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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) Lowly Service Brings Exaltation (Irvin Himmel)
2) A Great Cloud of Witnesses (Jon Quinn)
3) Being a Disciple of Jesus (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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-1-

Lowly Service Brings Exaltation

Irvin Himmel

The mother of Zebedee’s children once came to Jesus with her sons, James and John. She had a request. When the Master asked, “What wilt thou?” her appeal was expressed in these words: “Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom.”

Privileged positions were desired. Cabinet posts were coveted. Clearly, there was a craving for elevation to stations of highest rank in the King’s court. Prestige and distinction were envisioned.

Not only did this woman misunderstand the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, she also misjudged the measure of greatness. In his reply, Jesus said, “Ye know not what ye ask.” He further remarked, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20:20-28).

Unlike political kingdoms, the government of the Messiah offers advancement through abasement, loftiness through lowliness, splendor through surrender, sublimity through servility, magnification through ministration, admiration through abnegation.

On another occasion, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He set a little child in their midst, explaining, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1-4).

The ambitious disciples were slow to learn that it is not where we sit but where we serve that counts.

As late as the night of the Lord’s betrayal, the disciples were engaged in strife over which of them should be accounted the greatest. Jesus reminded them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Luke 22:24-27). Jesus enforced this lesson by his own example of lowly service.

Today, there are some in the church who look for places of honor. Like the scribes and Pharisees, they love the chief seats (Matt. 23:1-6). Their love of preeminence may not be as daring as that displayed by Diotrephes (3 John 9), but they long to be in the limelight. They prefer to be put on a pedestal. They have a passion for power.

Genuine greatness in God’s sight is measured by usefulness, not by sitting in a chief seat. Humility is a hallmark of true nobility. Whether one is an elder, a preacher, the author of a book, a teacher of the Bible, the editor of a journal, or a little known, low profile person, lowliness of mind will enhance his influence for good.

Honor in the kingdom of God is reserved for all who are willing to serve. The Lord does not call people to be “big shots.” He wants servants, not chieftains. Service is a mark of distinction, a badge of honor. The way up is down. The royal road to esteem and respect is the path of dutifully serving God and giving oneself in doing good.

So you desire to be the one who “calls the shots”? Forget it! Seek out someone who needs your help and do what you can for him. Do not seek to be first in rank; seek to be first in the field of service.

— Via Truth Magazine, August 2008

(https://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume52/2008_08_Aug-Truth-Magazine.pdf)
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A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Jon Quinn

Living a life of faith calls for dedication. There is a cost to pay. Some doubt that it is worth it — but we believe it is.

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

In this text, we read that there is a “great cloud of witnesses” who all affirm that the goal is indeed worth running the race with endurance. We are also reminded that Jesus, the Savior, has already done so. When things got tough, He would think of the goal at the end. He would think of the salvation He would accomplish for us. He would pray, and keep going until victory. In this way He honored the Father and showed His great love for you and me.

The “great cloud of witnesses” referred to here are those men and women listed in the previous chapter — Hebrews 11. There we read that “by faith Abel offered”; “by faith Noah prepared”; “Abraham obeyed”; “Moses chose” and many others including Sarah, Gideon, David, Samuel and Rahab. Hebrews 11 has been called “the honor roll of faith.”

Notice something here: faith is not just passive intellectual acceptance of God. The faith that saves is the faith that obeys. This faith of Abraham and Sarah, of Noah and Moses, was active. It is something lived by; we live by faith. The Hebrew writer, speaking of Christ, says, “And having been made perfect (or complete), He became to all those that obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).

These witnesses speak to us through the centuries by their deeds as well as their words that they were looking for a city “whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). This city they looked for did not, and does not, exist in this realm. They believed the promise of God, and considered themselves “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

Sometimes living in this world is difficult. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. These men and women of Hebrews 11, this great cloud of witnesses, affirm that it is so.

— Via Articles for March 2021 (Knollwood church of Christ)
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Being a Disciple of Jesus

Tom Edwards

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

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

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Jesse Welch (Kathy Crosby’s father) who passed away last week, just a couple months short of his 96th birthday.  Though originally from McCrary, Georgia, he had lived most of his life here in Waycross. 

After having blood work done, Ginger Ann Montero was admitted to the hospital for observation, due to her kidneys not functioning properly.  She is now back home and on medication.

