The Gospel Observer (May 24, 2015)

Contents:

1) Voltaire and the Quaker (on the subject of baptism) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Baptism
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Voltaire and the Quaker
(on the subject of baptism)

by Tom Edwards

In wanting to learn more about the Quakers, Voltaire once went to a prominent member of that group who lived not far from London, England, to inquire as to his particular beliefs and practices.  After having a meal together, which had begun and ended with prayer, Voltaire first asked, “My dear sir, were you ever baptized?”  To which the Quaker replied, “I never was nor any of my brethren.” That seemed to have astonished Voltaire who then bluntly responded by saying, “…you are not Christians, then.”  The Quaker, in a friendly and soft tone, then strove to justify his position by pointing out that “…Christ indeed was baptized by John, but He Himself never baptized anyone. We are the disciples of Christ, not of John” (Harvard Classics, volume 34, page 66).

Another argument the Quaker presented was that though he and his group did not condemn anyone for being baptized, yet “…those who profess a religion of so holy, so spiritual a nature as that of Christ, ought to abstain to the utmost of their power from the Jewish ceremonies” (ibid.).

Is that, however, what baptism is for today — a Jewish ceremony?  Is it just something pertaining to the Old Law and not the gospel of Christ?

While eliminating water baptism, the Quaker spoke of being baptized by the Spirit for the “ablution of the soul,” and quoted John the Baptist, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after Me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptized you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” [Matt. 3:11].

In addition, the Quaker also pointed out that the apostle Paul states that “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” [1 Cor. 1:17], and to which the Quaker also added, “…that Paul never baptized but two persons with water, and that very much against his inclinations” (H.C. Vol. 34, p. 67).

Though Voltaire’s time was from 1694 to 1778, yet similar comments have been made in our day with regard to that of some of the Quaker’s, although not to justify the non-observance as the Quaker, but to assert baptism’s irrelevance toward salvation.

Let us, therefore, further consider the Quaker’s arguments, not as merely to refute his particular belief, but to better bring to the attention of all people, or any religious group, what God’s word really is saying on this subject.

First of all, what about the Quaker’s argument that though Jesus was baptized by John, yet the Lord baptized no one; and that “we are the disciples of Christ, not of John”?

Though Jesus did not directly do the baptizing, can we not infer from the fact that “His disciples were” (John 4:1,2) that the Lord was fully approving of their doing so — and just as much as if He were the One actually doing it?  God has often carried out needful tasks through His people.  Would not this baptism be the same as John’s?  For there was a need for those  Jews, at that time, to realize and repent of their sins and to look toward the soon coming Messiah and believe in Him (Acts 19:4).  Those who rejected John’s baptism were also guilty of having “rejected God’s purpose for themselves” (Luke 7:29).  Would that be something that Jesus would want to see people do?  So regardless of whether Jesus personally baptized anyone or not, it does not eliminate the need for it.

Let us also point out, however, that the baptism being performed prior to the Lord’s death was not regarded as the same which He commanded to be administered after His death.  But what is the difference?  They both are for the forgiveness of sins (Mk. 1:4: Acts 2:38); they both use water as the element (Jn. 3:23; Acts 8:36-38); and they both do it by immersion — which is implied in the “much water” (Jn. 3:23), and it being shown as a burial (Rom. 6:4).  Of course, the Greek word itself, “baptisma,” in either case, means “immersion, submersion” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions) — and not sprinkling nor pouring.  But would it not be that what makes the difference is in realizing the full purpose for it?  For Paul shows that it is by baptism that we “…have been baptized into His [Jesus’] death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3,4) — and we are “raised up with Him [from the baptism] through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).  How, therefore, could this baptism have been done prior to Christ’s death?

Going along with this, consider those twelve whom Paul met in Ephesus that did not know about this baptism that Jesus commanded, but only that of John’s.  In finding that out, Paul taught them more thoroughly; and “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4).

It, therefore, does make a difference in being baptized for the right reason.  Children playing in a pond could dunk each other under water, for instance; but that in itself would not make it a Bible baptism.

So we also see in this that the baptism Jesus commanded to be carried out after His death was not part of a “Jewish ceremony” that is no longer to be observed.  For it pertains to the gospel and is for all people of every nation, and as long as time shall last.  Peter actually indicated this while inspired, though he probably didn’t fully realize the meaning, when he said, “…’Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off…'” (Acts 2:38,39).  The “all who are far off” includes the Gentiles whom were later to be preached to.

Another argument the Quaker made pertains to the Lord’s promise to “baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” and which is seen in contrast with John being inferior and baptizing with water (Matt. 3:11). When looking at the context, the “Holy Ghost” and “fire” do not pertain to the same baptism.  For the “fire” indicates the punishment of hell.  As the previous verse states, “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (v. 10).  And verse 12 brings out that “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  So the “fire” is symbolizing hell.  W.E. Vine defines the Greek word for “fire” in Matthew 3:11 as pertaining to “…the fire of Divine judgment upon the rejectors of Christ, Mat 3:11 (where a distinction is to be made between the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the ‘fire’ of Divine retribution….”

