The Gospel Observer (6/21/15)

Contents:

1) The Nature of the Word of God (Joe R. Price)
2) That Familiar Ring of Truth (Bill Hall)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Bible
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The Nature of the Word of God
by Joe R. Price

While contemplating God and His word, the psalmist observed, “Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments… Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it” (Psa. 119:137, 140). Since God is righteous, we fully expect His word to also be righteous. We are not disappointed. We marvel at the harmony of God’s word. We trust its power to save souls and transform lives. We are dismayed at those who choose to dishonor God by dishonoring His word.

Many religious people discount the credibility of the Bible and discredit the Scriptures as the only authoritative, binding standard for faith and practice. They appeal to “church tradition,” to “new revelation” or to “personal testimony” while rejecting the Bible as the very word of God. The apostles of Jesus preached the “word of God” and not the “word of men” (1 Ths. 2:13). The Spirit of God gave the apostles the very words to speak and write (Matt. 10:19-20; 1 Cor. 14:37). To relegate the Bible to human origin either displays a lack of knowledge or a willful rejection of the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).

Others, wanting to deflect the validity of the apostles’ teachings, say there is a big difference between the words of Jesus and the words of His apostles. We hear the uninformed say things like, “Jesus didn’t say it, just Paul (Peter, John, etc.)”. Yet, Jesus told His apostles, “He who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (Jno. 13:20). Jesus sent His apostles into the world to preach His gospel (Mk. 16:15-20). The apostles spoke and then wrote “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). We cannot minimize and reject the apostles’ words without also minimizing and rejecting Jesus.

The apostle Paul said, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9). This declarative statement calls on us to preach the same gospel the apostles preached.

The teaching of Christ’s apostles and prophets about the nature of God’s word strengthens our faith and revives our love for His truth. They assure us that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Every teaching that contradicts Christ’s first century apostles and prophets indicts the purity of God and His word. Here is what they taught about the nature of the word of God.

All truth. The apostles of Christ were guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (Jno. 16:13). This is most reassuring since we are sanctified by truth (Jno. 17:17). If we only have some truth then we can only have some sanctification. But, God’s word “is truth,” and “all truth” was given to the apostles. We have all of God’s word through the apostles. We have no need for direct, personal messages from God. God has already given us “all truth” to follow. The Bible is enough.

Fully adequate. The Scriptures, because they are inspired by God, are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To “be complete” means to be adequate, filled up, sufficient. The Scriptures are adequate to supply us for “every good work” of faith, without any additional revelation (Eph. 2:10). They are our pattern for doing God’s will. The Bible is enough.

Incorruptible. The words of men fall by the wayside and are cast into the dustbin of history. But the word of God is living and powerful, vibrant to convict of sin and to convert sinners (Heb. 4:12). It is enduring, never fading away: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). When people say God’s word is no longer relevant in modern culture they expose their unwilling heart to accept and live by the living word of God. There have been and always will be different cultures on the earth, yet the incorruptible word of God applies to people of every culture (Mk. 16:15). Some say men have corrupted truth and we need the truth restored. No, men have fallen away from the truth; the truth has not fallen away (1 Tim. 4:1). The Bible is enough.

Once for all delivered. The gospel is not repeatedly delivered from heaven to earth throughout the ages. The faith was fully delivered to mankind by the first century apostles and prophets of Christ — “…once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Jesus Christ died a single time (“once”) as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10). Once was enough. Likewise, “the faith” was delivered “once” (a single time). The Bible is enough.

Full and final authority. The apostles’ teaching carries the full weight of heaven’s authority. When we accept the apostles’ teaching we are accepting Christ because He sent them into the world with His word (Jno. 13:20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 2:42). The writings of the apostles of Christ “are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). God speaks to us today “in His Son” by the words of His apostles (Heb. 1:1-2). Their word has binding authority over us (Col. 3:17). The Bible is enough.

Understandable. Amazingly, by reading what the apostles wrote we can understand what they knew about the will of God! “…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)…” (Eph. 3:3-4). It is false to say the Bible is not understandable (2 Pet. 3:16-18). We do not need a new revelation to understand the first century revelation. We need to read and learn it. The Bible is enough.

