ultimate evidence that identifies the historic Jesus of Nazareth to be, in fact, the Divine Son of God!

There was physical and testimonial evidence that confirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consider the following details:

  • The tomb was new. No one had been lain there before (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:51). There was no possibility of confusing the body of Jesus with the remains of another.
  • The tomb entrance was closed with a large stone, sealed, and guarded. (Matthew 27:60- 66). No one could have taken the body away.
  • The grave clothes were left neatly in the tomb. When Peter and John went into the tomb after the resurrection, they “saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself” (John 20:6-8). No one stealing a body would take the time to unwrap it and neatly fold up the clothes! Only a person who would never have use of them again would leave the expensive grave wrappings behind!
  • The scars of Jesus’ resurrected body were examined. On the very evening of the day of His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and “showed them His hands and His side” (John 20:20). Wounds in the hands and feet could be observed on anyone who had been crucified, but the wound in the side of Jesus was unique. It offered gruesome evidence to His identity, and also to what His body had been subjected.
  • Many people saw Him alive. The number of witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming credible evidence. In a court of law, facts can be established on the basis of two or three reliable witnesses. In addition to the apostles, many, many more saw the resurrected Christ, including Mary Magdalene, Cleopas, James, 500 brethren at once, and finally the apostle Paul.

The detailed nature of the evidence provides overwhelming proof, validating the authenticity of the resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection is the ultimate proof that validates His claim that He is the Son of God, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; the only way to the Father (cf. John 14:6). The detailed and reliable evidence we have for the resurrection of Jesus validates our belief of it. Believing in the resurrection of Jesus is the key to our salvation. “Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, March 2024

——————–

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, Alive Forevermore (Doy Moyer)
2) John the Baptist: A Blend of Humility and Boldness (Bryan Gibson)
3) Sword Tips #16 (Joe R. Price)
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Jesus, Alive Forevermore

Doy Moyer

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

This is how Jesus described Himself after John saw the great vision of “one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:14-16, NASB). The power of this description speaks volumes, and it is this One who is “alive forevermore.”

Elsewhere in the book of Revelation, the Lord is said to be “The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life” (Revelation 2:8). He is the One “who lives forever and ever” (Revelation 10:6; 15:7). Revelation shows that the power of the King of kings and Lord of lords is grounded in the fact that He is alive forevermore. Death and the powers that oppose God cannot defeat Him. His sovereignty extends over death and Hades, which will ultimately be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the hinge on which our faith turns. Paul clarifies that the historical reality of the resurrection is the basis for our own resurrection; without it, our faith would be in vain (I Corinthians 15:12-19). Yet because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can have confidence that what we do for Him is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58). We cannot overstate the importance of teaching and living by the resurrection of Jesus: “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Corinthians 5:15).

Because He is alive forevermore, we have a living hope. The Lord “according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3). A living hope is not grounded in a dead martyr, but a living Savior who has defeated death and through whose name alone is salvation (Acts 4:12). Hope is alive because He is alive! This is hope based on Jesus, who is our “high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:20). Our hope is truly an anchor of the soul.

Further, because Jesus is alive forevermore, we have a continual Intercessor who goes to the Father on our behalf. The writer of Hebrews shows the difference between the temporary Levitical priesthood under the Law and the eternal priesthood of Jesus: “The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:23-25). Notice that Jesus “continues forever” and “always lives.” Because of this, He can “save forever” those who draw near to God through Him. This should give us confidence, knowing that our Savior lives, intercedes, and comes to our aid in time of need (cf. Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16).

After shedding His blood, the resurrection made it possible for Jesus to enter into “the holy place once for all.” The result for us is “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). This coincides with Peter’s point about the living hope concerning the “inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4). We need to see that eternal redemption is grounded in an eternal Savior who defeated death.

John wrote, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (I John 5:11-12). We can have life because Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). The promises of God can only make sense within a framework of life and eternity. Jesus died, but death does not have the final word. Because Jesus was raised, we have confidence that we will be raised, and “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57). He is alive forevermore!

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ, March 29, 2024

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John the Baptist: A Blend of Humility and Boldness

Bryan Gibson

If there was ever a man “clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5), it was John the Baptist. It couldn’t have come easy, when you consider the attention given his birth (Luke 1:13-15, 57-66), the importance of his work (Luke 1:16-17, 76-80; 3:2-6), the popularity he gained (Matthew 3:5-6), and the high praise given to him by Jesus (Matthew 11:7-11—“among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist”).

Yet, despite all of this, John the Baptist remained a very humble man. He very quickly put to rest any notions about himself being the Christ, saying, “One mightier than I is coming, who sandal strap I am not worthy to loose” (Luke 3:16). When Jesus came to be baptized by him, John responded with the same humility, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). He continually deflected the attention away from himself and toward Jesus (John 1:15, 29-27, 29-30). It didn’t even bother him when his disciples left him to follow Jesus (John 1:35-42). When some of his disciples became concerned about the growing popularity of Jesus (John 3:26), he said in effect, “That’s exactly the way it should be!” His very words were, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

But there was another quality John seemed to possess in equal measure: boldness or courage. When many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to him to be baptized, John boldly said, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8). He did more than just make a general call for repentance; he told them specifically what they needed to do (Luke 3:10-14). This same boldness was also directed toward Herod, whom he rebuked “concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done” (Luke 3:19). On this matter of Herod’s wife, John didn’t beat around the bush. He told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). That’s not easy to say to anyone, much less someone who has the power to decide your fate. If you remember, it was this rebuke that ultimately cost John his life (Mark 6:19-29). Clearly, John the Baptist was no “reed shaken by the wind” (Luke 7:24), as indicated by Jesus himself. He preached “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), who was a pretty bold prophet in his own right.

