The Gospel Observer (November 4, 2018)

“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 and Isaac: God is For Us (Doy Moyer)
2) What’s the Use? Why Bother? (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–

rom8_31-32

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Jesus and Isaac: God is For Us
Doy Moyer

The story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22), the son of the promise, has long been seen as a prefiguring of God sacrificing Jesus, His unique Son. There are similarities often enumerated: the uniqueness of the son, the seed of Abraham, the submission of the son to the father, the willingness to sacrifice, the belief in resurrection, the son carrying the wood on which he would be sacrificed, etc. While some comparisons are legitimate, others may be a bit forced if not careful. Some are natural lessons found in many events. There are obvious limitations in the comparisons. For example, whereas Isaac did not know he was supposed to be the sacrifice, Jesus knew exactly why He came in the flesh, what was going to happen, and why it would happen (cf. Matt 16:21).

In counting up the similarities between Isaac and Jesus, we can miss another significant point of the story. Recall what happened when Isaac asked his father where the lamb for sacrifice was: “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son’” (vv. 7-8). … Abraham’s faith was full on display here, and God did provide an initial answer for him: “And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (vv. 13-14). It’s about God providing.

If we are to make sense out of the comparisons, then we also need to see this one: in this story there is a sense in which we are Isaac under the knife of death, and Jesus is the lamb prefigured by the ram. God would indeed provide a sacrifice for us. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)

Of course, analogies should not be taken further than intended and I am in no way trying to come up with a one-to-one comparison of events. However, we do know that Jesus is the lamb of God, provided by our Creator in order to bring about forgiveness and reconciliation.  We do know that Abraham’s faith drove his actions, and that he was fully convinced that God would raise Isaac from the dead if indeed he were put to death (Heb 11:17-18). That kind of faith is what God calls on us to imitate. By following in the footsteps of Abraham, we are trusting in the promise of God, which rests on His grace, to bring us the hope of future resurrection (see Romans 4).

There is another contrast to be made. In the great passage of Romans 8, Christians are given the promise of God that He will help them to the end. No matter what obstacles may be in the way, no matter what the world may do, no matter how much adversity is there, God’s love has forever been demonstrated in the cross. Notice, in particular, this amazing passage: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (vv. 31-32)

Think again about the Isaac account. “He who did not spare his own Son” contrasts with the fact that Isaac was spared. Even more, we are spared. The faith demonstrated by Abraham, knowing that God would provide the lamb for sacrifice, is finally fulfilled in the Son of God, who was not spared for the sake of all humanity. Without the sacrifice of Jesus, we would be forever without the hope of life. Were Jesus spared, we could not be.

If God is willing to go to this length (even extreme) to save us, why would we ever doubt His desire and ability to help us achieve the purpose for which He first made us, then remade us in Christ after sin had devastated us? Remember that He did this, not after we became good (which could not just happen), but even while we were ungodly sinners and enemies who were hostile to Him (Rom 5:6-11).

It may well be, then, that one of the greatest lessons to learn from comparing Isaac with Jesus is not so much in the similarities of the events, but in the great contrast: “He who did not spare His own Son…”

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet 2:24-25).

If God did all of this for us, why would we ever doubt His desire to help us through the process to achieve the end goal of glorification? Be comforted by the fact that God is for us.

— Via bulletin articles of the Vestavia church of Christ,  October 21, 2018
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1cor15_58

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What’s The Use? Why Bother?
Greg Gwin

Do you ever feel like the things that you do don’t amount to much? Do you think that you aren’t making much difference in this world? Do you get discouraged and wonder, “What’s the use?”

A familiar incident from the life of Christ might help. John records the account of Jesus cleansing the temple of the moneychangers in John chapter 2. This was, obviously, very early in the “public ministry” of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell about Jesus cleansing the temple in the last chapters of their gospels — just before Jesus was crucified. Is there a contradiction here? No, it seems clear that Jesus did this twice.

Armed with this understanding, we might ask, “What’s the use?” He cleansed the temple once, and the moneychangers just came right back. We might be tempted to think, “Why bother?”

The first answer to this question is: you do what’s right because it IS right! No matter how little the result you might see from your effort, you must keep on doing what is right. Jesus understood this, and so must we.

Also, we notice that this work of cleansing the temple did have a positive influence — if not on the moneychangers, at least on the disciples of Jesus. “…his disciples remembered that it was written, “the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Jn 2:17). They were there. They saw this and were impressed by it. When we stand up for what it right, others will see it, and our example will have a positive effect on some.

Finally, we challenge the whole notion that doing right “doesn’t do any good.” In the case of Jesus cleansing the temple, it did good in the near term. The temple was free, at least for a time, of the corrupt moneychangers. Yes, it had to be done again later. But for that moment it helped. When we do good, it helps. And we should never “be weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9), but rather be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

— Via The Beacon, September 23, 2018
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News & Notes

Shirley Davis’ knee replacement surgery went well, and she is feeling better. On Friday she was transferred to the Baptist Village nursing home, where she will be undergoing physical therapy for 21 days.

Rick Cuthbertson is feeling better. Some x-rays and a scan, however, might be included in his upcoming doctor’s appointment.

Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister)  has started taking a few steps. So she is doing somewhat better.

For the first time since his surgery, Jim Lively is now experiencing some swelling along with his other health issues.

Melotine Davis has not been feeling well lately.

Felicia Mackey (Cheryl Corbitt’s daughter) is now doing much better, following her recent surgery, and resumed her job last Monday; but she is not to overdo it for a while.

