Author: Tom Edwards (Page 1 of 32)

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) The Transforming Power of the Word of God (Michael Molloy)
2)  Unlikely Converts (Andy Sochor)
3) Don’t Let a Failure Keep You Down! (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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The Transforming Power of the Word of God

Michael Molloy

There are many reasons why studying the word of God should be a daily exercise for all of us. Proverbs teaches us practical lessons about how to navigate this life. Ecclesiastes documents Solomon’s search for happiness and contentment in this world and concludes with the knowledge that all of our lives should be focused on keeping the Lord’s commandments in reverential fear. Another great reason to study the Bible is the transformative power of God’s word. We come to God broken, sinful, and needing His grace and mercy; His word teaches us how to leave our previous life behind and begin the transformation into the image of Christ (Romans 8.29).

Throughout the Bible, there are many people whose interactions with God follow this pattern: God calls them, they respond to Him, and they are transformed by their interaction with Him or His word. Gideon is a great example of this. When we first meet Gideon, he is threshing wheat in a wine press so that the wheat will not be stolen: “Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites” (Judges 6.11). The Lord knew that with His help, Gideon could become Israel’s next great liberator and greeted him as such when He said, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6.12). Once Gideon understood that the Lord was calling him to become Israel’s next deliverer, he expressed the same doubt that many of us feel when we consider the things that God calls us to do.

Overthrow the Midianites? “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6.15). Tear down the altar of Baal? Well, okay, but only when no one is watching: “But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night” (Judges 6.27b).

Gideon was frightened to do the things that the Lord was asking of Him, but he prayed to the Lord. He first asked for the fleece to be dry and the ground to be wet, and then for the fleece to be wet and the ground dry. The Lord answered his prayers (Judges 6.36-40), and Gideon was emboldened to do the work that the Lord had called him to do. As his story continues, we see Gideon growing in faith and confidence in the Lord until he ultimately fulfills God’s plans for him.

The Lord has called us to do great things as well. He has tasked us with reflecting Him and His light in this dark world. We are to be neighbors to all of those who we find in our path. We are to show love for one another, even when it is difficult. We are to teach the lost the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may be scared to do some or all of these things at different times. But God’s word has not lost its transformative power. If we follow Gideon’s example, praying to the Lord and relying on His word, we will be transformed just as Gideon was, and we will accomplish the will of the Lord, just as Gideon did.

— Via Bulletin Articles of the Bartlett church of Christ, Bartlett, TN, May 14, 2017
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Unlikely Converts

Andy Sochor

Text: James 2:1-4

Sometimes when we think of evangelism and converting the lost, we may have a picture in our minds of the type of person who would be receptive. If we’re not careful, we could subconsciously reject/overlook some who may have otherwise been interested (the single mother, the person with tattoos, the immigrant who speaks broken English, the poor man who can’t afford nice clothes to wear to “church,” etc.). Sometimes the ones who are converted are not the ones we would expect. In this lesson, we’ll notice some examples in the New Testament.

The Context of James 2:1-4

* Warning against showing personal favoritism (v. 1) – example given of two men who arrive in the assembly; the rich man was given preferential treatment (v. 2-3) despite what was generally true of them (v. 6-7); the poor man was disregarded (v. 3) despite God’s choosing/welcoming the poor (v. 5; cf. Matthew 11:5).

* They were not to make such distinctions (v. 4) – guilty of the sin of partiality (v. 9).

* This specific example was about the rich and poor – but the principle would apply to other distinctions as well; we are not to judge by appearances (John 7:24).

NT Examples of Unlikely Converts

* The sorcerer from Samaria (Acts 8:9-13) – he was a deceiver and claimed to be someone great; we should not think that one’s arrogance will forever disqualify him (the gospel may humble him).

* The Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39) – he was isolated from Christians, going to and from Jerusalem without learning about Jesus and the church; we should not let a lack of proximity deter us from reaching others (those in other states/countries).

* The Roman centurion (Acts 10:1-8, 34-48) – he was a good man, but a Gentile without basic knowledge of the Old Testament; we should not think that one without a Biblical background is unreachable.

* The Philippian jailer (Acts 16:22-34) – he put Paul and Silas in prison, possibly even one who mistreated them; we should not think that one who persecuted us would never be receptive, but it may take a crisis for them to be open to the gospel.

* The leader of the synagogue (Acts 18:8) – many Jews opposed the gospel as they had opposed Jesus; we should not think that a “leader” of some other religious group could never be open to the truth.

* Those in Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22) – could have been family and/or servants, but this was during the reign of Nero (severely persecuted Christians); we should not assume that one is uninterested in the gospel because of who they are associated with.

* The chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:12-16) – Paul described himself as the epitome of an unlikely convert; if Paul can be saved, anyone can be saved.

Remember the Parable of the Sower

* The seed was sown on every kind of soil (Luke 8:5-8).

* Not every soil was receptive and produced sustained growth.

* The soils represented people’s hearts (Luke 8:11-15) – not their background, appearance, etc.

* We cannot know people’s hearts (1 Corinthians 2:11) – we can only sow the seed.

* We should not judge anyone as being unworthy of hearing the gospel (Mark 16:15; Titus 2:11).

* We should plant and water and allow God to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Conclusion

* We have a responsibility, individually and collectively, to try to reach others with the gospel.

* We need to be careful not to sabotage our own efforts by prejudging others – Jesus reached sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans, and more; the early church reached Gentiles, Roman soldiers, slaves, government leaders, and more.

* The gospel is God’s power for salvation (Romans 1:16) – let’s plant and water so that God will give the increase.

— Via Plain Bible Teaching, December 21, 2020
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Don’t Let a Failure Keep You Down!

Tom Edwards

The following video sermon considers what the Bible says about Mark, a servant of the Lord:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Mark.mp4
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Ronnie Davis
has an appointment this week, due to the trouble he has been having with his back.

Ginger Ann Montero
is having to be rescheduled for her heart catheterization, which will probably be made this week. 

Bennie & Deborah Medlock
are both not feeling well, following their recent covid-19 vaccines.

Rick Cuthbertson has five more weeks to go on his meds until having another scan to see of the results.

Also for prayer: Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Gege Gornto, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jaydin Davis, Danielle Bartlett, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
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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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) “Why Should It Be Thought A Thing Incredible That God Should Raise The Dead?” (Dick Blackford)
2) Our Heavenly Citizenship (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
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“Why Should It Be Thought A Thing Incredible That God Should Raise The Dead?”

Dick Blackford

It shouldn’t. He’s God! If I raised the dead it would be incredible, but it isn’t when God does it. Surely the one who gave life in the first place would have no trouble restoring it when it is lost.

Christianity loses its authority, its unique position among the religions of the world, its credibility and its hope for the world if Jesus was not raised from the dead. It was on this very foundation that the apostles based their case (Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-16; 5:30-31). This is the miracle of the Bible. If it cannot be sustained there is no use talking about the others and we may as well throw our Bibles away and close the doors of our church buildings. For “we are of all men most miserable,” if Christ be not raised (1 Cor. 15:16-20).

The startling fact with which those disciples were confronted that Sunday morning is the same one, which after 2000 years, presents itself to you and me — an empty tomb. What shall I do with Jesus (Matt. 27:22)? By getting to the heart of the matter of salvation, we hope your heart will be pricked upon the contention of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Many say Jesus was a good man, one of the world’s greatest teachers, but not the son of God. They can’t have it both ways and they need to make up their minds. If he was a good man, could he lie about being the son of God and remain a good man? If he was not the son of God, then he was the greatest impostor and liar the world has ever known. The terms “good man” and “great Teacher” could not describe one who has played a hoax on the whole world for 2000 years. To accept this we would have to believe that single-handedly Jesus perpetrated a universal, mass deception upon all mankind. We are asked to believe that a carpenter’s son was so persuasive that he convinced his own mother to take part in the lie to the point that she would watch her oldest boy be tortured, suffer, and die as a criminal for something they both knew was false. She was the only one who could save him. She was the only one who could have known for sure whether he was miraculously conceived during her virginity. Some had already said Jesus was “beside himself” (Mark 3:21). Mary could have told the authorities her son was touched in the head, has visions of grandeur, and thinks he is the son of God. Let me take him by the hand and I will lead him home and get him out of your hair.

Could Jesus have persuaded twelve men, all from different educational backgrounds and social casts to quit their jobs immediately and to go out with great zeal and preach and convert men to a doctrine they never really believed? Plus, he had the Old Testament prophecies behind everything from his birth to his death. And what of his miracles which were not done in a corner (Acts 26:26)? Even his enemies admitted the miracles (Acts 4:16). If he had failed in just one of them, they would have plastered it in the headlines of the Jerusalem Morning News.

How Some Explain The Empty Tomb

How do we account for the disappearance of the body of Jesus other than by a resurrection? Several theories have been advanced but the only serious attempt is the argument that the body was stolen. But by whom? His enemies or his friends? There have been modernists on both sides. But first let us consider the argument they did not make.

The change in attitude and action of that little band of disciples is one of the most convincing evidential facts surrounding the resurrection. Those who feared and fled are now rejoicing that they can suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41).

“The Tomb Is Not Empty.” They could have stopped Christianity it its tracks by refuting the empty tomb and proving the body was still there. The fact that no denial of the empty tomb was ever offered is mute but convincing evidence that John told the truth. Even the authorities said the body was missing (Matt. 28:11-15). John was not wrong about the empty tomb (John 20:1-8).

Stolen By The Disciples. The Jews came up with the best explanation to be found. They couldn’t have done better if they had had 2000 years to think up the best explanation. I have never been worried that anybody 2000 years after the event would be able to come with a better one, short of a resurrection, than those who were bodily present. They had the most to lose and the greatest motivation to come up with the best explanation possible. Theirs is superior to all other explanations that have been offered since. It was not a time for denial but for explaining. They had an empty tomb to account for. But even this explanation will not stand. Imagine having one of those soldiers who had guarded the tomb on the witness stand to be “cross” examined.

Lawyer: “What happened?” Guard: “They stole the body.” Lawyer: “Who stole it?” Guard: “His friends, the disciples.” Lawyer: “When did they steal it?” Guard: “During the night.” Lawyer: “And what were you doing when this happened?” Guard: “I was asleep” (Matt. 28:11-15). An eyewitness with his eyes closed? Going to sleep on duty was one of the worst crimes a soldier could commit. To think the governor would have approved this excuse is absurd. Soldiers cold-blooded enough to gamble over a dying victim’s cloak are not the kind to be hoodwinked by cowardly Galileans who had recently fled for their lives or to jeopardize their own lives by going to sleep on duty. And to ask us to believe all of them went to sleep at the same time is ridiculous.

Even if all of them went to sleep at the same time, it is unbelievable that the disciples could have accomplished this feat so casually. How would they roll away an “exceeding great” stone so big that the three women knew they could not move it (Mark 16:1-4)? Remember also that the tomb was hewn out in a rock” (Matt. 27:60). That means there was no back door and no trap door. The entrance and exit were one and the same. And why would they take off the linen cloths and napkin? This would require additional time and would make the body more difficult to remove. Instead of being a mess, such orderliness of the tomb is not consistent with grave robbers and body snatchers. It is not in keeping with burglars, to be so neat and tidy. Did you ever hear of anyone breaking into someone’s home and cleaning it up?

Furthermore, the disciples were not looking for a resurrection. Their state of despair showed they thought their hopes had ended. Mary went with spices with which to anoint a dead body. The theory that the disciples stole the body falls flat under a fair examination.

