The Gospel Observer (August 5, 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 Sovereignty of God (Gene Frost)
2) News & Notes
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The Sovereignty of God
Gene Frost

Sovereignty is the state of being sovereign, which is to be “above or superior to all others; chief; greatest; supreme.” We illustrate:

In all the realm, the king was sovereign. There was no one holding  greater rank, with greater authority, or greater power. He willed that on a certain day, from the rising of the sun until the setting of the same, all who came before him and pledged their allegiance personally would receive a special blessing from the king himself. The time was sufficient to allow every subject to appear, and none would be turned away. The day came and many made their appearance and pledged their allegiance. However, the disgruntled and rebellious refused to humble themselves before the king. True to his promise, the king graciously bestowed great favor upon the humble, a reward far exceeding what any had imagined.

Question: Did the king surrender his sovereignty by stipulating conditions in order to receive his blessings? Did he cease being supreme in the kingdom when his subjects sought his favor and obeyed his orders? Did he lose control of his power by fulfilling his promise? Was the bestowal of blessings still within his power or had he thereby lost control? Did he still have power over who were blessed when the number was determined by the choice his subjects made? Did the action of his subjects, in making a choice to submit or refuse, in any wise diminish his authority and power? Who could rightly deny that the sovereign king was still sovereign king after he blessed his subjects?

I wouldn’t suppose anyone would have a problem with this scenario. Why is it then, when it comes to the sovereignty of God, Calvinists tell us that He cannot offer blessings to the obedient without losing that sovereignty? When God sets forth conditions for man’s salvation, allowing man the freedom to either humbly obey or obstinately refuse, He is in complete control of whom He will bless and whom He will refuse. His role and authority remain supreme. Whatever man does is without effect upon God’s will; God is the ultimate determiner, who acts according as He has promised. There is a body of the saved, those who meet His requirements, and a body of the lost, who live and die in sin alienated from Him. The body of the saved consists of those who receive salvation which He offers “in Christ.” Those in Christ, who remain faithful in Christ, constitute His elect (Ezekiel 18:26; Hebrews 6:4-6; I Corinthians 15:1-2). They are predestined to everlasting life. Predestined, not as individuals without regard to character, but as those “in Christ,” who love His appearing (II Timothy 4:8). Whether one is among the saved or not depends upon his response to the grace of God, which is extended to all men (Titus 2:11-12; I John 2:2). Therefore man has the free will to choose (Joshua 24:15). In either case, God is sovereign, fully in control.

Calvinists’ Spin

Calvinists put a spin on the word “sovereign” that assumes that He had to pre-program and predetermine everything — every thought, every action, every event, to the minutest detail. Of course, their theological assumption is not inherent in the word. They use their contrived definition to formulate doctrines, doctrines not set forth in Scripture and will not stand the test of investigation standing alone. By using “sovereignty” (their definition), they beg the question. This is a fact they recognize. For example, they cannot reconcile their “sovereignty” with “human responsibility.” How reasonable and just is it for God to hold man responsible for what he thinks and does when God Himself supposedly pre-programmed him to be as he is? Here is what Calvinists admit:

“The one thing that man cannot do is reconcile the responsibility of man and the sovereignty of God.”

“Both of these are equally true – they are both in the Bible – and we have no trouble in our minds when we consider them separately, but, we cannot (in our minds) put them together.”

Of errors to be avoided, we are told: “probably the most common error is to try to reconcile God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.”

“They are both in the Bible – both true – but humanly we cannot reconcile them with each other.”

Can you imagine that God gave us a revelation of His will which defies our reason, that logically is contradictory! Au contraire! There is no conflict between God’s sovereignty, when properly defined and as His supremacy is used in Scripture, and man’s responsibility before God. It is Calvinist theology that is contradictory, that defies reason.

Fixed, Unchangeable Intents

One mistake Calvinists make about the sovereignty of God is to assume that every decree of God is absolute and unchangeable, that there are no contingencies with God. Man has no choice that affects God’s actions. In contrast, observe the following:

“At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;  if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it” (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

God may plan to destroy a wicked nation, but if it turns to  God He will relent. Either course is within His power and authority. His spoken will and intention is not absolute and unchangeable. It is contingent upon man’s behavior. Thus God “relents or changes his dealings with men according to his sovereign purposes” [Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. II, p. 571]. See also Ezekiel 3:17-21 and I Samuel 23:11-13.

Consider the following passages where God decreed, but changed it.

God told Hezekiah to set his house in order because he would not live; he would die. Hezekiah prayed to God. In response God said, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (II Kings 20:1-6).

God’s decree was not fixed, and as the situation changed, God’s will changed. You see, it is as God says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”  (James 5:16). See also Jonah 3:4,10.

Contingency is seen in many passages:

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

Whoever wills (determines, chooses) to respond to God’s invitation may, or he may choose not. God will respond accordingly. The Calvinist says, “No, man’s will is not involved. When the Spirit and bride say, ‘come,’ only those whom God has elected will come, not of their own will but as predetermined; they are pre-programmed to come.”