I (Tom Edwards) am doing well and feeling fine, following the prostate surgery a couple weeks ago, and will be able to resume driving tomorrow, though I’m still  not to overdo it for the time being.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer  Joyce Rittenhouse (Bell’s palsy), Deborah Medlock (recent surgery), Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Pat Joyner (has need of two heart valve replacements), A.J. Joyner (health problem), Mary Vandevander (in nursing home), Danny Hutcheson (almost total paralysis and loss of speech); Roger Montgomery (complications following liver and kidney transplants); Mary Aldrich (undergoing rehab); Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, and Michelle Rittenhouse.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (October 28, 2018)

“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) An Eternal Perspective (Doy Moyer)
2) Regrets At Death (Bill Crews)
3) The Power of God to Salvation (Whit Sasser)
4) News & Notes
——————–

2Cor4_18

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An Eternal Perspective
Doy Moyer

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:19-21, ESV).

Coming to grips with the reality of heaven is difficult for us when we are so focused on the earth. Learning to “look at the things that are not seen” because these things are eternal is a grand part of the biblical worldview (2 Cor 4:18). While we long for the “new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13), this present earth seems all too enticing a place for laying up treasures, and we suffer for it. We cling to the hope of a better life here, of better circumstances here, of better things here. Meanwhile, “there” seems too far away, so we look back at what this world offers and refuse to let go. The flesh is indeed weak.

Yet there are times when the eternal comes into sharper focus and the things of this world seem far less significant, if only because we are reminded of how temporary life really is. When death comes knocking at our door, whether for ourselves or for loved ones, our earthly treasures become as nothing. We would gladly give them all up in order to have the beauty of an eternal relationship with the ones whom we love. This is why “the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning” (Eccl 7:4). The wise who are living take to heart “the end of all mankind” (v. 2) and will always reassess their current perceptions of this world and where they are continuing to lay up their treasures.

With an eternal perspective, we can see why Paul’s desires and attitude are so instructive. With respect to himself, he recognized that living a little longer in the flesh was needed for the sake of others, but his real desire was to “depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Phil 1:23). That eternal perspective led him to long for the eternal dwelling with which God would clothe us in the resurrection, not to be “unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). Since God has given the Spirit as a guarantee of this (v. 5), Paul continues, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (vv. 6-7).

With respect to others in Christ, Paul could be comforted by the hope that they also had. This means that, while grief is a natural part of letting go of one we love, it need not be a grief without comfort: “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13). Why? Because “we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (v. 14). Comforting one another with these words (v. 18) is not reliance upon empty words just to feel better. It is reliance upon the solid, historical foundation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).

Death hits all of us. Hard. But Christ is coming. Resurrection is coming. A great change is coming. “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable” (1 Cor 15:42). While flesh and blood cannot finally inherit the kingdom of God, “we shall all be changed” (v. 51). The time is coming when we will finally and fully realize how death is truly swallowed up in victory — “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 57).

By the grace of God, we no longer need to be so wrapped up in the things of this world that we are choked by the cares and riches of this life and become unfruitful for Him (Luke 8:14). We no longer need to see things or people according to the flesh, for “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:16-17).

When our perspectives truly change, then we can begin to appreciate how important it really is to store up treasures in heaven as opposed to this earth. What we continue to dwell on, what we willingly spend our time on, what we steadily pour our energy into will all show where our treasures reside; and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Revelation 22:17-20 sums up our desires: The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

— via Doy Moyer’s facebook site, October 23, 2018
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2Cor7_10

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Regrets At Death
Bill Crews

I have never heard and I never expect to hear of one who, when about to die:

-Regrets that he became a Christian.

-Regrets that he tried earnestly to live as a Christian.

-Regrets that he gave so much time to prayer and study of the Bible.

-Regrets that he gave a generous portion of his money to do the Lord’s work.

-Regrets that he tried to reach others who were lost in sin around him.

-Regrets that he assembled conscientiously and regularly with the brethren for worship, exhortation and edification.

But I have heard of many and expect to hear of more who, when about to die:

-Regretted not becoming a child of the King.

-Regretted not trying earnestly to live as a Christian.

-Regretted that they had not given much time to prayer and study of the Bible.

-Regretted they had not given a generous portion of their money to do the Lord’s work.

-Regretted they had not tried to reach others around them who were lost in sin.

-Regretted they had not assembled conscientiously and regularly with their brethren for worship, exhortation and edification.

What about you? When you are facing death, as each of us will one day, will you have any regrets? Do not wait until it is too late to set your priorities straight. What is important is what you can take with you into eternity. Anything else has to be of much less value.

— Via The Beacon, April 2, 2017
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Bible

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The Power of God to Salvation
Whit Sasser

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16).

When churches try to lure people to their services by means of gimmicks and big promotions, they make a big mistake. Bingo parties, musical entertainment, films, dinners and such like, only cheapen the gospel in the minds of thinking people. A bigger attendance may be the short-term effect, but less respect for God is the long-term effect. If you gain souls by carnal means, then carnal means will be needed to hold them. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of GOD unto salvation, and though fewer may respond to it, salvation is only therein.

– Via The Beacon, September 30, 2018
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News & Notes

Rick Cutherbertson started having pain in his left side. C-scans show a small nodule in each lung and fluid in the bottom of the left lung. He will also be having a PET scan to determine if there is any cancer.

Pat Joyner is in need of two heart valve replacements.

I (Tom Edwards) appreciate everyone’s concern and prayers for my prostate surgery last Monday. All went well. I have no pain. After 74 days of having need of a catheter, it became no longer necessary the day after the surgery.