Stolen By His Enemies. When one is trying to solve a crime one of the first things to be done is to establish a motive. There could have been no motive unless it was to show they still had it in their possession when the disciples began claiming a resurrection. Since they did not refute the resurrection by showing they still possessed the body, then there is no motive. The enemies stealing it would be inconsistent with what we already know. Pilate secured the sealing of the tomb and stationed soldiers there to keep the disciples from stealing it (Matt. 27:62-67). Would these same enemies defeat themselves by stealing the body, thus making it look like a resurrection had occurred? They would have had everything to lose. They wanted to keep the body in the tomb. If they did steal it, why wasn’t it produced to defeat the disciples’ claims of a resurrection? Had it been possible, they would have. The fact that they did not have it in their possession is evidenced in that “a great company of the priests believed” (Acts 6:7). Likewise, this theory falls.

The “Swoon” Theory. This theory says there was no resurrection because Jesus never died. He merely fainted. Given time to rest, along with the cool tomb and spices, he revived. Remember, the soldiers made a first hand examination and “thrust a spear into his side” (John 19:34). They should have known better than anyone living today whether Jesus was dead. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepared him for burial. They made a “hands on” examination and saw no signs of life. They, too, would have known better than anyone living today. Remember, Jesus was persecuted prior to the crucifixion. He was beaten. A crown of thorns stuck in his brow. He had to carry his own cross. He was then nailed to it and hung on it for six hours. There would have been a considerable loss of blood. Then his side was pierced with a spear. Having the linen garments “bound,” “wound,” and “wrapped” (note those words) around him along with 100 pounds of spices (John 19:39) would have made it virtually impossible to escape. When Lazarus was raised he had been bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face was bound with a napkin. Jesus commanded, “Loose him and let him go.” Lazarus was unable to free himself. Being bound in these grave clothes plus the sealing of the tomb could certainly have produced an air supply problem. Soldiers are outside guarding the tomb. The “exceeding great” stone covers the entrance. In spites of all this, Jesus escapes! Such a theory insults a child’s intelligence.

Wrong Tomb. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary “sat over against the sepulcher” after the burial (Matt. 27:61). The women “beheld” the tomb (Luke 23:55). Thus, it never occurred to them to say “Oops, wrong tomb” — because of the grave clothes. If it was an unused tomb, why would there be grave clothes rolled up? If it was a used tomb there would be evidence of another burial. All the authorities would need to do was show these confused women that the body was still in their possession. They knew this wasn’t the best explanation and could be easily disproved — a very weak theory.

Hallucination Theory. This asks us to believe that hundreds (if not thousands, 1 Cor. 15:6) of disciples hallucinated at different times and places over a period of 40 days! It still fails to explain the empty tomb. The enemies could have produced the body to show that the disciples’ minds were playing tricks on them. It is hard to see how anyone could make this argument and keep a straight face.

The Cause Theory. I knew a minister in the Disciples of Christ who took this position. It looks at the resurrection figuratively. It was the “cause” of Christianity that was revived. It still fails to explain all the events that occurred. The only motive for one taking this position is that he has a bias which says everything must be explained on a natural (not supernatural) basis. The apostles and many former enemies of Christianity — those who were there — never interpreted it figuratively (1 Cor. 15:1-6). Why would so many be converted to Christianity and accept the consequences that went with it if there was not a literal resurrection?

Other Theories. The vision hypothesis, the optical illusion, etc., are all answered by the empty tomb. One must explain what became of the body, how it happened in the face of the pains taken by both the Jews and Romans to prevent the appearance of a resurrection, along with the fear, cowardice, and despair of the disciples.

The Change in the Disciples

Is it reasonable to believe that men thrust into the very darkness of despair and cowardice could have, within a few weeks, risen to such heights of joy and courage as the disciples subsequently displayed? Their emotions were stretched from one extreme to the other. Peter had denied, cursed, and sworn that he didn’t know Jesus. Yet in just a few days he stands before thousands of those whom he had feared and accuses them of murder and boldly affirms the intention of Christians (Acts 4:19-21; 5:29).

The change in attitude and action of that little band of disciples is one of the most convincing evidential facts surrounding the resurrection. Those who feared and fled are now rejoicing that they can suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41). You can put a man’s head on the chopping block and he might be brave enough to die for something he really believes. But no man is brave enough to die for something he knows is a lie, especially when he stands to benefit in every way by denying it. These disciples were beaten, stoned and left for dead, run out of town, and were outcasts from formerly held respected positions. There was no gain in this life. One cannot find an ulterior motive on their part.

Is it mathematically possible that Jesus could have orchestrated this whole event and made things turn out so that they fulfilled all the prophecies about the Messiah and yet be an impostor? How did he get the Romans, the Jews, his disciples (including Judas), his family, and his own mother to act together exactly as they did? How did he fake the miracles (healing the sick, restoring limbs, raising the dead, calming the storm, cleansing the lepers, feeding thousands, turning water to wine, etc.)? With the Roman soldier we must proclaim, “Truly, this was the son of God” (Matt. 27:54).

Conclusion

Through the centuries the empty tomb has been the Gibraltar of the Christian’s faith and the Waterloo of skeptics. That’s why I have never worried that anyone 2000 years removed from the events would be able to come up with a better explanation. So why have many tried to explain it away? Because of wishful thinking. Once one accepts the resurrection it obligates him to live and behave in a certain way or reap consequences. It is much easier to deny it ever happened and to live a life of indulgence which so vividly characterizes our society today.

It is not incredible at all that God can raise the dead (Acts 26:8). So, what will you do with Jesus? Will you make the change which occurs at baptism and begin your “newness  of life”? Remember, preaching the cross includes preaching the genuineness of baptism. Baptism is the bridge that ties us to the cross (Acts 2:23-41; Rom. 6:1-18; Col. 2:11-13; 1 Pet. 3:21).

— Via Truth Magazine, September 4, 2012 (https://www.truthmagazine.com/why-should-it-be-thought-a-thing-incredible-that-god-should-raise-the-dead)
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Our Heavenly Citizenship

Tom Edwards

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

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

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Shirley Davis’
procedure at the hospital went well.  She returned home the following day. 

Ginger Ann Montero
will be having a heart catheterization this Thursday to better determine her problem.

Danielle Bartlett
is soliciting prayers.  She recently saw her cardiologist, due to heart palpitations and some swelling in her legs. He doesn’t think it is serious, but will be running a series of tests.

Tina Allen is now feeling better from the sickness she had last week.

Rick Cuthbertson has six more weeks to go on his meds for cancer until having another scan to see of the results.

Also for prayer: Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Gege Gornto, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jaydin Davis, Deborah Medlock, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 

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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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 Matchless Love of Jesus (Steve Wallace)
2) Choices & Character (Bill Crews)
3) A Pardon Rejected (Anonymous)
4) Living According to the Standard (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

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The Matchless Love of Jesus

Steve Wallace

The Word of God tells of the matchless love of Christ which we celebrate in song. Indeed the Bible’s portrayal of the love of Christ is one which shows it to be unlike any love known to man. We could examine Christ’s love from the standpoint of the effects it has had on mankind where it has provoked change of life, devotion, praise, sacrifice, and wonderful works. However, such effects, no matter how marvelous, are only reactions to this unique love. Therefore, let us look at some things that the Bible says about it and, though dealing with a broad subject within a limited space, seek to know more about the matchless love of Jesus.

1. The background of his coming. God had loved Israel “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) and could say in the book at the end of the Old Testament canon, “I have loved you” (Mal. 1:2). However, his love was generally not requited. On the contrary, his people had largely rejected him in various ways throughout their history (Hos. 3:1f; Heb. 3:7-11; Matt. 21:33-44). Rightly does Isaiah write that “all we like sheep have gone astray” (Isa. 53:6). Through all this “God, willing to show his wrath (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah, the flood, the Babylonian captivity), and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering (i.e., he showed his love, Eph. 4:2) the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Rom. 9:22). Having shown love for mankind through all its tragic history, God made the greatest demonstration of his love: he “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Where on earth can one go to find such an example of love? The matchless love of Christ had its roots in a similarly matchless love.

2. His life. Love gives (Jn. 3:16) and Jesus’ life was a life of giving, a life of love. Though he existed in the “form of God,” Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7, ASV). “He came to his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11). Undaunted by the enemies he made, he “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Summing up his work, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matt. 11:5). He taught that man’s primary obligation is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself ” (Matt. 22:37-39) and exemplified such love for all to see by his good works and by his keeping God’s commandments (Jn. 15:10). Though tempted, he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22). The life that he lived is without parallel; the love he exemplified is matchless!

3. His last day. We see our Savior’s matchless love from another perspective when we study some of the last deeds of his life. “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (Jn. 13:1). With the humiliation and pain of the cross looming up before him, he humbled himself, washing his disciples’ feet as an example to them (Jn. 13:15-16). As he was being led to Calvary, bloodied by the beating he had just received, he refused the sympathy of women who followed him, choosing rather to sympathize with them (Lk. 23:27-31). In spite of the intense pain he must have felt as he hung on the cross, his thoughts were of others: he prayed for his executioners, spoke salvation to one of the thieves, and saw to the care of his mother (Lk. 23:34,39-43; Jn. 19:25-27). “When he was reviled, (he) reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1 Pet. 2:23). Through it all, he was the picture of perfect love. We search in vain for such an example in all the pages of all the books that have ever been written, save one: The Bible. “Oh what love, matchless love.”

4. His death. This sacrifice would be incomplete if we failed to note what the Bible says about our Lord’s death. He said, “No man taketh (my life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (Jn. 10:18). Jesus chose to lay down his life. “Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us” (1 Jn. 3:16, ASV). “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6). “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:6-10). Satan once said, “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life” (Job 2:4). It was love that caused Christ to overcome man’s natural aversion to dying, a love not quenched by the long history of man’s rebellion against God nor by the treachery which surrounded his death. “Oh what wondrous love I see freely shown for you and me!”

5. How should we then live? Love begets love (Jn. 15:9; 1 Jn. 3:16). Therefore, we should strive at “having the same love” Christ has shown us (Phil. 2:1-2). I suggest the following applications of his love to our lives:

1. We should love Christ’s body, the church (Eph. 5:25). He gave himself for it and we should do our part to keep it as he would have it, without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27).

2. We should love the truth which Jesus died to give man (Heb. 9:14-23; Jn. 8:32; 14:23; Gal. 5:6).

3. We should love our brethren (Phil. 2:1-2; 1 Jn. 3:16; 4:7).

4. We should love the lost (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8).

5. Husbands should love their wives as “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).

6. We should cultivate love’s wonderful character so that it becomes a part of our personality (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

7. We should love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48; Lk. 23:34).

Conclusion

Christ’s love is without comparison. Nothing which we might allow to influence us in this world can approach matching the one-of-a-kind love we find in Jesus, and our greatest endeavors are worthless without love (1 Cor. 13:1-3). May we all give ourselves to him because of the “love that will not let me go” and be “constrained” by it to walk closer to him each day (2 Cor. 5:14). Brethren, “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21).

— Via Guardian of Truth,  XXXVIII No. 23, pages 13-14, December 1, 1994 (http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume38/GOT038310.html)
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-2-

Choices & Character

Bill Crews

Cunningham Geike, a Scottish preacher of the 19th century, wrote: “Our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life.” I believe his observation was correct.

We are free moral agents. The entire thrust of the Bible, addressed in its various parts and particulars to various individuals in the past and the present, is proof of this. God does not force men, but He does speak to men; and in speaking to men God instructs, reasons, warns, admonishes, promises, threatens, exhorts, encourages, appeals, pleads and implores. Man ever decides whether to listen or not; and upon listening, decides whether to respond or not; and, upon responding, decides what his response will be. For all of which God will call him to account. But man is indeed a free moral agent. He has volition. He has the freedom to choose.