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, November 9, 2014, Volume 17, Number 24
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That Familiar Ring of Truth
by Bill Hall

The preacher’s topic: “The Conversion of Saul.” But why that topic? Aren’t most of us familiar with that? Shouldn’t the preacher choose something new and more challenging? Why preach what is familiar?

1. It confirms convictions we have formed through the years. Most of us have strong beliefs concerning what a sinner needs to do to be saved, what constitutes the pattern set by the apostles for each local church, what the Lord wants of us on a daily basis, and on many other issues. When we hear sermons confirming these convictions, it builds our confidence that we are indeed doing the Lord’s will and strengthens our hope of eternal life.

2. It conforms our teaching to the example of the apostles. Peter wrote that he was reminding his readers of certain things, that he would continue to do so, and that he would see to it that they would continue to “have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15). Peter knew that Christians need to hear the truth — familiar truth — again and again.

3. It builds convictions in those who are young and those who are new in the faith. There are reasons why we who have been Christians for many years are familiar with these scriptures. It is because of the preaching we have heard since our youth. Today’s young people and newer converts need this same opportunity.

4. It thrills listeners to hear again that which has brought joy to them in the past. A sports fan views a rerun of an exciting game his team has won. He knows exactly the moment when the running back scoots through the defense and scores a touchdown. He knows when that moment is near, and he can’t wait to see it again. It never gets old to him. So it is when we love the scriptures. We rejoice to hear the message. It never grows old. We anticipate certain scriptures and points that are about to be presented. We never tire of the old, old story.

Catherine Hankey said it this way:

I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest;
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

Our purpose is not “to tell or to hear some new thing,” as seems to be the trend. Our purpose is to preach truth. If we are bored with that message, something is wrong with us spiritually. If we need to apologize anytime we preach it, something is wrong with our audience. The ring of truth! The familiar ring of truth! Preach it, Brother! We thank God for the joy of hearing it again and again.

— Via The Beacon, June 2, 2015
——————–

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3,14).
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News & News

We were glad to hear that things are looking well from Myrna Jordan’s recent CT scan!

Judy Daugherty, who had been improving from her recent fall, is now experiencing some serious complications due to having severely hit her head in that.

Let us also continue to remember the following in our prayers: Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Marie Pennock, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Randy McBride, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Dexter Roberts, Jewell Wilson, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, Colleen Henson, Tom Holland, Donell Wells (cancer), and Kelsey Williams
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of 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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (June 14, 2015)

Contents:

1) Witchcraft and Wizardry (R.J. Evans)
2) It Needs No Change (Greg Gwin)
3) Patience (Mike Johnson)
4) Do You Understand? Will You Obey? (selected)
5) And the Dust Went Boom (Bryan Matthew Dockens)
6) News & Notes
——————–

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Witchcraft and Wizardry
by R.J. Evans

In the United States alone an estimated 10 million people are convinced that their future is written in the stars.  Horoscopes are published in over 1,200 newspapers daily across this country.  Occult books have become best sellers.  Back in the ’60s when TV shows such as “Bewitched” were introduced, people started looking upon witchcraft in a favorable light.  The explosion has continued, especially with the Harry Potter books and movies.  There are an estimated 60,000 presently claiming to be witches in  America.  Twenty five years ago, many things of this nature were laughed at; today they are taken seriously.

Fortune tellers, diviners, wizards, sorcerers, witches, and mediums can all be classified under “witchcraft” (“sorcery” in N.T.). Deuteronomy 18:9-14 lists various evil means of attempting to tell the future, cast spells, consult the dead, etc.  Witchcraft is strongly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments (Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:9-14; Isa. 44:25; 8:19-22; Gal. 5:19-21; Acts 8:14- 25;  13:4-12; 19:18-19).  Under the Law of Moses, a witch or sorceress was to be put to death–“You shall not permit a sorceress to live” (Ex. 22:18).

God has always revealed His will to man throughout all the years.  In the Old Testament it was by and through His prophets (Deut. 18:20-22; Ezek. 3:4).  Today He speaks to us through His Son, via  His inspired Word (Matt. 17:5; Lk. 10:22; Acts 3:19-23; Heb. 1:1-4).  Those who practice witchcraft exalt themselves in such a manner as to claim for themselves powers and attributes of deity.  They claim such powers as the power to bless or curse, the power to tell the future, and the power to do wonders and miracles.  Witchcraft could not save the Israelites (Isa. 47:10-15).  In fact, according to Isaiah 46:8-11, they were told that only God knew what was in the future.  Thus, we can understand why God refers to the evil practice of witchcraft as “abominations” (Deut. 18:9, 12).

