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

Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except our own choice to dismiss His instructions.

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

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

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

Bill Crews

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

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

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

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

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

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

R.J. Evans

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

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

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

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

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

— Via Viewpoint from the Valley Grove church of Christ, May 22, 2022

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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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

The Gospel Observer

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

1) Wait on the Lord — Psalm 27 (Russ Bowman)
2) Recognizing Idioms (Jerry Fite)
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Wait on the Lord — Psalm 27

Russ Bowman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait on the Lord.

— Via Focus Online, October 28, 2020

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Recognizing Idioms

Jerry Fite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized
 in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

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

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

Daniel H. King, Sr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

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

Contents

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

-1-

The Way of Peace

Jerry Fite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-2-

Two Seas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-3-

How to Endure Hardship (2 Timothy)

Bryan Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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

The Gospel Observer

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


Contents

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

——————–

-1-

Cranky Old Men

Kyle Pope

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

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

Why Are Old Men Cranky?

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

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

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

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

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

What I Must Not Do

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

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

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

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

-2-

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

Sword Tips #36                        

Joe R. Price

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

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

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

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

Honor Christ’s authority today.

Commit yourself completely to following His word.

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


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)  Learning From What God Cannot Do (Jerry Fite)
2) Respecting the Power of God’s Word (Heath Rogers)
——————–

-1-

Learning From What God Cannot Do

Jerry Fite

To say God cannot do something seems to contradict the concept of an omnipotent or all-powerful God. Jehovah, in the face of laughing at His promising an old couple that they would have a child, challenges the doubters with, “is anything too hard for Jehovah?” (Genesis 18:14). When the Lord’s own apostles were wondering at their failure to cast out demons, Jesus looked to their “little faith” as the problem and said that if they had faith, even as small as a grain of mustard seed, they could miraculously remove mountains and “nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). Their abilities, in this context, their miraculous abilities were tied to God through their faith in the One who has the power to do all wonders. 

While nothing is too hard for Jehovah, even miraculously removing mountains, or casting out demons, there are things the Scriptures point to that are impossible for God to do. These are not contradictions to tear down the truth that God is omnipotent, but instead provide important facts to complete the picture of God, and really strengthen our faith.

While God has the power to do all things, there are things impossible for Him to do for they contradict His holy character. For example, “God cannot lie.” If He could lie, He would potentially contradict His character of always upholding the truth. Lies are the character of the Devil, and form the bleak picture of darkness, which has no place in God’s character: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (John 8:44-47, I John 1:5).

Because it is impossible for God to lie, we can have confidence in His promises. One of these promises is “eternal life.” Paul writes, “in hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised before times eternal…” (Titus 1:2). The passing of time should not cause us to lose confidence in the proposition that eternal life in Heaven awaits us. Like Paul, we can focus upon God’s character of Truth. God cannot lie, so we continue to hope, knowing that the promise will be fulfilled. God promised Abraham that in Him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. His promise was accompanied by an oath. The Hebrew writer refers to these two things (his promise and oath) as “immutable” and in which “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).

Why should we be reminded of God’s promise to bless and multiply Abraham’s seed which found ultimate fulfillment in Christ (Genesis 22:16-18, Galatians 3:15)? So that “we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us; which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (Hebrews 6:18-19). 

Also, God “cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). His character is one of faithfulness, and to deny Himself would contradict the truth of His very being. In essence He is telling us that He exists, therefore we should remain faithful to him through life’s difficulties, trials, and hardships. Man can become weak and quit “enduring” with the Lord and even “deny Him.” It is at this moment of doubt that we need to be reminded of what God cannot do and rise to serve. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him: if we shall deny Him, He will also deny us: if we are faithless, He abideth faithful: for he cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:12-13). 

Learning what God cannot do, we can know for sure He will remain true to His promises and to His immutable self. This knowledge encourages us to remain faithful, looking forward to eternal life with no doubts.  

— Via Glad Tidings, Volume XXXI, No. 14, April 4, 2021
——————–

-2-

Respecting the Power of God’s Word

Heath Rogers

We must respect things that have great power. For example, those who work with electricity learn to be very careful. Electric hazards cause more than 4,000 injuries and more than 300 deaths in the workplace each year. Nearly 800 people die from household electrocutions each year. Those who want to work with or around electricity must have great respect for its power.