In all the New Testament there are only two cases of individuals being baptized in the Holy Spirit, which pertain to the apostles on the day the church was established (Acts 1:26-2:16) and that unique case at the house of Cornelius, which was God’s way of showing that He had “granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).  For it was now about 10 years after the church had been established, and Cornelius and his household were going to become the first Gentile converts.  God even had to prepare Peter for this by giving him the vision of the sheet being lowered with various animals — clean and unclean under the Old Law — but now the Lord was pointing out that what was once unclean was no longer to be considered that way (Acts 10:9-16), which also symbolized how the Jews’ attitude was now to be toward the Gentiles, of whom they could not even lawfully associate with or visit under the Law of Moses (Acts 10:28); and which, apparently, was still part of their Jewish customs.  So what happened at Cornelius’ house with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a sign to Peter and to the six Jews he took with him, and to the others who later heard of it, that the way of salvation was just as available to the Gentile as to the Jew.

The Bible speaks of different baptisms.  As we have seen, (1) John’s baptism (Jn. 3:23), (2) the baptism Jesus instructed for the Gospel Age (Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19), and (3) a baptism of the Holy Spirit (as we considered above).  But now hear Ephesians 4:5 in which Paul says that there is just “one baptism.”  Which baptism would that be?   The Ephesian letter was written about A.D. 62 or 63.  A couple years later, in 64 or 65, Peter declares, “…baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).  So here it is: the one baptism that is to continue is water baptism — and it saves!  For though the water does not literally wash away sins, yet through it (and when one has complied with the other requirements of believing in Christ, repenting of sin, and confessing faith in Christ), one then makes his “appeal to God for a good conscience,” as Paul also did through that same act of baptism (Acts 22:16).

Consider also that people were never commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be saved, but the penitent believer is commanded to be baptized in water in order to be forgiven and become a Christian (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38).  Of course, we are to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) by letting “…the word of Christ richly dwell within…” (Col. 3:16), but that is not the same as being baptized in the Holy Spirit by Christ.

Lastly, the Quaker pointed out that the apostle Paul was not sent by Christ to baptize, but to preach; and that Paul only baptized two people and did so reluctantly.  Well, if Paul was not to baptize, did he not then sin by doing so?  Or is there some particular reason why Paul stresses the importance of preaching over baptism to these Corinthians?  For what good would baptism be, if people do not first obtain the proper understanding and response through the preaching?  And that is exactly what the Corinthians needed, who were already divided among themselves and with different groups of them saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:12).  Paul, therefore, had to rebuke them of that. He then also went on to say, “Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other” (vv. 13-16, emphasis mine).  So Paul clearly shows why he did not baptize any other. These individuals had such a wrong inclination toward separating into cliques that Paul did not want to make matters worse by personally baptizing and having those wrongly claiming to have been baptized in his name — instead of the Lord’s (v. 15).  But let it also be pointed out that all who had become Christians at Corinth had first been baptized (Acts 18:8). And Paul teaches the need for it in various passages: Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:26,27; Colossians 2:12; and Titus 3:5 (compare with John 3:3-5).

Though not every conversion example in the book of Acts specifically states all of what was necessary to become a Christian, such as hearing God’s word, believing in Christ, repenting, and acknowledging faith in Christ, yet they all include the baptism!  Why, therefore, do so many people today leave it out?  It also must be included.  For it is very much a part of God’s plan of salvation for our time.

Though we might not know of all of what to make of the purpose of Voltaire’s inquiry, for he often made attacks against the Bible and spoke with tongue in cheek, yet we should all accept the truthfulness and sincerity of the Gospel that shows us the way of salvation.  For regardless of what men would ever say about God, our chief concern should always be in that which God is saying to us!  If we truly listen to His voice, through His written word, we will not be led astray, but led, rather, toward that glorious place of heaven above and find the path to there a much better journey to take.
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News & News

I was sorry to hear that Thomas R. Merola (of Clearwater, FL) passed away suddenly on May 13, 2015 and extend my condolences to all his family and friends.  He was in the class of ’72 at Dunedin High School and had become the owner and head barber at the Country Squire Barbershop, where he began 30 years previously with his father.  Years later, Tom’s own son T.J. then also began working with him in 2011. Tom is survived by his sister Deborah Burge, a brother Jim, four children (Janell Eichelberger, Philip, Lauren, and T.J.), five grandchildren (and one on the way).  I’d like to solicit the prayers of the saints for all his family and friends.

Let us also continue in prayer for the following:

Marie Pennock is still having back pain and continuing to see a chiropractor.  She also recently had an MRI to determine more of the problem, which we are now waiting to hear the results on.  Though they did discover a compression fracture in a vertebra, the pain is thought to be primarily due to the spine being out of alignment.  Near the beginning of June she will also be seeing a neurologist and a cardiologist, due to the arrhythmia for which she had spent a couple days in the hospital.

Judy Daugherty continues to improve from her recent fall, but her sister Jean Beach has experienced a decline in her health.