Everything that the God of Heaven has done and has said is good and genuine.  But with Satan it is just the opposite, for he is an evil counterfeiter.  God has ministers, but so does Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15).  God has His angels, but so does Satan (2 Cor. 11:14).  God has worked miracles, and Satan has his lying wonders (2 Thes. 2:9).

Divine miracles were to confirm the Word (Mk. 16:17- 21).  The Word has been confirmed, therefore, miracles have ceased (1 Cor. 13).  Hence, if today’s fortune tellers, witches and wizards have any powers, they are of the devil, and certainly not of God (2 Thes. 2:3-12).  Always remember that Satan is in the lying and deceiving business, for that is what he is–a liar and a deceiver.  Jesus said that when the devil “speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).  (See also 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 12:9.)

Satan’s forces are at work today, and it’s no surprise that we see evidence of his lying wonders all about us (2 Thes. 2; Rev. 16:13-14; Eph. 6:12).  However, we must not be deceived by the deceptions of the devil, but rather recognize them and their source.  Put your trust, confidence and faith in God and His Word, not in the devil’s witchcraft and wizardry.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (Isa. 5:20)

— Via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, 2005
——————–

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It Needs No Change
by Greg Gwin

The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States have long been praised for their wisdom and foresight. The words they penned have served as the basis for the laws of this land for over 200 years, and have needed relatively few changes or additions. This is indeed remarkable when we view the governments and laws of most other nations in a constant state of change.

Far more amazing than this, is the law of Christ. Written nearly 2000 years ago, it continues today to provide us with “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). It is a “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). No change has ever been, or ever will be needed in it. Its own pages contain warnings to those who would attempt to alter its commands (Galatians 1:8,9; 2 John 9,10; Revelation 22:18,19). Let us learn to appreciate the beauty and perfection of God’s word, and strive to live and worship according to its precepts.
——————–

-3-

Patience
by Mike Johnson

The term “patience” occurs frequently in the Bible.  Patience is a difficult lesson to learn in the age that we live in, yet, it is a trait that Christians must have.  The church at Ephesus, for example, was commended for their patience (Rev. 2:2-3).  Hebrews 12:1 says that Christians are to “run with patience” the race that is set before them;  II Peter 1:6 says that patience must be added to the Christian’s faith.

What is patience?  Patience might simply be called “enduring under trials or tribulations.”  Thayer, in his Greek Lexicon (p. 644), says that in the New Testament it is, “…the characteristic of a man who is unswerved  from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

Patience is very similar to “longsuffering,” but a distinction between the two words can be made.  Patience generally refers to an enduring with respect to situations or circumstances.  Longsuffering, on the other hand, is more of an endurance, or the quality of self-restraint, with respect to people.  Patience involves difficult circumstances; longsuffering involves difficult people.  If a person is longsuffering, for example, towards another, he will not retaliate when provoked.  Also, a person facing trials and tribulations will patiently continue to serve God.

Patience comes by the trying of our faith (Jas. 1:3) and by tribulation (Rom. 5:3-5).

— Via Biblelist, February 20, 2015
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Do You Understand? Will You Obey?

Mark Twain, an unbeliever, said about the Bible, “It’s not what I don’t understand about it that bothers me — it’s what I do understand that is the problem!” Although he apparently never did anything about those fears, his observation was absolutely accurate.

Someone else observed: “You may not understand all you read in the Bible, but you can obey what you do understand.” That statement is true, too.

What we’re saying here is that the Bible, while difficult to understand in a few places, really has a very simple story to tell. It teaches us about God in a down-to-earth, easy to digest sort of way. Its commands are explained so that a person with little or no formal education can still comprehend and comply. Simply put, you can know and obey the will of God.  The only remaining question is: Will you do it?

— Selected (Via The Beacon, June 9, 2015)
——————–

-5-

And the Dust Went Boom
by Bryan Matthew Dockens

More than all else, the subject undermining atheism is origins.  Removing God from their worldview, unbelievers are left with a laughably inadequate explanation for how the universe and its vast contents came into being.

Whereas the faithful believe that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), the disbelieving insist: In the beginning was dust and the dust went boom.