Over and over man is placed in the position of making a choice (e.g., Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden [Genesis 2:16-17] and the Jews on the day of Pentecost [Acts 2:37-40]). Time and again men are called upon to choose. Moses said to Israel: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; to love Jehovah thy God, to obey His voice, and to cleave unto him; for He is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Said Joshua to Israel: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were  beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah” (Joshua 24:15). Said Elijah to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel: “How long go ye limping between the two sides? if Jehovah be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

Again and again you and I are placed in the position of making a choice between right and wrong:

1. As children, whether or not we will obey our parents. What does God say? Ephesians 6:1-3

2. As students, whether or not we will listen, learn, study, do our assignments, put forth a good effort, be honest, abide by the rules. What does God say? Romans 12:17; Ecclesiastes 9:10.

3. Whether we will choose good companions or evil companions. What does God say? 1 Corinthians 15:33.

4. Whether we will be careful or reckless drivers; whether or not we will obey the traffic laws. What does God say? Romans 13:1-7.

5. Whether or not we will be honest and dependable workers. What does God say? Luke 3:13-14; Colossians 3:22-4:1.

6. Upon hearing the gospel, whether or not we will become Christians or whether we will serve God or go on serving Satan. What does God say? Acts 2:41; 24:24-25; 26:28-29.

7. Upon becoming a Christian, whether or not to really be or live as a Christian. What does God say? 1 Peter 2:11-12; Romans 6:1-2; Colossians 3:1-2.

8. Whether or not we will be steadfast in prayer. What does God say? Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18.

9. Whether or not we will diligently read and study our Bible? What does God say? 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 3:16.

10. Whether or not we will assemble faithfully with our brethren for Bible classes and worship assemblies. What does God say? Hebrews 5:11–6:3; 10:19-25.

The decision we make in each case will be largely determined by the guidance we have received and the character we have thus far molded, but every choice made makes a further impression upon our character and, in turn, will affect the choices that lie ahead. Good character can be destroyed in a brief span of time, but bad character can be reformed and sin can be forgiven. Our readers are challenged to make the right choice in every case that confronts them. God will help you if you want His help.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 12, Page 4, March 21, 2021
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-3-

A Pardon Rejected

During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson robbed a federal payroll from a train and in the process killed a guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to hang. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson, and eventually Jackson intervened with a pardon. Amazingly, Wilson refused it.

Since this had never happened before, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse a presidential pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the court’s decision: “A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives to it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die.” “Pardon,” declared the Supreme Court, “must not only be granted, it must be accepted.” George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged.

Likewise, God, through His mercy, has provided every human being pardon from their sins. However, that pardon must be accepted in the way God has ordained. Those who do not accept the pardon will perish.

– selected (via The Beacon, February 21, 2021)
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-4-

Living According to the Standard

Tom Edwards

Clicking on the following link will take you to the video sermon, entitled above:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Standard_032821.mp4

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-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jim Lively
recently began seeing a new doctor and undergoing new treatment at the Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center in Waycross, where he will be going twice a week for the exercise sessions to help regain his balance.  He also does these twice a day at home. His medication has also been adjusted because of an irregular heartbeat.

Rick Cuthbertson has six more weeks to go on his cancer-treatment meds until having another scan to see of the results.

Due to an irregular heartbeat, Shirley Davis will be having a procedure April 2.  She also has continual pain in her back, which is worse when standing.  

Also for prayer: Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Ginger Ann Montero, Gege Gornto, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jaydin Davis, Deborah Medlock, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.

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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Higher Ground (Michael Brooks)
2) The Creator Revealed by Creation (Frank Walton)
3) Attitudes in Bible Study (Frank Himmel)
4) Pressing On to the Goal (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Higher Ground

Michael Brooks

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up on a mountain, and when he was seated his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and taught them …” (Matthew 5:1-2).

We have a fascination with height. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on earth, at over 29,000 feet in elevation. Millions travel just to look at it, and its allure as a trekking and climbing destination is legendary. Other peaks of far less altitude are also famous and prized as destinations. Most nations, states, and districts note their “highest points” and these are often featured as tourist destinations.

This fascination is not limited to geography. The tallest building, tallest man, and tallest animal are also items of note. Stories of giants, whether true (Goliath) or myth (the giant of Jack’s beanstalk) continue to provoke interest. We like the unusual, of course, but size, and especially height, seems to have a particular appeal.

It is easy to see that the Bible features mountains prominently. Examples include Ararat, where the Ark eventually landed (Genesis 8:4); Sinai where the Law was given to Moses (Exodus 19:20); Nebo, upon which Moses died (Deuteronomy 32:49); and the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus’ authority was confirmed to the Apostles (Mark 9:2ff). Good things often happened upon mountains. God is often associated in special ways with the hills. The Psalmist proclaimed, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Given this background, it is not surprising to read that Jesus went upon a mountain and there taught His disciples. We might well expect that. The geography of Palestine and the natural acoustical quality of such a setting also encourage its selection. But may we also infer a more spiritual application? Jesus taught from “higher ground” not only in the physical site of His sermon, but also in His moral, ethical, and theological perspectives. He was vastly superior to His contemporaries among the Jewish religious leaders in all these respects. His sincerity and truthfulness surpassed their hypocrisy. His love for the lost overshadowed their selfishness. His reverence for God made a mockery of their pride.

Genuine Christianity, when compared with any other religion or philosophy, is higher ground. It provides the greatest view of humanity, the only true revelation of God, and the single real hope that man can possess. As much as we love the scenery of Mount Everest, the engineering marvel of a huge sky-scraper, or the grace and power of a “7-footer” on the basketball court, the awesome heights of the Way of Christ are much greater. Jesus promised, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). His truth is incredibly beautiful. May we proclaim it and follow it always.

– Via The Susquehanna Sentinel, January 15, 2006
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-2-

The Creator Revealed by Creation

Frank Walton

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).

Off the coast of British Columbia, the huge whales of the sea roam, which dwarf people. God’s power and intelligent design are revealed in nature.

I heard a scientist give a lecture in Whistler on the Black Bear. They hibernate up to 6 months, their heartbeat goes down to 5 beats per minute and take one breath per minute to conserve oxygen in the hollowed out tree they are sleeping for the winter. Their body has special proteins to help recycle water in their body during the months of hibernation. The ability to hibernate all winter could not have evolved gradually to survive months of freezing snow.

God’s beautiful design goes down even to the delicate complexity of the pollination of a flower. So, when we look at nature, we should see that a Great Mind and Power Hand are at work (Rom. 1:18-21).

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

 — Via Search for Truth, Volume X, Number 5, September 2, 2018
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-3-

Attitudes in Bible Study

Frank Himmel

The right motive is essential to profitable Bible study. We must desire to learn the truth that makes us free (John 8:31-32), to attain the wisdom that leads to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).

The right motive is just one aspect of the right attitude in Bible study, however. Consider three other essential components.

Open Mind

Jesus said of some students in His day, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive” (Matthew 13:14, ESV). Their problem was closed minds which made them unteachable. We must not be afraid to admit that we are ignorant or to learn that what we have thought is wrong. We must be willing to accept the truth, along with the changes it requires us to make.

Willingness to Work

Have you ever said about someone, “I wish I knew the Bible as well as he or she did”? Well, there was probably a time when that person said the same thing about someone else. Then, he started to work. The Bible contains 66 books, 1,189 chapters, over 31,000 verses, or about 800,000 words. Obviously, no one will master all that in a few sessions! It takes work — consistent effort over a long period of time. In fact, even the best Bible students are constantly learning throughout their lives.

The point is, you won’t get much out of Bible study if you don’t put much into it. A hit-and-miss approach yields little. (You can’t learn much about history or science or mathematics or anything else that way, either.) To thoroughly learn the Bible you have to invest some time and effort. The noble-minded Bereans “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). The blessed man meditates on what he reads (Psalm 1:2).

Expectation of Success

While learning the Bible might seem overwhelming at the beginning, when we break it down into segments and approach it in a systematic way, it is really not so difficult at all.

To be sure there are some challenging parts; the Bible says so (2 Peter 3:16). Nevertheless, it promises us that we can understand it (Ephesians 3:4). God commands us to know His will (Ephesians 5:17), and He does not require the impossible. You can learn! Why not get started today?

— Via The Beacon, September 6, 2020
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-4-

Pressing On to the Goal

Tom Edwards

The above is also the title for the sermon that was preached March 21, 2021. To play the video of it, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Pressing_On_032121.mp4

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-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Shirley Davis
will be having a procedure March 31, due to an irregular heartbeat.  She also continues to have back pain that is constant, but worse when on her feet.

Gege Gornto recently fell and broke her wrist and ulna, which required surgery. She is now back home healing. 

Jim Lively has been experiencing some chest pain, but recent tests (EKG, heart monitor, stress test, blood work) have not revealed anything serious.  He will be seeing his neurologist tomorrow.

Jaydin Davis can also use our prayers.  She has been having some episodes of fainting.

Also: Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood,  Ginger Ann Montero, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Deborah Medlock, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) God’s Regret and Foreknowledge (Kyle Pope)
2) A Clear View of Him Who is Invisible (Jason Hardin)
3) A Vital Perspective (Frank Himmel)
4) Fleeing and Pursuing (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

God’s Regret and Foreknowledge

Kyle Pope

Although God chose Saul to be the first king over the nation of Israel, after he disobeyed the Lord’s command to destroy Amalek, the Holy Spirit records God’s declaration to Samuel — “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments” (1 Sam. 15:11a, NKJV). This is restated, after Samuel told Saul that God had rejected him as king. The text records, “And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:35). This reveals a challenging issue concerning the nature of God. Scripture makes it clear that God “knows all things” (1 John 3:20), and is fully aware of all things that will happen in the future. David reveals that God knew the words he would speak before he said them (Ps. 139:4). Daniel said that God knows “what shall come to pass” (Dan. 2:29, KJV). God tells Isaiah that only He can “make known the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10, NIV). How then can it be that the actions of Saul caused God to feel “regret” (1 Sam.15:11, 35)?

The word used in 1 Samuel 15:11 and 35 is the Hebrew verb nacham. It means “to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted” (Brown, Drivers, Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 636-637). The context determines when it has the positive sense of comfort and when it has the negative sense of sorrow or regret. For example, when Noah was born his father Lamech said, “This one will comfort (nacham) us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed” (Gen. 5:29, NKJV). When Isaac married Rebekah, Scripture tells us that in his marriage “Isaac was comforted (nacham) after his mother’s death” (Gen. 24:67). In other contexts, however, it can refer to the sorrow that leads to a change in behavior. For example, God, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel as “Ephraim,” the name of one of its most prominent tribes, quotes her to say, “Surely, after my turning, I repented (nacham); and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth” (Jer. 31:18-19).

This is the same word that is used in Genesis 6:6-7 concerning God’s anger over the wickedness of the world before the flood. Scripture declares, “the Lord was sorry (nacham) that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6:6). This is restated after declaring His intention to flood the earth. The Lord said, “I am sorry (nacham) that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7b). Older translations put it that “it repented” God that He had done this (KJV, ASV). This, however, reflects a now archaic use of the word repent that does not involve wrongdoing. The New Oxford American Dictionary now defines the word repent to mean, “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” God cannot commit sin, and therefore cannot repent in that sense of the word.

A similar misunderstanding can arise from modern translations that render this word regret when applied to God. To say that God “regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:35, NKJV, NASB, ESV), leaves the impression that God did not know what Saul would do. This is not the idea. James declared, “known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18). The regret that God felt over Saul’s actions or the sinfulness of the world before the flood was not the result of ignorance or surprise. He knows what all men will do before they do it.