As Christians, we must learn to respect the power of God’s word. The spoken word of deity has awesome power. God spoke the physical universe into existence. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth… Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6, 8-9). Notice: the natural response to God’s creative power is to “fear” and “stand in awe” of Him.

The spoken words of Jesus had amazing power. The Centurion’s servant was healed at the Lord’s word (Matt. 8:7-13). The physical elements obeyed His voice (Mark 4:38-41). Lazarus rose from his grave at the Lord’s command to “come forth” (John 11:43-44).

Were we living then, we would have marveled along with the rest of the witnesses of this great power. However, we must realize that God’s written word is just as powerful.

The Written Word is Sufficient.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What other book is needed if all Scripture makes us complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work? God’s written word may not answer every possible question we have (Deut. 29:29), but it gives us everything we need. God’s word saves the lost (Rom. 1:16), provides guidance for our lives (Ps. 119:105), and gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). God’s written word has the power to get the job done.

The sufficiency of the written word is seen in the repeated warnings against adding to or taking away from the Scriptures. “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2; c.f. Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19). We must have respect for the sufficiency of the written word.

The Written Word is Relevant.

Some reject the Bible as an outdated book of myths and stories. It may have served a purpose when man was ignorant of the workings of the universe, but we have grown in our knowledge and we need something modern to guide our lives.

The needs of man have not changed. The questions, struggles, and problems of mankind are universal – transcending time and culture. If people would take the time to read the Bible, they would discover that it addresses and offers solutions to problems we are facing today. The Bible may not give the answers people want, but it gives the answers we need.

The Written Word is Punitive.

Not only does the Bible draw lines between right and wrong, but it also states the consequences for doing wrong.

It is possible to violate man’s laws without paying a penalty. We can walk away free if we don’t get caught or convicted. However, God’s law can’t be broken without consequences. It doesn’t matter whether we break the law through ignorance or willful rebellion, there is a price to pay. How do we know this is true? There are immediate consequences to breaking God’s natural laws. Whether we are careless, foolish, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time, we can easily do things that result in injury or death. This is why good parents diligently teach their children about the dangers around them. “Don’t play in the street!” “Don’t pet stray dogs!” “Don’t stick things in electrical outlets!” Nature doesn’t show mercy.

Are we as diligent to warn our children about violating God’s written word? Although they are not immediate, there are severe consequences to breaking God’s moral and righteous laws. Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24). Nadab and Abihu were consumed by God’s fire (Lev. 10:1-2). Uzza was struck dead for touching the ark (1 Chron. 13:7-10). King Uzziah became a leper for taking on the role of a priest (2 Chron. 26:16-21). The children of Israel perished in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-10). Why? “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (v. 11). These events serve as warnings to us. There are severe consequences to violating God’s written word.

Jesus promised, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Our eternal fate depends on the choices we make regarding God’s written word. We must learn to respect its power.

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, December 2023

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe
 in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

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

Contents

1)  MEDITATIONS: “The Eyes of the Lord are on the Righteous” (Kyle Pope)
——————–

-1-

MEDITATIONS: “The Eyes of the Lord are on the Righteous”

Kyle Pope

Synopsis: As Solomon wrestled with the meaning of life, modern-day disciples sometimes struggle with questions. Let us turn to God’s word for answers.
——————–

Introduction

Have you ever come to a point in your life at which you asked yourself the question, What good does it do?—What’s the point? Persecution can often cause this. It was persecution that led Elijah to cry out to God, “It is enough; now O LORD, take my life” (1 Kings 19:4, NASB). In Peter’s first epistle, as he wrote to brethren “grieved by various trials” (1 Pet. 1:6, NKJV), one can almost hear underlying his words of encouragement these same kinds of questions that seek to make sense of life in Christ. The Holy Spirit, through Peter’s words, offers answers to all who would ever wonder if service in Christ really matters.