Jewell Wilson has several illnesses: staff infection in her blood, pneumonia, intestinal blockage, tachycardia, UTI, a rash infection, and most of which can be a higher risk due to her age.

Let us also continue to include the following in our prayers: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, and Colleen Henson. 

The Ladies’ Bible Class meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the church building.  All ladies are invited.
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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; 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 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (May 17, 2015)

Contents:

1) Voltaire’s Understanding of God (Tom Edwards)
2) The Silent Killer (Mike Johnson)
3) News & Notes
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ASV_Bible
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Voltaire’s Understanding of God
by Tom Edwards

Francois-Marie Arouet is a name that you might not recognize; but if I mentioned his pen name of “Voltaire,” you most likely have heard of this French philosopher and historian, who is said to have “produced works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works” — actually having written “more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets” (Wikipedia).  He often attacked organized religion; yet he, as a deist, accepted the idea of a Supreme Being; but this, to him, was not based on faith; but, rather, on simple observation and reason.  He states, “It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being.  This is no matter of faith, but of reason” (A Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire, section 1 on Faith).

Perhaps this reminds you of what Paul declares in Romans 1:20, that God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are with excuse.” And why the one who would say there is no God is, therefore, defined in the Bible as being a “fool” (Psa. 14:1; 53:1).  Yes, the evidence of God’s reality is seen in all creation.

Of course, if the creation is the only means whereby an awareness of God is obtained, then it lacks in the ability to save the soul.  For salvation is based on more than merely the realization that there is a God, a Supreme Being.  It also requires looking into the gospel, which is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16), and believing in Jesus as the Son of God, as Deity, and as the only Savior of the world (Jn. 8:24; Acts 4:12).  The gospel, of course, also shows of the need to repent (Luke 13:5), to acknowledge faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and to be baptized if we want to be forgiven and become a Christian (Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).  Through the gospel, one not only has faith instilled, but also the plan of salvation revealed, along with the additional needed truth of how we are to live unto God as His faithful people who are pressing on to that ultimate goal of eternal life in heaven.  And, as the Hebrew writer informs, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Heb. 10:36).  So just accepting everything factually, without proceeding down that highway to heaven, will never enable one to reach the desired destination and have a relationship with God along the way.

Similarly, accepting Satan and the demons, as referred to in the Bible, factually does not make one a follower of Satan nor put one in league with him and the demons.  But does our faith in God go no more beyond that type of awareness — or is it a faith that has led us to hear and follow the word of the Lord, thus changing our lives for the better, and striving to continually do so?

Voltaire acknowledged the reality of a Supreme Being — and that is a good start.  But let us each look to the Bible to acquire that thorough understanding that God Himself wants us to have of Him and be willing to submit to that which His word nstructs — and do so — so that our faith will truly be a saving faith (cf. James 2:17-26; Matt. 7:21).  For Jesus Christ “…became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9).
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naomi and ruth
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The Silent Killer
by Mike Johnson

High blood pressure is sometimes referred to by doctors as “the silent killer.”  It is referred to in this way because people often do not even know they have high blood pressure until it has already done its damage. This is not an article about high blood though, but instead, about another silent killer condemned in the Scriptures —  “bitterness.” Bitterness might be called the real silent killer.  Like high blood pressure, bitterness may go unnoticed by others, and sometimes the person who has bitterness may not fully realize it.  Thus, it is important for us to “put on the cuff” from time to time and check our “bitterness level.”

We speak of something being literally bitter when it has a sharp or unpleasant taste.  Mentally, however, bitterness is an ongoing pain, hurt, and mental anguish which is felt by people due to past events or circumstances.  Bitterness has been called “resentment  which has been held on to.”  It is resentment which has become rancid and rotten.  It has also been said that “bitterness is loss frozen in resentment.”  Bitterness grows out of our refusal to let go when someone or something is taken from us.  People get hurt because of difficult circumstances, events, or other people; they hold on to that hurt, and it turns into bitterness.

Naomi, from the Old Testament, serves as an example of a person who became bitter due to various setbacks in life.  In the book of Ruth, we learn that Naomi, along with her husband and two sons, went to Moab to live because of a famine in Judah.  Her sons married two women — Orpah and Ruth.  In the course of time, her husband died, and then her two sons died.   Naomi’s losses made her bitter.  She said, “. . . Call me not Naomi, call me Mara:  for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me” (1:13. 20-21).  The name Naomi signifies “pleasant” or “amiable”; the name Mara, which she wanted to be called, signifies “bitter.”  Note above the number of times that she blamed God for her misfortunes.  Naomi allowed her losses to cause her to become bitter. Often, people allow difficult circumstances to cause them to become bitter today against others and, sometimes, even against God.

Hannah is another Old Testament example of bitterness.  She was married to Elkanah who had another wife besides her.  Hannah was unable to bear a child and was very sad as a result.  Also, Elkanah’s other wife was able to bear children, which seemed to cause resentment between the two women.  Although Elkanah treated Hannah very well and loved her dearly, she was deeply grieved.  Her husband could not console her.  According to I Samuel 1:10, she was in “bitterness of soul.”  This is another example of the circumstances of life causing bitterness. To Hannah’s credit, however,  she turned to the Lord during this very difficult time.  She asked God for a child, which she would give to the Lord, and God granted her request.