Think these two qualities—humility and boldness—don’t go together? Think again. True boldness results from humility, from a desire to magnify the Lord, and not oneself. John was not afraid to speak up, because he wanted people to know the Lord and His will for them. He was not afraid to say what needed to be said, because unlike some (John 5:44; 9:22; 12:42-43), he was not after the favor and honor of men. Men like John the Baptist seem to be in short supply today. It’s time we did something about that.

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, March 20, 2024

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

Sword Tips #16   

Joe R. Price

“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Revenge takes matters into its own hands. Instead of justice, revenge looks for personal satisfaction at the expense of the one who has wronged us.

Jesus set the example for us of giving place to God’s justice by refusing to retaliate against those who had grievously wronged him.

If you are wronged today, let God correct the wrong that is done; He will do so in his time. Overcome evil by doing good toward those who wrong you. They won’t be expecting it!

——————–

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) Judges and Ruth (Doy Moyer)
2) Keeping the Big Picture Before Us (Jesse A. Flowers)
3) Sword Tips #15 (Joe R. Price)
——————–

-1-

Judges and Ruth

Doy Moyer

When we think of a judge, we usually think of someone sitting at a bench and overseeing a court case. That’s not what we are looking at in the biblical book, however. Instead, we are reading about “deliverers,” those who were given strength for a time to defeat particular enemies. The period of the judges begins with the death of Joshua and lasts a little over 300 years, ending with the beginning of Saul’s reign in ca. 1050 B.C. Since the judges worked more locally instead of nationally, it is likely that some of them overlapped each other in time. Bear in mind that at this time in Israel’s history, there was still no centralized government, no capital, and no physical king.

While Joshua’s conquests gave the Israelites the land initially, the process of weeding out the nations would take time. This should have been happening in the days of the judges, but sadly it did not. The period of the judges would be a picture of a people who lost their way. It became dismal and dark for the nation. What was supposed to be a theocracy with Yahweh as their king became rather more like anarchy, with no real leadership and little concern for righteousness. This is summed up both in Judges 17:6 and 21:25:

“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

With no standard, no real purpose, and no sense of God’s covenant, the people strayed horribly. They gave themselves over to idolatry and relativism, politically, religiously, and morally. There was confusion, apostasy, and a spiritual wasteland that came from it all. To get the sense of this, consider Judges 2:11-19, which describes the situation and the general cycle of the judges period.

First, the sons of Israel did evil and went after false gods (Baals). In doing this, they forsook the Lord and provoked Him to anger, which is exactly what He had warned them about. Idolatry became one of their worst problems.

Second, because they provoked God, He gave them over into the hands of plunderers and enemies. God’s hand was against them for their sins, “as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed” (vs. 15).

Third, after a time, God would raise up judges, “who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.” Typically, after being severely distressed for a time, they would cry out to God for deliverance. He would listen and send them relief through a deliverer.

Fourth, they would refuse to listen and learn, and so after the judge was gone they would revert back into sin: “they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers” (vs. 19). As time progressed, the sins of the people were becoming worse. Each generation carried sin even further. Sadly, that is typically the way sin operates. However far one generation goes, the next will take it further.

Because of the sins of the people, what Joshua had begun in conquering the land was hindered. The nations were not, then, completely driven out; and they would become thorns in the side of Israel.

There are several deliverers mentioned in Judges, and a few that stand out. Sadly, even among the standouts, there are few that would be considered righteous overall. While God gave His Spirit to strengthen them to defeat the enemies, they didn’t always exhibit great personal character. Think of men like Jephthah and Samson. They showed elements of faith, to be sure, but also greatly struggled with carnal attitudes. The only woman to be a deliverer was Deborah, a prophetess, and her contrast with Barak seems to demonstrate that Israel was lacking in serious male leadership at the time (ch. 4-5). Gideon, though scared at first, showed great promise and did some good, but then his wicked son tried to make himself king, which didn’t end well.

One striking issue in Judges is the lack of worship for Yahweh, and precious little mention of the tabernacle. This silence highlights the depth of Israel’s movement away from God at this time in their history. One might wonder how Israel could survive at all. The answer still lies with God, who, through all of this unfaithfulness, would still keep His promises to Abraham alive.

This is where the story of Ruth comes in. The amazing facet to this story is how God take’s a Moabite woman and accomplishes His purposes of redemption through her. The Moabites had been forbidden from being in the assembly of Israel. Yet the evil in Israel at this time contrasts with God’s will, and He uses a gentile woman to keep His plans alive.

While the story of Ruth is itself fascinating, showing the concept of the kinsmen-redeemer, the final purpose of the book is found in the genealogy. The last word in the book is “David.” This period was a time in which they recognized no king, doing what they wanted, and “David” contrasts with this as the man who would become the standard of the kings and type of the Messiah. In such a dismal period, God kept alive that great promise made to Abraham that through His seed all nations would be blessed.

— Via Articles from the Vestavia church of Christ, March 19, 2017

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Keeping the BIG Picture Before Us

Jesse A. Flowers

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).

The faith of Moses ought to be inspiring to every Christian. He was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). Every day he had access to every form of luxury and pleasure this ancient kingdom had to offer. He was surrounded by immense wealth and was directly connected to royalty. And yet he chose to align himself with the persecuted people of God. He chose rather to “endure ill-treatment” (NASB) with the people of God who were slaves of Egypt experiencing harsh bondage each day. He chose guaranteed mistreatment rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. He realized that path in life wasn’t worth it in the end. The pleasures of sin are always fleeting. Those who are deceived by them and indulge in them are left empty and unfulfilled. There is no lasting satisfaction that attends sinfulness, only misery, sorrow, and condemnation. As the apostle John wrote, “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

Is there pleasure in sin? The Bible says “yes” there is. Is it worth it? Why don’t we ask David (2 Sam. 11-12) or Judas Iscariot (Matt. 26-27)? As someone once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” No, the temporary pleasure of sin is never worth it. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Our sins separate us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). There is no peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22). The consequences of fleeting sin will often destroy your life like it did to David. And if unrepented of, it will ultimately cost you your soul (Luke 12:20). As Jesus asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Let us be wise and learn from the example of Moses. Let us possess that kind of faith. Let us always be willing to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than love the world and the things of the world (1 John 2:15-16) that will be burned up in that Day (2 Peter 3:1-14). Let us always keep the BIG picture before us, as Moses did, and look to the reward (11:26), the eternal reward of heaven!