So how are we to understand God’s attitude toward Saul and the world before the flood? The key may rest in some parallel wording in each of these passages. Notice that in the text in Genesis while it first says that God was “sorry(nacham) it restates this in slightly different wording by adding that, “He was grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6:6b). This may be a type of Hebrew parallelism, by which the same idea is expressed in two similar ways for emphasis. If so, this would clarify that nacham when applied to God is not talking about repentance from wrongdoing, or regret over something God did not know, but sadness, sorrow, and grief over man’s actions. When one grieves it is not always over wrongdoing, or even something he did not know would happen. To grieve is to feel the pain caused by an action that takes place.

In the account of Saul’s sin we see a similar parallel construction. God was said to “regret” (NKJV, NASB) or be “grieved” (NIV) that He made Saul king, and Samuel is said to be “grieved” (NKJV, KJV), “distressed” (NASB), or “troubled” (NIV) by God’s decision to remove Saul (1 Sam. 15:11; cf. 15:35). Here the parallel is not two statements about God, but a statement about Samuel and God. Now, some translations make this seem as if Samuel’s attitude is that he “was angry” (RSV, NRSV) or “was wroth” (ASV) with God, but the same word for Samuel’s attitude is used in verse 35, again in parallel with God’s attitude and virtually all translations take it to refer to Samuel’s grief, sorrow, or sadness—not anger at God.  If this is a type of parallelism, this paints a different picture. It is not that God did not know what would happen. Instead, it simply shows the emotion that He felt when it actually happened. God’s foreknowledge did not take away the sorrow He felt when sin and rebellion happened in time.

In First Samuel there is another interesting use of this word in the same context. In verses 11 and 35 nacham is used of God’s sorrow over Saul’s action, but in verse 29 it is used twice of God’s unchangeable will. When Saul tried to argue with Samuel rather than simply acknowledge his sin, Samuel said of God, “the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent (nacham). For He is not a man, that He should relent (nacham)” (NKJV). This is actually a paraphrase of a passage from the Law of Moses. God led Balaam to declare, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent (nacham); Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19). Both prophetic declarations reveal that when God has decided something, man cannot change His will. Is this a contradiction? In the same passage, is God at one point said to do something that a few verses later He is said not to do? Old Testament commentators Keil and Delitzsch suggest that these passages are approached from different perspectives. In First Samuel verses 11 and 35 they claim that God is speaking “anthropomorphically,” that is, as things appear to man (2.158). In other words, in human interaction with God something might appear to reflect a change, even though God knew all along what He would do. Keil and Deilitzsch go on to suggest that in verse 29, Samuel describes God “theomorphically,” that is, as things appear to God (ibid.). In other words, He knows what He will ultimately do, and does not change. Undoubtedly, when an infinite God communicates to finite creatures many things about His revelations are dependent upon whether they are seen from a divine or human perspective.

Clearly, there have been times when the prayers of men have been able to change God’s mind to some extent. When Israel sinned and God was ready to destroy the Israelites, Moses’s appeal to Him resulted in the fact that the, “Lord changed His mind (nacham) about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exod. 32:14, NASB). This doesn’t mean that God didn’t know what He would do all along, but sometimes the opportunities He offers to people to interact with Him in repentance and prayer are described in terms we can understand. Sometimes this appears to be a way of providing man the chance to change, or appreciate God’s mercy. The sorrow God felt over the wickedness of the world in the days of Noah, or the sinfulness of Saul was not something that caught Him by surprise. Rather, in revealing that these things brought Him sorrow it shows the pain that a loving God can feel when His creation rejects Him. Those who are His people should be moved by this and diligently seek to serve Him faithfully lest we “grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30; cf. Isa. 63:10).

— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 23, Issue 10 (March 7, 2021)
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A Clear View of Him Who is Invisible

Jason Hardin

When we live with full eyes and empty hearts, assurance runs low and conviction wears thin. It’s hard to hope from an empty heart.

When we simply go with the flow of the world – walking and talking and acting and feeling by sight – there will always be plenty to keep our eyes full, but it’s hard to build conviction for things that are never granted my undivided attention. So prayer takes a backseat to the next Netflix episode, Bible reading gets pushed to the back burner of tomorrow, I’ll find the margin to worship on the weekend (as long as my eyes aren’t too full of other, more pressing things)… and I wonder in those dark nights of the soul why I’m struggling to hope with assurance and trust with conviction.

Hebrews 11 reminds us in the form of some powerful examples to look up from the cares and riches and pleasures of life to what cannot be seen with our physical eyes. Consider:

“Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise” (11:8-9).

Why? Why do such a thing? “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (11:10).

Example after example is offered in Hebrews 11 of men and women who hoped with assurance and trusted with conviction. They lived by and died with faith in God’s promises, “having seen them and greeted them from afar” (11:13).

“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (11:22). Joseph could “see” something that wouldn’t happen in space and time for centuries.

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (11:24-26).

“He was looking.” In an era where most eyes were full of the gold and glitter of the Pharaohs, Moses lifted his eyes from the fleeting to focus on the eternal. And what came as a result? His heart wasn’t empty. His hope was sure. His conviction was strong. By faith, he was equipped to endure “as seeing him who is invisible” (11:27).

A clear view of him who is invisible. Think about that today. What could possibly be worth more?

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, March 2021
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A Vital Perspective

Frank Himmel

2 Timothy 3:16-17 is the Bible’s best-known statement of its claim to inspiration: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

The word translated inspired is a compound term that literally means God-breathed. The ESV renders it “breathed out by God.” It is the same claim that Peter made for the Old Testament when he wrote, “. . . no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21, ESV).

The context of these two statements is similar.

Peter had reminded his readers that the gospel is eye-witness testimony, not a cleverly devised tale (1:16-18). It was vital that they remember the prophets’ words and the Lord’s commandments spoken by the apostles (3:1). This was especially the case in view of the fact that false teachers were on the horizon, men who would advocate more permissive standards than what God allows (2:1-22). Peter characterized their teaching as “destructive heresies” (v. 1).

Paul, too, was warning that “difficult times will come.” Men would hold a form of godliness but deny its power (4:5). They would oppose the truth (v. 8). They would deceive and be deceived (v. 13). Timothy was to avoid such people (v. 5) and continue in the instruction of the sacred writings (vv. 14-17), even though he would suffer for doing so (v. 12).

The point in these parallel contexts is obvious: a correct view of the Bible’s inspiration is vital to steadfastness.

Those who have firm faith in God-breathed Scripture will follow its instruction, regardless of what governmental officials or scholars or scientists of various stripes say. Scripture will override the latest studies every time! Neither will the faithful be duped by theologians or preachers who suggest that somehow the Bible does not mean what it says.

On the other hand, a lesser or looser view of inspiration opens the door to rejection of Biblical teaching. Commandments are reduced to suggestions. Sound words are no longer a pattern to be retained (1 Timothy 1:13) but a vague guideline that may be endlessly reinterpreted and adapted to suit . . . or just set aside altogether. To be sure, such folks may still hold to a form of godliness, but when you reject God’s word you reject His power for your life.

— Via Pathlights, February 7, 2021
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Fleeing and Pursuing

Tom Edwards

Clicking on the following link will take you to the video sermon preached March 14, 2021 on “Fleeing and Pursuing,” which is based on 1 Timothy 6:11:

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

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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We rejoice with the angels in heaven for our new young sister in the Lord!  Mikaela Jones was recently baptized into Christ for the remission of her sins and to become part of the family of God!   

It was also good to have several of our members back with us, after their having been away for some time, due to the coronavirus!

Jan Bartlett was not able to be with us Sunday, due to a very bad cold.

Ginger Ann Montero was also not feeling well enough to be with us Sunday.

And for continual prayer: the family and friends of Ann Vandevander who recently passed away; Also Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood,  Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
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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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Boaz and Ruth: Ancient Examples for a Postmodern World (Greg Chandler)
2) Walking (Wayne Goff)
3) “OMG”  (R.J. Evans)
4) Divisions That Should Not Be (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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Boaz and Ruth: Ancient Examples for a Postmodern World

Greg Chandler

The people of God are troubled by the rapid downward spiral of morality. While there is a host of reasons for this decline, the overarching principle can be summed up in the word postmodernism. Briefly defined, postmodernism is the belief that there is no absolute truth; instead, each determines personal truth and lives by this personal standard.

Though the term postmodern makes this idea sound new, it is ancient. The book of Judges attests to this fact with the author stating, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25). The book of Judges illustrates Israel descending into tribalism and taking on the character of their Canaanite neighbors instead of their holy God. Several of the accounts recorded in the book are shocking even by 21st century standards. However, not everyone fell prey to this postmodern wickedness.

The short book of Ruth begins with the timestamp “in the days when the judges ruled” (1:1a). A reader who just finished the preceding book of Judges might expect a terrible story to follow and would likely continue that belief through the first part of the book. The storyline begins with a famine-stricken family traveling to another land. In their exile, the husband and two sons die, leaving only the now-widowed Naomi. Consumed with grief, she changes her name to Mara (bitter), stating, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (1:20). While one can sympathize with the plight of Naomi, her bitterness temporarily shielded her from seeing one of the greatest blessings an individual can have: a friend.

While in exile, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. After the sons’ deaths and Naomi’s decision to return home, both daughters-in-law offered to go with her, with Ruth making this a reality. Renouncing her people and gods, Ruth promised to stay by her mother-in-law’s side: “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge” (1:16). Impoverished, Ruth took advantage of God’s protection of the poor (see Leviticus 23:22) and worked to provide for this family of two destitute women. With nothing for personal gain, she showed a spirit of selflessness uncommon in this wicked time.

As she cared for her mother-in-law, Ruth harvested in a field belonging to Boaz. While there was a likely physical attraction to Ruth, Boaz was more impressed by her ethic: “But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!’” (2:11-12). Boaz protected Ruth and blessed her with abundant portions. In a happy conclusion, Boaz married the young woman and willingly cared for her and Naomi. These two godly souls did right by others while their fellow countrymen did right in their own eyes.

Like Boaz and Ruth, godly individuals of the 21st century are surrounded by corruption; lack of respect for God, deviant sexual behavior, and antagonism for others are but a few of the commonalities with the time of the judges. In this situation, it would be easy to imitate Naomi and become bitter at the prospects that lay ahead. However, to do so would miss what Boaz, Ruth, and a host of godly people who lived in godless times teach: Be the light in the darkness. This is done by not giving up on God. While it may appear that “the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me,” such a spirit restricts one from finding opportunities to let light shine. Just after explaining how His people would be persecuted, Jesus commanded, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Even when it looks like the cause of righteousness is being defeated, give glory to the Father.

Echoing the Lord’s words, the apostle Paul encouraged godliness in this way: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). The people of God will not defeat postmodernism at the ballot box, nor will they be able to lead a massive uprising to reclaim culture. Emulating the example of Boaz and Ruth, wickedness can be repulsed by doing good when and where one can. If the evening news creates alarm about the direction of society, turn it off and find an opportunity to help someone. In doing so, light will shine in darkness and God will be glorified.

This godly couple had no ambitions to have their story recorded for future readers; however, God knew it was needed. Not only did He record their story, He also allowed them to have a place in the genealogy of His Son. Christians have also been allowed to be a part of this family; commitment to glorifying God allows entry into His family through His Son (see II Timothy 1:9). In humility, may each modern child of God live like these ancient saints. May each honor God by doing good and, in the words of the old hymn, “brighten the corner where you are.”

— Via Bible Articles from the Gooch Lane church of Christ, March 7, 2021
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Walking

Wayne Goff

After my total knee replacement surgery, everyone has been concerned with how well I walk. Are you using a walker? Have you progressed to a cane? Are you able to walk unassisted? I appreciate the concern, and with the Lord’s help along with the doctor, nurses and therapists, I am progressing well. But like everything else in my experience, I began to compare my physical walk to our spiritual walk.

