The Gospel Observer (July 26, 2015)

Contents:

1) Controlling Our Temper (R.J. Evans)
2) What’s Your Opinion of the Lord Jesus Christ? (Fred McKinney)
3) A Swarm of Gospel “Be’s” (Austin Mobley)
4) On Reading God’s Word (short statement) (Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
——————–
temper 5
-1-

Controlling Our Temper
by R.J. Evans

Brother John Clark once related a story about a woman who told a preacher she had a bad temper, but that it was over in a minute. “So is a shotgun blast, but it blows everything to pieces,” was the preacher’s reply. And far too many of us who are Christians are triggered by the least little incident, frequently losing our temper. When we lose our temper, we usually do and say things in anger which we later regret. “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly” (Proverbs 14:17).

It has been said that “anger is like rain, which breaks itself upon that whereon it falls.” For example, anger usually culminates in bitter words, insults, the revealing of secrets or in the breaking off of relations between two parties. Of the aforementioned, insults are probably the most frequent cause of anger. Most of us had rather be injured physically than insulted. There is something about an insult that makes us want to repay with a worse insult. How many of us possess the magnanimous spirit of Abraham Lincoln when he was insulted? It is reported that when he was told that one of his cabinet members, Edwin Stanton, called him a fool, he replied, “If Stanton says I am a fool, I had better look into the matter, for he is a wise man.” No doubt that worked much better than if he would have retaliated by losing his temper, setting off a chain reaction with much more bitterness and resentment to follow. Incidentally, after Lincoln was killed, it was Stanton who remarked in subdued tones of respect, “There lies the greatest leader this country has ever known.”

The Bible teaches us the importance of practicing self-control. It is listed as the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23, and among what we sometimes refer to as the “seven Christian graces” in II Peter 1:6. Self-control is one of the Christian’s weapons against the world. And practicing self-control involves controlling our temper. We must follow after Christ’s example — “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Peter 2:22-23). The person who continually loses his temper is like an undefended city or one in ruins. The wise man Solomon said, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). What a sign of weakness when we constantly lose our temper! And it is certainly a poor reflection of Christ in our lives when we “fly off the handle.”

Christians must learn to be calm and serious. James said, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). This brings to mind the motto: “Think twice before you speak. Losing your temper, blurting out angry words, and speaking your mind excites strife. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“Angry words! O let them never
From the tongue unbridled slip;
May the heart’s best impulse ever
Check them ere they soil the lip”
(author unknown, first appeared in Sunday School Teacher, 1867).

— Via  Articles from the La Vista church of Christ

Editor’s note: The “D” word in the picture I included above had said “Danger.”  Losing our temper can be a very dangerous thing — and especially concerning our souls.
——————–
Deep in Thought
-2-

What’s Your Opinion of the Lord Jesus Christ?
by Fred McKinney

Pharisees of old, with what would you reproach Jesus? “He ate with sinners and publicans” (Matt. 9:11; Mk. 2:16).

High Priest, Caiaphas, what have you to say of Him? “He is a blasphemer, because he said”: “Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Pontius Pilate, what do you say of Him? “I find no fault in this man” (Lk. 23:4).

Oh Judas Iscariot, have you a charge to hurl? “I have sinned against innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4).

The Centurion at the cross: “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Matt. 27:54).

Demons, servants of Satan, testify: “He is the Son of God” (Lk. 23:47).

John the Baptizer, speak up prophet; what’s your word? “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29).

John, the Apostle, tell us clearly, what say ye? “He is the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16).

Simon Peter, Cephas, what think ye of Jesus Christ? “Master, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:18).

Thomas, you saw the resurrected Christ, what say ye? “My Lord, and my God” (Jn. 20:28).

Paul, the Apostle: you persecuted Him, but changed your mind; what say ye? “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:7, 8).

Glorious angels in Heaven, what think ye of Christ? “Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10-11; Ps. 68:17).

And most important, indeed, our Father in Heaven, our Creator; what say Ye?  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mk. 1:11; Jn. 12:28).

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, Volume 14, Number 23, July 24, 2011
——————–
Be
-3-

A Swarm of Gospel “Be’s”
by Austin Mobley

Have you observed how powerful little words in the Bible are? Take the word “if” for example. Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). If our mother Eve had been wise regarding what the little three-letter word “not” meant, the old devil would not have deceived her (Gen. 3:4).