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man” (Matthew 7:24).

The Calvinist responds, “No, he that does as the Lord orders is not ‘wise’… he is pre-programmed. He does what he must. In fact, one may be dull, but if God has elected him he will do as programmed to do. On the other hand, a non-elected wise man may turn away in spite of his wisdom simply because it is God’s pleasure that he be eternally lost.”

In writing this article, the only difficulty in refuting the Calvinist’s theological bluster was in selecting passages from a wealth of Scripture which expose its fallacy.

Our God is Sovereign

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalms 103:19).

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (I Timothy 6:15-16).

— via Articles for the La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

Jim Lively has been diagnosed with Collagenous colitis, which only about 42 people out of 100,000 have, and recently began trying some new medication for it.

Rick Cuthbertson began his chemo treatments on Wednesday, but had an adverse reaction toward it.

Doyle Rittenhouse is to be careful while he heals from recent surgeries that involved the removal of two malignant spots.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (had a massive brain bleed and is paralyzed, except for one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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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)

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The Gospel Observer (July 29, 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) Is Obedience Essential to Salvation? (Bill Crews)
2) “Speak As the Oracles of God” (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
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Is Obedience Essential to Salvation?
Bill Crews

According to what the New Testament of Christ teaches, what is the place, the importance, the purpose of obedience — our obedience to the commandments of God?

Matthew 7:21 reads: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Obedience is essential to our entering the kingdom of heaven.

Hebrews 5:8-9 reads: “Though He was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation.” Obedience is essential to our receiving eternal salvation.

1 Peter 1:22 reads: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to (KJVin obeying) the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently.” Obedience is essential to the purifying of our souls.

Jesus said: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience grows out of love for Christ and is proof of our love for Christ.

1 John 2:4-5 reads: “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Obedience is proof that we know Him. Anyone who does not obey Him cannot know Him.

Romans 6:17-18 reads: “But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (KJVdoctrine) whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” Obedience is essential to being made free from sin, and that obedience must come from the heart.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 reads: “And to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” At His second coming and the judgment the Lord will render vengeance to those who have not obeyed His gospel.

Men Teach That Obedience Is Not Essential To Salvation

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that man merits or earns salvation, for that is an impossibility — as impossible as living a sinless life, as impossible as rendering flawless obedience to God all the days of one’s life. Everyone sins; salvation is a matter of God’s forgiveness; and man cannot possibly earn forgiveness. All of the passages that are misunderstood by men to teach that our salvation does not depend upon any doing or works on our part are really passages denying that men can be justified by the works of the law of Moses or any such law (which would demand perfect obedience). These were designed to answer the Judaizing teachers who were denying the sufficiency of Christ and the gospel and casting man’s hope of salvation in the works of the law of Moses (they were especially telling Gentile Christians that they could not be saved without practicing circumcision and obeying the works of the law of Moses). They were shown the consequences of such teaching.

Obedience And Salvation By Faith

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by faith. Salvation is by faith, but it is not by faith alone. It is by faith that obeys; it is by obedience that comes from the heart. Faith alone cannot save (James 2:14-16); faith alone is dead (James 2:17); faith alone is barren or fruitless (James 2:20); faith alone cannot justify (James 2:24); faith alone is what the demons had (James 2:19). James 2:14-26 teaches that faith is shown by obedience (verse 18) and that faith is made perfect by obedience (verse 22). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys the commandments of Christ. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Obedience And Salvation By Grace

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by grace. Salvation is by grace, but the spiritual blessings of grace are conditional, not unconditional. “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). The “not of works” of Ephesians 2:8-9 refers to works of which man can boast (which would be the case if man could be justified by the works of the law of Moses, which demanded obedience, but which contained no sacrifice that could actually take away sin — Hebrews 10:1). Conditions of forgiveness under the new covenant or the gospel are not under consideration in Ephesians 2:8-9.

In Revelation 22:14 the King James Version reads: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

— Via the Roanridge Reader, January 21, 2018, Volume 33, Issue 03, Page 2-3
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“Speak As the Oracles of God”
R.J. Evans

“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

The importance of faithfully and completely preaching the word of God manifests itself in many passages throughout the Bible. The scriptures warn against adding to, or taking away from, the word of God (See Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). In the days of King Jehoiakim, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to reveal His message to the people. God commanded Jeremiah to “speak to them—do not diminish a word” (Jer. 26:2). While it may have been tempting for Jeremiah to leave off parts of God’s message that would have stirred the anger of the people, Jeremiah faithfully preached the word of God.  The importance of delivering all of God’s message to the people is seen in the very beginning of Jeremiah’s work as a prophet — “But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say,“I am a youth,” For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak’” Jer. 1:7).

In Ezekiel 33, the Lord explained why the Lord’s servants must always preach God’s complete message.  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ And you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.  Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek. 33:8-9).