Besides the obvious inability to explain how order arose from chaos, which is totally unknown in observable science, the principal failure of the Big Bang theorist is to account for where all the cosmic dust that supposedly exploded came from.

They assign to mere matter the divine quality of eternal self-existence.  The Christian has no problem ascribing to God Almighty such obvious deification; it is simple and fair to perceive a single ancient consciousness as the source of all other existence.  In contrast, it is utterly absurd to regard mindless matter as self-originating, that non-sentient stuff brought itself into being.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 53:1).

— Via Biblelist, April 5, 2015
——————–

“And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:25-27).
——————–

-6-

News & News

Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember the following in our prayers for their health: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Marie Pennock, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Randy McBride, Sunny Nichols, Judy Daugherty, Jean Beach, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, Colleen Henson, Tom Holland, Donell Wells (cancer), and Kelsey Williams
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of 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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (June 7, 2015)

Contents:

1) Worldliness (Gary Henry)
2) Necessary Implications (Ronny E. Hinds)
3) Did You Know?… (Roger Shouse)
4) News & Notes
——————–
worldliness
-1-

Worldliness
by Gary Henry

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18,19).

WORLDLINESS IS THE SIN OF BEING SO WEDDED TO THIS WORLD THAT WE PAY TOO LITTLE ATTENTION TO THE WORLD TO COME. It means being preoccupied with temporal matters to such an extent that spiritual concerns are crowded out of our thinking. To fellow Christians, Paul wrote, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). This is not easy to do, given the strong pull that this world can have on our hearts. If we’re not careful, worldliness will “choke” God’s word and cause it to be “unfruitful” as far as we are concerned.

When some people think of worldliness they think of sins which violate the tradition of conservative social values, particularly those of the Victorian era. When preachers inveigh against worldliness, for example, they often have in mind things like drinking, gambling, and the wearing of immodest clothing. But there is more to worldliness than this. Certainly any outward action which violates the principles of godliness and purity is sinful, and we’re in a dangerous position if we think we’re so much more enlightened than our grandparents that we don’t have to be concerned about such things. But worldliness is a problem of the heart. It afflicts all who are moved primarily by worldly motives, perhaps even the preacher who takes a condescending attitude toward “sinners.” Despite outward appearances, the drunkard and the prostitute may be closer to the kingdom of heaven than some others. In truth, their hearts may not be tied as tightly to this world as those of their more “respectable” contemporaries!

In the parable of the rich fool, God said to a certain prosperous man, no doubt a good fellow in many ways and one whose life might even be called admirable, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20). And Jesus concluded this worldly man’s story by saying, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

“Worldliness is excluding God from our lives and, therefore, consciously or unconsciously accepting the values of a man-centered society” (Erwin W. Lutzer).

— via WordPoints, June 6, 2015
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ASV_Bible
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Necessary Implications
by Ronny E. Hinds

All the Bible teaches or authorizes for us to be and do is said either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit means, “fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing merely implied.” Implicit means, “implied, rather than expressly stated.” A related word to implicit is implication. It means, “something implied or suggested as naturally to be inferred or understood.”

In interpreting the Bible, people have always had difficulties with implications because they are not something spoken directly. They require some additional thinking on our part. Implications require us to consider the facts and understand the necessary conclusions/implications those facts require. The two words of major importance in that last sentence are “require” and “necessary.” I am not talking about any inference or thought we might generally or casually infer, but what God has specifically implied. There is a vast difference between those two ideas. God’s implications are bound upon us because God has placed them in His Word. We are not, I repeat, we are not dealing with human wisdom/reasoning/ideas, but with God’s implications.

It is said by some brethren that implications are valid and binding on Christians no further than “they” perceive them to be so. To do otherwise, they say, is to cause faith to stand on human wisdom. I beg to differ! Actually, they have it backwards! Limiting Bible instructions to human perceptions is to allow human wisdom to rule!!