The little word “be” is used frequently in the Bible, and the thoughts connected to it contribute to our salvation. Here is a swarm of gospel “be’s.”

Be Wise. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Thus the Lord warned the twelve as He sent them on their mission.

Be Faithful. “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). The circumstances in which the beloved apostle John was at the time were not very favorable. He was exiled on the lonely isle of Patmos. The incentive held out was “be faithful — the crown of life.” That was all John needed to deepen his faith.

Be Ready. The Lord says, “Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not, the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44). The Lord could come again at any time. We could pass away and all opportunities to get ready for judgment (John 5:28-29) would be gone.

Be Unmovable. In our present day this admonition is just as pertinent to every member of the body of Christ as when Paul wrote it by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Be Ye Doers. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). It is not enough to hear the word of God, but those who are blessed put it into practice every day.

Be Baptized. “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). To be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) is to be obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (Rom. 6:3-4, 17-18). One is then delivered from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13).

If you have not obeyed the Lord and Master in the primary principles of the gospel, I pray that you will attend to that immediately. If you have obeyed him, Be Faithful, Be Doers, Be Wise, Be Unmovable and you will Be Ready.

— Via The Providence Light, February, 1984
——————–
Reading the Bible
-4-

On Reading God’s Word

Though it might be that we have read through the entire Bible several times, yet if we cannot remember it all from Genesis to Revelation, then that should help us realize the need we have to keep perusing the Scriptures — and give us the incentive in doing so — in order to continually refresh our minds with God’s word.  For it contains words of life and food for the soul (cf. Jn. 6:63; 8:52; Matt. 4:4; Jn. 4:34).

— Tom
——————–

-5-

News & News
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Tom Holland who recently passed away. Let those of us who are Christians be mindful in prayer of his loved ones.

Let us also be prayerful of the following:

Brittany Crosby Royals fell July 31 and broke her hip.  She will be having surgery this afternoon.

It was discovered that a small tumor, about the size of a pea, has developed, due to Judy Daugherty’s severe fall to the head.  To better determine how to best treat this, she had a pet scan on July 28 and a spinal tap on the 29th. We are still waiting to hear of the results.

Bennie Medlock appears to have had a minor stroke recently; and though he is now feeling better, he will be seeing a doctor this week concerning it.

Jewell Wilson is now back in the home of Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse and has begun hospice care.

Pat Joyner will soon be having surgery for breast cancer.

Michelle Rittenhouse began taking treatment a few weeks ago for fibromyalgia and has also recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Other shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten

Others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Steve Vesta, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Jesse Bailey, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, 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)

Advertisements

The Gospel Observer (July 19, 2015)

Contents:

1) We Can Truly Change (Gary Henry)
2) A Good Attitude (Irvin Himmel)
3) News & Notes
——————–
We Can Truly Change_Gary Henry
-1-

We Can Truly Change
by Gary Henry

“…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

FEW THINGS ARE MORE UNIVERSAL THAN THE HUMAN DESIRE TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. The sheer size of the self-help section in any bookstore is a fair indication of how desperate we are to conquer the problems that beset us and to increase the quality of our lives. Virtually every person would like, in some significant way, to improve the “self?” that he or she presently is.

How ironic it is that, despite our deep desire for change and the lavish attention that publishers pay to our personal improvement, many people still hold to the deterministic idea that real change is not possible for a human being. This viewpoint says we are so conditioned by heredity and environment that we can’t change in any radical way. Whatever we “are,” that is what we’ll always be. And our culture has no shortage of psychologically correct labels to define what we are. Once labeled, a person cannot unlabel himself. The most he can hope for is to keep from externally acting out what the label says he’ll always be on the inside.

Christianity, however, makes a deeper change possible. After listing certain groups who practiced notorious sin, Paul said to the church in Corinth, “And such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). These were people who’d actually changed, and the change was not just behavioral. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3,4).

What Jesus Christ offers the groaning human soul is not superficial pain relief but radical surgery. The drastic rehabilitation He envisions is certainly not the work of one day. But just because we require more than a quick fix, that doesn’t mean we’re forever locked into our mistakes. “Beware of succumbing to failure as inevitable” (Oswald Chambers).

“Change, indeed, is painful, yet ever needful; and if memory has its force and worth, so also has hope” (Thomas Carlyle).