Hebrews 12:15 is one of several New Testament passages which warns against bitterness. It says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”  A “root of bitterness,” like the root of a tree, can be below the surface and not detectable by others.  Eventually, it will show itself, producing the fruits of bitterness such as evil speaking, anger, and hatred.  Bitterness, as the text says, can defile others, as well.  It can hurt relationships and can even cause disunity within a congregation.

Colossians 3:19 speaks of the danger of bitterness within a marriage as it says, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”  Instead of having bitterness toward his wife, the husband is told to love her.  When bitterness exists, proper love is lacking.  Problems often occur between a husband and a wife and when problems are not settled,  ill-feelings can fester into resentment and bitterness.  Some disagreements need to be discussed and resolved.  Trivial disagreements  should  simply be forgotten.  Many couples need to learn how to “forget about it” or to “get over it.”  If not, bitterness can develop which can destroy any relationship, especially a marriage.

Bitterness is a sin, and it must be put away.  Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”   Sometimes a person will say, “With what has happened to me, I have a right to be bitter.”  The Biblical answer is, “No you don’t.”  Some people, for example, say that they can’t stop gambling, committing fornication, or drinking.  It may be difficult, but people can stop these sins.  In the same way, although it might not be easy, people can get rid of bitterness.  God does not require the impossible.

How do we put away bitterness?  Ephesians 4:32 makes it clear that bitterness is to be replaced with kindness and compassion.  We need to have enough kindness and compassion in our hearts so that there is no room for bitterness.  Verse 32 also points out that we are to forgive one another “even as God for Christ’s sake” has forgiven us.  Sometimes it is very difficult to forgive, but we must.   Even if a person will not repent, the Bible teaches that we are to love our enemies (Mt. 5:43-44), and that we are to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21).  Finally, we must repent and pray (Acts 8:22) in order to be forgiven.

Many of life’s dealings can cause bitterness: the deaths of loved ones, sickness, difficult circumstances, people hurting or mistreating us in some way.  We must realize that life is full of hurts; it always will be.  We must never allow ourselves to be the “victims” of other people’s offenses.  Bitterness has been called “the nest that the devil digs into our soul.”  It must, for our own good and for the good of others, be put away.

— Via Biblelist, March 31, 2015
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News & News

Here are some folks for us Christians to be remembering in prayer:

Marie Pennock is still having back pain and continuing to see a chiropractor.  She also recently had an MRI to determine more of the problem, which we are now waiting to hear the results on.  Though they did discover a compression fracture in a vertebra, the pain is thought to be primarily due to the spine being out of alignment.  In June she will also be seeing a neurologist and a cardiologist, due to her recent stay of a couple days in the hospital because of arrhythmia.

Judy Daugherty continues to improve from her recent fall, but her sister Jean Beach has experienced a decline in her health.

Jewell Wilson was transferred back into the hospital Friday, due to several illnesses: staff infection in her blood, pneumonia, intestinal blockage, tachycardia, UTI, a rash infection, and most of which can be a higher risk due to her age.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, and Colleen Henson.

The Ladies’ Bible Class meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the church building.  All ladies are invited.
——————–

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; 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 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (May 10, 2015)

Contents:

1) Why Forgive? (Joe R. Price)
2) What If I Am A One Talent Man? (Marc Gibson)
3) News & Notes
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Forgiveness 2

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Why Forgive?
by Joe R. Price

The world is an unforgiving place. Worldly people view compassion as weakness and vengeance as strength. The opposite is true. On the cross the great Son of God said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Far from being weak, Jesus showed great strength of faith and character in this extreme moment of pain. He calls on us to follow His example (1 Pet. 2:18-24).

And, we can. It is not easy to forgive those who sin against us (Matt. 6:14-15). Yet, faithful Christians follow the example of Jesus by faith, putting on a heart of forgiveness and “forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13).

To forgive (aphiemi, Matt. 18:21; apoluo, Lk. 6:37) means “to send away, to let go, to keep no longer, to release” (Thayer, Strong’s).

Understanding why we must forgive will help strengthen our resolve to be like Jesus. Why should we forgive?

We forgive because God commands us to forgive. Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). We cannot be faithful disciples of Jesus and yet refuse to forgive sinners. We are living proof of God’s loving forgiveness. Shall we be so unlike Jesus as to refuse to have forgiveness in our hearts and actions toward those who sin against us?

The fact that God commands us to forgive does not mean God is pressuring us to forgive. Far from it. It means forgiveness is an act of loving faith in Jesus: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jno. 14:15). And again, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jno. 5:3). We obey the command to forgive because we love Jesus.

We forgive in order to be like God. God is “the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut. 7:9). God’s loving kindness (grace) prompts Him to forgive sinners (Eph. 1:7; Titus 3:4-5). (Truly, sinners must repent in order to receive His forgiveness, Lk. 17:3; Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9. Here we are discussing forgiveness from the giver’s point of view.) Unless there is grace in the heart, forgiveness will never be extended to others.