After 10 days in the hospital, Tate Walters was able to return home, doing much better.  His father writes that Tate “will have to have several follow up doctor visits and labs to continue monitoring his condition, to further understand what the initial trigger was, and to learn more about this rare disease.”

The sinus surgery for Rachel Gerbing, which was due to an infection that set in several months ago when she had covid-19, went very well. 

Joyce Rittenhouse is having much pain in her knee from a bad fall she had a few weeks ago.  And her brother is healing from hernia surgery.

Doyle Rittenhouse has been having a return of much pain in his neck, which he hopes is from the nerve endings that are still phasing out from their recent ablation.  He was told it would take some time.  He also has pain in his shoulder and arm, due to osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Since his stroke a few weeks ago, Ritt Rittenhouse has been back in the hospital 3 times, due to losing feeling and balance.  For he also has a degenerative disc in his neck that sometimes pinches against a nerve and causes temporary paralysis, which will have to be dealt with after he heals more from the stroke.

Ritt’s wife Janet is healing well from the car accident she was in.

Danielle Bartlett has not yet heard the results of her recent testing for her heart palpitations and swollen legs.

Melotine Davis had not been feeling well, but is now (5/20/21) doing better. 

Also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson (cancer), Nell Teague (cancer), and Bennie Medlock (back pain).

Deborah Medlock saw her doctor recently about a raspiness she has been having.

Our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, and Shirley Davis.
——————–

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/ (This is for the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)

The Gospel Observer

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

Contents:

1) The Joy of Being a Christian (Wayne Goff)
2) Where are the Good Samaritans? (Joe R. Price)
3) The Two Shortest Verses (Troy Nicholson)
4) Motherhood (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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The Joy of Being a Christian

Wayne Goff

The book of Acts records the consistent reaction of those who first obeyed the Gospel: JOY! What were they so happy about?

In the city of Samaria, Philip preached Christ to the people, and confirmed his message with miraculous signs, Acts 8:5-25: “And there was great joy in the city” (v. 8). Their rejoicing was over the fact that both sin and its diseases were defeated by the Name of Jesus.

In a deserted place, Philip also preached the Gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch of great authority, Acts 8:26-40. This devout man was reading Isaiah 53 on his own and wondering of whom God was speaking. Philip, by inspiration, sat down with him and explained that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled that prophecy. In doing so, he preached baptism for the remission of sins. The eunuch, upon confessing “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (v. 37), was baptized “and he went on his way rejoicing” (vv. 38-39). He rejoiced over having been forgiven of his sins. He rejoiced over leaving the domain of Satan and being translated into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13)!

In Antioch, Pisidia, Paul preached Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 13:14-52), and encouraged certain believers “to continue in the grace of God” (v. 43). When the Gentiles understood that they were included in the scope of the Gospel, then “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (v. 48). The word continued to be spread throughout the region, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (v. 52).

When Paul and Barnabas reported the salvation of the Gentiles on their way back to Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-4), the brethren had “great joy” (v. 3) in hearing it!

The Philippian jailer, at the edge of death and eternal damnation, heard the Gospel from the lips of Paul and Silas, Acts 6:9-40. He went from near certain physical death to absolute spiritual life in the span of a few hours! Naturally, “…he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (v. 34). If you were in his shoes, wouldn’t you be rejoicing?!

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”  (Jim Elliot).

— Via Roanridge Reader,  Volume 36, Issue 17, Page 1, April 25, 2021
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Where are the Good Samaritans?

Joe R. Price

A man who stopped a fight between another man and a woman died on the New York City sidewalk after being stabbed. At least seven people passed by. Some stopped to look, and one even lifted the 31-year-old man’s body momentarily before walking away. He was motionless for nearly an hour before emergency help arrived, but by then it was too late; he was dead. (AP: “Homeless good Samaritan left to die on NYC street,” FoxNews.com)

One cannot hear of this tragedy without remembering the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). Have we forgotten how to be a neighbor? Have we forgotten how to love our neighbor as ourselves? Would we have walked by, or would we have been a neighbor to the fallen? (Lk 10:36)

1) Loving our neighbor requires compassion (Luke 10:33). Pity ought to drive us to show mercy when we see others distressed. The Samaritan saw the wounded man in need and acted out of compassion. Even a cup of cold water given in mercy does not go unnoticed by the Lord (Matt 10:42).