Now we can better understand why it was so important for Paul to tell the elders of Ephesus— “I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).  This always concerned Paul because when the Jews at Corinth rejected his message— “Jesus is the Christ,” we are told, “when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles’” (Acts 18:6).

We have two letters written by Paul to the young evangelist, Timothy.  Please observe what Paul charged Timothy: “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).  If we faithfully preach God’s word, we will find ourselves at times rebuking people for their wrongs or reprimanding them for their sins.  This is not an easy task.  But whether it involves encouraging or rebuking, we must still preach the word with “longsuffering” and “in love” (2 Tim. 4:2; Eph. 4:15).  We live in a time much the same as described by Paul when he said, “because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).  However, the Bible is God’s word, and since we are commanded to “preach the word,” we should ever strive to be faithful to declare God’s revealed will.  By so doing, it is the only way that we can truly join in with Paul and say— “I am innocent of the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26).  Thus, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, July 1, 2018
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News & Notes

Let us be praying for the following:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mason Montgomery (Rex Hadley’s brother-in-law) who passed away July 15.

Our sympathies also go out to the loved ones of Helena Hunt (sister of  Becky Pennock) who passed away July 14.

Roger Montgomery (Mason’s son) has too much ammonia in his body, had been in a coma, and is in need of a liver transplant.

Rex (“Rick”) Hadley Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

Danny Hutchinson (Anita Young’s cousin) has made some improvement from his massive brain bleed, but can still move only one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson, who was to be undergoing 24 chemo treatments over a few months, as a precautionary measure, following the recent removal of cancer and part of his liver, had a bad reaction to the first treatment.  So we are waiting to hear what they will try next.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s surgery went well last week.  He later had an additional procedure to remove a melanoma on the back of his neck, which was only in the first layer; so not as extensive as his previous surgery.

Jim Lively has been having some trouble recently with his equilibrium and has also been diagnosed with collagenous colitis, which only about 42 people out of 100,000 have.  He recently began a new medication for it and should know in a couple weeks whether it is effective or not.

The hernia surgery for me (Tom Edwards) was changed to August 9.

Also for prayer: Tommy Lindsey, Rex & Frankie Hadley,  Pat & A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Danny Bartlett, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation</big>

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)

The Gospel Observer (July 22, 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) Man’s Spirit After Death (Bill Crews)
2) What about Mormonism? (Derrick Dean)
3) News & Notes
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Man’s Spirit After Death
Bill Crews

How Did Jesus Prove The Resurrection Of The Dead?

The Sadducees, concentrated at Jerusalem and represented especially among the Jewish Levitical priests, were the liberal religious party among the Jews in the first century. They differed from the Pharisees by believing “that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit” (Acts 23:8). The Sadducees consistently denied both the existence of spirits and the reality of a coming resurrection. If humans are spiritual beings as well as physical beings, if physical death does not bring all of one’s existence to an end, if something about humans survives the death of the body, then there will indeed be a resurrection of the dead.

In Matthew 22:23-30 the Sadducees, to put Jesus to a test, came to Him with their famous hypothetical case involving a woman married consecutively to seven different husbands (all brothers and according to a provision of the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 25:5ff). Jesus handled their “hard” question (“In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven?”) with ease. Such a case, far from disproving the resurrection of the dead, presents it with no problem at all. Jesus informed them that in the resurrection there will be no marrying or giving in marriage; the marriage relationship will simply not exist. Then, giving them more than they asked for, Jesus remarked, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” To which He added the observation, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32).

In the Old Testament passage quoted by Jesus, Exodus 3:6, God was speaking to Moses at the burning bush.

Abraham (Genesis 25:8), Isaac (Genesis 35:29), and Jacob (Genesis 49:33) had all been dead (physically) for many years when God spoke to Moses. He did not say, “I used to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He rather said, “I am the God of…” This, according to Jesus, necessarily implied that in Moses’ day there was some sense in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still lived. Without their spirits, their bodies were dead (James 2:26), but their spirits still lived. Therefore, there will be a resurrection.

A Look At Other Passages On The Subject

In many instances the Bible uses “spirit,” “soul,” and “inward man” interchangeably. The fact that in a few instances (e.g., Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23) a distinction is made between “soul” and “spirit” does not change this fact. Man is frequently described as “flesh and spirit” (Matthew 26:41), “body and soul” (Matthew 10:28), “inward man and outward man” (2 Corinthians 4:16). When Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead, the child’s “soul” came into him again (1 Kings 17:21). When Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, her “spirit” returned to her body (Luke 8:55).

Though man is able to kill the body, he is not able to kill the soul, according to Jesus (Matthew 10:28; cf. Luke 12:4-5). God is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9); He gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7); He formed them in us (Zechariah 12:1). At the death of the body, the spirit or soul departs (Genesis 35:18; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; James 2:26; 2 Corinthians 5:1-9; 2 Peter 1:13-14; Philippians 1:23-24).