The Behavior of the Redeemed

As I study Peter’s first epistle, I can’t help but smile when I notice that, like many of us gospel preachers, Peter says “finally” when he is actually only about halfway through what he intends to say. We can see chapter three, verse eight, as the beginning of his conclusion to this epistle. This summation continues what he has already begun to address—he calls them to proper behavior. If they are truly those who were “redeemed” (1 Pet. 1:18), then they must “be of one mind, having compassion for one another” (1 Pet. 3:8a). Those who have “been born again” (1 Pet. 1:23) must “love as brothers” being “tenderhearted” and “courteous” (1 Pet. 3:8b, NKJV) or, as some manuscripts put it, “humble-minded” (ASV). Their Redeemer, when He “was reviled, did not revile in return” (1 Pet. 2:23), so those who follow Him will not return “evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9a, NKJV). This may be strange behavior by the world’s standards, but not for “sojourners and pilgrims” (1 Pet. 2:11). They will recognize that they “were called to this” because it is through this way of life that they “may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9b). It is this promise of blessing that stands behind all of the Christian’s hope.

Whom Does the Lord Hear?

In the face of hardship, disappointment, persecution, and sorrow, it is a hope that one day the child of God may “see good days” that answers the underlying question, Why?—Why keep going? Peter paraphrases Psalm 34:12-16 to answer this question. The psalmist puts it in the form of a question: “who is the man who?” (Ps. 34:12a), but Peter just asserts, “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Pet. 3:10). To see life and “good days,” one must “turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:11). These “good days” must not be thought of in a limited sense of deliverance in this life. Sometimes, that may happen, but “sojourners and pilgrims” recognize that their hope rests elsewhere. If comfort and ease in this life indicated Divine approval then we would have to conclude that the ungodly, the sinful, and even those who persecute God’s people, are actually approved by Him. Who are those who truly stand approved before God? Peter and the Psalmist answer, “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 Pet. 3:12; Ps. 34:15-16). The false teaching that an alien sinner can offer the “sinner’s prayer” and by it come into fellowship with God ignores this clear testimony of Scripture. God hears the appeals of His people. Souls must first be among the redeemed so that His ears might be “open to their prayers.”

Baptism Is Necessary for Salvation

Only a few verses later in this same chapter, Peter touches on the point at which one does come into fellowship with God in Christ. He raises it by way of comparison with a point he had made about Noah, who was “saved through water” (1 Pet. 3:20). Peter declares, “corresponding to that, baptism now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21a, NASB).

Since the Protestant Reformation, many have rejected the idea that baptism has anything to do with salvation or is necessary (in any way) for us to enjoy fellowship with God. This was likely due to false doctrines that arose before the Reformation that distorted the scriptural teaching on baptism. Men were falsely taught that baptism could be a sprinkling or pouring of water. In the New Testament, baptism is always an immersion symbolizing burial (Rom. 6:1-7). Then, just as now, men improperly baptized babies. The New Testament teaches baptism is for those capable of belief (Mark 16:16).

Over Christendom’s long history, baptism has (in some cases) been forced upon people, regardless of whether or not they believed in Jesus. In the New Testament, baptism and faith are both necessary for one to “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Peter leaves no doubt that baptism is essential for salvation. Not because it is some meritorious work that earns salvation, but because it is “an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21c, NASB).

Suffering for Doing Good

The baptized believer can live in the assurance that God sees and is ever conscious of his condition. While God sees, hears, and knows all things (Prov. 15:3), in a special sense, His eyes are “on the righteous” and His ears are “open to their prayers” (1 Pet. 3:12). So, what good does it do to serve Christ?—why are believers allowed to suffer hardship and persecution? In some cases doing what is right prevents suffering. Peter asks, “who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” (1 Pet. 3:13, NKJV). If we do good, even to the ungodly, sometimes this will spare us from harm, but Peter continues, “But even if you should suffer” (1 Pet. 3:14a).

Remember, our condition in this life is not a guarantee of God’s approval. We may suffer, and actually “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (1 Pet. 3:14b). Is that a curse or a punishment? No. When it happens, actually “you are blessed” (1 Pet. 3:14c). Peter says, “it is better” when and if this should happen “to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17). The criminal deserves his punishment. When the relationships of the ungodly are shattered, their behavior may well have merited the consequences brought upon their lives. However, when the Christian does good, and suffers for it, one day all will be vindicated. The persecutors of Christians will one day “be ashamed” (1 Pet. 3:16c), while the Christian who lives with a “good conscience” (1 Pet. 3:16a) can know that he will one day “see good days” (1 Pet. 3:10).