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, March 2024

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

Sword Tips #15                                   

Joe R. Price

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

Jesus warns us against greediness. Covetousness distorts the meaning of life. Avoid defining your life by the amount of things you possess.

Possessions come and go, and when you die you will not take any of them with you.

You will stand before God in judgment without any of your earthly possessions.

Therefore, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and your physical needs will be supplied by your heavenly Father (Matt. 6:33).

——————–

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.)


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 Could I Go But To The Lord . . . (Bill Fairchild, Jr.)
2) The Importance Of Thoughts (Bill Crews)
3) The Mirror Versus The Window (R.J. Evans)
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Where Could I Go But To The Lord . . .

Bill Fairchild, Jr.

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12, NKJV).

There are those unwanted occasions in life when we find ourselves experiencing that uneasy feeling … we don’t know where to turn or what to do!

We may resort to looking to friends and family. While they offer support, they don’t have all the answers. We may turn to our own wisdom, experience, and strength only to shake our head at our woeful limitations.

We are often in the middle of several battles. Not with large physical armies. Maybe our own health or the health of family members or close friends … maybe our financial situation … maybe relationships complications with our families or neighbors … and even those within our own heart and soul.

The question that plagues so many is how to let God fight our battles?

We may be very independent. A quality that can be a blessing or a curse. A certain degree of independence can be of benefit. But it can also become a stumbling block that, if allowed to go unchecked, can stand between us and our God and His will for our lives.

When the Old Testament King Jehoshaphat received word that three armies had conspired together and were coming against him in one massive assault, he made a decisive and unconventional leadership move. His plea recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:1-13 … “God, we’re facing an enemy that is stronger than we are. We don’t know what to do, but we’re looking to You for help.”

How many times have we been in a similar situation … helpless and in some ways hopeless. We ought to be turning to the Lord with eyes focused on Him! It is with Him that we can find the wisdom, guidance, comfort, and peace that He alone can provide.

Our Lord never grows weary of our taking our worries, concerns, problems, and challenges before His throne! He longs for His people to address their needs to Him … yours and mine. He is always ready to listen and answer … according to His will and nature!

The Lord answered Jehoshaphat by Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him while he was with the congregation.

2 Chronicles 20:15, “… Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”

Jehoshaphat’s hope was built on the promises and presence of God. Does this describe our hope, our faith and trust in the Lord? Centuries long ago, when the people of God had divided into northern and southern kingdoms, it was God’s name that dwelt in Judah, and therefore His glory was at stake in this great horde marching against them. Jehoshaphat knows that God is faithful to keep all His promises, so he appeals to Him with great confidence and directness knowing he will find well-timed help because of the covenant love of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

In the same way, even when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, steady hope lives and endures in the promises of God to us in Christ. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will lead us even in the valley of the shadow of death, pursuing us with His goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. (Psalm 23:4, 6)

Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

Except our own choice to dismiss His instructions.

It is when we find ourselves afraid and fearful, unsettled, and uncertain … that we turn to the blessed avenue of prayer, and we pray with confidence because of these sure and steady promises … promises that are ours because Jesus bled and died to make us “sons and daughters of God.”

Whatever battles you are facing today, seek God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

— Via Walking in Sunlight, March 14, 2024
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The Importance Of Thoughts

Bill Crews

If you are concerned about your character, your conduct, your life and your destiny, then be concerned about your thoughts. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The heart is the mind, and the mind is the center of thoughts. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). A man may not be what he appears to be, but he is what he thinks.

What goes into your mind, then, is extremely important. Be careful about the interests you acquire, the tastes you cultivate, the desires you develop. They shape what goes into your mind. The conversations you listen to, the scenes you observe, the movies you view, the TV programs you tune into, the newspapers, magazines and books you read, the songs by which you are entertained, the jokes you laugh at, the things you are taught all have a part in feeding information into your mind.

You evaluate and monitor all that you hear and see. Your standard for evaluation and your conscience are vital and play their roles. You may seek out or receive what is vulgar or distorted, or you may reject and refuse it. You may pursue and embrace what is wholesome and true, or you may have no interest in it and neglect it. Be cautious, particular and selective about what goes into your mind. If you allow garbage to go in, then garbage will come out in the form of words and deeds.

What goes on in your mind is also extremely important. Be careful about your thoughts, meditations, desires, ambitions, daydreams and fantasies. You determine what goes on in your mind. You are the master of it because you have control over it. It is your own little secret world — except that God knows all about it, and will one day bring it to light when you have to answer for it in the judgment (Eccl. 12:14; Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:10). And sooner or later it will find expression in your life and make itself known.

We cannot be like God without thinking the thoughts of God. We cannot know the thoughts of God apart from the revelation of the things of God in the word of God (1 Cor. 2:11-13). We cannot have the thoughts of God in our hearts apart from reverent study of and meditation upon the word of God, coupled with a sincere desire to do the will of God (Jn. 7:17).

— Via Viewpoint from the Valley Grove church of Christ, February 6, 2022
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The Mirror Versus The Window

R.J. Evans

The common philosophy of our culture today fosters the “me, my, and mine” attitude.

From early childhood onward, so much emphasis is being placed on “have your own way,” “do your own thing,” and “look out for number one.”

Some see life through a window while others view life in a mirror. Those who view life in a mirror only see themselves. They are only concerned with self, because they can’t see the needs of others around them. Those who view life through a window, see others first, with a faded reflection of self. They are truly concerned about all those about them. They do everything possible to seek the good of others. This is how parents should be teaching their children — look through the window, not just focus on yourself in the mirror!