That the spirit or soul still exists after the death of the body is shown by:

Ecclesiastes 12:7 — the spirit returns unto God who gave it. See Luke 23:46 and Acts 7:59 also.

 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 — one can be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.

 Philippians 1:23-24 — one can depart (suffer physical death) and be with Christ.

 Psalm 16:10 (cf. Acts 2:27, 31) — when Jesus died on the cross, His soul was in hades (KJV: “hell”) while His flesh was in the tomb.

Matthew 17:3 and Luke 9:11 — Moses and Elijah, long after their deaths, came to Jesus and conversed with Him.

 Luke 16:22-23 — after his death, Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, but the rich man, after his death, was in hades in torment. The rich man could see, hear, speak, feel, care about others, and remember (verses 23-29).

 Luke 23:43 — the dying Jesus said to the dying robber, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” which also describes the state of the beggar, Lazarus, after his death.

An Appeal To You, Dear Reader

Yes, there is more beyond. Physical death will not be the end of you. The inward man still exists, either comforted or in torment (Luke 16:19-31), awaiting the resurrection (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22), the judgment (Matthew 25:31-32; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12), and eternity (Matthew 25:34, 41, 46). God is very much concerned, and you should be equally concerned about the salvation of your soul or spirit (1 Corinthians 5:5; Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21; 5:19-20). He wishes none to perish (2 Peter 3:9); He would have all to be saved (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Be saved; be faithful; be ready.

hades3

— Via Roanridge Reader, 2/12/18, Volume 33, Issue 06, Page 03
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What about Mormonism?
Derrick Dean

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith who claims to have received revelations from God in the 1800s. Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, insist they are part of the Christian orthodoxy (mainstream Christian churches that share the same foundational doctrines). Others disagree because the “revelations” of Joseph Smith, recorded in the Book of Mormon, are highly suspect. This book claims to reveal the history of ancient civilizations in America that had Hebrew and Christian beliefs.

No ancient copies of this book exist. No persons, places, or nations it lists have been found. There is absolutely zero historical or archaeological evidence to support Smith’s writings and there have been 3,913 changes in the book since its first printing. Smith, who claimed to be a prophet of God, made 64 specific prophecies. Only six were correct. Some of his prophecies included Jesus would return to earth by 1890 and the moon would be found to be inhabited by six-foot tall people. Should not a true “prophet of God” be 100% correct? In fact, Deuteronomy 18:21-22 provides that very test: If what the prophet says does not come to pass, he is not a prophet. Sounds like common sense.

Perhaps we should remember the biblical mandate “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). We are also warned about being taken in by deceitful teachings (I John 4: 1), human traditions (Colossians 2:8; Isaiah 29:13), emotions (Proverbs 28:26) and believing in myths (I Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Titus 1: 14).

— Via The Beacon (the bulletin of the Collegevue church of Christ), July 15, 2018
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News & Notes

Let us continue to remember in prayer Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) whose massive brain bleed, which also put him in a coma for more than a week, has left him paralyzed except for one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson will be undergoing treatment over the next few months, as a precautionary measure, following his recent cancer surgery that involved the removal of part of his liver.

We are glad that Olivia McCarthy is now over her sickness.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Danny Bartlett, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, 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 (July 15, 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) Having a Good Name (Tom Edwards)
2) Acceptance (anonymous)
3) News & Notes
——————–

1tim4_12e

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Having a Good Name
Tom Edwards

It was Shakespeare who said,

“Good name in man and woman…
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash…
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed… “ (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3).

Shakespeare, apparently, realized the importance of a good name over even material wealth.

Beginning way before Shakespeare’s time, and up to our generation, the Bible has been expressing this truth for many centuries:

“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1, NASB).

Though the word “good” is in italics (because it is not in the original text), the implication of it is easy to infer by the context — and even more so by an Israelite of that day.  For, as Albert Barnes points out, “To the Hebrew, ‘name’ by itself conveyed the idea of good repute, just as ‘men without a name’ (compare Job 30:8 margin) are those sunk in ignominy.”  Job 30:8 declares,

“Fools, even those without a name,
They were scourged from the land” (emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word for “name” in these passages is “shem” — and actually pronounced as “shame.” But certainly the opposite of our English word “shame.”  For  “shem” is defined as “an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character” (James Strong).

In Genesis 6:4, “shem” is rendered as “renown,” in speaking of “the mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (emphasis mine).  These had made quite a name for themselves.

When we think of  “name” (from the Hebrew “shem”) to mean “honor, authority, and character,” who would better represent all of that than Jesus Christ Himself?  For the Father has bestowed on Him “the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

We have seen that the name of Jesus is so great that we are to honor Him as much as we honor God the Father — and to do any less would be a violation of God’s word:  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23, emphasis mine).  Many people today and various religions need to realize this.  For they fail to give Jesus the honor He deserves.

