“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) A Good Name (Ecclesiastes 7:1) (Mike Johnson)
2) Mary Magdalene (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
A Good Name (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good name is better than precious ointment . . .” Parents may choose what they consider a good name for their newborn baby. In this text, he is not speaking of a good name in that sense but a good reputation, which the writer compares to costly ointment or “fine perfume” (NIV). In biblical times, expensive ointments were considered extremely refreshing in the sultry East, and people used them lavishly at costly banquets. (Regarding the value, consider the time Mary anointed Jesus’ feet in John 12:3-6.) The text says a good reputation is better than “precious ointment.” An even more emphatic statement occurs in Proverbs 22:1, which says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
The Bible speaks of various people having good reputations or names. Consider some now:
1. Jewish Elders – Hebrews 11, the great chapter of faith, speaks of the elders (ancestors) having obtained “a good testimony” due to their faith (2, 39).
2. Cornelius – Messengers describe Cornelius to Peter even before he became a Christian. They said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews . . .” (Acts 10:22).
3. Ananias – This is the person who taught Paul after the events on the road to Damascus. Paul describes him as a devout man and one who had a “good testimony” among the Jews (Acts 22:12).
4. Demetrius – This early Christian is described by John as having “. . . A good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. . .” (3 Jn. 12).
5. Ruth – In the Old Testament, Ruth receives praise for being devoted to her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi (Ruth 1). When her husband also died, she continued to care for Naomi. Ruth even left her native area of Moab to go to Naomi’s home in Bethlehem to continue her care. While gleaning in a field there, a man named Boaz, the owner of the field, noticed her and inquired about her identity. When he learned her name, he granted Ruth many favors in the work she was doing. When Ruth asked why he did this, he responded, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.” Ruth’s good reputation had preceded her.
6. Timothy – On Paul’s second missionary journey, he came to Derbe and Lystra, where he came in contact with a young man named Timothy. Acts 16:2 says, “He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.” As a young man, Timothy had a good reputation and became Paul’s most constant companion in doing the work of the Lord.
7. Widows – In 1 Timothy 5, Paul discusses widows who would qualify for assistance from the church. Qualifications are listed in verses 9-10; and among these qualifications, she needed to be “well reported for good works.” A good reputation was essential.
8. Elders – In listing the qualifications of an elder, Paul revealed, “Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (I Tim. 3:7). Thus, an elder would need to have a good reputation even among non-believers.
When the Bible speaks of having a good reputation, it doesn’t mean just to have a good reputation, but it means to have one that a person deserves. From a biblical standpoint, what is the value of an underserved good reputation? A person may have a good reputation but a bad character. A good reputation is based on what people know about us — it is how people perceive us — a good character is who we actually are.
There are several ways to acquire an undeserved good reputation. It can come 1) by associating with the right people; 2) some may “inherit” a good reputation from their parents; 3) others might gain it by an outward show of piety like the Pharisees (Mt. 6:1-8). One example of an underserved good reputation is the church at Sardis, which many viewed as being spiritually “alive,” but Christ said it was “dead” (Rev. 3:2).
On the other hand, people with a good character might have a bad reputation due to gossip, evil suspicions, and a misguided value system. Consider Paul as an example. As he preached God’s Word, many people rejected his teaching, and he faced persecution (2 Cor. 6:4-10). Imagine his reputation among these people. In the Old Testament, consider what Potiphar’s wife’s accusation must have done to Joseph’s reputation in Egypt (Gen. 39). Further, Jesus was not regarded highly by the people who opposed Him, and He was rejected (Jn. 1:11).
There are times when a bad reputation can be good, e.g., if it comes about because of our stand for truth and righteousness. Jesus said, in Luke 6:22-23, “Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”
We should all want to maintain a good reputation, if possible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the need for His followers to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” and then urges, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” There is also value in being well thought of even among non-Christians — among those with whom we may disagree — as this puts us in a better position to influence them in the right direction. In 1 Peter 2:11-12, Peter pleas, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
A good reputation is critical; it is more valuable than precious ointment or riches, as noted at the beginning of this article. We start by faithfully serving God, which will result in us having the right character. Doing this should result in a good reputation, especially among Christians. Regardless, what is of paramount importance is what God thinks about us. We long to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Mt. 25:21).
— Via Seeking Things Above, February 2021
Clicking on the following link while on the Internet will take you to this video sermon on Mary Magdalene:
“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”
— Psalm 5:3, NASB
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Ronnie Davis continues to have constant pain in his back, but he is going to have to wait until April 22 for those shots that will help alleviate that.
Ginger Ann Montero did not have the heart catheterization Friday, as scheduled; but they will be keeping her in the hospital a couple days for observation.
Michael Rittenhouse had emergency surgery Tuesday, due to complications from a torn hernia. He was told he will continue to experience much pain while healing and will be off work for the next 6 to 8 weeks.
Doyle Rittenhouse received his second set of shots in his neck Tuesday. On April 27, they will be killing some nerves in the back of his neck.
Doyle’s nephew, Ritt Rittenhouse, was in the hospital for stroke-like symptoms — but left before being completely tested, after hearing that his wife’s vehicle had been struck by someone who had run a stop sign. It resulted in a broken sternum for Janet Rittenhouse, along with sprained ankles and many severe bruises — even on her kidney and liver. She was released from the hospital that night, but returned a couple days later with a high fever and pneumonia, caused by covid-19.
We are glad to say that Bennie & Deborah Medlock are now feeling better. Not all are affected the same way by the covid-19 vaccine. Bennie mentioned that he had felt as bad from it as when he actually had the covid-19 a while back. But this recent episode from the vaccine lasted only 3 or 4 days.
Also for prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Nell Teague, Malachi Dowling, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Gege Gornto, Rex Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, Jaydin Davis, Danielle Bartlett, 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).
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
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)