Walking: The Gospels

The word “walk” and its derivatives appear more than 100 times in the New Testament alone. This is not surprising, since man needs mobility to get along in life. Often in the Gospel accounts, “walk” refers to literal walking, or man’s inability to“walk.” Jesus cured the lame and gave them the ability to walk again (Matt. 9:5; 11:5). What a blessing! If Jesus could restore my original left knee to its perfect condition, how blessed would I be?

But we are more interested now with the figurative “walk.” The Pharisees asked Jesus the question: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders…?” (Mk. 7:5). They were obviously referring to the lifestyle of a Jew. John used this figure when the multitude of Jews stopped following Jesus: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (Jn. 6:66).

The disciple of Christ is expected to live according to the instructions of Christ. Jesus said in John 8:12, “…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” To walk in darkness is to walk in ignorance of Jesus’ teaching. Read John 11:9-10 and John 12:35 as well.

Walking: Acts & Epistles

The figure of “walking” is expanded in the rest of the New Testament. Acts 9:31 says, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” The new converts which made up churches of Christ in the first century walked “in the fear of the Lord,” or in obedience to His commands.

Throughout the world’s history, God has given man free will and permitted him to “walk” in his own ways (Acts 14:16). Free will though does not mean permission! God’s love, patience and longsuffering allowed man to walk according to his own dictates in order to learn that it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23)!

Disciples of Christ today “walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had…” (Rom. 4:12). One is saved at the point of baptism and arises from the waters to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). This new walk is in harmony with the Spirit (Rom. 8:1). It requires faith (belief, trust) in Jesus to live this way. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). So how do you walk by faith? By reading the New Testament, understanding what it says, and following its instructions.

Paul said “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3). We walk physically in this world, just like every other human being. But we do not live according to the walk of the world!

In the book of Ephesians, Paul repeatedly instructs us to “walk” properly. Walk “worthy of the calling with which you were called” (4:1), “walk in love” (5:2), “walk as children of light” (5:8), “walk circumspectly” (5:15). It is extremely important to “walk” (act) like a Christian should.

Falling?

Finally, with a new knee, it is important not to fall. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). How important it is to not fall — in both the physical and the spiritual realm. So, dear reader, how is your walk?!

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 10, Page 3, March 7, 2021
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“OMG”

R.J. Evans

There is an expression, involving the name of God, which is used extensively today — “Oh my God!”  We hear it on TV, at work, at school, in the home — just about everywhere!  One of the most commonly used texting expressions today is “OMG” — “Oh my God!”  How close do we pay attention to the words that we use?  The words we choose to express ourselves are very important.  Our Lord tells how important it is to use proper speech in Matthew 12:36-37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Thus, we should be very selective in choosing our words.

Since God is our Creator and Lord, we ought to speak of Him respectfully.  In Matthew 6:9, Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer.  He begins with “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”  “Hallowed” means “to hold as holy, sacred or revered.”  Under the Old Law (one of the Ten Commandments), God told the Israelites, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7).  Taking God’s name in vain is to treat it lightly, as if it is useless, a part of idle speech, which manifests disrespect for His name.  The Hebrew word for “vain” comes from a word that means “to rush over something or to be careless with it.”  Some of the Jews were so concerned about not committing this sin that they went so far as to  totally avoid using certain names of God (such as Yahweh/Jehovah) in their normal conversations.

In Leviticus 19:12, there was a warning not to profane the name of God.  To profane the name of God is a serious matter.  The term “profane” means “to treat something sacred with abuse, irreverence or contempt.”

Let it be understood that we are not saying, nor are we implying, that the various names of God cannot be used in conversation.  They can and should be used, but, always in a reverent and respectful manner.  His name should never be used as an exclamation, “filler” or slang word, as is the case in today’s use of the phrase “Oh my God!” At times we hear people using other expressions as slang such as “My Lord!,” “Good Lord!,” “Lordy, Lordy!,” or “Oh Lord!”  And, again, the most commonly used expression in texting today is “OMG” — “Oh my God!”  As Christians we have the responsibility of keeping our speech pure and above reproach.  We must constantly guard against using the Lord’s name as an exclamation, a “filler,” flippantly, or in a vain and derogatory manner.

We are reminded of the words of the Psalmist: “Holy and reverend is His name” (Psa. 111:9)

— via R.J. Evan’s Facebook site, March 3, 2014
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Divisions That Should Not Be

Tom Edwards

This video sermon, as titled above, was preached March 7, 2021. To play it, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Divisions_030721.mp4
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Ann Vandevander who passed away recently.    

The medication Ginger Ann Montero is now on for her shortness of breath and congestive heart failure has been helping. She will be have some more tests performed this Wednesday.

Melotine Davis had an allergic reaction toward something that has caused her right eye to be swollen and shut and has affected the other eye almost the same way.

Doyle Rittenhouse had been nauseous last Sunday morning, due to the 2nd covid-19 vaccine he received.  But he is now doing better.

And for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.

Daylight Saving Time begins March 14 at 2 a.m. 
Don’t forget to set your clock forward one hour before going to bed.
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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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Lessons from the Ark (Kyle Pope)
2) Memorials (Dennis Abernathy)
3) Don’t Treat Prayer Like a Spare Tire (Mike Johnson)
4) The Peaceful Coexistence of God’s People in His Kingdom (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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Lessons from the Ark

Kyle Pope

In 1981 a movie came out that was a fictional adventure entitled Raiders of the Lost Ark about an adventurous archaeologist named Indiana Jones who gets caught up in a search for the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The film was not only the top-grossing film of that year, but has remained one of the highest grossing films of all time. Most people have seen the movie and could tell the highlights of its story line. Fewer people, however, could relate the true lessons that the real Ark of the Covenant teaches us.

What Was the Ark of the Covenant?

The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlaid with gold that God commanded the Israelites to construct after their exodus from Egypt. It sat in the most holy part of the tabernacle (and later in the temple). On its sides were rings into which two wooden poles, also overlaid with gold, were inserted. On top of the chest was a lid called the “mercy seat,” with two angelic figures called “cherubim” on each end of the lid. While the Bible doesn’t give a detailed description of these cherubim, we know they had “wings” stretched out towards one another (Exod. 25:20). In many ancient Near Eastern cultures cherubim were portrayed as creatures with the body of a lion, wings of a bird, and the head of a man. The Ark contained the tablets of testimony, Aaron’s rod that budded and the golden pot of manna (Heb. 9:4). A complete description is given in Exodus 25:10-22.

The Ark was a sacred object around which all Israelite worship of God centered. It was sacred, not because of its beauty or as some type of idolatrous relic to be revered. It was sacred because it was the place where God spoke to Israel. Referring to the “mercy seat” God said, “there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Exod. 25:22, NKJV). The Ark was only to be carried by the Levites, the tribe from which all priests were to come (Deut. 10:8). It was placed in the most holy place of the tabernacle, then later in the most holy place of the temple. The High Priest came before the Ark once a year, after offering a sacrifice for sin (Lev. 16:2-3; Heb. 9:7). While God’s presence fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:24), during the time God’s covenant was in place with the Israelites, His presence was focused in a special way upon the Ark of the Covenant. In the destruction of the city of Jericho the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the priests as they marched around the city seven days leading to the collapse of the walls in accordance with God’s command.

What lessons does this ancient object of Old Covenant worship teach us today?

1. Obedience. When the Lord revealed how the Israelites were to construct the Ark and then how it was to be used, the Lord expected obedience! Scripture tells us that Bezaleel, an Israelite craftsman, followed every detail of the instructions that the Lord had given (Exod. 37:1-9). Years later God’s expectations of absolute obedience were further underscored. A man named Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark as it was carried on an ox-cart. Uzzah was not authorized to touch the Ark and because of this the Lord struck him dead! (2 Sam. 6.) The Ark teaches us that God demands our obedience.

2. The Holiness of God. Scripture tells us that the Ark was a symbol of the heavenly realities of God’s glory. The Hebrew writer describes the various objects that were in the two chambers of the tabernacle (and later the temple) called the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. In describing these things he calls them “copies of the things in heaven” (Heb. 9:23). It is unclear if this is literal or these objects symbolized spiritual realities of things in heaven. It is clear that in several passages in the Old Testament God is described as the One who “dwells (or “sitteth” KJV) between the cherubim” (Psa. 99:1; cf. 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chron. 13:6; Psa. 80:1; Isa. 37:16). One principle this clearly illustrates is God’s separation from sin. Do we remember what happened after Adam and Eve sinned? Before their sin they enjoyed direct access to God in Eden. God’s nature, however, is such that any violation of His word cannot be tolerated. Sin cannot come into His presence. When the man and woman were expelled from Eden we are told that God “placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). The Ark symbolized God’s separation from man because of sin and the absolute holiness of His nature.

3. The Means of Access to God. Whether the Ark of the Covenant still existed in the time of Jesus or not is unclear. In Josephus’ account of the Roman general Pompey entering the Most Holy Place before the time of Christ, he mentions the presence of the golden table and lampstand, but not the Ark of the Covenant (Antiquities of the Jews 14.4.4). The original Ark may have been destroyed or carried off in the fall of Jerusalem recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:19. Jesus’ life and death, however, introduced a new and profound opportunity to mankind. Jeremiah had prophesied about a time when the people would no longer have to look to the Ark. Generations of souls had not been granted access to the most holy part of the temple before the time of Jesus’ death. Yet, the Bible tells us that when Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matt. 27:51). This event demonstrated what Jesus offered to mankind — access to God. Was mankind no longer separated from God because of sin? No, but a means of access to God had been opened. The Hebrew writer tells us that in Jesus’ death He opened the way of access to God. He declared, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). Christ offers mankind the way to access the holiness of God. The lesson is that while God still requires obedience, and is still separate from sin, through Christ (and Christ alone) there is access to God. All human beings must take advantage of the opportunity that is granted to us to attain access to God through faith and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Failure to do so leaves us cut off from access to God.

— Via Faithful Sayings, Issue 15.46, November 17, 2013
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-2-

Memorials

Dennis Abernathy

A memorial is “anything, as a monument, intended to preserve the memory of a person or event.” There are many memorials, located in prominent places in many cities and towns. Countries have statues celebrating leaders and great men, and their various accomplishments. Memorials also take the form of special days, set aside to remember special events, like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc., or special men, like Lincoln, Washington, or Christopher Columbus. But the greatest of all memorials is the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus at the Passover Feast, just prior to His crucifixion. Its greatness is seen in what it represents: the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus. Jesus said in Matt. 26:28: “Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it the disciples and said, take eat, this is my body. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink from it all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” The apostle Paul reiterated the same (1 Cor. 11: 23-26), showing its solemnity and purpose (vs. 27-33). Could there ever be a greater and more fitting memorial?

We can memorialize men, but we can never pay tribute to anyone who did more for mankind than did Jesus. We can pay tribute to many battles, but never one that had more significance than when Jesus overcame sin and death for fallen man. Each first day of the week, we are again reminded of His great sacrifice. Observing this great memorial helps us remember, until He comes again, what He has done for us. It is central to our faith and service to the One who died for us. What a great memorial, with great meaning, to be observed with great joy and reverence. Think on these things.

— Via Search for Truth, Volume XIII, Number 30, February 21, 2021
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-3-

Don’t Treat Prayer Like a Spare Tire

Mike Johnson

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the spare tire in your automobile?  Many people do not.  Many do not even check to see if they have a spare tire in their trunk.  However, there is a time when all attention is on the spare tire, and that is when one of the other tires goes flat.  Suddenly, in this emergency, the spare tire gets much attention.