In thinking on the meaning of “authority” in the Lord’s name, we know that Christians are to pray by that authority; and we often indicate that when closing our prayers with the phrase, “In the name of Jesus. Amen.”  This also often reminds me of what Jesus states in John 15, when pointing out the necessity of abiding in Him.  For in verse 5, He declares, “for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  But through Jesus Christ, by being redeemed by His atonement, we have the right and privilege to pray to God as our Father.

In the early church, miracles were performed “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 3:6, Acts 16:18) — by His authority.  When Peter was questioned concerning the healing of the lame man, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7), he answered by saying, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”  (vv. 8-10).

The account of that miraculous healing is given in the previous chapter.  The beggar, who had been carried to the temple-gate, had been lame from birth.  But Peter said to him, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — walk” (Acts 3:6)!  And it was so!

That miracle was witnessed by others who were then “filled with wonder and amazement.”  So Peter said to them, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.  But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all” (vv. 12-16).

What great power there is in the name of Jesus!  For He is Deity; and by His power, He created the universe (Jn. 1:1-3) and performed numerous miracles while on earth — such as giving eyesight to the blind; enabling the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the mute to speak.  He cast out demons, healed the sick and the afflicted, and even raised the dead back to life!

We can also be greatly impressed through what He has made, when seriously thinking about it, from the microscopic world to the immeasurable vastness of our universe.  In easily recognizing the intelligent design we see in all living things, it gives testimony toward the great Creator — and the very heavens indicate His eternal nature and also, therefore, His power that will never diminish (cf. Rom. 1:19-20).

With regard to shem’s meaning of “character,” we again can look to Jesus whose nature and moral quality was far above reproach.  For, while on earth, He lived a perfect life, having never sinned, and was always pleasing to His Father in heaven (Jn. 8:29; Heb. 4:15).  So not only did Jesus manifest Deity by His own life, thus revealing what His Father in heaven is like (cf.  John 1:18; John 14:7-9), but also set forth the perfect example of how we should be as human beings in all our relationships with one another and our concern for all.  For that is the godly character we are to develop.

In the King James Version and New American Standard, “good name” is found in only two passages — with the second being Ecclesiastes 7:1:

“A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.”

The need for having a good name is seen or implied in various passages of the Old and New Testaments.  May we each, therefore, always strive to have that good name by submitting to the name which is above every name, the name of Jesus Christ!  For then death will truly lead to that which is far better than anything we have ever, or will have ever, experienced on earth — and regardless of how much that was enjoyed!  For the bliss of heaven will always be infinitely and eternally greater!

(All scripture from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.)
——————–

“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:6-8, NASB).
——————–

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Acceptance

From rejected to useful. That describes how much Mark changed in Paul’s eyes between Acts 15 and 2 Timothy 4. Mark didn’t let Paul’s earlier opinion of him get in his way of serving Christ, but persisted through his own conviction and fixed what needed fixing and improved what needed improving.  So should we.  Go with God.

— Anonymous

In 2 Timothy 4:11, during his second imprisonment in Rome, shortly before his death, Paul instructs, “…Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”    And in writing to the Colossians, during  his first Roman imprisonment, Paul declares about Mark, “…if he comes to you, welcome him” (Col. 4:10).
——————–

-3-

News & Notes

Let us continue to remember in prayer Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) whose massive brain bleed, which also put him in a coma for more than a week, has left him paralyzed except for one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson will soon find out — if he hasn’t already — of what type of follow-up treatment he will or will not have, following the recent removal of cancer from his kidney.

Olivia McCarthy has been sick lately.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, 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: 2p.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 (July 8, 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) The Oneness of the Church (Harold Fite)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Matthew16_18b

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The Oneness of the Church
Harold Fite

The oneness of the church is unique. There is only one! It far transcends religious organizations founded by men.

Background

The church belonging to Christ was conceived in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and brought into existence by his power through Jesus Christ. The church was not a substitute for the Kingdom as the Premillennialist would have us believe. It came into existence according to God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10, 11). Man cannot thwart the purpose of God. God  envisioned a people that would know him, from the least to the greatest, and would have God’s laws written on their heart. He would be their God and they would be his people (Heb. 8:10, 11). “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4, 5). To foreordain or predestinate is to “decide and design prior to acting; making out boundaries or setting limits beforehand; to determine before.” To illustrate the above: He who would be President of these United States must be a natural born citizen, being thirty five years of age, having lived in this country fourteen years, and be willing to take the oath of office, upholding the Constitution. It could be said that the framers of the Constitution foreordained—chose those who would sit in the President’s chair. In like manner, God foreordained those whom he would adopt as sons. God did not choose or foreordain individuals—consigning some to salvation and others to damnation—but as a class of people for his own possession (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). The chosen are those in Christ by virtue of their obedient faith. They fulfill the requirements of adoption.

The Church Becomes a Reality

When Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he announced, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Approximately six months later the church had its beginning. Peter preached Christ on that occasion and 3,000 obeyed the gospel and were added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).  Note the definite article “the.” Not “a” church, but “the” church! Christ said “my church.”

Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). The word “purchase” means “to gain; to get something for oneself.” It conveys “possession.” When Christ purchased the church, he purchased people: “for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). He possessed those whom he purchased. He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession” (italics mine), zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14). Peter echoes the same truth in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” He presented the church unto himself (Eph. 5:27).

There is only one church recognized by the Lord. From the time God planned the church, until it was born, only one church was in his mind. It was never God’s intention to bring forth a multiplicity of churches (denominationalism). Christ built one church, and he is the head of it: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). He is “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22, 23). That being true, Paul dogmatically declares that “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4). If the church is the body, and the body is the church, and there is one body, it logically follows that there is one church! Denominationalism has no scriptural foundation! It is made up of many bodies (churches), founded by man, wearing different names and adhering to different faiths. This is not what God planned from the foundation of the world. We “were called in one body” (Col. 1:15). We are “baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). “But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Cor. 12:20).

Oneness of Those in the One Body

As the church is one body, there is oneness among those who compose the one body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the analogy of the physical body in explanation and application of the diversities of gifts. There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit. There are many members, but one body. Note the following verses, beginning with verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members. And all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” “For the body is not one member, but many” (v. 14). “But now there are many members, but one body” (v. 20). The human body is made up of various members operating in conjunction with the head. Each member has its work to do, but all work together for the benefit of the body. This shows the interdependence of the different members of the body on one another. “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee” (v. 21). The different members complement one another. Thus the spiritual  body of Christ is one body, but made up of different members, working together as per instruction from the head, Jesus Christ. The spiritual body of Christ is “knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part” (Eph. 4:16). This contributes to the increasing of the body. There is a oneness there, a mutual supportiveness, kinship, and like-mindedness. This is the reason why we “bear one another’s burdens.” When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. When one member is honored, all rejoice (1 Cor. 12:26). If one member of the physical body is injured, the entire body is affected. Whether one suffers or is honored, it touches other members of the spiritual body. We “rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12:15). This could be called sympathetic vibration: “vibration produced in one body by the vibration of exactly the same period in a neighboring body.” Strike one prong of a tuning fork and the tone is transmitted to the other prong, hence the musical term sympathy.

The believers gathered in Jerusalem “were of one heart and soul . . . they had all things common.” The apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to “stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).  “Seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).

Denominationalism has no justification in the Scriptures. Those who are being saved are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1). May we strive earnestly to attain that ideal oneness in the one body.

“All the churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).

— Via Truth Magazine, March 2007, Volume LI, Number 3, pp. 14-15
——————–

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News & Notes

Mary Vandevander was in the hospital last Saturday to Sunday afternoon, due to a heart problem that was giving her pain.  She is now back in the nursing home, in good spirits, and feeling better.

Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) had a massive brain bleed about 80 days ago and had been in a coma for more than a week.  He is now back home, but is still in bad shape, being able to move only his arm.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Rick Cuthbertson (who is now waiting to find out if he will be undergoing any precautionary treatment following the recent surgery that removed his cancer), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, and Michelle Rittenhouse.

Congratulations to Anita Young who is now a grandmother for the first time! Her daughter Elizabeth Harden gave birth on Friday to Leia, and they are both doing well.
——————–

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 (July 1, 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) The Greatest Liberty (Bill Crews)
2) Pray for One Another (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

John8_31-32

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The Greatest Liberty
Bill Crews

According to Isaiah 61:1 the Messiah was to proclaim liberty to the captives. In a synagogue in His home town of Nazareth Jesus read the Isaiah passage and announced, “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears” (Lk. 4:16-21).

The captivity referred to is not political (being held prisoner in a government prison) or social (being owned as the slave of another), but spiritual (being in bondage to sin). The word of Christ, in fact, calls upon every soul to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1-7) and upon slaves to be obedient to their masters (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25), but no one is called upon to be content in sin or obedient to Satan. Sin is, after all, the most oppressive and the most destructive form of slavery. Don’t wait until life is over to discover this!

To certain Jews that had believed on Him (nominally, according to the context), Jesus said, “If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). They mistakenly said, “We have never yet been in bondage to any man” (vs. 33; had they forgotten the long bondage in Egypt? the Assyrian captivity? the 70 years of Babylonian captivity?, and other times of national oppression? And if they referred only to themselves, did they think they were now free from the Romans? But Jesus had in mind none of these things. However, they were also enslaved by sin and in bondage to the human traditions of their fathers.)

When Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin” (vs. 34), He made clear His meaning. Christ, the great Deliverer, came to set at liberty those who are enslaved by sin. Solomon said, “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). And Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). However, full release is offered by and through Christ, and to the extent that mankind is made free from sin, other forms of oppressive bondage will in time disappear.

The saints at Rome, like all other saints who were saved through Christ, were once the bondservants of sin, but they became obedient from the heart unto that form of teaching unto which they were delivered, and were then made free from sin and became bondservants of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). They traded a bondage that was oppressive and destructive for a bondage that was beneficial and salutary (see Matt. 11:28-30 on “yoke”).