Let us also be praying for Shirley Davis’ upcoming knee replacement surgery October 30; Joyce Rittenhouse (healing from Bell’s palsy), Deborah Medlock (healing from recent surgery), Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), A.J. Joyner (health problem), and Mary Vandevander in the nursing home.

Others to include: Danny Hutcheson (almost total paralysis and loss of speech); Roger Montgomery (having complications following his liver and kidney transplants); Mary Aldrich (under-going rehab); Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, and Michelle Rittenhouse.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (October 21, 2018)

“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) Your Most Valuable Possession (Wayne Goff)
2) Responsibility (Fred A. Shewmaker)
3) News & Notes
——————–

treasure chest 2

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Your Most Valuable Possession
Wayne Goff

If someone were to ask you what is your most valuable possession, then what would you say? Your house, your car, your bank account, your retirement portfolio? In reality, it is none of these things. Your most valuable possession is your human spirit, your soul, because it alone lasts for all eternity!

Jesus taught us that when He said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

What would you give for the well-being of your eternal soul? Everything. Literally. Period. Everything. You may not believe it now, my friend, but Jesus was not mistaken about it. He has been to heaven. He dwelled in eternity before coming to earth as a lowly Servant. You should listen to Him who not only gave His life on the cross of Calvary for your sins (Matthew 26:28), but who also gave up His high station in eternity to come here to help you (Philippians 2:6-7)! While He was rich in eternity, being in the form of God, He became poor for your sakes (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus thought your soul’s well-being was important enough to come down to the earth and die on the cross. Don’t you think it’s important, too?

Another thought worth considering is how one’s hope of heaven serves as an anchor in this life! There is something irreplaceable in the knowledge that heaven is your ultimate goal, and nothing in this life can prevent it. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus,…” (Heb. 6:19-20). When life’s troubles get you down, when earthly suffering makes life unbearable, when your earthly hopes and dreams have been smashed to pieces . . . there’s still the hope of something better on the other side. So don’t give up! Don’t grow weary in doing well!

Jesus is our “forerunner” who has entered the eternal abode behind the veil of this flesh. Follow in His footsteps in this life and you will wind up exactly where He is today — in heavenly bliss! Your most valuable possession will thank you for it if you do.

— via Articles from the Roanridge church of Christ,  October 14, 2018
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romans15_25-26

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Responsibility
Fred A. Shewmaker

A generally accepted rule among brethren is that ability plus opportunity equals responsibility. As given, this appears to me to be a good rule. However, there seems to be a tendency on the part of some to make this rule say something else altogether. We are so very much aware of mathematical equations that some are apparently trying to apply this equation as they would in mathematics. The reasoning seems to be that responsibility equals opportunity plus ability. But thus stated the equation is not always and in every circumstance true.

In Acts 3, 4, and 6 we see that the local church has a responsibility to provide for the physical needs of her members. In these chapters the Jerusalem church had the opportunity plus the ability to provide relief of the physical needs of some of her members. Thus she was responsible to do it.

Years later when the church in Jerusalem had poor saints among her members, did she still have a responsibility to provide for their physical needs? If our equation would work backward, we could say that Jerusalem now had no responsibility to provide for the physical needs of her poor members. WHY? Because if responsibility equals opportunity plus ability, the Jerusalem church being without ability would be absolved of responsibility. We can occupy a position or have a relationship in which responsibility is inherent. What I am saying is that the loss of ability does not necessarily absolve us of responsibility.

Why were the saints in Jerusalem in need? They did not have the ability to provide for their own physical necessities. These poor saints were responsible to provide for themselves food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies as required. But they had lost the ability to provide these things for themselves. They were in the condition of being responsible to do a thing that they did not have the ability to do. Their need was for the ability to be supplied. A church has the responsibility to provide her members with the necessities they can not provide for themselves. The Jerusalem church had the opportunity to provide her poor members with that which they could not provide for themselves: ABILITY. The responsibility of the Jerusalem church to provide her poor members with the ability to fulfill their own individual responsibilities was inherent in the relationship that existed between her, as a church, and her members.

The Jerusalem church did not have the ability to fulfill her responsibility to her poor members. The Jerusalem church thus became a needy church. She did not need some other church to take over her responsibility. She needed ability to be supplied her. Those churches in Macedonia, Achaia, and Galatia that could help supplied Jerusalem with ability. Jerusalem could then supply her poor members with ability, fulfilling her responsibility to them. With ability the poor saints could fulfill their individual responsibility of feeding, housing, clothing, and supplying medicine for themselves.

Some have suggested the following hypothetical situation to show that the church may and does on occasion relieve non-saints.

“There are two families in a congregation each with a fifteen year old son. The parents are members of the church and one of the boys is a member but the other is not. Each of these boys is stricken with a serious disease. The hospital bills have consumed the savings of each family and are still piling up. Now according to the ‘saints only’ contention the church could only help the family where the son is a Christian. To help the other family would be helping, a non-saint.”

NOT SO! The church is not responsible to relieve either of these boys. Neither boy is financially obligated in any way. Therefore neither boy is in need of financial relief. The fathers of these boys are the ones responsible for the hospital bills. If you think that I am wrong, just try to get a fifteen year old boy admitted to any hospital on his own financial responsibility. Now both these Christians who are the fathers of these boys are lacking in ability to fulfill their individual responsibilities. A church can supply her members with the necessities they can not provide for themselves. The church can supply both fathers with that which they need: ABILITY. When the ability is supplied, it is supplied to saints. The idea that non-saints are relieved in the situation described is altogether incorrect.