There is another mirror, however, that we need to constantly look into in order to see ourselves as God sees us — the mirror of God’s Word (Jas. 1:22-26). As Christians we must always place Christ and the advancement of His Cause first in our lives. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Further we are told to “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).

Thus, living the Christian life is a life of ministry and service to others. Jesus taught this throughout the whole time he lived among men. At the close of His life here on earth, He demonstrated what He had been teaching by performing the lowly act of washing His disciples’ feet (Jn. 13). Give some serious thought to the teachings of Christ before you begin to think you have to have “your way” in everything. Selfishness has no place in the service of the Lord. Stop looking at life in the mirror (of self); view it through the window!

— Via Viewpoint from the Valley Grove church of Christ, May 22, 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.   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) Wait on the Lord — Psalm 27 (Russ Bowman)
2) Recognizing Idioms (Jerry Fite)
——————–

-1-

Wait on the Lord — Psalm 27

Russ Bowman

One of the greatest – and most challenging – admonitions in the entire Bible is found in Ps. 27.14: “Wait on the LORD. Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD!” There are numerous circumstances scattered along the road of life which test our trust in God. Trial and temptation, death and disease, opposition and oppression, failure and frustration each have their own peculiar impact upon our confidence in God. But few things test us like waiting tests us. Comparatively, many followers of Jesus are more than willing to stand up and contend for what is right, to actively defend our faith, to set our heart and persist in our service when confronted with difficulties. Like Peter in the garden, we’re ready to draw our sword and fight. But it is a much greater challenge to put our sword away and wait for the Lord to accomplish His plans and purposes.

We are not alone in when it comes to the challenge of waiting. Abraham waited twenty-five years for the child of promise. Moses waited four decades before God sent him back to Egypt. Saul failed to wait a full seven days for Samuel to arrive, and who knows how long David waited for God to set him on the throne of Israel. Esau couldn’t wait for supper, and sold his birthright. Job had to endure horrible loss and unfair accusation before God reminded him of His power, and still we do not know that God ever explained to him what had happened. Habakkuk and Zechariah cried to God in their confusion, waiting for answers and resolution. The prodigal son couldn’t wait to leave home. The farmer waits for the early and latter rain (Jas. 5.7). The souls under the altar are told to wait for God’s vindication of their unjust death (Rev. 6.10-11). Waiting is hard.

Yet, waiting on God is the ultimate expression of trust.

Psalm 27 is somewhat uncommon compared to many of David’s compositions. Most are reflective expressions of emotion, directed toward God in supplication or praise. David’s heart is laid bare in the majority of his psalms. He is crying out in pain, or fear, or confusion, or despair. Or, he is singing the praises and hailing the virtues and glories of the LORD. And, while he occasionally calls upon the reader to join him or engage in some kind of activity, most of his psalms are expressive. Rarely, however, he will offer a psalm that is purely instructive. Psalm 37 is a series of admonitions and imperatives. Similarly, Psalms 33, 34, and 66 have some directive at their heart. I would propose that Psalm 27 is intended to fall into this didactic category, though it is unique in design.

This psalm begins with statements of supreme confidence in God (vv. 1-6). David sees the LORD as his “light…salvation…strength.” He notes God’s past deliverance when confronted by armies of his enemies. The value of association and intimacy with YAHWEH is clear in his desire to “dwell in the house of the LORD.” He is unwavering in the certainty of God’s victory on his behalf, and that faith is expressed in sacrifice and praise. However, beginning in v. 7, many see a change in tone, as David cries out for mercy, assurance, and association. This tone, it is often argued, pervades the psalm through v. 13. It has even been suggested that Ps. 27 is a composite, either written by two different authors, or by David in two different circumstances. Please consider an alternative.

What if David has a simple admonition for us? “Wait on the LORD. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD.” Just how do I get there? We all need this most powerful ability. But waiting is not merely the product of a simple decision. Instead, waiting on the LORD is the product of a well-developed faith. In v. 13, David notes that he would have “lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” From whence such conviction? From experience.

Vv. 1-3 offer what David had learned from his own past. God had delivered him. We do not know the circumstances that David has in mind, nor do we need to know them. David knew what he had experienced, and was confident in God’s protection. Thus, “the LORD is my light and my salvation…the LORD is the strength of my life” (v.1). Vv. 4-6 record the impact of God’s activity upon David. He was utterly devoted to God, and nothing appealed to him more than dwelling in the very presence of YAHWEH. Residing in the tent of God, marveling at God’s glory, rejoicing in God’s wisdom was, to David, the ultimate protection. Moreover, as David looks to the uncertainty of the future, and the almost inevitability of further opposition, he knows that God will continue to hear him and accompany him. Vv. 7-12 are not expressions of hesitation and fear, but considerations of temporal uncertainty wherein God will again be the light, the salvation, the strength. Perhaps v. 12 notes an enemy at the gates, but David knows that the LORD will “take care of me” and “lead me in a smooth path” (vv. 10-11), even if his own parents were to desert him. It is this confidence in God that prompts the declaration of v. 13, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed…”

God calls us to trust…even trust in its most difficult form. When life is hard. When the enemy is near. When all others forsake us. When we can see no end. When defeat seems inevitable. When we do not know what to do. When we realize that there is nothing we can do. Then is when we look back and reflect upon the activity of God in the lives of His saints. God delivers His people, even though we may have to wait…and wait…and wait. Even if our waiting has to transcend this temporal realm. Trust never loses sight of “the goodness of God in the land of the living.”

Wait on the Lord.

— Via Focus Online, October 28, 2020

——————–

-2-

Recognizing Idioms

Jerry Fite

The English word “idiom” comes from the Greek word “idios,” meaning “one’s own.” The word is used recognizing “the language peculiar to any particular author or speaker,” or “the language peculiar to one nation or tribe, as opposed to other languages or dialects.” 