2) Loving our neighbor requires contact (Luke 10:34-35). Love means getting involved, and some simply will not do it. Maybe it is due to fear, maybe due to inconvenience, maybe due to selfishness. But, love requires involvement (1 Jno 3:17-18). Like the Samaritan, we will get involved when we love our neighbor as ourselves.

3) Loving our neighbor requires cost (Luke 10:35). Loving our neighbor as ourselves requires making sacrifices. Whether it is their time, our energy or our money – love gives without thought of return. Do we walk by because it costs too much to stop and be a neighbor?

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, Vol. 13, Num. 13, May 2, 2010
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The Two Shortest Verses

Troy Nicholson

There are two very short verses in the New Testament.  Each one can rightly be called the shortest verse in the Bible.

The shortest verse in the original Greek language is 1 Thessalonians 5:16, translated to read, “Rejoice always.”  The shortest verse in the English language is John 11:35, which reads, “Jesus wept.”

Each of these verses deals with an emotional reaction.  The first deals with the feeling of joy, while the second deals with sorrow.  We all experience times of both rejoicing and weeping.  The Bible says that there is a time for each of these emotions (Eccl 3:4).

Our rejoicing should be for things above.  We can rejoice in persecution and temptation because they help prepare us for a reward in Heaven (Matt 5:12; Acts 5:14; James 1:2-4).  Jesus says to “rejoice because your names are written in Heaven” (Mark 10:20).  Rejoicing takes place when sinners repent and make their lives right with God (Luke 15; Acts 8:39).  We always have reason to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 3:1; 4:4, 10).

Our weeping should be over what is against things above.  On several occasions we see weeping at the death of someone (John 11:35), with death entering the world because of sin (Gen 2:16-17).  Peter “wept bitterly” when he denied the Lord (Matt 26:75).  Jesus wept over the unrepentant condition of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).

As children of God, we are to share with one another in times of joy and sorrow.  We are to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).  “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12:26).

There is so much involved in two very short verses!

— Via Articles from the Lakeview church of Christ, Hendersonville, Tennessee,  September 6, 2015
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Motherhood

To hear the video sermon on Motherhood, just click on the following link while on the Internet: 

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Motherhood.mp4
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Psalm 119:9-11

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You” (NASB).
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-5-

News & Notes

After having blood work done, Ginger Ann Montero was admitted to the hospital for observation, due to her kidneys not functioning properly.  They will likely be remedied with a change in her medication.

After 10 days in the hospital, Tate Walters was able to return home, doing much better.  His father writes that Tate “will have to have several follow up doctor visits and labs to continue monitoring his condition, to further understand what the initial trigger was, and to learn more about this rare disease.”

 The sinus surgery for Rachel Gerbing, which was due to an infection that set in several months ago when she had covid-19, went very well.  Drain tubes will be removed Monday, and in the meanwhile she continues on pain and nausea medications and bed rest.

Joyce Rittenhouse is having much pain in her knee from a bad fall she had a few weeks ago.  And her brother is healing from hernia surgery he had Thursday morning.

Doyle Rittenhouse has been having a return of much pain in his neck, which he hopes is from the nerve endings still in the process of dying from their recent ablation.  He was told it would take some time.  He also has pain in his shoulder and arm, due to osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

It was a stroke that Ritt Rittenhouse had a few weeks ago.  Since then, he has been back in the hospital 3 times, due to losing feeling and balance.  For he also has a degenerative disc in his neck that sometimes pinches against a nerve and causes temporary paralysis, which will have to be dealt with after he heals more from the stroke.

Ritt’s wife Janet is healing up well from the car accident she was in.

Danielle Bartlett has not yet heard the results of her recent testing for her heart palpitations and swollen legs.

For the pain in his back, Bennie Medlock will be seeing a specialist May 18.

Also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson (cancer) and Nell Teague (cancer).

Our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively and Shirley Davis.
——————–

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/ (This link is for the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)

The Gospel Observer

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

Contents:

1) Why I Pray (Warren Berkley)
2) “Thanks, I Needed That” (Mike Johnson)
3) Determining Right and Wrong (Dennis Abernathy)
4) Sanctified (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–

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Why I Pray

Warren Berkley

I pray because I believe God listens. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

I pray because God has told me that He cares and is able to help. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7; see also Luke 12:6-7; Hebrews 4:16).