— Via WordPoints (February 23, 2015)
——————–
good attitude
-2-

A Good Attitude
by Irvin Himmel

The posture of one’s mind makes him what he is. Words and deeds are mere reflections of the heart. It is highly important to develop a good attitude. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Here are some ways in which it is imperative that one show a good attitude:

Toward the Word of God

God gave us the divine word to guide us. We are not capable of directing our own steps (Jer. 10:23). God’s revelation shows us the way out of darkness into light, out of sin into righteousness, out of gloom into hope, out of failure into success, out of misery into joy, out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ.

When Paul preached the gospel to the Thessalonians long ago, they displayed a good attitude toward the truth. They received the word of God, “not as the word of men, but as it is in the truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). God’s word is to be reverenced and obeyed because it is the word of God. To have the right attitude toward God necessitates the right attitude toward His word. This is the disposition to believe and yield to the authority of His will.

Toward Correcting Faults

No matter how terrible a mistake one may make, there is hope if he shows a good attitude. David did not have that kind of attitude immediately after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. For a time, he attempted to conceal his guilt. He wanted to shift the blame. It was not until Nathan the prophet pointed the finger of accusation straight toward David, using the parable of the little ewe lamb, that the proper attitude developed. David humbly admitted his guilt, God put away his sin, and from that time on, David was of a different disposition toward what he had done. If a person has a good attitude toward correcting his faults, he does not become angry with one who lovingly points out his sins, nor does he resent attempts to help him overcome his weaknesses.

Toward Daily Work

Every person is free to choose his occupation. Whether one decides to be a plumber, doctor, lawyer, salesman, farmer, teacher, engineer, policeman, or something else, his mental outlook toward his vocation has strong bearing on success versus failure. Some people complain constantly of their work, the low pay, the horrible conditions under which they labor day by day, and the general misery that they experience. One wonders why they do not change jobs. Is their work really all that bad, or is it a matter of attitude?

Other people have the kind of attitude that makes their daily work a joy. They have been careful to choose the kind of vocation that enables them to do what they really want to do. Their frame of mind contributes to their being successful and feeling a sense of accomplishment. This good attitude toward their chosen field of work enables them to cope with unpleasant situations which may arise.

Toward Solving Problems

Perplexing and distressing developments have a way of surfacing in all human relationships. Problems may arise in the church, in the home, in our work, in school, in the neighborhood, in business transactions, and in numerous other connections. It is a bit unrealistic to expect life on this earth to be free of problems, and it is equally visionary to expect our problems to automatically vanish.

Like the poor, some problems are always with us. But the person who has a good frame of mind toward the solving of his problems, whatever they may be, is to be commended. In many cases, our attitude toward a problem is half the solution. With a good attitude we can approach the problem objectively, view it sensibly, and handle it wisely. Even if the problem is never fully solved, a good attitude will provide the means to forge ahead and not be unduly upset or hindered.

Toward Trials

The times in which we live are trying to our souls. Evil forces are pulling and tugging at us. On every hand there are temptations to sin. Young people who want to do right have an especially difficult task. So many of today’s youth have imbibed the “do as you please” philosophy. Drugs, illicit sex, insistence on one’s rights to gratify his lusts no matter how others may be injured, intoxication, profanity, lying, stealing — these and other evils are increasingly prevalent among young people.

The Bible warns that all who do right will be subjected to fiery trials. Old and young alike may expect pressures and temptations. We must learn to have a good attitude in the face of whatever trials come our way. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial . . .” (Jas. 1:12, NASB). With the proper attitude toward trials the Christian keeps his faith, prays for strength, rejoices that tribulations empower him to develop patience, and draws comfort from the promises of God.

What is your attitude toward the word of God, toward correcting your faults, toward your daily work, toward solving problems, and toward trials? May each one of us examine self and work to develop an improved attitude in all these vital areas.

— Via Truth Magazine XXII: 30, pp. 488-489, August 3, 1978
——————–

-3-

News & News

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Tom Holland who recently passed away. Let those of us who are Christians be praying for all his loved ones.

And also for our prayer list…

It was discovered that a small tumor, about the size of a pea, has developed, due to Judy Daugherty’s severe fall to the head.  She will soon be undergoing some tests to determine how to best treat it.

Bennie Medlock appears to have had a minor stroke recently; and though he is now feeling better, he will be seeing a doctor this week concerning it.