E. W. Bullinger reminds us of an important fact as we strive to properly interpret the Scriptures: “The fact must ever be remembered that, while the language of the New Testament is Greek, the agents and instruments employed by the Holy Spirit were Hebrews” (Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, page 819). Therefore, Hebrew idioms, phrases peculiar to Hebrews and their way of speaking occur in our New Testament. We must recognize them, or we will not interpret the Scriptures properly. 

The phrase “to hear” is used idiomatically in I Corinthians 14:2: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not to men but to God, for no one heareth him.” “No one heareth,” literally interpreted as no one hearing words, would render a false meaning of the author. It is an idiom indicating no one “understands” the speaker who speaks in a language he does not know. The idiom conveys the concept of “believing” in John 9:27. Here, the man cured from blindness answers his persistent questioners with, “I have told you already, and ye did not hear…” They heard his words but did not “believe” him. The idiom also indicates “receiving” in John 8:43. Jesus says, “Why do ye not understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word.” They were not hard of hearing literal words, but they refused to “receive” His word. So, “to hear” is properly interpreted “to understand,” “to believe” and “to receive.”

Recognizing this idiom keeps one from rushing to the position that the Bible contradicts itself. In giving the account of Paul hearing the voice of the Lord, Luke writes, “and the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man” (Acts 9:7). Later, Luke records Paul’s words of the same event as “And they that were with me beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me” (Acts 22:9). The first passage is in the genitive case meaning they heard “the sound” of the voice. The latter passage, in the accusative case, indicates they did not hear “the subject matter.” In the first passage they heard the sound of the voice, while the second verse indicates that, while they heard the sound, they did not understand what was being said. Knowing “to hear” is used idiomatically not only guards us from a rash conclusion indicting the Scriptures, but enriches our knowledge with the proper interpretation.

Some believers are troubled that Jesus was not in the tomb for the full three days and nights as He seems to promise in Matthew 12:40. As Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, Jesus promised that the Son of man will “be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Such fear is unfounded when we recognize the phrase as a Hebrew idiom covering any parts of three days and nights. Esther says she and her maidens will not eat or drink for “three days, night or day” and yet it was on the third day Esther went to see the king (Esther 4:16, 5:1). Jesus was in the tomb part of Friday, all of Saturday and part of Sunday. Jesus did not contradict His promise. Jesus and writers of the New Testament used idioms. Recognize them! 

— Via Glad Tidings, Vol. XXVIII, No. 28, July 15, 2018

——————–

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) To Open Their Eyes (Daniel H. King, Sr.)
——————–

-1-

To Open Their Eyes

Daniel H. King, Sr.

When the Apostle Paul stood before Agrippa to make his case regarding his innocence from the charges leveled against him by his Jewish enemies at Jerusalem, he told once more the story of those signal events surrounding his conversion to Christ. It is a remarkable account, told briefly in his own words, with many fresh details of the occurrences of that life-changing day. Luke records it in Acts 9 as well, but there he sets it forth as a simple narration of history. Here it is in the form of eyewitness testimony from the mouth of one of the most important and remarkable men who ever lived.

Among those items that are treated in this narrative are the Lord’s arresting words to Paul in his personal commission to preach the Christian gospel to the Gentiles. His work is to be concentrated in the far-flung provinces of the Roman Empire, among the many different peoples and nations who had not yet heard anything about the gospel. It is not accidental that in the providence of the Almighty, immediately after Paul’s conversion in Acts 9, the first actual instance of preaching to and baptizing of a Gentile family is facilitated by Peter and is recorded in Acts 10. Paul was God’s chosen man for this task. And so, the Lord chose, prepared, and commissioned him to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles before the first Gentile was even brought into the church! Clearly God had a long-term plan, and it involved Paul’s mission to the nations!

Here is the important part of the account, for our limited purposes in the present study:

And I said, “Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles — to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me”. (Acts 26:15-18)

Contained in this brief but significant charge to Paul is a more general appointment which falls to each one of us as we consider the matter of sharing the message of the Savior with a lost and dying world. For, even though Paul was given a special apostleship and with it a unique obligation, the task of sharing the Lord’s life-giving good news is incumbent upon all of us in every age. We would like to notice particularly the promises found therein that are attached to the truth that Paul would teach to potential converts:

1. To Open Their Eyes. It is difficult for one to see with his eyes closed. The light cannot shine through closed lids. There may appear a faint glimmer through the thin flesh of the eyelids, but that is all. One is still in darkness. The eyes must be opened for there to be sight. But getting one to “open his eyes” in the sense in which it is intended here is not easy. Some eyes are closed on purpose, and there is great resistance to the very idea of opening them.

It is much like the person who stays up until late into the night; when he finally gets to sleep he crawls under the covers and hides himself from the light in a virtual cocoon of darkness. Awakening him is a difficult duty because he has had very little sleep and he does not want to get up and face the morning sun. He does not want to see the light! Any parent who has been too lenient with teenagers on a Friday night will understand precisely how this works when Saturday morning comes.

Still others are delighted by the feel of the warm sunshine on their faces. We sometimes refer to them as “morning people.” With great delight they open up their eyes to face a new day with a smile on their lips and a twinkle in their eyes. The light is a delightful thing to them, and they welcome it with all the joy of their being. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). Would that everyone was possessed of this attitude, spiritually speaking, when it comes to obedience to the gospel of Christ. Unfortunately there are many more who are resistant to it than welcome it with joy!

2. That They May Turn from Darkness to Light. When the eyes are closed, there is only darkness. But when the eyelids open up, there is light that may be seen if the eyes are functioning properly. Oh that more people would open up their spiritual eyes to the light of the gospel of Christ! If they would only do so, their whole world would be filled with the vibrant and effervescent light of God!

John said of Jesus, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Then he went on to say, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). God’s light is ever victorious over the darkness of sin and death. Isaiah told his generation: “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (2:5). He said also, “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (60:19). Just as men can walk about freely in the middle of the night when a full moon is hanging brightly in the sky, the Lord lights the way for the person who has his eyes open to God’s Word.