The Suffering of Christ

Where is the proof of this hope?—How can we know in the face of persecution we will “see good days”? Peter tells us the very One who redeemed us offers assurance to us of this hope and blessing. He declares, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust” (1 Pet. 3:18a). He suffered in the flesh but attained the resurrection, never to die again. His suffering purchased our blessing. He endured this “that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18b).

Peter challenges the reader to recognize a different perspective on the flesh and spirit. Jesus was “put to death in the flesh” (1 Pet. 3:18c), but this ultimate demonstration of persecution could not rob Him of the ultimate blessing—He was “made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18d, ASV). Christ’s spirit (like our own spirit) lives beyond the death of the flesh.

Christ’s Deity made it such that His spirit was active not only after His death, but before His life on earth. Earlier in the book, Peter told the brethren concerning the prophets that it was the “Spirit of Christ who was in them” (1 Pet. 1:11) who allowed the Old Testament prophets to declare those things that would come about.

It was this same “spirit of Christ” who Peter now explains was working through Noah when “He (i.e., the spirit of Christ) preached to the spirits in prison (i.e., those now held in Hades awaiting judgment)” (1 Pet. 3:19). Jesus didn’t preach in Hades—there is no opportunity for repentance in that realm (cf. Luke 16:19-31). Jesus preached through Noah “in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared” (1 Pet. 3:20b) to the disobedient rebels before the flood.

What does that show us about suffering and the flesh versus the spirit? Jesus’s spirit was alive before and after His suffering. He saved His people “through water” before His life and suffering on earth. Likewise, He saves us “through water” after His life and suffering on earth. This can demonstrate to those who experience hardship in the flesh that it is more important to look at our spiritual condition than the condition of our flesh.

Ready to Give an Answer

What good does it do?—why keep serving Christ? These questions that seem to underlie Peter’s words of encouragement are not abstract, philosophical exercises that no one ever faces. They are real questions which our hearts must confront.

Peter challenges the Christians to whom his first epistle was written to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Pet. 3:15a). He calls them to prepare so that they may “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15b). Some, instead of “defense,” translate this “answer” (KJV, ASV, NIV). We need to be able to answer religious error. We need to be prepared to explain why we have “hope,” despite life’s conditions. Yet, if we genuinely sanctify God in our hearts, our preparation to give an answer may not just involve questions posed by others, but even the questions that we face within. This preparation can help us through persecution—it can help us hold onto “the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15b).

— Via Truth Magazine, Volume 65, No. 1, January 2021

https://truthmagazine.com/kindle/2021/2021-01-jan/00_TM-TOC.htm

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

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

Contents

1)  Jesus the Living Water (Doy Moyer)
2)  Finding Common Ground (Joel Raulerson)
——————–

-1-

Jesus the Living Water

Doy Moyer

Jesus came into Samaria to a town called Sychar, where Jacob’s well was situated between mounts Ebal and Gerazim. Here a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus simply said, “Give me a drink.” The woman was taken aback because Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other, but this did not stop Jesus. He said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). While she was puzzled about how Jesus could draw water at this well, He said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). She wanted this water, and the conversation that ensued convinced her that Jesus was indeed the Prophet from God.

This theme of water is significant in Scripture. In John’s gospel, John the immerser baptized with water to identify the Messiah (John 1:19-34). Jesus turned water into wine (John 2). He then told Nicodemus that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). On the last day of the feast of booths, Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38). By the end of John’s account, when Jesus was pierced in the heart, “at once there came out blood and water” (John 19:34). Other references can be given, but these should suffice to show that water is an important theme.