We forgive those who sin against us because we want to be like God. We intend to forgive in the way He forgives us. The parable of the unforgiving servant teaches that our heavenly Father forgives us out of compassion, and we must do the same (Matt. 18:21-35, 27, 33). Paul wrote, “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). It is the calloused person who refuses to have compassion and forgive “from his heart” (Matt. 18:35). This person will not be forgiven. We are able to forgive by devoting ourselves to being like our Father in heaven.

We forgive so that we can be forgiven. Jesus was very plain about this. Unless we forgive others we will not be forgiven:

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Lk. 6:37).

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mk. 11:25-26).

When teaching how to pray, Jesus said to ask God “to forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). If we do not, then we will not be forgiven (Matt. 6:14-15). This is a clear and unambiguous standard by which to assess our own forgiveness as disciples of Christ.

It is a sin not to forgive! Christians who will not forgive others like Jesus on the cross can only expect the eternal torment reserved for sinners (Matt. 18:34-35).

We forgive because it is also good for us. Not only does forgiveness bless the one being forgiven, practicing it also frees one’s heart from bitterness, malice and anger (Eph. 4:31-32). Forgiving others rejoices the heart through obeying the Lord (Psa. 19:8). Forgiveness engenders restoration and renewal, and brings refreshment to the soul.

God’s forgiveness is offered to all in His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Christ calls on us to forgive as we have been forgiven. “Be imitators of God” and forgive one another when complaints arise (Eph. 4:31-5:2; Col. 3:12-13).

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, August 31, 2014, Volume 17, Number 14
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one talent man2

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What If I Am A One Talent Man?
by Marc Gibson

Jesus taught the Parable of the Talents to His disciples to teach them the need to be productive in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:14-30). Talents were measures of money, and a man delivered these talents to his three servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. Talents were given to each “according to his own ability” (v. 15).

Obviously not all the servants had the same ability because they each received a different number of talents. While one servant could work with five talents, another could only work with two, and another only one. It is a fact of life that everyone possesses different abilities. Some might be a five talent person, or perhaps a two talent person. I might be just a one talent person. What if I am a one talent man?

1. If I am a one talent person, I should not feel inferior to anyone in the work of the Lord. The servant who received one talent was expected to use his ability to work with what he had been given just like the two talent and five talent man. Everyone has work that they can accomplish in the kingdom of God, and no labor is insignificant in the eyes of the Lord.

The church is pictured as a body with parts that are considered as weaker and unpresentable (1 Corinthians 12:20-25). On these we bestow greater honor because they are just as necessary as any other part. Everyone has a vital place in the kingdom of heaven, even the one talent man!

2. If I am a one talent person, I should not “bury” my talent. This was the mistake of the one talent man in the parable of Jesus (v. 25). He said he was afraid because he knew his master to be a demanding man. He should have known that doing nothing would be the worst possible choice he could make. Perhaps he was afraid of losing his one talent. There is no shame or loss in giving every effort to do good with what we have.

A buried talent does no one any good. Our Father in heaven provides blessings and abilities for us to use, not to bury in fear or self-pity. There are things each of us can do to further the cause of the kingdom. Let us do it with one or five talents!

3. If I am a one talent person, I should not forget the reward that awaits the faithful servant. The master told the faithful servants that had gained more talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (vv. 21, 23). No matter how many talents you start out with, if you strive to be faithful and fruitful for the Lord, a joyous reward awaits!

No reward awaits those who do nothing. If the five talent man had done nothing he would have heard the same condemnation of the unfaithful one talent man: “You wicked and lazy servant…cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vv. 26a, 30). The joy of reward is worth every effort, every hurdle, and every sacrifice.

Conclusion. You and I may be one talent folks. There is no shame in that. Use that talent to the glory of God. Great good will be done in His service and an eternal reward will be yours!

–Via The Knollwood Messenger,  July 2014
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News & News

Marie Pennock had spent a couple days in the hospital recently, due to a fast and erratic heart beat.  On May 18, she will be having an MRI.  Her back pain has also continued, and it often keeps her from being able to sleep.

Jean Beach (Jim Lively’s sister) has been suffering from some gastrointestinal problems, along with possible kidney stones, and is wanting to see a doctor as soon as she can.

Judy Daugherty (also a sister of Jim) has been making some improvement, after having spent about 4 days in the hospital, due to falling backwards and severely hitting her head.  For now, it requires her using a walker while she recovers.

Ronnie Crews has recently been having some heart issues and not feeling well, for which he is undergoing some testing.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Jewell Wilson, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, Jewell Wilson, and Colleen Henson.

If you are a female, feel free to come and join the other ladies for their Ladies’ Bible Class that meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the church building.
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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; 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 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (May 3, 2015)

Contents:

1) The Parable of the Elder Son (H.E. Phillips)
2) Am I Honest? (Gary Henry)
3) News & Notes
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prodigal son's brother

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The Parable of the Elder Son
by H.E. Phillips

Jesus was the greatest teacher who ever lived upon earth. He taught his disciples by many different parables, and often made the application for them. The fifteenth chapter of Luke contains three well known parables: the parable of the lost sheep — verses 3-7; the parable of the lost coin — verses 8-10; and the parable of the lost son — verses 11-24. The point of these parables is the rejoicing over finding that which was lost and found. Those things that were lost were of such value that when they were found there was great rejoicing.