I pray because I lack wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

I pray because my Savior said I ought to pray. “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

I pray because I’m thankful for all the good things God has given. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6; see also Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

 I pray because I need pardon. “My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1; see also Acts 8:22; Psalm 51:1-9).

 I pray because I adore and love my Father. “In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name’” (Matthew 6:9).

 I pray because I’ve read so many accounts of people who prayed to God with great results. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18). “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

I pray because of Paul’s exhortation. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

I pray because I believe God has the ability to grant even more than I’m able to think and ask. “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

— Via Search For Truth, Volume XIII, Number 24, January 10, 2020
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“Thanks, I Needed That”

Mike Johnson

“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity” (Ecc. 7:5-6).

In this verse, the writer contrasts the “rebuke of the wise” and the “song of fools.” The song by the fool refers to light-hearted words — any words which are of no value. Flattery could be a primary application. The song of fools is compared in the verses to a “crackling of thorns under a pot.” A fire with thorns as its fuel will quickly flame up but only last for a short time. Like the song of fools, it is of little value.

This teaching goes against the inclinations of most people. Most of us would probably prefer the song of a fool than a rebuke from someone. When associated with flattery, the song of fools is like candy for our ears; rebuke from the wise can be like a slap in the face.

Christians have a responsibility, with humility and love, to rebuke and admonish others (James 5:19, Gal. 6:1, 1 Tim. 4:1-4). We need reproof from time to time, and we should receive it with the right attitude.  We must examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) and make corrections when wrong (James 1:22-25). Admonishment can save our souls from spiritual death — it can keep us from Hell! We should appreciate the efforts of those who are sincerely trying to help us. Proverbs 27:5 points out, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.”

People who come to talk to us about our shortcomings are risking the possibility of negative responses as so many tend to take offense. Recognizing this risk, Paul once asked the Galatians (Gal. 5:16), “Have I, therefore, become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” Paul was willing to risk becoming an enemy to tell these people what they needed to hear.

Which is best, the song of fools or the rebuke of a wise person? The songs of fools do not challenge us. These songs may make us feel better initially, where the rebuke of a wise person may make us feel bad at first, but it is better in the long run. Proverbs 28:23 says, “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue.” Indeed, the rebuke of the wise is the better of the two.

— Via Seeking Things Above, Volume 1, Number 12, March 2021
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Determining Right and Wrong

Dennis Abernathy

When determining the rightness or wrongness of a question or practice in religion, how do you make your determination? Do you make your determination by the popularity of it? Must we “feel the pulse” of the church? Must we poll preachers, commentators, and scholars? Do you determine the rightness or wrongness of what the preacher preaches by the acceptability by the audience? If the majority of the church dislikes a course of work, or a decision made by its leadership, do you conclude that the work is not good, and that they are poor and disqualified leaders?

Friends, do you see the fallacy in such a course? The Word of God is lost sight of! It ceases to be the standard we must follow! The truth is, neither the majority nor the minority determines a thing to be right or wrong, but God’s Word does! We do not determine a thing to be right or wrong by the popularity of it.

There were less than ten righteous people found in the city of Sodom (Genesis 18:20-33). There were only eight righteous people in the world when the flood came (Genesis 7:13; 1 Peter 3:20). There were only two Israelites, Joshua and Caleb, of the twelve spies sent to spy out the land, permitted to enter the land of Canaan (Genesis 14:30, 38). Therefore, when someone ridicules you because you aligned with the minority, don’t be alarmed.

Don’t determine to go along with the majority because everyone is doing it, until you are sure you know what it is that everyone is doing! Don’t determine a thing right or wrong, until first, you have searched the Scriptures and found out whether the thing is so (Acts 17:11). William Jennings Bryant once said: “Never be afraid to stand with the minority which is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority; always be afraid to stand with the majority which is wrong, for the majority which is wrong will one day be the minority.” Think on these things.