Consider this example of Jesus’ verbal interaction with the Sadducees. In reading Matthew 22:23-33, Jesus answers the Sadducees’ question about a future resurrection by telling them “Ye do err” (KJV); or, the NIV says, “You are in error.” Clearly, Jesus says their thinking was wrong. Why? Because they had failed to understand the implication of Exodus 3:6 as God speaks of Himself being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the “present tense” — at that moment — although they had been dead for many years when Exodus 3:6 was spoken. So, Jesus argues, how could they reject the spirit’s immortality (as the Sadducees believed)? Clearly, Jesus held the Sadducees accountable for not recognizing (perceiving) the implication of Exodus 3:6.  Consider another verbal exchange Jesus has with some of John’s disciples (Matthew 11:2-6). Jesus is asked the question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Note the question could be easily answered with a “yes” or “no”; but that is not how He answers it. Instead, Jesus says, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see….” Then He refers to the various miracles He was performing along with His preaching the gospel. The question is not answered explicitly, but implicitly with the miracles He performed and the words He spoke — all “necessarily implying” that He was indeed “the Coming One.” Obviously, Jesus expected both John and his disciples to understand this.

Here is another example of necessary implication in which the Scripture itself draws the implication for us. Read Ephesians 4:8-10. Verse 8 quotes Psalm 68:18 which is a prophetic reference to Jesus’ ascension. Then verse 9 comments on it saying “Now this ‘He ascended’ — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?”  Before Jesus could ascend He had to descend (from heaven to earth and death/burial), although that is not explicitly stated. Note the phrase “what does it mean” identifies the implication.

Let me suggest three things that are important to keep in mind about necessary implications. (1) They must be necessary, inescapable, logical conclusions, drawn from the facts given. (2) The speaker or writer creates the necessary conclusion(s) by the facts given. Not just any inference “we” may conclude is right. (3) This reasoning (necessary implications) is not just some special kind of reasoning reserved for the Bible. It is something we do in everyday communication. If I told you to trim the trees in my backyard I “necessarily imply” you will need a saw, etc., to trim the trees. If I asked you to bake a cake my words “necessarily imply” you must have the ingredients and knowledge of how to do so. This is not rocket science; it is everyday communication.  Long ago it was said, “The language of the Bible is the language of men; therefore, the same rules we use to understand any other book should be used to understand the Bible.”

The point of all this is to scripturally affirm, implicit teaching is just as authoritative as explicit!!

— Via the Monthly Messenger of the Knollwood church of Christ, Beavercreek, Ohio, for June 2015
——————–
elder son 2
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Did You Know?…

That the apostles never used food, games or social activities to draw a crowd so they could preach to them?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the social programs are so extensive that a social director or a “youth minister” must be hired to oversee the social planning.

Although schools existed in the first century, and the apostle Paul even taught in one for 2 years (Acts 19:9,10), no churches ever supported them financially?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the financial supporting of “Christian schools” or “Colleges” is a regular part of the budget.

That the apostle Paul illustrated many of his epistles with analogies from sporting events (1 Cor. 9:24,25). Yet no church sponsored or had sporting teams?

Yet in many churches today, even some calling themselves “Church of Christ,” the sporting activities are so much a part of the work that full scale gyms have been built.

If these things mentioned above were not a part of the early church and we do not find them in the Bible, WHY are churches doing them today?  And who gave them the RIGHT to do it? These things ought not to be!  “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).

— by Roger Shouse (via The Beacon, May 12, 2015)
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Randy McBride had spent a little time in the Mayo hospital recently, due to breathing problems with his asthma.  He was given various medication and is now back home, where he is to continue on his medication and use his breathing machine every six hours.

Though Jewell Wilson was alert yesterday in the nursing home on Riverside Avenue, she still has all of her various illnesses.

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Johnie Mae Kitchen who passed away June 1.  She was from Waycross, but moved to Fayetteville, Georgia, several years ago.

Let those of us who are Christians also be remembering the following in prayer for their health: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Marie Pennock, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Judy Daugherty, Jean Beach, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, Colleen Henson, Tom Holland, Donell Wells (cancer), and Kelsey Williams
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of 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)

God’s Love for You

three crosses

When you’re caught up in your troubles
And there seems nowhere to turn,
Just remember Jesus loves you
And for your salvation yearns.

This is why He went to Calvary —
Taunted by the savage crew —
And so willingly had yielded
To be crucified for you.

There they nailed Him so securely
To the cross which bore His weight,
And from which He writhed in torment,
Just to change the sinner’s fate.

But in order for this blessing
Of salvation to be yours,
You must hearken to the Savior
By obeying through His word.

For it’s not in mere “faith only”
That will turn your life around,
But in meeting His conditions
That will make you heaven bound.