Turn now to Luke 15:25-32 and read of the elder son who would not rejoice at the restoration of his brother. He was also alienated from his father.

The account of the elder son is a part of the parable of the prodigal son who took his inheritance and went into a foreign country where he wasted it in riotous and evil living. When all of his money was gone, and he found himself in great need, he “came to himself” and resolved to return to his father and seek forgiveness. He repented of his sins and returned home. His father saw him coming and ran to meet him and welcome him home. He rejoiced because “this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

Now the elder son was in the field. As he came to the house and saw the celebrating because of the return of the younger son, he called a servant to find out why his father had made a feast. When he learned of the return of his younger brother, he was angry and would not go into the house. No doubt this elder son represented the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ lesson. They were angry at Jesus for receiving sinners who repented. They were envious of all who did not stand with them in their attitude toward Jesus.

There are five things about the elder son to which I want to call attention:

1. He was angry. Verse 28: “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.” He was angry because his lost brother was found and had been restored to his father. Anger expresses resentment. It also indicates selfishness in most cases. The elder son had a bad attitude toward both his father and his brother: he did not want his brother to receive the blessings of his father, and he did want his father to rejoice at the return of his brother. He was envious of his brother, and therefore was angry because he was received home with joy.

2. He was self-righteous. Verse 29: “And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends . . . . ”

The younger son who repented said: “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (verse 21). The elder son said: “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment . . . ” (verse 29).

A self-righteous person will not obey the righteousness of God. They go about to establish their own righteousness. Romans 10:3 says: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” The elder son did not consider himself a sinner, and he did not seek any favor from his father.

3. He was ungrateful. He said to his father: “…and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends” (verse 29). But his father told him: “…Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine” (verse 31). His father said he had anything the father had, but he was so ungrateful that he did not consider himself to have anything. Ingratitude is a terrible sin. It hardens the heart to the manifold gifts of God and the blessings available every hour of the day and night to his saints. We must “. . . let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15).

4. He hated his brother. He was envious of his brother and did not want him to receive anything from the father. Verse 30 says: “But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”

The New Testament teaches that we cannot hate our brother and be saved. 1 John 3:15: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 4:20 says: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” We must love our brother if we want to be saved.

5. He was not happy. He would not rejoice because his brother had quit his sinning and returned to his father. His father said unto him: “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32).

Those who have the attitude of the elder son must look at themselves and repent as the younger son did, if they want to be received and be blessed of the Father in heaven.

—  Via hephillips.org
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Am_I_Honest_Gary_Henry
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Am I Honest?
by Gary Henry

Generally, we wish to get correct answers to the questions we ask. The more important the questions are, the more we would like to feel were on track in getting the right answers to them. It would seem obvious that correct answers are nowhere more critical than with respect to the general question of religion. And when we are confronted with the religious claims of Jesus of Nazareth — not only that a right relationship to the Creator should be our ultimate concern, but that such a relationship is possible only through Jesus Himself — we have a specific set of questions that we ought to want to have answered with nothing less than the full truth.

But getting the right answers to the questions of religion in general, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ in particular, is not a mechanical process. We cant assume the truth is going to yield itself up automatically to anyone who pushes the right logical buttons, regardless of what his character or his intentions might be. To the contrary, this happens to be a subject in which getting the right answers depends largely on whether we are a certain kind of person and whether we are asking for a certain kind of reason.

To put it more bluntly: whether we are able to get at the truth about Jesus Christ and His church depends on what we intend to do with the truth. Before we can be in a position to ask questions about the thing called Christianity, there is a more fundamental question we are required to ask about ourselves — and that is whether we are really honest inquirers who intend to do what is right about the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Jesus went a good deal farther than merely saying we must be “intellectually honest” folks who are willing to weigh the evidence objectively. While the Bible certainly does talk about loving the truth, Jesus explained exactly what that means — and how essential it is — when He said, “If anyones will is to do Gods will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (Jn. 7:17). What that says is simply that if I don’t have the integrity and honesty to do what I know I ought to do about the right answers I say Im looking for, then I may not even recognize those right answers when I come across them.

There is really no more sobering text in the New Testament than 2 Thess. 2:11,12, which asserts that God will actually lead those away from the truth who are not honestly looking to obey it: “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The armchair religionist is bound to get tangled up; he may even go astray on the fundamentals of his subject, let alone the more difficult questions. No matter how diligent and scholarly his pursuits, his investigations will be skewed by the fact that he is merely looking for curiosities to think about. But the fellow who waits only for a reasonable assurance that the truth is really the truth before he is ready to render obedience to it, that is the individual who is going to get the information he is seeking.