Michelle Rittenhouse has been been having some trouble with fibromyalgia, which she began taking treatment for a few weeks ago and was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Jewell Wilson, who is 97 and continues to have various health problems, has now begun hospice care at the home of her daughter and son-in-law.

The shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten

Others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Steve Vesta, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Jesse Bailey, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams  

Let us also not forget our elderly and those of our number who have chronic ailments.

The ladies Tuesday evening Bible class will be discontinued for the next several weeks.
——————–

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 (July 12, 2015)

Contents:

1) Thinking of Jesus (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–
Jesus is God
-1-

Thinking of Jesus
by Tom Edwards

Is it enough to believe that Jesus was a good man, a prophet of the true and living God, an excellent teacher of truth, and even a perfectly righteous man who had never sinned?  Though all of this is certainly true about the Lord, does accepting just these characteristics meet the need of John 8:24, in which Jesus warns, “…unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in  your sins”?

In the same chapter, Jesus speaks of having “come from God…that He sent Me” (v. 42), that God is His Father (v. 54); and indicates having an eternal nature, when saying, “before Abraham was born, I am” (v. 58).

How many today accept the fact that Jesus has always existed?  According to the Jehovah Witnesses, Jesus has not always been — because He was created by the Father before the world began.  Though they claim that “Jehovah and his firstborn Son enjoyed close association for billions of years — long before the starry heavens and the earth were created(1),” yet that is far short from an eternity.

Among the various things that Jesus would be called, according to Isaiah 9:6, a couple of those are “Mighty God” and “Eternal Father.”  Jesus, of course, is not the Father or first person of the Godhead; He is the Son.  But this phrase has been said to express the idea that Jesus is the “Father of eternity,” that even eternity owes its existence to Him.

But going back to the Jehovah Witnesses’ perspective, “Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son — and for good reason. He is called ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ for he was God’s first creation (Colossians 1:15)” (ibid.).

Though firstborn often indicates “first in order,” is expressing a time-element the only way “firstborn” is used?  From the Scriptures, it is easy to see how it also evolved into a figurative usage expressing a supreme rank.  For during the Mosaical Period, for example, the firstborn received a double portion of his father’s inheritance, thus putting him above his brothers in being entitled to that (Deut. 21:17). And sometimes “firstborn” is used without relation to time, but only to indicate rank, as seen in Isaiah 14:30, where the phrase “the firstborn of the poor” (KJV) is rendered as the “most helpless” (NASB) and the “poorest of the poor” (NIV).  So, again, “firstborn” is metaphorically used to express that which ranks above others; and, in this case, those who would be the most poor.  But notice, too, how it is seen in Psalm 89:27, in which God says of David, “I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.”  In this, we can clearly see the idea of superiority. So in going back to Colossians 1:15, Jesus being “the firstborn of all creation” expresses His preeminence over everyone and all that exists.  Yes, He truly does “have first place in everything” (v. 18).  He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).  He has “All authority…in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18); and, therefore, “…is the head over all rule and authority” (Col. 2:10). God the Father “…HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS [Jesus’] FEET….”  And the Father Himself is the only exception to that (1 Cor. 15:27,28).

In referring to God as His own Father, Jesus was viewed by others as “making Himself equal with God” (Jn. 5:18), which is one of the reasons for why some sought to stone Him (cf. Jn. 10:31-36).

The apostle John begins His account of the life of Christ by speaking of His preexistence, His divinity, and His role in the creation itself: “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 were made through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (Jn. 1:1-3).  As Paul also declares, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).  The Hebrew writer expresses it this way: “And, ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle you will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end'” (Heb. 1:10-12).

It is also in this same chapter in which God the Father addresses Jesus by calling Him “God”: “But of the Son He says, ‘Your Throne, O God, is forever and ever…'” (v. 8).

Interestingly, even the Tetragrammaton, which is the four consonants that make up the personal name of God, that some translate as “Jehovah” and tell us that it pertains to only the Father, is also used with reference to the Son: “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me'” (Zech 2:8,9).  So in this passage, the LORD of hosts is seen having been sent by the LORD of hosts; and “LORD” is from the Tetragrammaton in both places.