Because of the liberating power of the truth, the gospel of Christ, it is called “the law of liberty” (James 1:25; 2:12). Paul refers to it as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and declares that it made him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). To the saints in Galatia Paul wrote: “For freedom did Christ set us free; stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

And how are Christians to use, rather than abuse, this freedom? “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another” (Gal. 5:13). “As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16 — notice the context, vv. 13-17). We should think of our freedom in Christ more as freedom from things that are oppressive and burdensome rather than as freedom to do as we please or as freedom from restraint and responsibility

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 32 Issue 45 Page 02
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1Tim2_1-2

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Pray for One Another
R.J. Evans

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, a young evangelist he referred to as “my true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Both of the letters are filled with instructions, exhortations and admonitions that would come under the category of commands that Paul was giving his “son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:3, 18; 4:11; 5:7, 21; 6:17; 2 Tim. 4:1). Among other things, Paul commanded him to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15); live the Word (1 Tim. 4:12); preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). But in this article let us note the exhortation Paul gave Timothy concerning prayer: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Prayer is one of the most important duties and privileges of a Christian. And I am convinced that praying for others (“intercessions”) should take up a large portion of our prayer time. “I am praying for you” are some of the most encouraging words I have ever heard from others, especially during difficult times. There are some valid reasons for believing this.

Paul is giving a command to intercede by prayer for all men. In the next verse he mentions some in particular— “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Ephesians 6:18 and James 5:16 also commands us to pray for others. Thus, it is a duty commanded by God for every Christian to pray for others.

Our prayers for others manifest brotherly love and an unselfish attitude. These two areas are so important in the life of a Christian. The Apostle Paul said, “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). This being true, the requests we make for others are just as important as the requests we make for ourselves. When the Lord answers our prayers for others, no doubt, our faith is increased. Jesus said loving our neighbor as our self is the second greatest commandment (Mk. 12:31).

The Apostle Paul prayed for all the churches where he labored. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians, he assured them of his prayers on their behalf. He said I “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:16-17). The list of things he asked God to do for the Colossians was similar (Col. 1:9-12). Epaphras offered fervent prayers for the Colossian brethren. Paul told them, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).

I have no doubt that Christians enjoy many blessings from God because some brother or sister in Christ prayed for them. May we not forget that praying for others should be a big part of our lives. Such encouraging words when some faithful brother or sister tells us, “I am praying for you”! Thus, may we constantly practice what James was teaching when he said “pray for one another” (Jas. 5:16).

— bulletin article of the Southside church of Christ, June 10, 2018
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-3-

News & Notes

Rick Cuthbertson will be undergoing some kind of treatment, as a precautionary measure, following the recent removal of all his cancer.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm), Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant), Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), Elizabeth Young Harden (has a baby due July 4), and Marie Maymoldi (who is also expecting).

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

Being the first Sunday of the month, our p.m. service today will primarily be the singing of spiritual songs led by several of the men. Song requests can be made prior to the service.
——————–

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)

The Gospel Observer (June 24, 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) “And Be Ye Thankful” (Bill Crews)
2) If Only (Frank Himmel)
3) News & Notes
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Psalm100_4

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“And Be Ye Thankful”
Bill Crews

The heading of this article is taken from the closing words of Colossians 3:15; it is an appropriate exhortation for every accountable individual. Gratitude is required of every person; ingratitude is deplorable and inexcusable. And why should we be thankful? Because God has given to each of us “life, and breath, and all things” and because “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:24, 25, 28). To put it another way, “And yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). In both of these passages the apostle Paul was addressing pagans (at Athens and at Lystra). As Christians we have far more reasons than these to be thankful.

A failure on man’s part to be thankful is sin. This is one of the sins charged against the pagan Gentiles in Romans 1:21 (“they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks”). This is one of the sins to be expected among men in the last days (“lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” — 2 Tim. 3:2). Being unthankful goes hand in hand with being selfish and arrogant. Gratitude must be taught and learned; we are not born with it. We must be thankful, express our thanks, and demonstrate that we are thankful TO GOD.  From the cradle to the grave, as long as we have our minds about us we should be thankful to God. We should also be thankful to other human beings to whom we are indebted.

Many of the Psalms bring out the importance of and the need for being thankful to God. “That I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and tell of thy wondrous works” (David in Ps. 26:7). The 50th Psalm is attributed to Asaph. Read verses 7-15; the reader is called upon to be mindful of the sovereignty of God, to be grateful for his blessings, to realize that God owns everything, to offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (David in Ps. 69:30). “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving” (Ps. 95:2). “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with singing” (Ps. 107:22). Read Psalm 100; verse 4 says:

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: give thanks unto him, and bless his name.”

Among the sacrifices offered by the Israelites under the law of Moses were voluntary sacrifices of animals — part of which the worshipers ate in feasts — that were called “peace-offerings” and “thank-offerings,” the latter of which were designed to help them to be thankful to God for their blessings and to express their thanks unto Him. See Psalm 50:14; 107:22; 116:17; Amos 4:5; and Leviticus 7:11-13.  In Nehemiah 12 certain Israelites were by Nehemiah divided into two great companies that marched along the new wall that had been built around Jerusalem at the dedication of that wall; as they marched they gave thanks unto God.