It is of utmost importance, then, that we be honest about the truth. The trouble is, we are often not willing to be honest about whether we are honest. As a person claiming to want the truth about the questions of religion, how can I know whether I am honest or not? And if I’m not willing to search for, accept, and act on the truth about myself, would I do any better about other truths?

One good place to begin testing our own honesty is asking what we are doing about the religious truth we already possess. The person deserves no additional light who is wasting what he presently has, and if we are avoiding dealing with obligations that have been in plain view for quite some time, there is little point in debating the finer points of the law.

But there are some other tests that may help us focus on our honesty. Am I, for example, capable of being persuaded, or is my mind basically made up already? Am I a person who decides questions on the basis of evidence, or am I guided by prejudices and preconceptions? Do I tend to believe that the truth is whatever I want it to be? How hard am I willing to dig for truth? How careful am I in approaching weighty issues? Am I fair? On the question of God, do I harbor any reservations about how far I’d be willing to go in accepting the implications and consequences of the truth? Questions like these ought to tell us some significant things about the level of honesty at which we approach the issues of life.

Jesus taught on one occasion that His word germinates in the “honest and good heart” (Lk. 8:15). Deciding to have just that sort of heart has got to be the beginning point for any serious quest for truth. It is, as Jesus said elsewhere, the truth that will make us “free” (Jn. 8:32) — but the truth is a maiden who will not be wooed by just anybody. Anything less on our part than a bona fide commitment to be faithful to truth — whatever that may entail, at whatever cost — and truth will disguise herself from us. If we are serious about getting at the right answers to the questions that pertain to life’s deepest meaning, then we can ill afford to have anything other than the attitude of the Psalmist: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psa. 25:4,5). It’s that kind of honesty that gives us a chance to make progress. Without it, we are as lost intellectually as we are spiritually.

— Via WordPoints, January 2, 2015
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News & News

It was a good gospel meeting we recently had with Phillip Owens, and we were also glad for all our visitors who came out to be with us.  For many, it had been about 25 years since they last saw Phillip when he used to preach here at Tebeau Street in the late 80s and early 90s.

I imagine these following people would appreciate, on their behalf, the prayers of the saints:

Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister) spent about 4 days in the hospital, due to falling backwards and severely hitting her head.  She is now having to use a walker as she continues to recover.

Jean Beach (also a sister of Jim Lively) has been having some bad stomach ailments, along with other physical problems, and is feeling poorly.

Ronnie Davis has recently been having some heart issues and not feeling well, for which he is undergoing some testing.

Jewell Wilson, who had been hospitalized, due to a slight stroke and other complications, has been transferred to the nursing home on Riverside Avenue.

Marie Pennock has been having continual trouble with her back, which gives her pain.

Mikaela Jones has not been feeling well lately, due to a touch of bronchitis.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander, Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, Penny and Deborah Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Sunny Nichols, Dolly Downs Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, and Colleen Henson. 

The Ladies’ Bible study meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the church building.
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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; 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 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (April 26, 2015)

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Contents:

1) Be Optimistic (R.J. Evans)
2) When You Feel Like Giving Up (Jesse Flowers)
3) What Can the Righteous Do? (Joe R. Price)
4) News & Notes
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optimism

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Be Optimistic
by R.J. Evans

Optimism is defined as “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and happenings or to anticipate the best possible outcome” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). To be successful in most any endeavor, we must look at the bright side with a spirit of optimism. The physician, the engineer, the accountant, and the lawyer are all successful because they made up their minds as to what they wanted to be, and then pursued that field with an optimistic attitude. Many are failures because they never make up their mind as to what they are going to do. Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2). We need to optimistically set our minds on the spiritual course that God has outlined for us. Some never do this. They remain in a constant state of indecision and never commit themselves to a responsible position in service to Christ.

The apostle Paul suffered so much for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned frequently, beaten, shipwrecked three times, often hungry, thirsty, cold and naked (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Yet, Paul was able to put the most favorable light on all these happenings, and “anticipated the best possible outcome.” He stated, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). It is indeed a remarkable thing, after all he suffered, that Paul called these afflictions light. I’m afraid that if we were suffering only a fraction of what he suffered, we would be inclined to call it a “dreadful load.” But the most severe tribulation and affliction are nothing compared with the glory awaiting us. Hence, Paul could be optimistic (and so can we, if we are faithful to God).

The Christian has so much for which to be thankful – redemption, forgiveness, joy, hope, contentment, peace (just to mention a few). He also has something wonderful toward which to look forward – Heaven! Surely, this engenders optimism. We can have the attitude of Paul: “I can do all” things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). With the strength derived from the Lord, we can face everything in life with an optimistic spirit.

There is no adverse power greater or mightier than God. Therefore, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) When we contemplate all that is meant in this passage, a warm, secure feeling is produced in our hearts. How wonderfully bright things become! We may lose our relatives, our earthly friends, our health, but the Lord remains, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). If our faith is in God, knowing he is indeed able, we can and should have an optimistic outlook toward the various aspects of life. He has provided salvation (Acts 4:12). In time of temptation, he provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). In teaching and attempting to convert the lost, he gives the increase (I Cor. 3:7). When we die in the Lord, there is rest provided from our labors, and our works will follow us (Rev. 14:13). We could go on and on!