So no matter what your problem
Or the sin that made you fall,
Come and listen to the Savior
For on the cross He died for all.

— by Tom Edwards, March 1990

The Gospel Observer (May 31, 2015)

Contents:

1) From Creation to the Creator — and Following Through (Tom Edwards)
2) Led By Whom (Boyd Sellers)
3) News & Notes
——————–

earth

-1-

From Creation to the Creator — and Following Through
by Tom Edwards

Though we differ in some religious views, yet I found the following comments of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who lived from 1712 to 1778, interesting reasons for his belief in the Creator — and perhaps you will, too.  So I included some of them for you.

In the creation, Rousseau sees the “mutual concurrence,” the “reciprocal relations,” their “intimate connection” and their “mutual assistance” as an indication of the reality of God and in which led Rousseau into likening himself to “a man who sees the inside of  a watch for the first time, and is  captivated with the beauty of the work, although ignorant of its use.  I know not, he may say, what this machine is good for, but I perceive that each part is made to fit some other.  I admire the artist for every part of his performance, and am certain that all these wheels act thus in concert to some common end, which as yet I fail to comprehend” (Harvard Classics, Volume 34, pp. 258, 259).

That can be quite a site to behold, especially when never having seen it before. Early in my youth, after taking off the back of an analog watch, I had been thoroughly impressed with all the various intricate parts that made it up, and with each component being meticulously placed in its necessary and exact position.  What a fine and delicate work it was!

But even more complex than that watch is our own anatomy with its numerous and differing constituent parts that all work together to form one body.  But how did they come to be that way?  As Rousseau writes, “If organized bodies are fortuitously combined in a thousand ways before they assume settled and constant forms; if at first they are formed stomachs without mouths, feet without heads, hands without arms, and imperfect organs of every kind…how comes it that none of these imperfect essays have engaged our attention?” (ibid. p. 259).  In other words, why is this disorder or lack of needful parts and arrangement not what is being seen everywhere — or even traces of?  Instead, in regard to whatever the creature — and regardless of how different one is from the other — we see it having exactly what it needs.  What are the odds of that, if by mere coincidence or random selection each part was acquired?  And how would even such a “choice” of all the needful components be made by that which has no intelligence?

Rousseau likens the possibility of organized bodies just so happening by chance to “a number of printer’s types, jumbled promiscuously together,” but then “had arranged themselves in the order of the letters composing the Aeneid [of which a paperback edition by Vintage is 442 pages]”; and if anyone would say to him he has forgotten the number of chances that would make such a combination possible, his reply would be, “I , who see only the one, must conclude that there is an infinite number against it, and that it is not the effect of chance. …hence life and organization can never result from a blind concourse of atoms…” (ibid.).  “How absurd the attempt to deduce this wonderful harmony from the blind mechanism of a fortuitous jumble of atoms! … It is impossible for me to conceive that a system of beings can be so wisely regulated, without the existence of some intelligent cause which effects such regulation.  It is not in my power to believe that passive inanimate matter could ever have produced living and sensible creatures,–that a blind fatality should be productive of intelligent beings,– or that a cause incapable itself of thinking, should produce the faculty of thinking in its effects. I believe, therefore, that the world is governed by a wise and powerful Will.”  And that “Will” is what Rousseau refers to as God, who wills with intelligence and power (ibid., p. 260).

For those who know the passage, how can we not be reminded of it, as we read these previous thoughts, where David so gloriously declares of God, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You” (Psa. 139:13-18).

Yes, in that sense, God is the Father of us all.  As we can see in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, which traces it back through the many ancestors mentioned, and all the way back to “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (v. 38).  So just as Seth was a son of Adam, Adam was a “son” of God.  When Paul preached to the men of Athens in the midst of the Areopagus (Mars’ hill, KJV), whom he noted as being a very religious people, though wrongly caught up in idolatry, he then spoke of the “unknown God” to whom one of their altars was dedicated and to whom they had “worshiped in ignorance” (Acts 17:23).  He spoke of Him as being the one who “made the world and all things in it,” who is “Lord of heaven and earth” (v. 24), and “gives to all people life and breath and all things” (v. 25).  Paul also pointed out that God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children [offspring, KJV].’  Being then the children [offspring] of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.  Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (vv. 26-31).