The benefit derived by a non-saint in such circumstances is not the result of the church helping a non-saint but due to the relationship that the non-saint has with a saint. In the case considered, the relationship would be that of son to father.

It seems that we have learned how to determine new responsibility but have failed to understand inherent responsibility or how to determine the duration of responsibility.

Consider the following:

1. We have responsibility because it is inherent in our position or relationships.

2. New responsibility is acquired when we have an opportunity plus ability.

3. Responsibility legitimately acquired is not absolved by a lack of ability.

4. Responsibility ends when the opportunity, position, or relationship ends.

— Via TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 11, pp.21-22, August 1968
——————–

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News & Notes

Rick Cuthbertson started having pain in his left side. C-scans show a small nodule in each lung and fluid in the bottom of the left lung. He will also be having a PET scan to determine if there is any cancer.

Pat Joyner is in need of two heart valve replacements.

I, Tom Edwards, had prostate surgery October 22 and was released from the hospital on the following night.  The surgery went well.  I have no pain. After 74 days (beginning August 9) of not being able to empty my bladder without the use of a catheter (and having 7 over 70 days), it is now no longer needed and was removed October 23!  I do have to take it easy for a while, though, such as by not lifting more than 10 pounds, avoiding strenuous exercise, and not driving until I receive the okay from the doctor.  And here’s one I had never been instructed before: “Don’t sit more than 60 minutes without getting up.”  I guess I’d better start using a timer for that one. 🙂  I am glad and thankful unto God for the prayers and good wishes of others.

Let us also be praying for Shirley Davis’ upcoming knee replacement surgery October 30; Joyce Rittenhouse (healing from Bell’s palsy), Deborah Medlock (healing from recent surgery), Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), A.J. Joyner (health problem), and Mary Vandevander in the nursing home.

Others to include: Danny Hutcheson (almost total paralysis and loss of speech); Roger Montgomery (having  complications following his liver and kidney transplants); Mary Aldrich (under-going rehab); Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, and Michelle Rittenhouse.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services:9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday:
2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday:
 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
 Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (October 14, 2018)

“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) Truth (Frank Himmel)
2) Learning From Jesus (Wayne Goff)
3) A Bible Syllogism (Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
——————–

john18_37-38

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Truth
Frank Himmel

Jesus had much to say about truth. Consider these references from the gospel of John.

Truth originates with God. “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God” (John 8:40a). God’s righteousness, omniscience, and timelessness give Him a perspective and insight far beyond ours.

God’s word is truth. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). While truth begins in God’s nature, it finds expression in His word, His communication to us of His nature. Apart from that communication, we cannot know His will.

Jesus testified to the truth.  He told Pilate, “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 19:37b). Earlier He said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. . . Therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me” (12:49-50).

We can know the truth.  Logic says if Jesus testified to the truth, we can know the truth by listening to His testimony. Jesus concurred: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth . . .” (John 8:31-32). Notice in these references that Jesus referred to the truth — not your truth, my truth, and other such expressions popular in our relativistic culture. There is a fixed body of truth and we can know it!

Truth makes us free.  That is the rest of the Lord’s statement: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).  Sin results from following error. Knowing God’s will helps us avoid sin. The truth also reveals God’s plan for our salvation from sin’s consequences.

Jesus is the truth. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus did not merely speak the truth, He lived it. More to the point, He is it: God’s plan for all of us comes together in Him. As Paul put it, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20a).

The Spirit completed the revelation of truth.  The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the apostles, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:12-13a). The Spirit completed the work Jesus began. Like Jesus, He spoke only the Father’s message (v. 13b). That means when the apostles preached or wrote by inspiration, by the Spirit’s guidance, what they said is just as much truth, just as authoritative, as what Jesus said personally.

God must be worshiped in truth.  “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Truth governs everything: every relationship and every action among men, and everything about our relationship with God. That includes our worship in the formal sense, the context of this verse. Our personal preferences do not determine what constitutes acceptable worship: truth does.

Some people want the truth.  After telling Pilate that He came into the world to testify to the truth, Jesus observed, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 19:37c).

Some people do not want the truth.  They prefer their own thoughts and actions. Jesus accused some in His generation of being like the devil, whose existence is based on falsehood, not truth (John 8:44). He then made the application: “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me” (v. 45).  Just after the wonderful gospel summary that is John 3:16, the Lord added:

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).

Do you prefer light or darkness? Are you content with suppositions and guesswork, or do you want the truth? Have you accepted the truth—all the truth—Jesus revealed? If not, reflect on His question: “If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?” (John 8:46b).

— Via PathLights, June 18, 2017
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study Bible

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Learning From Jesus
Wayne Goff

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

How can we “learn” from Jesus? Primarily, the word means “to learn, be taught” by Jesus. So you must enroll in His class, become His disciple, and study His Word.

Secondarily, you “learn” by “practice or experience” as you “acquire a custom or habit.” For example, Paul learned by experience how to live frugally or abundantly, based upon his outward circumstances, Philippians 4:11. We learn by experience how to be patient, longsuffering, enduring, etc. Jesus’ teaching is not just theory but practice.

Thirdly, one can learn by ascertaining information, becoming informed. One of the best ways to learn from Jesus is to ask questions. Often as a young preacher I would be confronted with a question or a situation that I could not answer or deal with. That led me to ask how to answer that question or how to deal with that situation. Bible study, learning the answer, and recalling it for the next time I needed it was invaluable. That kind of learning sticks with you.