Much can be said for each reference, but the brief focus here is on Jesus providing living water. In the Old Testament, living water (i.e., fresh or running water) was to be used to cleanse lepers and other defilements (Leviticus 14:5-6; 15:13; Numbers 19:17). Yet the living water provided in such contexts was limited to the time and place of its use. In John 4, the well was an important source of water, but it was still going to be limited. The water Jesus was offering is different. While the physical water was necessary to live, the water from Jesus leads to an even greater life, to eternal life. Koester offers these thoughts:

“The water in Jacob’s well was bound to a place; it needed to be hauled out by hand and it only quenched thirst for a short time. But the water Jesus promised was not bound to one place; it would spring up within a person so that he or she would never thirst again. The water from Jacob’s well could extend life for a while, but living water from Jesus would issue into life everlasting, which in John’s Gospel refers to life lived in relationship with God” [Craig Koester, Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community, 189].

When God gave Israel water in the wilderness, the people sang, “Spring up, O well! Sing to it!” (Numbers 21:17). God provided for them the gift of water so that they could live. God cared for them, led them by the Holy Spirit, revealed His word, and gave them every opportunity to live with Him. Sadly, they ended up rejecting Him, as Jeremiah noted,

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13; cf. 17:13).

God was not done, though. His plan through the Messiah was to open up a fountain “for sin and for impurity” (Zechariah 13:1). In Jesus is fulfilled the psalmist’s thoughts: “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Psalms 36:9). His teaching is a “fountain of life,” as is the wisdom that pours forth from Him (Proverbs 13:14; cf Proverbs 18:4).

Drinking from the living water offered by Jesus means that we are partaking in His teaching and the Spirit. Again, He said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive …” (John 7:37-39). By committing to the living water, we are committing to God’s Son, His word, and living by His Holy Spirit, for “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).

Jesus offers us Himself, the true Living Water from heaven who will cleanse us from our sins and give us eternal life. “There’s a fountain free, ’tis for you and me…”

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ, January 27, 2014

——————–

-2-

Finding Common Ground

Joel Raulerson

After His resurrection, Jesus instructed His apostles, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). The gospel of Christ must be taken to the world so that souls can be saved. Sinners must hear, believe, and obey the gospel to be forgiven of sins and be saved (cf. Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41; Rom. 6:3-4, 17-18; 10:9-10). To effectively teach the lost, we need to find common ground on which to build. The people we seek to teach will come from different religious backgrounds, have different levels of understanding as far as what the Bible teaches, and will be at different stages in their thinking about the Lord. They all need the gospel, but not all are prepared to start at the same place. How will we reach them with the good news?

Let us consider the following three examples of the apostle Paul’s work in the book of Acts. Note his emphasis on finding common ground to begin teaching.

Worshippers at the Synagogue. Upon arriving at the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, the Bible says, “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ’” (Acts 17:2-3). The common ground between Paul and those at the synagogue was a shared belief in the Old Testament Scriptures. Since this was the case, the apostle could simply appeal to the Scriptures to show that Jesus fulfilled that which was written in the prophets. While the worshippers at the synagogue didn’t understand God’s new law completely, Paul started at their level of understanding and built upon that foundation.

The Pagan Philosophers. Where the previous group had a religious background to build upon, the pagans further in Acts 17 were an amalgamation of idolaters, spending their days debating the validity of gods. Paul took that common ground and built upon it using the altar to the “Unknown God” that he had seen in Athens. Paul began to speak to the pagan philosophers, saying, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24-25). Since these men did not believe the Old Testament Scriptures, he could not start with them at the same place he started in Thessalonica. Instead, Paul looked for common ground in the concept of an absolute Creator who made men, who is to be worshiped by men, and who will eventually judge men (vv. 30-31).

The Roman Governor. When Paul was presented with the opportunity to preach Christ to Felix, the Bible says, “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’” (Acts 24:25). Again, we have a very different background compared to the previous two examples, but that did not stop Paul from being able to find common ground. The governor was living an immoral lifestyle. In order to establish a common foundation in his efforts to teach Felix, Paul pointed out that God has issued a standard, man is expected to live in harmony with that standard, and man will be held accountable by God for transgressing His standard. Paul was no stranger to sin, even calling himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Paul was able to take the common foundation of living in sin and relating to Felix to prick his heart with God’s word.

Conclusion. Paul effectively spread the gospel in all three examples cited above, even though he needed to find a different foundation from which to build in each case. As we seek today to reach people of differing beliefs, various backgrounds, and diverse lifestyles, we will need to work to find common ground upon which to build to help them to understand and obey the gospel. May we never be ashamed of the gospel and continually seek out the most effective way to lead others to salvation (Rom. 1:16)!