So even though everyone’s ancestry can be traced back to God, who created Adam and Eve, yet all of us who reached an age of accountability had soon become guilty of sin (cf. Rom. 3:9,10,23) and, thus, severed ourselves from that spiritual relationship with the Lord (cf. Isa. 59:1,2) and brought ourselves to a need for repentance and meeting God’s conditions for salvation to not only be forgiven, but to also be able to enter into a spiritual union with God, in which He truly is our Father.  For though God blesses even the atheist with rain and sunshine (cf. Matt. 5:45) and has brought “fruitful seasons” to all, thus, “satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17), yet these blessings pertain to just this physical world and are, therefore, temporary; but the spiritual blessings of God, for those who have entered into a harmonious relationship with Him, are eternal!

If it be that our sins have not been blotted out by the precious blood of Jesus, then we are still spiritually “dead in…trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).  And, if that be the case, then we are still in “the domain of darkness” (Col. 1:13), do not have God the Father and Jesus in our lives (2 Jn. 1:9), and have Satan for our father (cf. Jn. 8:42-44; Acts 26:16-18).  So our connection with God must come through the gospel.  For “it is the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16), and that which brings us into a spiritual relationship with our Creator.

As mentioned, just our realization from the creation that God exists is not enough to save a soul.  It is only through the New Testament, which is “the faith” that was “once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3), that one can acquire saving faith and see the way of salvation.

So may the knowledge of God, which we can each acquire through observing the creation, motivate us to want to examine that holy book He has given us, and to not only come to a much deeper understanding of Him, but to also submit to His commands, so that His message will save our souls and become a way of life for us, with the Lord daily on the throne of our hearts, and as we journey to that ultimate goal of heaven, from where our Creator keeps a constant and compassionate watch on each one of us and forever reigns.
——————–
This Way That Way

-2-

Led By Whom?
by Boyd Sellers

Some claim that the Holy Spirit is still speaking to them in a direct, miraculous way IN ADDITION TO what He recorded in the Bible. However, the Holy Spirit Himself tells us that His revelation, the New Testament of Jesus Christ, is “perfect,” “complete,” and “final” (See Jas. 1:25; 2 Tim. 3:16717; Jude 3). The New Testament is the Word we must live by because it is the Word we will be judged by (Jas. 2:12; Jno. 12:48). It is the ‘ONLY’ way God speaks to men today.

It would be interesting to know just what the Holy Spirit would say to these men that He has not already said in the Bible. If He said the same thing as the Bible, it would not be necessary, and if He said something different, one would be “accursed” if he taught it (Gal. 1:8-9).

Please consider these obvious facts: FIRST, the Holy Spirit would not teach a doctrine that denied what He already said in the Bible. Yet, all who claim direct guidance today teach doctrines which conflict with the Bible. SECOND, the Holy Spirit would not teach conflicting doctrines. Yet, such as claim direct guidance (Mormons, Catholics, Pentecostals, etc.) teach opposing and conflicting doctrines. Who can believe that the Holy Spirit is the author of such chaos? CONCLUSION: Men who claim miraculous guidance today are frauds who teach THEIR OWN doctrines instead of God’s. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall NOT pass away.” Read your Bible and do what it says. It’ll make you perfect and thoroughly furnished (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

— via The Beacon, 5/26/15
——————–

-3-

News & News

The gospel meeting at the Hoboken church of Christ (at 5101 Main Street in Hoboken, Georgia) begins today and goes through Wednesday with Brad Sullivan doing the preaching. Weeknight services begin at 7:30.  Brad is currently working with the Oakgrove church of Christ in Walnut, Florida.

Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following in our prayers:

Johnny Mae Kitchen recently had a massive heart attack and is now on life support.

Jewell Wilson’s health has continued to be very poor with several illnesses, and many which put her at a higher risk due to her age

Donell Wells has cancer.

Deborah Medlock has been sick with a fever.

For her back trouble, Marie Pennock had been seeing her chiropractor three times a week, but now that is cut down to two.  On June 3, she will be seeing her neurologist, due to the arrhythmia she experienced a few weeks ago.  She is also to see a cardiologist, which she is wanting to move the date up from early July.

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

Martha Lively has not been feeling well the last few weeks and has been on various medication.

Jonathan Abbot has also been under the weather lately.

Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, 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, Colleen Henson, and Kelsey Williams
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of 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)