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
——————–

-1-

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
——————–

-2-

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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-4-

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)

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