— Via Articles from the Knollwood church of Christ, October 2023

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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

The Gospel Observer

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

Contents

1)  “A Man After God’s Own Heart” (Jarrod Jacobs)
2)  Be Holy (Jesse A. Flowers)

——————–

-1-

“A Man After God’s Own Heart”

Jarrod Jacobs

The statement above is well-known to most people. This statement, while not the exact Bible quotation, is based on the words of Scripture found in I Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. In both passages, we see reference made to David, the second king of Israel. He was the one God describes as being “after His own heart.” In fact, God makes it clear that David “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (I Kings 15:5). What made David a man after God’s own heart? What characteristics stand out when we think of this wonderful Bible character? Can we possess those characteristics today? Let us answer these questions.

What Made David A Man After God’s Own Heart?

The answer to this question is not hard to find. In I Samuel 13:14, after Saul had sinned in offering the sacrifice before the battle with the Philistines (vv. 9-10), God inspired Samuel to condemn the action and then pronounce this judgment: “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (vv. 13-14).

I Samuel 16 records God’s selection of David as the next king of Israel. By simply reading I Samuel 13, we see that David was “a man after God’s own heart” because he was obedient to the Lord! Evidently, God saw in David a characteristic not found in Saul, and that was his consistency and fortitude to continue to obey God even when it was hard to do! Those who read of the life of David have to be impressed with his consistency and faithfulness to the Lord through his life.

Another attribute that makes David “a man after God’s own heart” would be his willingness to repent of sins. At no time should we equate “a man after God’s own heart” with sinlessness. This is not the case with David because he sinned at times. Some recorded occasions of sin include the time he sinned with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah (II Sam. 11-12). Also, the time he allowed the ark to be brought back on the new cart; (resulting in the death of Uzzah) rather than looking for the Levites who could correctly transport the ark back to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6). On another occasion, David committed the sin of acting when God had been silent when he numbered the people (II Sam. 24). This resulted in the deaths of 70,000 men. In each case, David repented and determined to do better in the future. He relied upon God and went to God for forgiveness. His attitude is probably best summed up in his words, “Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man” (II Sam. 24:14). With his godly attitude, it is not surprising that we read the following words of advice to Solomon: “Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (I Kings 2:2-3).

In connection with the above, we also see David as a humble man. He humbly repented before God when he sinned. Notice also that though he was king of Israel, and the victor in many battles, he still remembered, “The Lord is my shepherd …” (Ps. 23:1). He freely confessed, “I am poor and needy” (Ps. 86:1). He was truly a humble man.

David was a man of faith as well. Remember that when he went out to meet Goliath in battle, he said, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand” (I Sam. 17:45-47). This is but one of many examples we could cite that shows David’s great faith. He believed in God, and believed God! Doesn’t God expect the same of us today (Heb. 11:6)?

We can also say David was a patient man. Though chosen to be king over Israel (I Sam. 16), he did not lead some kind of coup, or rebellion against Saul. In fact, he would not lift a hand to harm “the Lord’s anointed” in any way, nor did he encourage others to do harm to him (I Sam. 24:4-7)! He was patient and waited until the time was right to serve as king of Israel. Only after Saul’s death, and the time of mourning was passed did he ask God if he ought to go to the cities of Judah (II Sam. 2:1). Even at that time, he did not just “assume the throne”! In addition to this, David’s patience is seen when he wanted to build the Temple, but God would not let him do it (II Sam. 7). He was satisfied to gather the materials and wait for his son to build the Temple (I Chron. 22:2-4, 14-16, 29:2-7). He did not overrule God’s decision and start building the Temple, but was patient and did as God wanted. What wonderful examples of patience by David.

Could It Be Said That You Are One After God’s Own Heart?