— Via Daily Exhortation, April 28, 2021
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-4-

Sanctified

Tom Edwards

For the video sermon on “Sanctified,” just click on the following link while connected to the Internet:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Sanctified.mp4
——————–

-5-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Tate Walters
(8 years old) was admitted to the hospital several days ago. He is being treated for three possible causes: Kawasaki Disease, MIS-C Disease, and tick-borne infection. Yesterday was a good day for him — and with a big smile while having breakfast. Some of his symptoms have already been eliminated, and his vitals are normal. So he is improving, but can still use our prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.   

Bennie Medlock
is feeling only somewhat better from the pain in his back, but will be seeing a specialist on the 18th of this month for it.

Danielle Bartlett will be having tests run Thursday to determine the reason for her heart palpitations and swollen legs she has had.

Though the recent shots did bring some back-pain relief to Ronnie Davis, yet he still does have some trouble with it. 

The ablation in killing some nerves in the back of Doyle Rittenhouse’s neck went well, and he will be aware of more of the results as time goes on. 

Also for prayer: Ginger Ann Montero, Ritt Rittenhouse (stroke-like symptoms), Janet Rittenhouse (broken sternum, sprained ankles, severe bruises), Rick Cuthbertson (cancer), and Nell Teague (cancer).

Our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively and Shirley Davis.
 ——————–

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 Boundaries of Prayer (Carl Witty)
2) A Future for the Man of Peace (Greg Chandler)
3) Realizing Sin & the Need for Reconciliation (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

The Boundaries of Prayer

Carl Witty

In speaking of the God they scarcely knew and whom, in Paul’s words: “They ignorantly worshipped” (Acts 17:23), Paul describes to the Athenians a God in whom: “we live, and move, and have our being.” Surely such a God can do anything, be anywhere, know whatever He chooses to know, and has unlimited power! He can grant our every need, because “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God is consistently good, and is faithful in all that He has promised. He can answer our prayers.

James also notes that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The fulfilled prayers of Hannah (1 Samuel 1) were for a son who would be dedicated to the Lord. Elijah’s prayers for the absence of rain and years later for the presence of rain, are examples of fulfilled prayer (James 5:17-18). Daniel had such confidence in God’s power to answer his prayers that he repeatedly risked his life on the belief that God would hear and answer his prayers (Daniel chapters 1, 2, 4, & 6). Moses (Numbers 14) asked God to change the course of Israel’s history, and God granted his unselfish request.

Is it not strange that many do not choose to pray? If invited before an earthly King, Queen, President, or other Chief Executive of some great nation, most people would accept the invitation immediately and count it as a high point in their lives. We have been invited as Christians to “pray without ceasing” — an open invitation to enter God’s presence as often as we choose. What a blessing to be able to pray! Prayer serves as a wonderful outlet for our most intense emotions. James recommends prayer when afflictions come (5:13) — “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” Nehemiah was in deep sadness over his brethren’s condition, and prayed to the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:3-4). Hezekiah prayed when facing a great military power (2 Kings 18-19) and when facing the prospects of his own death (chapter 20).

Ezra prayed intensely when leading God’s people in repentance and dealing with the consequences of sin (Ezra 9, 10). In the New Testament, Paul’s heart’s desire for Israel’s salvation is reflected in his prayers to God (Romans 10:1). The record reveals also his earnest prayers for brethren in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Philippi, and Colosse. His prayers for Timothy and Philemon reflect his love and concern for them. The English poet Tennyson declared that “more things are wrought by prayer, than this world dreams of.”

There are, however, certain boundaries of prayer. It has truly been said that “nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer, except that which lies beyond the will of God.” It goes without saying that God will not violate His will in order to grant prayer’s requests. The Bible sets forth certain limitations to prayer, including the following:

We may fail to ask. When God promises certain blessings through prayer, we fail to receive these blessings when we fail to pray! James 4:2 — “…Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” The Hebrew writer encourages his readers to “…come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16).  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, commanded that we “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Jesus then asks His hearers to recall that since earthly fathers desire to respond to their children’s requests, surely our heavenly Father will give good things to His children when they ask. When our prayers ascend, God’s power and blessings descend. James said that we should ask God for wisdom (1:5), and Paul taught the Philippians that the solution to anxiety was to “…let your requests be made known to God…” (4:6).