Let’s be optimistic! We have reason to be. Make the best of every situation, set your spiritual goals, and then, reach forward and achieve them! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 429, July 21, 1988
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dispair

When You Feel Like Giving Up
by Jesse Flowers

1) When you feel like giving up because of the trials you are suffering, remember righteous Job. He lost everything: his children, his wealth, and his health (Job 1:13-2:8). In spite of all this unimaginable grief and loss, Job held to his faith in God (Job 13:15). As James wrote of him: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (5:11). Indeed we may suffer great trials in this life, yet we must never forget that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Like Job, let us endure.

2) When you feel like giving up because it seems like your righteous efforts are to no avail, remember Elijah. This faithful prophet of God boldly condemned the evil ways of Ahab and Jezebel. Demonstrating great courage and faith he took on the 450 prophets of Baal, proving them to be completely false (I Kings 18:17-40). In spite of all his courageous efforts for good, he had to flee for his life from Jezebel. In his great discouragement and distress he expressed how he felt no better than his fathers, and that he was the only man left in Israel that had remained loyal to God and His covenant (I Kings 19:4,10). Elijah had done much good, and it was not in vain. Seven thousand in Israel had not bowed the knee in allegiance to Baal. He was not all alone. Furthermore, God still had important work for him to do (19:15-18). In spite of disheartening set backs, we must remember that we have work to do — the Lord’s work. So “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

3) When you feel like giving up because you’re weary and discouraged in your soul, remember Jesus. Although one can receive much strength and inspiration from the likes of Job and Elijah, there is no better example that we can look to than Jesus Christ. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3). Look to Jesus every day. When you feel weary and discouraged look to Jesus even more. Consider all that He endured on our behalf that we might be saved from our sins. So let us run this spiritual race with endurance never losing sight of the joy that is set before us! When you feel like giving up, remember Job, Elijah, and especially Jesus. When you feel like giving up, don’t! It will all be worth it in the end (Rom. 8:18; Rev. 21:1-7)!

— via The Word of Life, Dec. 19, 2010, (Vol. 3, No. 51)
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“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY'” (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
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-3-

What Can the Righteous Do?
by Joe R. Price

Cries of intolerance and discrimination were heard this week in an attempt to silence religious conscience in a small Indiana town. It was all hypothetical. Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN has never even catered a wedding, much less been asked to do so by a same sex marriage couple. Yet, when asked, the owners expressed their faith and were labeled with all sorts of intolerant, hateful words and deeds, forcing them to temporarily close.

How are Christians to react when they are challenged or even attacked for their faith? Does “turning the other cheek” mean remaining silent about one’s convictions, if speaking out will offend a particular group of sinners? Hardly. If that were the case, then the gospel could never be preached, since some will always hate the truth!

What are Christians to do in the face of increasing pressure to give in and be “tolerant” of social sins?

1) First, realize the issue is not correctly defined by those who do not know God. Do not be deceived by the one-sided charges of those who do not respect God, as if they are the authorities on all matters civil. The Scriptures are our standard of authority for faith and practice. They teach us how to conduct ourselves, not LGBT activists, the media, politicians, intellectuals, etc. (Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2) Live your faith and stand up for truth. We cannot leave this world of sin; we engage in commerce and many other activities with sinners every day (1 Cor. 5:9-10). That does not mean we must be silent; we must speak (Acts 5:19-20).

3) Like Jesus, lovingly call sinners to repentance. When Jesus ate with sinners He was teaching them and they were following Him. He was calling sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:9-13; Mk. 2:13-14; Lk. 15:1-2). He was falsely charged with tolerating sin when He ate with sinners. He did no such thing. He spoke truth, and these were listening to Him. We should do the same — even when some refuse to listen.

4) Like Jesus, do not have fellowship with sin. Condoning sin instead of exposing it for what it is never saves the lost. By doing so you compromise your faith (Eph. 5:8-13).

5) Pray for your enemies and be at peace with all as much as it depends on you (Matt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:17-18).

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, April 5, 2015, Volume 17, Number 39
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-4-

News & News

The pictures above are from public domain and added by me.  They are not of the writers in these articles.

As mentioned in our last three bulletins, today is the day that begins our gospel meeting with Phillip Owens.  Phillip will be presenting three lessons today, and then a lesson on each of the three following nights, Monday through Wednesday.  Sunday services will be at the regular times, but we will be meeting at 7:30 for the weeknights.

Jewell Wilson (Joyce Rittenhouse’s mother) had a slight stroke last Sunday and was admitted to the hospital.  Her condition as of yesterday was still very poor. Her gall bladder is not functioning well and also contains a stone.  Plus, she also has other health problems.

Here are also some others for us who are Christians to be remembering in prayer for their health: Myrna Jordan, Melotine Davis and her mother Mary Vandevander, Marie Pennock, Danielle Howard, Penny and Deborah Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Doyle Rittenhouse, Jean Beach, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, and Colleen Henson.  
——————–

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; 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 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)