3. That They May Turn from the Power of Satan to God. The Evil One has ever been about the business of blinding the eyes of men to the light of God. Wrote Paul, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Sad to say, but even now, just as then, there are many of the world’s billions who are locked in a death-grip with evil. It has control of them, and they find it difficult to break away from its clutches.

But Satan may be resisted; and he may be defeated as well. Powerful as he is, his main power is manifest through deception. He cannot get what he wants by telling people the truth. He must lie to them and leave them with misperceptions and misapprehensions or else he will fail in his efforts. He lives and dies by the strength of the falsehood. The light of God breaks the power of the Devil: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

When the light of truth pierces the darkness of falsehood, the labor of the Lord is being accomplished and the work of the Devil is being defeated. Hence we must ever “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

4. That They May Receive Forgiveness of Sins. Being that sin is the great obstacle to a right relationship with God, it must be banished from the heart and life in order that the Lord may extend His fellowship to us. It is for this reason that in every case where conversion occurs there is some mention of the necessity of putting sin away and having it removed from the record: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38); “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19).

The recognition of sin today is difficult because most evils are not identified as such by people in our time. Sin is not being accurately described as such; it is called something else altogether in order to give it a more benign appearance. The result is that most do not feel guilty at all about the wicked things that they do. They lie and cheat and steal, but feel no pang of conscience for it. So they have no sense of sin in their hearts. If there is no sense of sin in the hearts of men and women, then there is no cognizance of the need to repudiate it, quit it, repent of it, and find the way to do away with it. This is the greatest sin of man in our time, i.e. a failure to identify sin for what it is. Forgiveness of sin can never be enjoyed if evil is not identified and recognized as such.

5. That They May Receive a Place Among Those Who Are Sanctified. What a glorious sentiment! For us to have a place among those who are set apart for divine service here and now, and a place of repose with the righteous of all the ages when this life is over. That is the great promise that comes at the conclusion of this set of divine assurances. The Lord guarantees His people a place with Him now in the sense of fellowship and association, and later when this life is at an end He pledges to make a place for them in His heavenly kingdom.

If you have ever played the game “musical chairs” then you know the feeling of not having a place. Each time the music stops another chair is removed, and you are certain that when it stops once more, someone will be left without a place. If not this time, then next time, it may be you! But of course, this is merely a children’s game. But it teaches us a lesson worth learning. In the plan of God there is a place for you, and it will always be there for you if you put it into your plans as well. As John wrote in the Apocalypse:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Rev. 21:1-3)

Make room in your life for God now, and he will make room for you in his heaven someday. If you will make a place for Him, then He will make a place for you. That is the message for all who would come to Christ.  

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 59, No. 8, August 2015 

https://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume59/2015_08_Aug_Truth_Magazine.pdf

——————–

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 Way of Peace (Jerry Fite)
2) Two Seas
3)  How to Endure Hardship (2 Timothy) (Bryan Gibson)
——————–

-1-

The Way of Peace

Jerry Fite

If you are like many today, you are running here and making appointments there, living modern life with a frantic pace. Oh, if we could just stop our bodies from continual motion, rid our minds of all the clutter, and enjoy a moment of restful peace. It is not often today when such peace is enjoyed, and even more rare in this goal-oriented world is such “down” time possible.

Therefore, the thought of peace should be a welcomed diversion for our mind. However, upon examination of the peace revealed in Scripture, we see that it is not paired with an inactive mind. It is a conscientious, scrupulous, and demanding journey. We find it by actively walking in the way of peace.

The spiritual journey begins by knowing God and having peace with Him. Paul declares, “Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:16-18). Knowing God and following His way of righteousness is essential in the way of peace.

The way of peace with God is only found in Jesus Christ. The one gospel message to all mankind: Jew and Gentile, provides peaceful reconciliation with God. Peter spoke with specificity of “The word which He sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). Receiving forgiveness of sins by obeying the Gospel, we enjoy a clean conscience, cleansed by the blood of Christ in baptism (Hebrews 9:14, I Peter 3:21). A cleansed conscience through knowing and obeying the Lord, gives us peace within. Jesus is our peace for He alone can bring all mankind together in peace before God (Ephesians 2:14, 17).

Once we enter the way of peace with God through Christ, we cannot grow lax in our walk. We must continually consider others. Because the kingdom of Christ is “righteousness, joy and peace” (Romans 14:17), we cannot allow our actions to cause others to violate their own conscience and forfeit their joy and peace with God. If our action, even if we believe we are free to do such, causes one to do that which is in doubt, then we cease to walk in love. Instead, we should be willing to forgo our liberties in such a context and “follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another” (Romans 14:19).

As we consider our way before God with others, we must strive to do what we can to have peace with our fellow man, while never compromising God’s revealed truth. Paul exhorts Christians, “If it be possible, as much as is in you lieth, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). Regardless of efforts to seek and pursue peace with others, if the other person refuses to follow the same path toward peace, enmity will continue.

Jesus reminds us that sometimes peace will not be possible when such a course compromises the truth of God. Jesus affirms He did not depart from Heaven “…to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Jesus has in mind the spiritual warfare that occurs within families when Christ’s disciples follow Jesus, the true and living way. Persecution from, instead of peace with family members occurs when the way of darkness persists in hearts.

By trusting in God and putting Him first, we do not become distracted with anxiety over life’s necessities, for we know God will provide (cf. Matthew 6:33). In the way of peace, we do not fear death but face it with a mind void of fear. Why? Because we know the crucified and resurrected Christ, and trust in God’s Way (cf. Hebrews 2:13-15). The spiritual way of peace is not “down time,” but it does refresh the inner man so we can keep the fast-paced outer man in check and have a reflective moment in joy and peace with God.