So What? {The Application}

The “so what?” of all of this is simple. When you sit in on a sermon or a Bible class, come prepared to learn. Proper hearing involves learning. Sermon-hearing is not a spectator sport! When the teacher or preacher is teaching from the Bible, then God is speaking to you at that moment (provided the teacher is speaking the truth). When you read the Bible, that is God speaking to you. Take Jesus’ yoke upon you and learn from Him! It will give you rest from a troubled soul, and from a sin-burdened heart.

— Via Articles from the Roanridge church of Christ, September 2, 2018
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john8_52

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A Bible Syllogism
Tom Edwards

The term “syllogism” comes from a Greek word (syllogismos) that means “conclusion” or “inference.” It has been defined as “1. a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in ‘every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable'”) (Merriam-Webster).

Here is one we find in the Bible in the words of Christ:

“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).

Major Premise: God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Minor Premise: God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Conclusion: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not dead, but living.

Though their bodies have passed away, their souls are still alive and kept by God. Corresponding to this, Jesus says, “…if anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death” (Jn. 8:52, NASB).

While the body returns to the dust, from which Adam’s was made, the departed souls of the saved go to Paradise (Luke 23:43; Luke 16:19-31) — and what a blissful place that is to experience!

That the body dies while the soul can live on is also seen in the Lord’s statement in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul…”

In the above syllogism of Matthew 22:32, Jesus was addressing the Sadducees (v. 23), who “say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit” (Acts 23:8). So Jesus speaks of these three men of faith who had passed on from this earth life, yet are still living on in a much better place.

(First posted on facebook Aug. 21, 2018)
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News & Notes

People to be remembering in prayer:  Shirley Davis (knee replacement surgery October 30);  Joyce Rittenhouse (healing from Bell’s palsy);  Deborah Medlock  (healing from recent surgery); Myrna Jordan and Melotine Davis (had not been feeling well lately); Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm); Jim Lively (collagenous colitis); Pat Joyner (needs to heart valve replacements); A.J. Joyner (health problem); and Mary Vandevander (in the nursing home).

Rick Cuthbertson started having pain in his left side.  A C-scan revealed a small nodule in each  lung and fluid at the bottom part of the left lung. He will also be having a PET scan to determine if there is any cancer.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (almost totally paralyzed and without speech for the last several months); Roger Montgomery (who has not been doing well after a liver and kidney transplant); Mary Aldrich (undergoing rehab); Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, and Michelle Rittenhouse.

The Hoboken church of Christ is having a gospel meeting October 17-21. Wednesday-Saturday: 7 p.m.  Sunday: 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 5 p.m. The guest speaker is Bob Myhan (evangelist from Macon, Georgia). The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, GA.

Update on Tom Edwards: As of today (10/18/18), while working on this Internet version of the bulletin, I’ve been with a urinary catheter for 9 weeks and 2 days (and actually 6 different ones during this time).  After being in the hospital about 25 days ago, due to a urinary infection that became septic, and then put on antibiotics for 13 days, the infection came back several days after finishing that medication. Fortunately, the infection has remained in the bladder, instead of getting in the bloodstream like before; and all my vital signs are looking good.  I am now scheduled for a pre-opt October 19 and for prostate surgery October 22. The procedure is called “TURP”  (transurethral resection of the prostate).   Your prayers will be appreciated.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday:
7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (October 7, 2018)

“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) Do You Believe in Three Gods or One? (Dudley Ross Spears)
2) “Let Nothing Be Done Through Selfish Ambition” (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Trinity

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Do You Believe in Three Gods or One?
Dudley Ross Spears

Question: Our pastor says the Church of Christ believes in three Gods and he says the Bible teaches there is only one God. Why do you believe in three Gods? Don’t you believe the Bible?

Answer: Thanks for the question. No offense intended but your “pastor” is wrong. Yes, indeed, we believe every word of the Bible. It doesn’t matter what the “Church of Christ” believes; what matters is what the Bible teaches. We believe in the one true and living God because the Bible teaches it. Your “pastor” actually believes there is only one person of God. That person to him is Jesus alone, as the one person in the Godhead. The Bible teaches there is one God, but there are three divine Beings that make up the one God.

Notice how “one” is used in the Scriptures: Paul said in Romans 12:4, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Paul added, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). You can see that one body does not mean only one person, but rather many persons making up one body.

Jesus taught that two persons are one without losing their individual identity. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5-6). You can clearly see that one here includes two persons. The same is true with the word God.

Jesus prayed that all believers might be one. Read John 17:20-22: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” One in this passage cannot and does not mean only one person. Furthermore, Jesus prayed that his followers would be one AS (note the adverb of comparison) he and his father are one. “As” means “in this way,” or “in this manner.” Therefore one God does not mean only one person of God.

Paul spoke to the citizens of Athens, saying: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29). The word Godhead is also found in Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9. It means “Deity, the state of being God or divinity.” One God is the same as saying one Deity. The Bible says there is one God (Deity) but never says there is only one person who is deity. The Bible says a husband and wife are one, but they remain two distinct people. All believers are one in Christ (John 17:20) but not one person. If countless billions can be “one” and remain distinct human persons, three divine Beings can be one and remain distinct divine persons.

A United Pentecostal creed book reads: “We believe in the one ever living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation. … This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in divers ways; in the Son while He walked among men; as the Holy Spirit after the ascension” (Manual, United Pentecostal Church, page 17). Some of those who adhere to this creedal dictum explain it this way. “God is one person, who has manifested Himself in creation as Father, in redemption as Son, and in the Church as the Holy Ghost.”