Many people treat prayer in the same way that they treat their spare tire.  They neglect prayer most of the time and only turn to it in cases of an emergency.  Prayer is not a part of their lives, but it is just something that they occasionally turn to when there is some great need.

Prayer should be an essential part of the life of a child of God.  It should not be an occasional endeavor.  Jesus prayed a great deal, and we are to be followers of Jesus.  A good question is, “How can a prayerless person be a follower of Him who prayed so much?”

I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  This verse does not mean we are to be involved in constant prayer.  Instead, “without ceasing” means that we are to be regularly engaged in prayer.  We are never to abandon it; it is to be a part of our lives.

Another critical passage is Romans 12:12.  This passage says that we are to “continue steadfastly” in prayer.  The NASB says, “devoted to prayer.”

 We need to make sure that we do not treat prayer like people generally handle their spare tires.  Prayer should not merely be something to which we turn in an emergency.  Instead, it should be an essential part of our lives.

— Via Seeking Things Above, Volume 1, Number 2, May 2020
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-4-

The Peaceful Coexistence of God’s People in His Kingdom

Tom Edwards

The above is the title for the sermon preached February 28, 2021 and can be accessed at the following link:

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

——————–

-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Ginger Ann Montero,
who has been having shortness of breath recently, was diagnosed last week with congestive heart failure, which she is now on medication for and will be undergoing more tests.  

Rick Cuthbertson did well with his 2nd covid-19 vaccine last Wednesday and will be resuming his cancer treatments — 1 pill every day (Monday through Friday) for 2 weeks, and then 2 weeks off, etc.

Donald & Michelle Sears are both over their recent illnesses (pneumonia preceded by covid-19).

I was also glad to hear that Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse, who both had their 2nd covid-19 vaccine Friday, will be able to start back to church with us this coming Sunday.

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home,  Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood,  Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Understanding Apocalyptic Literature (Mark Mayberry)
2) Is Ezekiel 28:14 Referring to Satan? (Kyle Pope)
3) Bible “Math” (Part 4: More “Division”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Understanding Apocalyptic Literature

Mark Mayberry

The Book of Revelation is one of the most neglected and one of the most abused books in Holy Scripture. Many consider it baffling, and lay it aside, unread and unappreciated. Others, spellbound by its symbolic nature, twist and pervert its message to fit their preconceptions. Neither approach is acceptable. Christians believe that all inspired Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To comprehend the Patmos message, we must recognize its distinctive characteristics.

The Book of Revelation is written in an apocalyptic style. Like poetry, fictional novels, or historic narratives, apocalyptic literature has its own distinct forms. Several examples are found in the Old Testament: Ezekiel (chapters 37-41), Daniel (chapters 7-12), and Zechariah (chapters 9-12). The New Testament makes limited use of this technique. John’s Revelation is apocalyptic, along with those sections in the synoptic gospels that describe the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).

Various extra-Biblical writings also employed this style: The Secrets of Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, Baruch, Fourth Ezra, etc. Although the Book of Revelation is similar to these noncanonical books, it is distinctive in several respects. The Revelation of John is divinely inspired; these other documents are the product of human wisdom. The Apocalypse identifies its author, while many apocryphal books are pseudonymous. There are also differences in content, form, and message. Moreover, John’s message harmonizes with the rest of divine revelation, while the aforementioned apocryphal books often contradict Holy Scripture.

Apocalyptic literature reflects an hour of desperate need. Trials, suffering, sorrow, and near-despair furnish the soil in which this style flourished. Daniel and Ezekiel wrote during the Babylonian exile, providing comfort and strength to God’s people. Many non-canonical apocalyptic books were written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100 when the Jewish nation was struggling for its very life. Early in this period, Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to obliterate the customs and religion of the Hebrews. Later threats also arose. In like manner, Revelation was written in a time of persecution. First Century Christians suffered under an autocratic, contemptuous, and corrupt political system. John sought to encourage believers to remain faithful. Looking beyond the perilous present, Revelation portrays God’s ultimate triumph over sin and Satan.

Apocalyptic literature was relevant to the historical situation of the day; its imagery reflecting the realities of a specific time. This is not to say that it has no meaning for succeeding generations, including our own. In writing to Christians at Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus, Paul dealt with particular problems and concerns. Nevertheless, New Testament epistles continue to instruct and exhort successive generations. So also with the Book of Revelation. It was written to First Century Christians who were suffering persecution. Yet, its message remains relevant today.

Through signs and symbols, the Apocalypse of John presents a message of hope, illustrating the maxim that man’s adversity is God’s opportunity. The Omnipotent-Omnipresent-Omniscient One is still in control. We may not know what the future holds, but we know Him who holds the future. No matter the obstacles or opposition, despite the fury of the evil one or the flames of persecution, God’s plan, purpose, and people will finally triumph. Victory is assured, if we remain faithful to the end.

Like all apocalyptic literature, the Book of Revelation is symbolic, setting forth its message through signs, symbols, and visions. John wrote in dangerous times when it was safer to hide one’s message in images than to speak plainly. Drawing heavily upon symbols found in the Old Testament, his writing could be clearly understood by those who were familiar with the Sacred Writings, but it was opaque and incomprehensible to outsiders. Nonetheless, the primary purpose of such symbolism was not to confound and confuse, but rather to enlighten and inform, to stabilize and strengthen, to exhort and encourage. Early Christians had no difficulty understanding the Patmos visions because they were familiar with this style of writing. We can also understand John’s message if we interpret it as those First Century disciples would have.

A unique characteristic of Revelation is its symbolic use of numbers. Apart from numeric sequences, one symbolizes singularity, two symbolizes strength, three symbolizes the godhead, four symbolizes the earth with its four corners, six symbolizes brokenness, i.e., that which falls short of perfection. Seven and ten symbolize completeness, fullness, and perfection. Twelve carries religious connotations, such as the twelve tribes of Israel, or the twelve apostles of Christ. Combinations of these numbers, such as 24, 1,000, or 144,000, expand upon these ideas.

Visual imagery dominates apocalyptic literature. In the book of Daniel, successive world empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome are depicted as a great image of diverse metals; later they are characterized as savage beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a nameless and dreadful horned beast that devoured, crushed and trampled down all that had gone before. In the Book of Revelation, evil forces are portrayed as fearful and foreboding beasts, arising from the sea and the land. Satan himself appears as a great red dragon. These symbols appeal to the senses as well as to reason – creating impressions, stirring emotions, and not merely communicating propositions. As a divine unveiling, it commands, “Come and See,” as well as “Hear and Understand.”

John’s Apocalypse depicts an epic struggle between good and evil, revealing the power and majesty of Christ, setting forth the foreknowledge and sovereignty of God, foreshadowing the downfall of those forces arrayed against God’s people, and foretelling the defeat of Satan. The Book of Revelation is a message of victory and triumph. Although the present distress may seem great, the Almighty is upon His throne. No persecuting power can frustrate the righteous purpose of God.

Revelation pictures the conflict between two warring powers: God and Satan. However, it would be a mistake to consider these two as equal in might. God is infinitely stronger than Satan. The great deceiver continues his scheming plots only because God permits him to do so. In the end, Satan and his followers will be utterly destroyed by fire from heaven. His doom is portrayed as a “fait accompli” (Rev. 20:7-10). Forces of good will ultimately triumph over the forces of evil.

The central figure in this story is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is variously depicted in the book: John’s first vision is of Christ standing in the midst of His churches with eyes like fire, feet like fine brass, hair like wool, white as snow, and with a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. Later He appears as a lion, representing regal and royal power (Rev. 5:5). When pictured as a root, He represents Davidic lineage (Rev. 5:5; 22:16). As the rider on a white horse, He symbolizes victory over evil (Rev. 19:11). Most important is the symbol of Christ as the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:6). Redemption and salvation are made possible by His sacrifice on the cross (Rev. 1:5). Because of His humble obedience to the will of the Father, He alone is worthy to open the sealed book that discloses events to come (Rev. 5:6-10).

In its own way, each metaphor tells an important truth about Christ. He is before all things; all things were created in Him, and for Him (Col. 1:16-18). This is the abiding message of Revelation: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of our hope, no matter how grim circumstances may appear. Christ, the Lamb and Lion, will triumph over Satan. His victory is certain. The only uncertainty is, “What will disciples do?” Will they/we cower in fear? Will they/we compromise their/our faith? Will they/we courageously stand for the truth, even in the face of death? “If anyone has an ear, let him hear!”

— Via Truth Magazine, October 2011, Volume LV – Number 10, Pages 26-27
——————–

-2-

Is Ezekiel 28:14 Referring to Satan?

Kyle Pope

Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight begins with the prophet being instructed to speak to the “prince of Tyre” (vs 2). In the middle of the chapter the prophet is told to “take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre” (vs. 12). What follows, in this lamentation is wording that has led some commentators to conclude that this is speaking of Satan. The lamentation says to the king of Tyre, “you were in Eden, the garden of God” (vs. 13), “you were the anointed cherub” (vs. 14) and “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you” (vs. 15). In my judgement there is nothing in the text that indicates that this is referring to Satan, but rather it is using references to Eden and heaven to illustrate the change in the relationship which Tyre enjoyed with the Israelites and God, as a result of the sins of the current king of Tyre.

Centuries before the time of Ezekiel, the Davidic monarchy had established a special relationship with the kingdom of Tyre and its head, Hiram. When David took the throne, Hiram sent cedars to David, from which his palace was built (2 Samuel 5:11;1 Chronicles 14:1). There was a friendship and affection which these two kings shared for one another. After David’s death, Scripture says that “Hiram had always loved David” (1 Kings 5:1). Upon learning of Solomon’s rise to the throne, Hiram declares to Solomon:

“…Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them” Hiram also said: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, for He has given King David a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, who will build a temple for the LORD and a royal house for himself!” (2 Chronicles 2:11, 12, NKJV).

Hiram is very instrumental in the construction of the temple, to which he refers. Solomon made a treaty with Hiram (1 Kings 5:12), Hiram supplied Solomon with many of the supplies necessary for the building of the temple (1 Kings 5:8-10) as well as a master craftsman named Huram (or Hiram) who was half Israelite (2 Chronicles 2:13-16) who made many of the articles in the temple. Solomon gave Hiram wheat, pressed oil (1 Kings 5:11) and twenty cities in Galilee (1 Kings 9:11). Even after the building of the temple, ships from Hiram brought gold, silver, and ivory to Solomon every three years (2 Chronicles 9:21). This bond of friendship and cooperation was remembered long after Solomon. In the time of Amos, when Tyre had not given assistance to Israel in conflict with Edom, Tyre is rebuked because it “did not remember the covenant of brotherhood” (Amos 1:9).

As time went on, Tyre further betrayed this “covenant of brotherhood.” The Lord through Joel, rebuked Tyre for carrying off gold from the Israelites and selling some of them into slavery to the Greeks (Joel 3:4-6). By the time of Ezekiel, this covenant had been even further betrayed. Ezekiel was a priest who had been carried off with some of the early captives taken with Jehoiachin, king of Judah (Ezekiel 1:1-3). While Babylon exercised control over Judah, God had instructed the people through Jeremiah not to resist Babylon, but to submit to their yoke (Jeremiah 27-29). God gave a similar instruction to the king of Tyre (Jeremiah 27:3) a man history records was named Ithobal or Ethbaal III (Josephus’ Against Apion, I.21). Unfortunately, Zedekiah, the king who reigned in place of Jehoiachin, did not follow this instruction, leading Nebuchadnezzar to besiege Jerusalem and eventually destroy the temple and kill him (2 Kings 25). During this time Ithobal, the king of Tyre, looked on the fall of Jerusalem with joy, saying of Jerusalem, “Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste” (Ezekiel 26:2). In response to this arrogance, and failure to heed the Lord’s instructions regarding Babylon, the Lord begins a three chapter rebuke of Tyre in Ezekiel 26-28, declaring, “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people” (Ezekiel 26:7). Josephus records that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years, after which its rule was reduced from a monarchy to simply judges (Against Apion, I.21).

