“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Why So Many Superlatives? (Wayne Goff)
2) Where Diligence is Needed (John Edwards)
3) News & Notes
Why So Many Superlatives?
The New Testament seemingly is full of superlatives. For example, Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Really? “Exceedingly abundantly”? Isn’t that a little much? Well, that all depends on your concept of God. If your concept of God is rooted in the Bible’s revelation of Him, then no, that’s not a little much! In fact, even that superlative only scratches the surface of God’s power, might and ability. Friend, what is your concept of God?
God revealed His desire to help us beyond our wildest expectations in order that we might develop the deepest trust and confidence in Him, which in turn would lead to our eternal salvation. Absolute trust and confidence in God is essential to our faith. After all, didn’t Jesus, the Good Shepherd, promise in John 10:10 that “. . . I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (“Abundantly” comes from the same Greek word in both references.) The kind of life Jesus promises to those who love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength is a life that far exceeds anything they could have otherwise. Isn’t that what you want? If so, then trust and obey Jesus!
While on earth, Jesus calmed the winds and waves on a tempestuous Galilee, which caused those who saw it to be “greatly amazed . . . beyond measure,” (Mk. 6:51, same word). God is a God of immeasurable wisdom, power and ability, so superlatives are the best way to describe Him.
“Awesome” is a word that often describes God in the Bible. Unfortunately the word has been marginalized from being over used to describe things that are not actually awesome. When God appeared to Jacob in a dream, he awoke and exclaimed, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Gen. 28:17). The place was awesome because God was there! Israel was told to put their trust in God because “. . . the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you” (Deuteronomy 7:21; see also Deut. 10:17; 28:58; Nehemiah 1:5; Ps. 47:2; etc.). “Awesome” means “to fear, to revere; to cause to be afraid or full of dread.” This describes Jacob’s thoughts perfectly. One does not come into the presence of God and think anything else! “Holy and Reverend (Awesome) is His Name!” (Psalm 111:9).
The salvation procured for us through His mercy, by “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” has been “poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). God saves us in a way that exceeds the need, but He desires to leave no doubt!
God determined to show “more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-18). God leaves no room for doubt in the work that He does to us and for us. If there is any doubt, it resides solely in our inability to believe in an Awesome God! What should be the reaction of sinful man? “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). You cannot ask for more than that!
— Via The Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 5, Page 2, February 2, 2020
Where Diligence is Needed
The Scriptures stress the need for diligence, careful and persistent work or effort.
IN TEACHING OUR CHILDREN. Israel was instructed, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children . . .” (Dt. 6:7). How much effort do we put into teaching our children the words of the Lord, and to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and might?
IN COMMANDMENT KEEPING. Deuteronomy 6:17 says, “Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God . . . ” Joshua exhorted, “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law . . .”. (Josh. 22:5). King Artaxerxes decreed, “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done . . .” (Ezra 7:23). We need that same fervor for doing what God commands today! The Psalmist said, “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently” (Ps. 119:4).
IN KEEPING THE HEART. Wisdom literature teaches, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Moses appealed to the nation of Israel, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently . . .” (Dt. 4:9). It is the persistent effort of every individual to keep his heart!
IN SEEKING THE LOST. Remember the lost piece of silver? “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?” (Lk. 15:8). No doubt, there will be more rejoicing when there is more seeking!
IN SPEAKING AND TEACHING THE THINGS OF THE LORD. It is said of Apollos, “. . . he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord . . .” (Acts 18:25). Think how many would come to know the Lord if each of us would do this today!
IN FOLLOWING GOOD WORKS. Among “widow taken into number” requirements is the condition: “. . . if she have diligently followed every good work” (1 Tim. 5:10). The Christian is “. . . created in Christ Jesus unto good works . . .” (Eph. 2:10), to be “. . . zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).
IN SEEKING GOD. God “. . . is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). It is true that, “if thou shalt seek the Lord, thou shalt find him” (Dt. 4:29). Paul preached, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him . . .” (Acts 17:27). Some may never find the Lord for lack of diligence in seeking! Will you?
IN LOOKING. The Hebrew writer admonished, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God . . .” (Heb. 12:15). If the notion of “once in grace, always in grace” is true, why the admonition to look diligently? We do not want to “fail of the grace of God” for “by grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5)!
IN ADDING TO FAITH. Peter reminded disciples, “. . . giving all diligence, add to your faith . . .” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). Virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity are seven additions that require careful work. Diligent faith-adding is a must “. . . to make your calling and election sure” (v. 10)!
IN BEING FOUND BLAMELESS. Looking for new heavens and a new earth, “. . . be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:14). How will we be found in the day of the Lord?
How about dedicating yourself to “abounding in all diligence” in this new decade (2 Cor. 8:7)?
— Via The Terre Haute Speaker, Volume 9, Number 1, January 5, 2020
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Ann Vandevander (Melotine Davis’ sister-in-law) had another fall recently that required major, emergency surgery. She will be in the hospital for up to 60 days.
Emma Thomas (Bennie Medlock’s sister) had a stroke recently that has affected her speech. She has been transferred to a hospital in Savannah.
Jan Bartlett has started her 4 weeks of radiation treatments, 5 days a week.
Pat Joyner was recently in the hospital to intravenously receive an iron infusion. She might also have to have a bone marrow biopsy to check on her blood cell production. With the iron deficiency and still recovering from her recent surgery, she had been physically weak.
Also: Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, and Kerry Williams.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
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://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)