This is false doctrine about God’s being. If God exists eternally as only one person, manifesting Himself in three different modes, He is not (and cannot be) a manifestation of all three simultaneously. Either God is Father (as Pentecostals say He was in creation) or He is the Son, as they claim He was in redemption, or He is the Holy Spirit now. He cannot be all three at the same time and be but one person. Thus, if Jesus was God manifest in the Son in redemption, but is now manifesting Himself as the Holy Spirit in the church, Jesus is not now the Son of God.

Those who deny that Jesus is (present tense) the Son of God are anti-Christ. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23). Those who affirm only one person of God but three separate manifestations cannot acknowledge the Son and the Father also and are forced to deny that Jesus is now manifest as God. It is just that simple — and is very serious. I urge to you and everyone else to reject this idea of “Only One Person in the Godhead” heresy.

— Via  Articles from the LaVista church of Christ
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Matt6_33

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“Let Nothing Be Done Through Selfish Ambition”
R.J. Evans

For a number of years our culture has had the philosophy of “have it your way” and “no one can tell me what to do.”  This is strictly a selfish attitude that is usually fostered from early childhood onward.  So many young people grow up getting everything they want and are not accustomed to being disciplined in any way.  When these kind of attitudes start permeating a congregation, the local church will start having problems.

Our Lord taught the very opposite.  Instead of seeking self interests first, He tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”  (Matt. 6:33).  Thus, we must always put Christ and the advancement of His Cause first and foremost in our lives.  If we have created problems because we have to have everything our way, we need to humbly bow our heads in shame and repent of our selfish demands which have disrupted the peace, harmony, and progress of the church.

Our Lord was even willing to be abused and mistreated for righteousness sake—”who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23).  And just before the verse cited, we are told that we should look to His example and “follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).

While living on earth, Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).  Moses, God’s chosen leader of the Israelites, “was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth” (Num. 12: 3).  Likewise, the word of God teaches those of us who are Christians the following: “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:5-6).

Being a faithful child of God is a life of ministry and humble service to others.  Jesus taught this throughout His earthly ministry; and at the end of His life, He demonstrated what He had been teaching by washing His disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:5).  So the next time you selfishly feel it has to be your way, or no way, think of Christ’s example and teaching.  We should give some serious thought to what the true spirit of service involves before we begin to assert our rights in the church by demanding that we have to have it our way in every matter.  Like the Apostle Paul, we must be willing to forego our rights or liberties when we know that we are offending or upsetting other Christians by our actions (See 1 Cor. 8:12-13; 9;1-18; 10:32).  Selfishness has no place in the service of the Lord!

— Via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, August 19, 2018
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-3-

News & Notes

Shirley Davis is scheduled for surgery on her left knee October 30.  Let us be praying that all will go well for her. (She will also  have to have the right knee replaced sometime in the near future, along with her rotator cuff that is still giving her pain in her shoulder.)

Joyce Rittenhouse has recently been afflicted with Bell’s palsy, which is affecting the right side of her face.  Let us pray that she will soon and speedily be healed.

Myrna Jordan and Melotine Davis have not been feeling well lately and can also use our prayers.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (who is almost totally paralyzed and with loss of speech for these last several months); Roger Montgomery (who is still in the hospital and not doing well after having a liver and kidney transplant); Jim Lively (who has often fallen and has collagenous colitis, which he is still seeking a cure for); Mary Aldrich (who has now been in rehab, following a burst bowel and a few weeks in the hospital); Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm and back trouble), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (September 30, 2018)

“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) Not Our Workmanship, But His (Bill Hall)
2) The Myth (Shane Williams)
3) What Makes the Difference? (Bill Crews)
4) Whose Orders? (Bob Hines)
5) News & Notes
——————–

Phil1_6c

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Not Our Workmanship, But His
Bill Hall

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

When one is baptized he becomes a new creation, but he is not the creation of any man. He is the workmanship of God.

He is not the workmanship of the person who converted him — not primarily, anyway. Man can teach, influence, persuade, and baptize; but only God can cleanse, and give him new life. He is God’s creation — God’s workmanship. Just as surely as no man could create an “Adam,” just that surely no man can create a new creature in Christ.

Neither is one self-made. In Christ, one does not lift himself “by his own bootstraps.” Christianity is not a “do-it-yourself religion” — not in the fullest sense. One does not effect his own salvation through his own merit. Rather, in obedience to the gospel and faithfulness as a Christian, he places himself as clay in God’s hand, to become the work of the divine Potter, who molds, shapes, and perfects him that he might be fashioned in the image of His Son.

He is the workmanship of God because his salvation is “by grace…through faith,” “the gift of” God (Ephesians 2:8,9). If one’s salvation were of meritorious works, he would not be the workmanship of God. This is the primary thrust of the passage.

The workmanship of God exists as a monument to the greatness of the Potter; as a beautiful painting is a monument to an artist, so a mature and perfected Christian is a monument to the marvelous power of God. Such a person is a product of God’s grace and exists for “the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 3:14-19). That God could take a Peter, a John, a Saul of Tarsus, an Aquila, a Priscilla, a John Mark, and mold him or her into the lovely vessel each became is a manifestation of His greatness. That He could do the same for people this writer has known and observed equally manifests His greatness. That He can and will do the same for me if I will but submit myself to His care in humble obedience, trust, and prayer is the greatest marvel of all.