Notice David is not called “the” man after God’s own heart, but he is “a” man who fit this description. Evidently, God acknowledges that there are others who could also be described in this way. Friend, be honest and examine yourself (II Cor. 13:5). Could God describe us as a man/woman “after His own heart”? If not, why not? What part of our lives have we decided do not belong to the God of Heaven? Have we decided that we can’t be a “person after God’s own heart” because we’re not “good enough”? I hope that through this study, it is made clear that it is not a matter of someone being “sinless,” for this is impossible (Rom. 3:23). It is a matter of self-sacrifice for the Lord and the willingness to be corrected and repent to God when we see that we are in error. We need to learn to be that “living sacrifice” for the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2) and give Him our all. Let us stand as David and be someone “after God’s own heart.” When we determine we will show humility, faith, patience, and obedience to God in our spiritual lives, we will be someone “after God’s heart” won’t we? Let us learn a lesson from the life of David, and let us apply the attributes of his life to our own (Rom. 15:4; I Cor. 10: 11). When we do this, we will grow closer to God and do much to prepare ourselves for an eternity in Heaven. 

— Via The Old Paths, Volume 21, Issue 13, May 25, 2014

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Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

— NASB

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-2-

Be Holy

Jesse A. Flowers

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Perhaps no attribute of God is emphasized more to us in the Scriptures than His holiness (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). God is holy in that He is absolutely pure. He is unstained by sin and evil. He is perfect in every way. As the apostle John expressed it, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And based upon God being holy, we His children are called upon to be holy too (1 Thess. 4:7).

The root idea of holiness is that of separation from a life of habitual sin and all worldly defilement. Holiness entails dedication (consecration) to the service of God. A life of holiness has always been required of God’s covenant people (cf. Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26), and such a requirement has always been based upon God’s own holiness – “be holy, for I am holy.”

The apostle Peter makes it abundantly clear to his Christian readers that we are not to simply be holy in certain areas of our life, but we are to be holy in ALL of our conduct (behavior). Our thoughts are to be pure and holy (Phil. 4:8). Our words (our speech) are to be completely holy (Eph. 4:29). Our lives are to be without spot and blameless (2 Peter 3:14). The clothing we wear is to profess our godliness (1 Tim. 2:9-10). The things that we watch, the audio that we listen to, and the places that we go must be rooted in our holiness.

In fact, a life of holiness ought to be our daily pursuit, knowing that we will not see the Lord or be with the Lord if it is absent from our life (Heb. 12:14). As Paul penned: “Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). May we earnestly strive to “be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).

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

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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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


The Gospel Observer

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

1) Things to Bring to Worship (Mike Wilson)  
2) Jesus, the Amen and the Beginning (Terry Wane Benton)
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-1-

Things to Bring to Worship

Mike Wilson

It’s another Sunday morning, and you are fighting to get everything and everyone ready on time. The kids are screaming, and someone is honking the horn. Most families know the feeling. As you come staggering to the car at the last second, did you forget anything? Do you have a checklist of things you must bring to church?

Most of us would do well to ponder every day, and especially every Lord’s Day, what it means to worship God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. If we listen to the word of the Lord reverently, we will find many reasons to be humbled at the very thought of the awesome grandeur of the One who is the object of our adoration. We will not approach Him lightly or frivolously. And when time for worship approaches, whether it is collective or private, we must take certain attitudes with us to His heavenly throne.

A Willing Spirit

King David wrote, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1). The psalmist’s attitude stands in stark contrast to that of the begrudging priests addressed in the book of Malachi. God charges them with despising His name, offering blemished animals, and saying to themselves, “My, how tiresome it is!” (Malachi 1:6, 13-14). Amos rebukes the Israelites of the mid-7th century BC because of a similar disdain for worship. They couldn’t wait for their religious obligations to be satisfied so that they could get on with business: “When will the new moon be over so that we may buy grain, and the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, and to buy with dishonest scales…?” (Amos 8:5). If you have any inclination to be spiritually minded, read Psalm 63 and make this prayer your own. With these words alive in your heart, you will never be able to permit the service of God to degenerate into a burdensome chore again. Worship time should invoke a spiritual adventure: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law” (Psalm 119:18). Going through the motions without heart involvement produces worship that is “vain” (Matthew 15:8-9).

A Reconciled Heart

Jesus says, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24). If there is hatred and strife in your heart as you look horizontally down the pew, how can there be love in your heart as you look vertically up toward God? (I John 4:20-21). Dietrich Bonhoeffer comments, “If we despise our brother, our worship is unreal, and it forfeits every divine promise. When we come before God with hearts full of contempt and unreconciled with our neighbors, we are, both individually and as a congregation, worshipping an idol” (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 144).

