“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Thank You, God (Bryan Gibson)
2) “With All Your Heart” (Kyle Pope)
Thank You, God
Thank you, God, for the gift of Your Son, a gift best described as “indescribable” (2 Corinthians 9:15). He loved ME and gave Himself for Me” (Galatians 2:20)–what more can I say?
Thank you, God, for Your grace, which “has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11), which is greater than all my sin (Romans 5:20-21), which is “manifold” (1 Peter 4:10), which is “exceedingly abundant” (1 Timothy 1:14), and which is “multiplied” to me (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2).
Thank you, God, for Your “tender mercy” (Luke 1:78); and for Your “much patience” or “much longsuffering” (Romans 9:22). You keep giving me opportunities to repent and I sincerely thank You for that (2 Timothy 2:24-26; 2 Peter 3:9-10).
Thank you, God, for the spiritual blessings you lavish upon me “in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3), blessings like redemption and forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), adoption as a child of God (Ephesians 1:5; 1 John 3:1), fellowship with both the Father and Son (1 John 1:3, 7), peace unlike anything the world can give (John 14:27), the privilege of prayer (Hebrews 2:16-18; 4:14-16; James 5:16), victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 2 Timothy 1:10); and an heir to the most wonderful inheritance I can imagine (Romans 8:16-17; 1 Peter 1:3-4).
Thank you, God, for revealing the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:1-5; Acts 13:48), something I can clearly understand if I have the heart of a child (Matthew 11:25).
Thank you, God, for the wonderful plan of salvation revealed in the gospel–for choosing me in Christ, for calling me with your gospel, for saving and sanctifying me, and for promising me the best is yet to come (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
Thank you, God, for those with good and honest hearts (Luke 8:15), who welcome Your gospel as the truth (1 Thessalonians 2:13), and who then gladly obey that same gospel (“God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered”–Romans 6:17). (In other words, my family in Christ).
Thank you, God, for my brothers and sisters in Christ…
1. For the grace given to them (1 Corinthians 1:4).
2. For the gifts/talents/abilities given to them by Your grace (1 Peter 4:10-11).
3. For the way their gifts better equip me to serve You (Ephesians 4:11-13).
4. For how they look out for my well being (1 Corinthians 10:24).
5. For their faith and love (Romans 1:8; 2 Corinthians 8:16; Ephesians 1:15-16; Colossians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Philemon 1:4-5).
6. For their fellowship with me in the gospel (Philippians 1:3-5).
7. For the encouragement, comfort, and joy they continually give me (Acts 28:15; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10; Philemon 1:7).
8. For their generosity (2 Corinthians 9:10-14; Philippians 4:10).
9. For the many sacrifices they make (Romans 16:3-4).
Thank you, God, for the many doors You have opened for me and others to teach the gospel (1 Corinthians 16:8-9; 2 Corinthians 2:12-16).
Thank you, God, for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-4)–put there by You “for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:1-7). Thank You, God, that at least in some instances their policies have contributed to peace and prosperity for me and my fellow man (Acts 24:2-3).
Thank you, God, for all my trials, tribulations, sufferings, distresses, infirmities, etc., because they help keep me humble; they make me more dependent on You (2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 12:7-10); and they help to produce in me some things that are lacking (Romans 5:3-4; James 1:2-4).
Thank you, God, for giving me food, clothing, shelter, good health, safe travel, and many other things I too often take for granted (Matthew 6:25-33; 15:36; Acts 27:35; Romans 14:6; Philippians 4:18-19; Philemon 1:22; 1 Timothy 4:3-5; 6:8; 3 John 1:1-2).
Thank you, God, for really every good thing in my life (Ephesians 5:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18), because I know “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
Thank you, God, for promising to always be with me (Hebrews 13:5-6), even when I “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalms 23:4).
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
— Via Plain Words from God’s Word (This article was originally posted in 3 parts on November 20, 22, 24 for 2023 at Brian’s Facebook site.)
“With All Your Heart”
Mark 12:30 reads—“‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (NKJV). Our world often speaks of acting with “heart,” but unless we are talking health, this usually doesn’t mean the vessel that pumps blood through our body. Instead, it refers to the seat of our emotion and sensation. We refer to those who pursue their interests as “following their heart.” The stomach of a hungry man is playfully said to be, “the key to a man’s heart.” This use of the concept of the “heart” is often set in contrast to pure thought and reason. The foolish lover may be said to “follow his heart, but not his head.” The older woman may counsel the young woman to “listen to her head, and not her heart.”
The heart as it is portrayed in Scripture is not independent of thought and reason. Consider a number of passages that illustrate this. As Jesus taught He explained to His disciples why He used parables and why they were not understood. He said—“the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15). Here Jesus speaks of the heart being able to “understand” but failing to do so. The heart as Jesus portrays it can grow dull. When Jesus spoke of defilement, He helped the people understand that defilement is internal. He taught—“out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” In this text it is the “heart” that thinks. Jesus shows that the heart is the birthplace of defilement, in that it produces the types of behavior that defile the body and mind. In the same way, Scripture elsewhere teaches that it is the heart that can become hardened (Matt. 19:8), thus rejecting the rational influence of God’s word. It is the heart that can doubt (Mark 11:23), thus minimizing the comfort that faith should offer to our thoughts and anxieties.
This is not to suggest that the heart is divorced from emotion. It is the heart that forgives a person. At the end of the parable of the unmerciful servant who refused to forgive although he had been forgiven, in speaking of the servant’s punishment Jesus said—“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matt. 18:35). “Heartfelt” forgiveness is not ritual with no substance. It is genuine. It is meaningful. Although it may be “heart-wrenching” it must be sincere. When Jesus spoke to the scribe about the “first and greatest commandment,” the man said of the text above—“to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mark 12:33). Jesus said that this man was not far from the kingdom.
Unlike the modern concept of the heart that is separate from reason and thought, the heart as the Bible portrays it “thinks.” When Jesus perceived the disciples arguing about who was the greatest, He was said to know the “thought of their heart” (Luke 9:47). How the heart focuses its thoughts, affects how the things of God are received. This, in turn, affects the deeds that one does. The sinner “out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil” (Luke 6:45). The word grows when it is planted in the “noble and good” heart (Luke 8:15). This is what explains conversion. The proud heart who hears the gospel doubts because his dull, hardened heart will not let it grow. Yet, humble hearts, which hear the truth, just as those hearts on the day of Pentecost, will be “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37) and moved to obey the gospel. Paul told the Romans that it is the heart that “believes unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). From a Biblical standpoint the rational acceptance of the word of God produces faith. This is not a faith that comes from imagination or wishful thinking. While faith is not based upon sight (2 Cor. 5:7), it is wrong to hold that it is based upon nothing. God’s word is its source. Paul also told the Romans that—“faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Our love for God must be “with all of our heart.” So many in our world claim wholehearted love for God, yet walk in sin, harbor ungodly thoughts and attitudes, and allow themselves to maintain ignorance of God’s word. Let’s never make the mistake of thinking that giving our “heart” to God just means that we have strong emotions for Him. The “heart” God wants is much more than just our feelings, passions, and emotions. It is that part of us which thinks, believes, forgives, is cut, and is able to motivate us to good works. That is what God demands from us and He will be satisfied with no less.
— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 25, Issue 44, October 29, 2023
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins. For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30). For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service. Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.
Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)