We limit the power of prayer by our doubts. When we fail to believe, we limit God’s blessings that could come to us. Jesus taught (Matthew 21:22) — “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Our prayer for wisdom from God (James 1:5-6) is to be prayed “…with no doubting…” He notes that the “…prayer of faith will save the sick…” (5:15). We certainly will not convince God of a need, when we do not really believe that God will hear us. The Hebrew writer notes that the worshipper who approaches God “…must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6).

The conduct of our lives sets boundaries on the blessings we could be receiving through prayer. Consider a few of the many passages that set forth this principle: 

  • “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).
  • “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).
  • “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

David realized this eternal principle when he wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). The right kind of life and the effective use of prayer will allow Christ to truly live in us.

— Via Bible Articles from the Gooch Lane church of Christ, October 11, 2020
——————–

-2-

A Future for the Man of Peace

Greg Chandler

Psalm 37 is a beautiful poem of encouragement for God’s faithful. Throughout the poem, David provides gems of wisdom to keep one’s life fine-tuned to godliness. However, the psalm’s main theme exhorts the faithful never to fall prey to envying the wicked.

On the surface, this might seem a message few would need; yet a deeper look reveals great danger. The wicked can seem strong with sword and bow (vs. 14). They can seem satisfied with abundance (vs. 16). They can seem intimidating as they look for an opportunity to persecute the righteous (vs. 32). Though unstated in the psalm, the faithful can look weak in their refusal to retaliate, unambitious in an unwillingness to pursue gain, and timid as objects of persecution. How can one possibly maintain faith under such circumstances?

David provides an interesting outlook for the faithful. Though it might not always appear to be the case, he promises that “there is a future for the man of peace” (37b). The reason for this is that God is in charge. In the beautiful conclusion of the psalm, David states, “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in Him” (39-40). Trust in God provides contentment in the present as the faithful confidently look toward the future!

This year we have been challenged to “let the peace of God rule heart and mind”; however, challenges have abounded to derail this worthy spiritual goal. Each has likely struggled in some way with anxiety toward present events that put spiritual peace to the test. Still, these times have allowed a season of testing which, if used wisely, has produced spiritual growth.

Along with David, may each child of God take comfort in a future for those who seek peace. Through the King of Peace, a path has been provided to a realm where the problems and temptations that plague the present will cease. Until then, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (vs. 3). With such an attitude, there will be no regrets on the other side of the grave, only peace at the throne of God.

— Via Bible Articles from the Gooch Lane church of Christ,  December 6, 2020
——————–

-3-

Realizing Sin & the Need for Reconciliation

Tom Edwards

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

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

——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be Praying For:

Doyle Rittenhouse will have a procedure (an ablation) on the back of his neck this Tuesday to deaden some nerves that have been causing pain.

We were glad to hear that the heart catheterization showed no blockages for Ginger Ann Montero.  And though her heart is weak, yet it can be treated with medication.

Bennie Medlock has been having some terrible back pain, but he will not be able to see his bone specialists until May 18 (unless there is a cancellation that would make it sooner).

Danielle Bartlett will be having tests run May 6 to determine the reason for her heart palpitations and swollen legs she has had.

We are happy to say that the shots Ronnie Davis received for his back pain have brought some relief.

Also for prayer: Ritt Rittenhouse (stroke-like symptoms), Janet Rittenhouse (broken sternum, sprained ankles, severe bruises), Rick Cuthbertson (cancer), and Nell Teague (cancer).

Our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, and Shirley Davis. 

——————–

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) A Good Name (Ecclesiastes 7:1) (Mike Johnson)
2) Mary Magdalene (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

A Good Name (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

Mike Johnson

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
——————–

-2-

Mary Magdalene

Tom Edwards

Clicking on the following link while on the Internet will take you to this video sermon on Mary Magdalene:

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


——————–

“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

——————–

-3-

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).
——————–

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 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
——————–

-1-

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
——————–

-2-

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
——————–

-3-

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
——————–

-4-

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.
——————–

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) “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
——————–

-1-

“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)
——————–

-2-

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

——————–

-3-

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
——————–

-1-

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)
——————–

-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
——————–

-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)
——————–

-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

——————–

-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
——————–

-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
——————–

-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
——————–

-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

——————–

-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)
——————– 

-2-

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
——————–

-3-

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
——————–

-4-

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

——————–

-5-

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.
——————–

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)

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