The workmanship of God must be handled with care. Such a person is special, precious, priceless to God. As one is cautious in handling a family heirloom or rare piece of pottery fashioned by the hands of a master, so we must be cautious in our treatment of that creation which is the work of God. “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food,” Paul warned the Romans (Romans 14:20). That person toward whose tender conscience you are showing little regard or whose soul you are placing in jeopardy is the work of God. Love that person. Appreciate him. Be tender toward him. Recognize his value. Handle with care!

The workmanship of God must never be content until it is brought to perfection. “Finish then Thy new creation,” Charles Wesley wrote in his familiar hymn, “Love Divine.” In keeping with this, Paul could express his confidence in the Philippian Christians, “That He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6,7). Only those who remain in the Potter’s hands until brought to completion and perfection become vessels of honor. All others become marred and fit only for destruction (II Timothy 2:19-21).

Let not man, then, boast of himself. Self-righteousness has no place in the heart of a Christian. If any man boast, “let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31) and “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). We are His workmanship.

— via Gospel Power, Vol. 13, No. 33, Aug. 13, 2006
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Woman caught in rain

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The Myth
Shane Williams

Once we decide to obey God completely, it’s easy to assume that the rest of our life will run smoothly. If it does, we think this proves that we’re doing God’s Will. If we run into obstacles, however, we’re quick to conclude that we must be doing something wrong or God is unhappy with us. Rather than question our measuring stick, we question our dedication, and sometimes even God.

It’s a myth to believe that if we obey God, everything will always go well. Being dedicated to God means going with Him even when things don’t go our way. In fact, as you consider the growth of the church in the first century, the Bible is clear that the gospel advanced during times of suffering.

Although Paul was imprisoned when he wrote to the Philippians, his adversity didn’t cause him concern. His objective was to preach the gospel and he didn’t question that goal just because he had been arrested. He made the most of the circumstances and continued to proclaim Jesus even to his captors. His imprisonment furthered the gospel!

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the Word of God without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14).

How would you and I react if we were in Paul’s shoes? Would we question our faithfulness, God’s love for us, or perhaps question if there was even a God?

Don’t be fooled by the misleading notion that life will be easy if you obey God. God doesn’t always remove difficulties; He uses them for your good and for His glory.

— via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 9, Nos. 4,5, Aug/Sept. 2008
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1John4_1b

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What Makes the Difference?
Bill Crews

* If a man has money and is not willing to have it examined, people think it is counterfeit.

* If a man is afraid to take a lie detector test, people think he is guilty of crime.

* If a man conducts a business and is unwilling to let anyone investigate it, folks think he is running a crooked business.

But, many preachers teach doctrines that under no circumstances will they test or allow to be tested by the Bible. Yet millions of people will accept them as upright, honest teachers of the truth, and will risk their salvation upon them. What makes the difference? The Bible instructs us to try the teachers (I John 4:1). The truth never fears investigation!

— Via La Vista church of Christ
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train1

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Whose Orders?
Bob Hines

Years ago I read notice of a horrible train wreck in which many people died painfully amid the twisted burning wreckage. The engineer was killed as well. But as he lay near death he showed those nearby a paper, saying, “Take this. It will show I was given the wrong orders.” And, they were the wrong orders. He had been on the wrong track, yet he was still dying, along with many others.

Friend, you have an eternal soul. What orders are you following: God’s, or man’s idea of religion? Make sure, because sincerity is not enough!

— via the Beacon, July 8, 2018
——————–

-5-

News & Notes

We are glad that things went well for Doug Pennock last Wednesday when he underwent a procedure for an aorta aneurysm.

It is good to be out of the hospital. I (Tom Edwards) was admitted last Saturday (9/22), late afternoon, and was released Tuesday about 10 a.m.  I had sepsis, due to an urinary tract infection, probably caused by more than 5 weeks of using catheters.  (As of 9/30, it has now been about 6 weeks and 4 days.) The specific bug that caused the infection is called “klebsiella pneumoniae,” and for which I am now on antibiotics for 12 days.

Joyce Rittenhouse has recently been afflicted with Bell’s Palsy, which is affecting the right side of her face.  Let us pray that she will soon and speedily be healed.

I appreciate Danny Bartlett and Baxter Cribbs filling in for me while I was absent.  Due to their preaching last week — instead of today (the fifth Sunday of the month, when we give opportunity for two of the men to preach) — I will be doing the preaching for both worship services.

Let us continue to remember the loved ones of Richard Kristianson and Rick Hadley.  Also continue praying for Mary Aldrich, Roger Montgomery, Danny Hutchinson, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis,  Mary Vandevander, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, and Misty Thornton.
——————–

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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (September 23, 2018)

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

1) The Obedience of Faith (Steve Dewhirst)
2) Save Yourselves (Terry W. Benton)
3) News & Notes
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Heb5_9c

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The Obedience of Faith
Steve Dewhirst

How odd, that one of the Bible’s most fundamental teachings should have become so puzzling to folks. God is not the author of confusion, but man is. And during the centuries since Jesus walked the earth, the very nature of the faith that saves has been obscured by an improper balance of principles.

Without controversy should be the straightforward declaration, “by grace you have been saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8). To deny the truth of the statement is to deny the gospel. But, as with other subjects, to isolate this verse to the exclusion of all others is to guarantee oneself the wrong perception. This verse surely tells us of salvation through faith, itself. We should never question that we are saved through faith, but we should certainly arrive toward a better understanding of what faith is and how it is expressed.