Holy Hands

“Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (I Timothy 2:8). Although Paul’s words might have implications for a common posture of prayer for early Christians, they say more about the posture of the heart. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). There will always be hypocrites in God’s church, but their prayers are not heard. How can any child of God devote himself to filth on Saturday night and then sing “Purer in Heart, O God” on the Lord’s Day morning? It is an abomination! We are all sinners, but God has graciously given us the opportunity to repent and confess our sins (I John 1:8-9) rather than continue in the lie (I John 1:6).

Absolute Submission

True worship must be “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). It not only must express the genuine intents of the heart, but it must accord with “reality, which men grasp on the basis of revelation” (Dictionary of New Testament Theology, p. 891). God will look “to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). Every true worshiper experiences inexpressible joy when he praises God for the marvelous blessings He has so graciously given to us. However, this joy does not rely on artificial stimulation or anything external that is intended to induce a certain mood. It comes from trust in God and hope in His precious promises. These promises are made only to those who are willing to humbly follow His word, as laid down in the New Testament (John 8:31-32). This is why we do not burn incense, dance, clap, or blow trumpets in our church assemblies, even if all these things were done in the Old Testament period. The Old Law was only a shadow of what we now have in Christ (Hebrews 10:1; John 1:17). We are now obligated to remain within the parameters of the New Testament, as mediated through the apostles and prophets of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2; Acts 15:24).

When you worship God, do you bring these things with you?

— Via  Articles from the La Vista church of Christ, January 6, 2024

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-2-

Jesus, the Amen and the Beginning

Terry Wane Benton

“These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14).

The Amen

Jesus is the Amen, the One who validates us. When we say “amen” at the end of a prayer, we are validating our support for that prayer. Jesus validates us. He is our amen when the world will affirm how wrong they think we are. Jesus is the only amen we need. Jesus also validates our prayers. We can pray in His name, and the prayer now has validation in His name. Jesus does not validate the unbelieving until they repent and believe obediently in Him. The Jews who denied Jesus were adversaries, enemies, and persecutors of the early disciples of Jesus, but Jesus’ miracles, teaching, and resurrection proved them wrong and gave amen to the side of the disciples. The Romans were often involved in appeasing the Jews (Acts 12:1-3) and attacking, killing, and harassing the Christians. The government might not validate, honor, and protect the Christians, but Jesus is the Highest validation we can have. He is the amen that trumps all our opponents. We don’t need any higher validation than Him.

The Faithful and True Witness

He is also the “Faithful and True Witness.” He is God and has seen God the Father in all His reality and glory. So, His testimony is true, and cannot be trumped by any unbeliever’s efforts to cast doubt in His reality. How can a non-witness trump a witness? Jesus was there, and they were not. He also is a true witness of the reality of resurrection and the reality of heaven. He was “demonstrated” to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection (Romans 1:4), and of course, He came from heaven and was seen ascending back to heaven. So, heaven is real! Who has greater testimony about such realities than Jesus? His testimony as a true and faithful witness trumps all words of doubt and unbelief.

The Beginning of the Creation of God

Jesus is also “the beginning of the creation of God” which means He was the One who began the physical creation (Genesis 1:1ff; John 1:1-4). Nothing was made without Him. But Jesus is also the author of the greater creation, the antitype of the physical creation, the spiritual creation, the church (II Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 2:10; 4:24). To “begin” a creation means that He has a plan that will carry it to its intended climactic purpose. He did not abandon His creation and will not abandon His spiritual creation.

The Beginning and the Amen

He is the “author” and “finisher” of our faith, which means He is with us to help us finish our mission (Hebrews 12:2). Thus, He is the “beginning” and “the Amen.” The implication is that creations that are important enough to “begin” are important enough to sustain and see to the objective end. This is very satisfying to know that this is the One that is for us, so “who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Who are such enemies in comparison?

—  Via Articles from the Lavista church of Christ, January 10, 2024

——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
 
2) Believe 
in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent 
of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith 
in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST

1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m. Bible Classes and 10 a.m. Worship Service.   Congregational Song Service: 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Bible Classes

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

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

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