In the New Testament a number of examples are commended for the benefit of the reader. Christ is never depicted as partaking of food (which at times He provided for others (the feeding of the 5,000; the feeding of the 4,000; and the feeding of the seven disciples) without giving thanks unto the Father for it. It is usually expressed as “blessed” (cf. our “say the blessing”), and “blessed” and “gave thanks” are used interchangeably. Notice that in Matthew 26:26 Jesus “took bread, and blessed, and brake it,” but in Matthew 26:27 He “took a cup, and gave thanks.” (“Eulogy” and “eucharist” are English words taken from the Greek words.) We are to give thanks for our food also (1 Tim. 4:3-5).

Paul is a great example to us. In Acts 27:35 he gave thanks to God for his food in the presence of others to encourage them to eat. In Acts 28:15 he gave thanks to God for the brethren who came out of Rome to meet him at The Market of Appius (43 miles from Rome) and at the Three Taverns (33 miles from Rome) when he was being taken to Rome as a prisoner. Over and over in his epistles he wrote, “I thank God (or “my God”), “I give thanks,” “we give thanks to God” or “thanks be unto God” (Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4, 14; 14:18; 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 8:16; 9:15; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2:13 — in the last two, “we are bound to give thanks unto God for you”; 1 Tim. 1 :12 — he thanked “Christ Jesus our Lord”; 2 Tim. 1:3). He frequently gave thanks to God for the brethren to whom he wrote — in many of the preceding passages. In 1 Thessalonians 3:9 he said, “For what thanksgiving can we render again unto God for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before God.” How beautiful!

Heavenly beings are presented as examples to us. All the angels, the twenty-four elders, the four living creatures are depicted as giving thanks unto God (Rev. 4:9), as falling down before the throne of God on their faces, worshiping God, and giving thanks unto God (Rev. 7: 11-12).

And what does the New Testament say about our thanksgiving? We are to “be thankful” (Col. 3:15 —here, especially for the peace of Christ that is to rule in our hearts, and to which we were called in the one body, the church). We are to “give thanks” (Eph. 5:20 — “always, for all things”; 1 Thess. 5:18 — “in every thing give thanks.” “And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

Our prayers unto God must include thanksgiving. “Continuing stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Col. 4:6). Giving of thanks is set in contrast with various sins of the tongue. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:3-4). The lesson? Rather than misusing our tongues by uttering sinful things, let us give more time to the giving of thanks.

In conclusion, “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Col. 2:6-7).

— Via the Roadridge Reader, Volume 33, Issue 11, Pages 2-3
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John5_30

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If Only
Frank Himmel

If only my boss wouldn’t be so rude and domineering, I would be more cooperative at work. “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” (1 Pet. 2:18).

If only my husband weren’t so lazy and self-centered, if only he would learn to control his temper better, I would live with him. “…wives, be submissive to your husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Pet. 3:1-2).

If only the brethren were friendlier and that preacher not so dry, I would go to church more often. “…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” (Heb. 10:24-25).

If only I had more income and less bills, I would give a lot more. “…in the churches of Macedonia…in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:1-2).

If only my family would be more supportive, I would become a Christian. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me… (Mt. 10:37).

Do you notice that what God expects of us, He expects regardless of our particular circumstances? Instead of excusing ourselves due to adverse conditions, let us commit ourselves to our Creator and Benefactor. If only we would be like Jesus, who said, “…I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (Jn. 5:30). He not only said it, He lived it — even to the point of death.

— Via The Beacon, May 27, 2018
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-3-

News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Betsy Wallace Reister and Ian Reister (33), the mother and the youngest son of Robert Reister.  Their recent passing was within three days apart.  Rob had also lost his daughter Jessie (34) in April 2013.

Our sympathies also go out to all the loved ones of Kenneth Evans (the youngest brother of Cheryl Crews) of Baldwyn, Mississippi, who passed away June 15 at only 55 years of age.

Jordyn Mackey (Cheryl Corbitt’s 4-year-old grandson) had a series of seizures early Thursday morning.  He was taken to the ER, tested, and received seizure medication.  The CT scan and EKG looked good. He also saw his pediatrician and will be having an MRI this week.  As of yesterday morning, there had been no more convulsions; and he was even more energetic than he had been prior to the seizures.

Shirley Davis reports that her legs are healing, but slowly. Both the swelling and cellulitis have improved, but not completely. She still has pain in her shoulder and in both legs.  When the cellulitis is gone, she is to call her doctor for an appointment. She also expressed for the congregation, “Tell everyone, I love them.”

Let us also remember in prayer Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), Elizabeth Young Harden (has a baby due July 4), and Marie Maymoldi (who is also expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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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).
——————–

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)