Faith can be defined as a deep, abiding trust and confidence in God — but to stop there is to leave the picture incomplete. It is this notion that faith is nothing more than the intellectual acknowledgment that God exists, that has led many to think that He makes no requirements of us. But that simply won’t square with Scripture. After all, Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus is “the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” Now faith, or belief, is not the same as obedience. But obviously, weighing the principle of faith beside that of obedience should cause us to dig a little deeper into the nature of the faith that saves. Saving faith cannot exist in a vacuum. In other words, faith doesn’t exist as an isolated concept, separate from the life of the believer. Faith is a living, active ingredient of one’s character. It effects the believer’s conduct for good. James 2:14 poses two critical questions. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it?” These are rhetorical questions; requiring no answer. A “faith” that does nothing cannot save anyone. Even demons believe that God exists (James 2:19), but no one believes they will be saved. No, faith needs something else to make it complete. James cites the example of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God and asks, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:22).

So our earlier definition of faith needs to be amended. Faith is a deep, abiding trust and confidence in God, that creates a willingness to do what God says. Any definition of faith that excludes an obedient heart has failed to consider God’s Word completely. But just a note of caution is in order. Just as some men incorrectly deem faith to be a mental assent of God’s goodness, others ignore faith and believe that righteousness lies in obedience. Both views are woefully wrong. No one will ever be justified before God on the basis of his obedience, for no one’s obedience is perfect (Galatians 3:10,11; Romans 3:23). Obedience for the sake of “scoring points” with God is an exercise in futility. The only obedience God will accept is that which is born of our faith in Him. The obedience of faith is that service which is motivated by our trust that God knows best, and our desire to honor His Will. It is this faith that Paul advocates in his great epistle to the Romans. In introducing his theme, Paul says he has received grace and apostleship “unto the obedience of faith among all the nations” (Romans 1:5 ASV). Plainly put, Paul is working as an apostle in order to bring about the obedience which rightly stems from faith. Paul never taught “rote” obedience in keeping with a ritualistic traditionalism. Instead, Paul taught that we can only be saved by recognizing our sinfulness, seeking the grace and mercy of God, and coming to Him through a faith in Christ that is willing to meet His conditions of pardon.

Man’s salvation through faith shouldn’t be puzzling. The most natural thing in the world ought to be our willingness to obey the God in whom we have faith. If we have come to redemption through the sacrifice of God’s only Son, how can we fail to humble our spirits before His Word? A faith that refuses to obey is really no faith at all.

— via Gospel Power, Vol. 12, No. 17, April 24, 2005
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“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household…” (Heb. 11:7, NASB).
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Acts2_40

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Save Yourselves
Terry W. Benton

Only because of what Jesus did for us on the cross and only through knowledge of what He did can we engage in the activity of faith that will result in our salvation. There is a common expression these days that “there is nothing you can do, Jesus did it all for you” which is misleading. Jesus did not believe for you. He did not repent for you, and He was not baptized for you. When Peter told the Jews who asked “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) what they should do (Acts 2:38), and then told them with many other words to “save yourselves from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40), he was not denying that Jesus had paid the price for their sins, but he was affirming that the benefit of what Jesus did is not automatically applied to our account until and unless we meet these conditions. No one is saved by the blood of Christ until and unless they truly believe enough to meet these conditions: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins….” The gift is offered freely on those terms. Those who believe will “gladly receive his word” (Acts 2:41) and be baptized accordingly. Those who do not will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).

Now, let us also observe that baptism is to be “in the name of Jesus Christ,” which is by His authority. On our own authority we could not be baptized and the act itself save us or give us remission of sins. But, baptism that is done in the name of Jesus Christ will be active faith that puts us in the position to have saved ourselves from this perverse generation. It is a separating act that cuts out sins and ties to a perverse generation of people and allows us to cross the Red Sea of Jesus’ blood to rise on the other side totally free from the past sins and now totally committed to the leadership of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior (I Corinthians 10:1-3; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Acts 22:16; Acts 8:33ff). 3,000 gladly received his word, were baptized, crossed over into the heavenly land, the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3,7; Colossians 1:13), and were saved from sin and condemnation (Romans 8:1). They were now risen to new life in Christ with Christ as their head. This is what happens when a person gladly takes the exit route Jesus offers. This is how they were able to “save themselves.” This is how we must cut the ties we have to a perverse generation and save ourselves from the condemnation that is certain to come upon a world of spiritually blind people (II Corinthians 4:2-4). Jesus wants you to be saved (Matthew 11: 28ff; II Peter 3:9). Jesus died to pay for your sins. He told you what to do now to save yourself. Have you done it? If not, why not?

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

We were sorry to hear of the recent passing of Richard Kristianson (Marie Pennock’s youngest brother).  Let us be praying for all his family and friends.

Also, as mentioned recently, we want to continue to remember in prayer the loved ones of Rick Hadley (Anita Young’s brother) who passed away September 13.

Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) has been in rehab for about a week now, where she continues to improve.

Roger Montgomery, who had a kidney & liver transplant about 3 weeks ago, is still in the hospital. He is not doing well.

Danny Hutchinson still remains paralyzed in all but one arm and with just slight movement in the other. The massive brain bleed about 6 months ago has affected him like a stroke. He has also not spoken in all this time.

Jim Lively has often fallen over the last several months and still hasn’t found a good cure for his collagenous colitis.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer our shut-ins: Shirley Davis and Mary Vandevander.

Others to also remember in prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, and Misty Thornton.
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“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NASB).
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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 Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
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; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (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 services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)