— Via Glad Tidings, Volume XXXI, No. 44, October 24, 2021
——————–

-2-

Two Seas

This is a fable of two seas. They are representative of two people, two lives, two outlooks. This fable is taken from real life, for both seas exist today. 

This first sea is altogether beautiful. From the golden strands of its beaches to the green, lush meadows that surround it. This sea lives, for in it are varieties of fish found over many parts of the world. Trees grow nearby and branches shade the water’s edge. It is a tranquil sea, though, at times, the odd storm may sweep upon it. Children dot the beautiful beaches as small ships move about the deep. It laughs in the sunshine and both men and birds desire to build houses near it. The Jordan River flows into this sea with sparkling fresh water from the hills. Every kind of life is happier because it is there. It is the Sea of Galilee.

Farther to the south, another sea is found. Around it nothing grows. No laughter of children, splash of fish, building of houses, or happy people. Life itself is a stranger to this sea. Nothing survives. Dead air hangs heavy above its sullen waters. It is a reject of life. The Jordan River also flows into this sea with sparkling fresh water from the north, but instead of bringing life, these happy waves flow into the grasps of the Dead Sea vaults.

While the Jordan blesses both seas with fresh sparkling water — the difference in the seas makes one life and the other death. Galilee receives the Jordan with thanksgiving and, in turn, allows the sweet water to freely flow on to bring their blessings to others. The Dead Sea receives the fresh flowing tide only to lock them within her walls. The fact that this sea refuses to give to others what was so generously given to her causes her to “die every day.”

Now, just stop and reflect. Think of wife, husband, son, daughter, neighbors, friends and even enemies — and pictured in their basic philosophy will be the mirror of one of these two seas.

That generous hand that is always open always attracts others to it. Happiness dwells within and seems to offer to others the same blessing. The sweet spirit gives sweetness, and the kind heart brings an understanding of life that surpasses knowledge. Like honey to bees — the attraction is always there.

Then think for a moment of the selfish — that miserly soul whom others despise. He receives much, but gives little. He hoards and holds, titles and possesses, but has never acquired that one thing most desirable — life and the wonderful ability to give.

— Author Unknown, Via Viewpoint from the Valley Grove Church Of Christ, December 25, 2022
——————–

-3-

How to Endure Hardship (2 Timothy)

Bryan Gibson

“Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions” (2 Timothy 4:5). “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Hardship for a Christian comes in many forms, and it’s safe to say that Paul, the writer of this letter, experienced nearly every one of them. Let’s go through this letter and identify at least some of the hardships he faced, and then discuss how he endured each one of them.

Hardship #1: Paul had suffered persecution for the gospel’s sake in the past, and he was still suffering when he wrote this letter (1:8, 12; 2:8-9; 3:10-12; 4:14-15).

How did Paul endure this hardship? 1) With the conviction that if anything was worth suffering for, it was the gospel (1:8-11). 2) With the knowledge he was helping others to “obtain the salvation which is in Jesus Christ with eternal glory” (2:8-10). 3) With the confidence that if he endured, he too would receive an eternal reward (1:12; 2:11-12; 4:16-18).

Hardship #2: Paul had been forsaken by some of his own brethren (1:15; 4:10, 16).

How did Paul endure this hardship? 1) By refusing to become bitter (4:16) 2) By not forgetting the ones who did remain faithful—people like Timothy, to whom this letter is addressed; Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother; Onesiphorus, who was not ashamed of Paul’s chain, and who ministered to him in many ways (1:5, 16-18); and Mark, who was useful to Paul now (4:11), even if not previously (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:13; 15:36-40). 3) By remembering the one Friend on whom he could always depend—“at my first defense no one stood with me…but the Lord stood with me…” (4:16-17).

Hardship #3: Paul had seen the effects of false teaching, and he knew it was about to get even worse (2:16-18; 3:13; 4:3-4).

How did Paul endure this hardship? 1) By warning Timothy to avoid false doctrine; by encouraging him to hold fast to the truth; by instructing him to study diligently and present the truth accurately; and by charging him to preach the truth at any and every opportunity (1:13; 2:14-16; 3:13-17; 4:2-5). 2) By encouraging him to develop more teachers who would do the same (2:2). 3) By not giving up on all who had gone astray, because some might receive correction and “come to their senses” (2:24-26).

Hardship #4: Paul was very near death—“for I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand” (4:6).

How did Paul endure this hardship? 1) By urging his “beloved son” (1:2), Timothy, “to come to me quickly” (4:9). 2) By preparing himself in advance of his death—“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:7). 3) By the hope of “immortality” (1:10) he had in Jesus Christ, the hope that the Lord would give him “the crown of righteousness” (4:8), that the Lord would preserve him for “His heavenly kingdom” (4:18).

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

— Via Plain Words from God’s Word, 2/16/24

——————–

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)  Cranky Old Men (Kyle Pope)
2) Sword Tips #36 (Joe R. Price)

——————–

-1-

Cranky Old Men

Kyle Pope

In 1993 a movie came out entitled Grumpy Old Men. I never saw the movie, but as a thirty-year-old (at the time) I could maintain the assumption that such a description couldn’t apply to me—I was still young. Now the years have rolled on, and as David said, “I have been young and now I am old” (Psa. 37:25a). Sadly, far too often, as I look in the mirror or through the lens of self-examination, the phrase “grumpy old man” describes me all too well.

I don’t like that! When I was a young preacher, many hours of discouragement came directly from the carelessness of cranky old men. How I pray that I will never be the source of such discouragement to my younger brothers and sisters in Christ! I must recognize, however, that unless I am careful—unless we all are careful that is exactly what we can become.

Why Are Old Men Cranky?