Some conclude that chapter twenty-eight refers to Satan because of its similarity to Isaiah’s proverb against the king of Babylon which refers to “Lucifer” (Isaiah 14). This text, like Ezekiel, starts off talking about the king of Babylon and then speaks of “Lucifer” (a name meaning “Day Star”) lifting himself up only to be brought down (Isaiah 14:12,13). While modern man associates the name Lucifer with Satan no such association is ever made in the Bible. It is not until the Middle Ages that commentators begin to interpret Isaiah as a reference to Satan, applying the name Lucifer to him, rather than to the king of Babylon.

Ezekiel 28 is a similar text. Many of the references refer directly to the kinship between Israel and Tyre, particularly as it relates to the temple. Tyre was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (28:12) as the supplier and craftsman that fashioned the temple. The precious stones (28:13) were those found on the priests’ breastplate (Exodus 39:10-13), an image which Ezekiel, as a priest would clearly associate with the temple. Tyre was the “anointed* cherub that covers” (28:14a) in the sense that Huram, the craftsman which king Hiram sent appears to have constructed the large extended cherubim that covered the ark in the center of the temple (2 Chronicles 2-4). She was “upon the holy mountain” (28:14b) as a neighboring ally assisting Israel in the construction of the very house of God. Yet, because so much had changed from the time of Hiram to the time of Ithobal, God declares “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you” (Ezekiel 28:17). The “covenant of brotherhood” was gone. These are sad words, to the king of Tyre —but they refer to the king of Tyre and not to Satan.
____________________
* Gesenius translates this “extended cherub.”

— Via Faithful Sayings, November 8, 2009, Issue 11.45
——————–

-3-

Bible “Math” (Part 4: More “Division”)

Tom Edwards

To hear and see this video sermon that was preached February 21, 2021, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_4.mp4

——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson
recent scan showed that part of his cancer has increased, but also that another part has decreased.  So the plan is to continue with these new treatments.  But they will first wait to see how things go after his second covid-19 vaccine that he will receive this Wednesday.

Ginger Ann Montero has been having some shortness of breath, which she will be seeing a doctor for.

Sawyer James Sweat, who was born prematurely and spent a few weeks in the hospital, is now home for the first time and doing well.

It was good to have Bennie & Deborah Medlock back with us, after their having recovered from covid-19 and completing their quarantine!

We are also glad that Jan Bartlett’s recent follow-up continues to show that all is well.

I was also given for the “News & Notes” a prayer request for our nation and our leaders.

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home,  Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.

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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Job: A Great Man of Faith (Robby Davis)
2) Right Attitudes for Faithfulness (Warren Berkley)
3) Strength in Unity (Tom Edwards)
4) Ezekiel 37 (The Vision of the Dry Bones, The Sticks of Judah and Joseph, and God’s Servant “David” to Be King) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Job: A Great Man of Faith

Robby Davis

The Bible gives some good examples of great people of faith. One of which is the story of Job. The story of Job is the story of faith, endurance, and patience winning out against amazing odds.

Job’s life proves that godliness is no defense against adversity. Although Job lived in a way that was pleasing to God, the Lord allowed Satan to test him. The most important aspect in Job’s life was his faith in God. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Job had this faith and feared God (Job 1:1). The Bible tells us that he was “blameless” (“perfect,” KJV), “upright,” “fearing God,” and “turning away from evil.” In addition, Job had great prosperity. His sheep provided clothing and food; camels and donkeys provided transportation; and oxen provided food, milk, and the power for plowing. He even owned slaves (1:15-17; 31:13). It is interesting and very rare to see wealth and godliness in the same man. These two characteristics of Job’s life demonstrate how great a man he was.

Job was also concerned with the spiritual condition of the next generation (1:4-5). His godly character manifested itself in his concern for the spiritual welfare of his children. He offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord to atone for the sins, whether ignorantly or presumptuously committed, by his children.

All of the wonderful things that Job did adds to the irony of the things that the Lord allowed to happen to him. Despite all the good things Job did, he had calamities as well.

Job was subjected to three tests. The first was to accept, without sinning, the loss of his possessions and offspring (1:6-22). The second was to endure the destruction of his health without blaming anything on God (2:1-10). The third was to endure false accusation. This is an example of God allowing one of his servants to be persecuted to prove the individual’s fidelity. In each test, the author displays two scenes, one in heaven and one on earth. In heaven, Satan is making a false accusation against Job; on earth, Satan is making a terrible assault against Job.

Job’s first test came when God allowed Satan to destroy all of his possessions. Satan reasoned that the only reason why Job worshiped God was to receive God’s material blessings. He thought that if he took every material blessing away Job would renounce God. God allowed Satan to do this, but Job remained faithful (1:22). Four messengers reported to Job what had happened. The first messenger said that a tribe called the Sabeans had executed his servants and carried away his animals (1:13-15). The second said that the fire of God fell from the sky and had consumed the sheep and more servants (v. 16). The third said that three raiding parties of the Chaldeans carried away his camels and executed more servants (v. 17). The fourth said his family had been killed because a strong wind caused the house to collapse on them (v. 19).

Most men would respond to this situation by blaming these evils on God’s inaction. But, Job showed humility in the sight of God. He tore his robe, shaved his head, fell down, and worshiped God (v. 20). After all of the tragedies that had befallen Job, he never sinned before God.

Job’s second test came when his flesh was tormented by Satan. Satan now figured that Job’s faithfulness remained because he had not afflicted his physical body. God allowed Satan to touch his flesh, but not to kill his body (2:6). Satan struck Job with boils from the “sole of his feet to the top of his head” (2:7). No one believed that he would ever recover so Job’s wife lost all hope for Job and insisted that he curse God and die (2:9). But, Job refused to speak against the Lord and declared his wife a foolish woman.

The third test Job endured was the torment of his three “friends” (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite) who accused Job of being a willful sinner. At first they went to Job and comforted him, but when they saw him, they could hardly recognize him.

They began to weep aloud, tore their robes, and sat with Job for seven days in complete silence (2:13). Then Job cursed the day of his birth and wished he had never been born. His three friends, although well-meaning, tormented Job instead of helping him by demanding that he confess the sins that brought these terrible curses upon him.

Job has now reached the depth of human suffering. He has been robbed of his possessions, his family, and his health. His wife wishes him dead. He is charged of heinous evil by his closest friends. His dignity is gone. His strength is poured out like water, his heart melted like wax. His feeble body sits in ashes wondering why. He has no explanation for the fate that has befallen him. God has spoken nothing.

As Job’s three friends debated Job’s proper course of action, Jehovah manifested himself. In chapter 38 the Lord speaks from a whirlwind. The Lord asked various questions that demonstrated his knowledge and great power. Job replied in chapter 42 that he recognized God as the true God. He despised himself and repented (42:6). The Lord spoke to Eliphaz in anger for him and his two friends because they spoke falsehood about God. He commanded a sacrifice be made of seven bulls and seven rams for themselves (42:7-8). Job prayed for these three friends and the Lord accepted his prayer. After this, Job’s possessions were given back to him twofold. He had 14,000 sheep, 6, 000 camels, 1000 oxen, 1000 donkeys, seven sons, and three daughters (42:12-13).

Job’s life is an example for Christians everywhere. There are many lessons that Christians can learn from the story of Job. Here are a few:

1. Serving God is a lifelong job (1:1-5). Christians need to sacrifice and pray every single day of their lives in order to go on to perfection. We can also help others by praying for them like Job did. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).

2. The righteous are not exempt from suffering. Just because someone is poor or ill does not mean that he is a sinner. We must not confuse wealth with approval from God or illness with sin. See Matthew 9:21-22 and John 9:2-3.

3. Suffering can come “overnight” (1:13-19). No one knows what will be on the morrow. Christians need to be ready for trials. James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

4. Suffering can be devastating (2:1-8). Be humble in the sight of the Lord and in regard to your ability to endure.

5. Friends and family cannot be relied upon in the end (2:9-13). The importance of individual faith needs to be emphasized in the lives of Christians everywhere. Each individual is accountable for his own life. Well-meaning friends and family may give bad advice, but obedience to the Lord’s commandments will ultimately always be right.

— Via Guardian of Truth XLI: 7 pp. 10-11, April 3, 1997
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-2-

Right Attitudes for Faithfulness

Warren Berkley

It is clear to every Bible student: you cannot be faithful to the Lord if your attitude is not in keeping with the teachings of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:17). Attitude has to do with the content of your mind, your disposition and the control you exercise over your emotions.

The simple truth is, the New Testament is loaded with teaching, examples, prohibitions and warnings about attitude. This spiritually healthy instruction should be the basis of our  discipline over our mind. Your attitude toward God is basic. All other phases of attitude are rooted in your attitude toward God. We must hold Him in the highest esteem, revere Him, worship Him and obey Him with wholehearted love and trust (Eccl. 5:1,2; Matt. 22:37; Rom. 12:1,2; Prov. 1:7).

Once your attitude toward God begins to weaken, all other phases of attitude will likely deteriorate. Let us be aware of this and constantly monitor our attitude toward God, seeking to enrich our relationship with Him. Your attitude toward Christ is a component of your attitude toward God. If God is your father, you will love His Son (Jno. 8:42). If you love God and want to obey Him, you will have a favorable and grateful acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. You will regard Him as the perfect expression of deity and humanity, the spotless Son of God who died in order for you to be free from sin and enjoy eternal life. Likewise, you will read and study about His attitude with the highest esteem, seeking to imitate Him in all your behavior.

Your attitude toward others develops out of your reverence for Deity. If you believe in God and follow His Son, your behavior toward others will be based on that. You will seek to do all God has said about how to treat people. You will study and follow the compassion of Christ, as well as His boldness in seeking to save the lost. His relationship to others becomes your pattern (see 1 Pet. 2:18-25).

Your attitude toward other members of God’s family will be suitable, in keeping with all that is written about such relationships. Peter teaches God’s people to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22), and John taught extensively that “we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

Our attitude must endeavor to follow the pattern of unselfish humility demonstrated by our Lord (Phil. 2:1-5). Your attitude toward sin will be fitting. To remain right with God, it is necessary to maintain an abhorrence of sin (Rom. 12:9). If you court the favor of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). It is essential to arm yourself with “the same mind” or attitude Jesus had against sin and error (1 Pet. 4:10).

Your attitude toward life should be realistic and godly, not bitter and angry. If you murmur and complain about your life, and this becomes your habitual attitude — you cannot be what you should be! And when you get to this low state, you need to stop and recognize that the devil has seduced and maneuvered you into this state of constant anger and resentment. While you remain in this mood you cannot develop the love described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, and you cannot grow and taste the kindness of the Lord (1 Pet. 2:1-3).

In the “beatitudes” (Matt. 5:3-12), the Lord addresses every phase or direction of attitude: Your attitude toward God (poor in spirit & hungering and thirsting after righteousness), your attitude toward yourself (meek), your attitude toward others  (merciful), your attitude toward those who oppose you (vss. 10-13), and your attitude toward sin (mourn and purity in heart). Growth and faithfulness depends upon the constant development of these qualities.

— Via The Beacon, January 5, 2020
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-3-

Strength In Unity

by Tom Edwards

I grew up in the Clearwater-Florida area where we had quite a few hurricane-related storms. I can still remember one such night in my youth when my friend Bill and I went out during a particular tempest in order to investigate the damages and disarray it was causing. It was a most exhilarating night to say the least.

The sky was dark and threatening, and many tree limbs had been snapped in two by the strong gales that ripped them apart relentlessly and scattered them about with the rest of the debris that was cluttering the streets and yards. Violently, the wind howled; and many a tree was tested of its pliability. The palm trees were swaying frantically; and huge pine trees appeared as if they were trying to run from the oncoming danger, but could only move their upper portions because their “legs” had frozen from the panic.

We had circled on foot a wide area during this riveting observation; and as we began to head back, we came near a rather large condominium — the Mease Manor. From an aerial view, its backside shape would appear somewhere between a “V” and a flat line: perhaps close to the same degree of a typical boomerang.

Little did I realize, as we walked past the front side of this building, that the back of it was serving as a huge scoop that caught the mighty winds and redirected them in a strongly concentrated turbulent path that we were soon to walk into unaware.

The unexpected encounter of this intense wind made it necessary for me to grab on to a nearby pole in order to stabilize myself. The wind’s velocity felt to be at its strongest point at this area, but perhaps that was because it had become such a concentrated force.

In retrospect, one lesson I can derive from this absorbing experience is the importance and power in a concerted effort. Just like the mighty winds which were made stronger through a concentrated force, unity can serve to increase the strength of God’s people today — and that’s not just a lot of wind!

The old wise man once gave his boys a bundle of sticks in order to illustrate a valuable lesson. Having given this bundle to the first son, the father asked him to break it. This he tried with all his might, but to no avail. The bundle was passed on, and each son strenuously attempted to accomplish his father’s request, but none of them could do so. Finally, the father took the bundle, untied the cord that had bound the sticks together, and began breaking each one individually.  What was the lesson he was trying to instill within his sons? That there is STRENGTH IN UNITY. If his sons would learn to always remain united and not become divided — to be there for each other, to provide moral support when any of them grows weak — their own strength would be greatly increased.

Solomon writes: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up….  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc.  4:9,10,12).

Yes, there is strength in unity; but let us be sure we are becoming united with the right cause. What more noble and needed pursuit could there be today than for the people of the world to become united in the peace and love which God’s word has to offer? To be united in the faith and to be of one mind when it comes to the Scriptures is certainly the desire and the prayer of Jesus Christ for each of us.  Unity in spiritual matters is not only possible, but also commanded (Phil. 2:2; John 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13). May we ever strive to increase our strength by this means.

— Via The Gospel Observer, October 28, 1990
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-4-

Ezekiel 37

Tom Edwards

This video sermon, which was preached February 14, 2021, deals with The Vision of the Dry Bones, The Sticks of Judah and Joseph, and God’s Servant “David” to Rule as King, as seen in Ezekiel 37. To hear and see, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Ezekiel_37.mp4

——————–

-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson
will be having a scan tomorrow to determine whether the last two series of new cancer treatments have been effectual or not.

Nell Teague’s cancer is now in her throat, which she is receiving chemo for. 

Sawyer James Sweat, who was born prematurely a few weeks ago, is still in the hospital.  Though they thought he would be able to be released Monday, a setback has extended that for another 5 days.

Carole Drain
had been under the weather with a stomach bug and redness of throat since Thursday, but is now feeling and doing better.  She was able to have her second covid-19 vaccine Wednesday.

Heather and Cami Kellum are now over their covid-19.

Malachi Dowling is making some major progress since his recent accident.

Those with covid-19: Emma Thomas, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.

And also for continual prayer: the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who recently passed away, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (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) Heirs (Cecil Willis)
2) Why Do You Associate with Sinners? (Frank Himmel)
3) “Training” the Tongue (Wayne Goff)
4) Bible “Math” (Part 3: “Division”) (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

Heirs of God

Cecil Willis

The privileges and blessings of the Christian are very great. But one of our greatest privileges is that of being “heirs of God” (Rom. 8:16). The value of heirship is determined by the value of the inheritance. The inheritance of faithful Christians is one that is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).

In order for one to have a valid claim on an inheritance, he must be able to establish the grounds of his inheritance. The Christian’s claims to an inheritance are indisputable. He is a son or a daughter of God. God said, “I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters” (2 Cor. 6:17-18). But Paul said that if we are children of God, “then (we are) heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16). Our sonship establishes the very highest kind of claim to the inheritance.

HEIRS OF THE PROMISE. The Bible speaks of several different things of which the Christian is the heir. There was a blessing connected with the “promise” that God made to Abraham. God told Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8). This statement to Abraham is called “the promise” in the New Testament. Our inheritance is through the “promise,” and not through the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:18). Thus Paul said, “And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The Hebrew writer declares that God was “minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel” (Heb. 6:17). Thus every blessing that God referred to as coming through that descendant of Abraham (Christ – Gal. 3:16), the Christian is heir to.

HEIRS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The Bible speaks of the righteousness that is of God. “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20). The “righteousness of God” does not here refer to God’s personal righteousness, but to God’s plan by which man can be righteous in his sight. Man can never stand righteous in God’s presence on his own merits alone. Paul says our salvation is not predicated on “our works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves,” but on his “mercy” (Titus 3:5). When man is ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeks to establish his own righteousness in God’s sight, the result is he does not subject himself “to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). In order to be saved one must work righteousness. “. . . in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35). The righteousness of God can only be found in the gospel. In speaking of the gospel, Paul declared, “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God” (Rom. 1:17). Thus when one is an “heir of righteousness,” he is heir to that purity and uprightness in God’s sight which is revealed in the gospel.

HEIR OF SALVATION. To be an heir through the promise or to inherit the righteousness which is through the gospel is to be an heir of salvation. The Hebrew writer said that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). What one receives through the promise, or the righteousness revealed through the gospel, is personal salvation. Man is not intrinsically righteous. He is a sinner. Thus he must be saved from his sin, by the promise, and through the gospel.

HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM. The term “kingdom” is used in at least two senses in the New Testament. Frequently it refers to that “kingdom” into which we were translated when we were delivered out of darkness (Col. 1:13). It therefore sometimes refers to the church, over which Christ rules as King. But on other occasions the word “kingdom” refers to that eternal kingdom. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). On the judgment day, to some He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). It is in reference to this eternal kingdom that James said, “Did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him?” (Jas. 2:5).

We must all be careful as to how we conduct ourselves. We must seek to please him whose heir we are. Of his heirs in the Old Testament, God said when they digressed: “I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them . . .” (Num. 14:12). Let us therefore beware lest we lose our inheritance through the same kind of disobedience.

— Via Truth Magazine,  XV: 26, pp. 3-4, May 6, 1971
——————–

-2-

Why Do You Associate with Sinners?

Frank Himmel

One of the early disciples Jesus called to follow Him was Levi, also known as Matthew. Levi was a tax collector. Levi gave a reception for Jesus and a great crowd of tax collectors attended. The Pharisees and scribes grumbled and asked, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30).

Some viewed Jewish tax collectors as traitors because the taxes went to Rome. Additionally, the tax system then in place was conducive to fraud; doubtless some collectors were cheats (see Luke 3:12-13). Thus the Pharisees disparagingly viewed Levi and his friends as “sinners,” a term they used of those who in their view made no effort to live by the Law. Why would Jesus associate with such people?

Jesus answered, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). Jesus associated with sinners for the same reason a doctor associates with the diseased: to heal them. Ray Summers observed, “What the Pharisees considered to be a discredit to him, he considered to be his very purpose in life.” Consider three observations about Jesus’ answer.

First, Jesus surely did not mean to imply that the Pharisees were well and not sinners. They were just as sick as the tax collectors, sick with self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and pride, as Jesus frequently pointed out. On this occasion He simply answered their question without exploring the question of who is a sinner.

Second, Jesus’ association with these sinners did not in any way minimize sin. He did not associate with them in order to join them in sin. Nothing about His association overlooked or condoned any wrongs they might be doing. To the contrary, He said His purpose was to call them to repentance.

Third, Jesus’ answer does not dismiss the frequent Bible admonitions about choosing our company carefully. Psalm 1 begins with such a caution. Several Proverbs warn of the danger of becoming like those we associate with (e.g., 22:24-25). Paul bluntly wrote, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). In context, he is likely pointing to the spread of doctrinal error as well as sinful conduct.

Christians need balance. We dare not be so foolhardy as to think we are too strong to be influenced away from doing right (1 Corinthians 10:12). But we must not err in the other direction either, assuming a Pharisaic self-righteousness that looks through eyes of disdain instead of mercy. We, too, are the sinners Jesus came to call to repentance.

— Via Pathlights, January 31, 2021
——————–

-3-

“Training” the Tongue

Wayne Goff

In our Wednesday night Bible study we have been looking at the proper use of the tongue. One question concerned the “training” of the tongue. “Training” means to “teach a skill or behavior,” and since the tongue itself has no mind but is only a tool of the human mind, it can be “taught” by  teaching the mind. As simple as this concept is, it needs to be repeated often. The body, including all of its parts, is an instrument for the mind. Romans 6 discusses this in detail and places responsibility for the body’s actions on the person housed in that body! Even if someone is born with genetic predispositions, that person can control the body with the mind, and is obligated to do so. But back to “training” the tongue.

The New Testament teaches us how to properly use our tongue in many places. What good would these instructions do if we could not “train” the tongue to act in a “controlled” manner? So God expects us to both train and control the tongue.

Ephesians 4:15 “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” The truth will find a more receptive audience if it is spoken out of love, and not out of bitterness, anger, sarcasm, or superiority.

Ephesians 4:29 — “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Some people think that they have no ability to control their cursing. They have had a bad habit for so long that it just comes natural to them. Some curse without even knowing that they are doing it! But God expects us to respect those who hear us, and “corrupt” words disrespect all those to whom they are spoken. If we thought more of our neighbors than we do of ourselves, then we would do a better job with our words.

Colossians 4:6“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Personally, I enjoy salt so much that my wife has to remind me to “taste the food before you salt it!” So I can appreciate how speaking with grace makes our words more tasty, more palatable, permitting our “answer” or “response” to others to be easier to accept. Let us not drive away people from the truth by our attitude.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” Paul taught the Thessalonians in a kind, gentle way when he converted them. But he still told them the truth! We cannot be so afraid of offending others that we compromise the truth! On the other hand, we can be both kind and firm in standing for what is right.

2 Timothy 1:13 — “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” So there is a standard of truth that is found in “the pattern of sounds words” taught by the apostles and prophets — the New Testament. Teaching error is “unsound,” and therefore spiritually sick and unhealthy.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 5, Page 2, January 31, 2021
——————–

-4-

Bible “Math” (Part 3: “Division”)

Tom Edwards

To hear and see this video sermon that was preached February 7, 2021, just click on the following link while on the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Bible_Math_3.mp4

——————–

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Frankie Olivia Hadley who passed away February 3 — just 25 days prior to her 94th birthday.  She and her husband Rex had been married for 67 years.  Having lived as a Christian for 62 years, Frankie’s life will continue to bring comfort, encouragement, and blessings in the remembrance of those who knew her.  Let us be keeping all of her family and friends in prayer.

Bennie & Deborah Medlock tested negative for covid-19 last week, which is good news; but Deborah still has 2.5 weeks more of quarantine.  Her taste buds have also continued to improve, but not completely yet.  Also, her back has been giving her some pain, which she attributes to the weather.

Nell Teague’s cancer is now in her throat, which she is receiving chemo for.  (She is Bennie’s cousin.)

Those with covid-19: Heather and Cami Kellum, Emma Thomas, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.

And also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, the staff and residents at the Baptist Village Nursing Home, Vivian Foster, Malachi Dowling, Larry & Janice Hood, Donald & Michelle Sears, Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, and Cameron Haney.
——————–

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 (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

We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation. 


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

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

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