They May not Know Why. If I can look to myself as an example, the answer to this question at times may be “I don’t know!” Have you ever just awoke in the morning in a cranky mood? There is nothing that directly seems to trigger it. Nothing specifically has gone wrong—you just feel irritated at the whole world! That’s not just a problem with old men—sometimes “angry young men” grow into “cranky old men.” As Christians, however, we must never tell ourselves, “that’s just the way I am.” If my disposition is not what it ought to be I need to repent! If I can identify the problem I must change it, improve it, or learn to be content with it (Phil. 4:11-13). If I can’t identify it I must not allow it to take control of my life and discourage those around me. We men especially struggle with this. That is likely why Paul taught, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them” (Col. 3:19). I’m sure there are bitter women, but more often we men just let ourselves simmer with a cranky attitude. Solomon wrote, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).

The Aging of the Body. Health can be a part of this. As the body grows older it is frustrating that things don’t work as they once did. The body aches when it didn’t before. The slightest effort, which the young man could do without a thought, leaves the old man exhausted. There isn’t a cure for this, it is just part of growing older. The wise man described this as when, “the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Eccl. 12:1b). We should note, however, that just because these are “difficult days” that hold less “pleasure in them” does not grant Christians the right to wallow in misery and self-pity. Paul told Titus to teach older men to be “sound in faith, in love, in patience” (Titus 2:2b). I don’t show love and patience if I have a cranky and bitter disposition. Paul told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16). Peter urged all Christians in their faith to “rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). I do not have “joy inexpressible” when I allow my heart to be dominated by crankiness.

A Changing World. Every generation observes changes in customs, morality, and attitudes with every passing year that are different from what they once were. The preacher of Ecclesiastes taught, “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Eccl. 7:10). The reality will always be that some things improve and some things get worse, but change is never easy. This is especially true in technology. About the time I figure out how to use one device it is updated and becomes obsolete. That can be irritating! I don’t learn things as quickly as I once did. In spite of that, if I am not careful I can discourage the young if I make it seem as if “everything new is bad”—“the young are worse than my generation,” or “there is no hope for the future.” As an older man I need to show those younger than me how to “shine as lights” in the “midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15). I won’t do that by crankiness or being overly critical.

Not Realizing How They Come Across. Several weeks ago I lost my voice. When it came back, for quite some time my voice continued to be rough and gravelly. During that time we had a home Bible study with the middle, high school, and college age kids. My wife and I joked that with my voice impaired the kids had a harder time knowing when I was joking. Things I said playfully sounded as if I was scolding them. Age can cause the same problems. An older man or woman may say something with the sweetest of intentions, but the voice seasoned by age, or impaired by poor health seems harsher than intended. This calls for consideration on both sides. I need to make sure my tone or manner doesn’t come across in ways that are destructive, but when I hear things that might seem harsh I need to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Paul taught that love hopes for the best (1 Cor. 13:7), as we act “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).

Grasping for Lost Respect or Influence. As we grow older, younger men step into roles we once held. That’s how it ought to be. In the church Paul told Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). As our roles change in the workplace, in the home, or in the church it can easily cause us to feel unappreciated, neglected, or disrespected. If we aren’t careful this can lead us in some very childish ways to try and demand respect, assert influence, or regain some status we perceive to have been lost. That’s part of what happened to Saul. This once great leader of Israel was so resentful and envious of the success of David that it moved him to petty jealousy and sinful efforts to regain respect (1 Samuel 17-31). Sadly, in many cases our respect and influence have not really been lost—we only imagine that they have. Yet, when coarse, selfish, childish, and abrasive actions are taken, that’s when we truly lose the respect of others. Snapping at a waitress in a restaurant, harshly criticizing the actions of a younger brother or sister, or throwing a fit when things aren’t done our way do not motivate respect. They destroy it. The young are commanded to respect those older than they are (Lev. 19:32; 1 Pet. 5:5), but we who are older are also commanded to act in ways that motivate respect. Paul commanded Timothy to teach that “the older men” should “be sober, reverent, temperate” (Titus 2:2a).

What I Must Not Do

When I was a young preacher, some of the discouragements brought on by those I perceived as cranky old men concerned things they believed. In some cases, as the years have gone by, I have come to appreciate (and even agree with) some of the things that so troubled them. The wise man taught, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise” (Prov. 22:17). In other cases, what was so important to them proved to be nothing more than a pet opinion, personal preference, or peculiar perspective with no scriptural foundation. The wise man also said, “Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools” (Eccl. 9:17).

I must be careful that in matters about which I feel strongly or in instances in which I choose to offer criticism to those younger than me I offer my thoughts “quietly” without anger, aggression, or assuming improper intent on the part of the one to whom I speak. I must make certain that when I choose to speak, I only push God’s word rather than my own opinions and preferences lest my words prove to be nothing more than “the shout of a ruler of fools.”

The wonderful example of Aquila and Priscilla teaches us so much about love and kindness. They did not blast Apollos publicly. They did not assume that he was deliberately avoiding teaching about Christ. “They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26b). If I must correct or rebuke a brother or sister in Christ, except in the most extreme cases (e.g. 1 Tim. 5:20), I must not do it publicly. Souls can be lost by the thoughtless action of cranky old men like us if we are not careful! As we are so quick to win an argument, young and struggling souls may see our actions as hateful, mean-spirited, and contrary to the cause of Christ. Paul told Timothy, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient” (2 Tim. 2:24). While I must ever stand for truth, may God help me to always do so with love, and an encouraging tone, never allowing my own struggle with crankiness to harm a soul created in God’s image.

— via Focus Online, January 3, 2019
——————-

-2-

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

Sword Tips #36                        

Joe R. Price

“And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority” (Luke 4:32).

The authority of the word of Jesus Christ is profoundly superior to the words of any person. The great thinkers of this world pale in comparison to the simple yet powerful message of the word of God.

Jesus taught with the authority of heaven. God speaks to us now through the word of Jesus, His Son (Heb. 1:2). His word brings blessings to every soul who believes it and obeys it.

His word will change your life. It will give you hope. It will save your soul. There is no greater authority or power than that.

Honor Christ’s authority today.

Commit yourself completely to following His word.

——————–

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.)


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