Though there are the three distinct persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who make up the one Godhead, yet they are each as much Deity as the other.  As we have considered, the first place where “God” is mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 1:1, in which Moses writes, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  It has been noted that “God” is from the Hebrew word “Elohim,” which is the plural form of God; and that also corresponds with Genesis 1:26 that shows there was more than One involved in the great work of creation: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Nowhere do we read of angels being involved in that work, but we do see of Jesus and the Holy Spirit who were.  As we saw earlier, the focus was on Jesus in His role as the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:10-12), though all three Persons of the Godhead worked together in that.  For concerning also the Holy Spirit, while the earth was still formless and void, He was “moving over the surface of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).

Paul, too, speaks of the preexistence of Jesus, but also shows His willingness to leave His glorious state in heaven to humbly take on a human body, which was quite a sacrifice in itself: “…who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).  So Christ had to take on a human body in order that He could make the atoning sacrifice by His death — and He did that for every sinner (Heb. 2:9).

Concerning Jesus being “the Word,” this has been explained in the Jehovah Witnesses’ book to mean that “he spoke for God, no doubt delivering messages and instructions to the Father’s other sons, both spirit and human” (ibid., p. 41). But Jesus did more than speak God’s message, for He also embodied Deity (Col. 2:9), being the “exact representation” of His Father’s nature (Heb 1:3) and, thus, manifesting to the world what God is like (cf. Jn. 14:7-9).  For while on earth, Jesus was human and Deity simultaneously and demonstrated the characteristics of both.

So truly believing in Jesus goes way beyond merely accepting the fact that He was a good man, an excellent teacher, a prophet of God, and One who lived a perfect and righteous life.  For He was and is the eternal, second person of the Godhead, the Creator, the Savior, and the only way to everlasting life (cf. Jn. 14:6).

In many different translations of the New Testament, the word “Christ” is in more than 500 verses. It is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew “Messiah.”  Only Jesus fulfilled that role. He made the atonement by His own death that truly can blot out sin, and which no other means could ever do — not even all the countless animal sacrifices that were offered from the days of Adam and Eve (cf. Gen. 4:4) throughout all the entire Old Testament Period (cf. Heb. 10:1-14).  As the apostle Peter declares about Jesus in Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  In writing to Timothy, the apostle Paul points out, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:5,6).

So may we each truly see Jesus, who is one with the Father (Jn. 10:30), for the perfect, eternal Deity that He is; and who is to be honored as much as we honor the Father Himself.  For to fail to do so, results in not honoring God at all (cf. Jn. 5:22,23).

Footnote:

(1) “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, page 41
——————–

-2-

News & News

Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following folks in prayer:

As mentioned last week…

Tom Holland has been in the hospital since June 16, due to some complications following two heart valve replacements.  The second one required open heart surgery; and, for about a month, he had to be on a ventilator.

Shirley Davis has had three blockages in her foot recently.  The doctor was able to eliminate one of them, and told her to keep off her feet for a while.

Judy Daugherty’s severe fall to the head had led to a spinal problem affecting her nervous system and having caused some immobility, which we pray is only temporary.

Raylee Metts, who is only 5 years old, has been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma that has led to tumors in many places and has begun receiving chemo.

Lexi Crawford, who is only 14 years old, is also undergoing chemo treatments.

Steve Vesta continues receiving hospice care.

The shut-ins: Mary Vandevander, Sue Wooten, and Jewell Wilson;

And others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Jesse Bailey, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams  

Let us also not forget our elderly and those of our number who have chronic ailments.

The Ladies’ Bible Class this Tuesday at 7 PM, in which all ladies are welcome, will be the last one for several weeks.
——————–

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 (7/5/15)

Contents:

1) Light a Lamp (Dennis Ross)
2) Glory to the Reader or the Writer? (David Diestelkamp)
3) News & Notes
——————–
flame
-1-

Light a Lamp
by Dennis Ross

It is written, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16). The word translated candle in verse 15 literally means lamp. Candles, as we know them today, were unknown during the days when the early Christians lived. Note the following quotations from the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible; pgs. 1303, 1304:

“The clay bowl was fashioned first, and the rim was folded over to help contain the oil. A spout was pinched in place at one end, into which the wick would be placed. When the clay dried, the lamp would be fired to a dull brown shade. The wick was generally made of flax, although an old piece of linen cloth was sometimes used. Salt could be added to the wick for a brighter flame, and frequently extra wicks were used. Olive oil provided the commonest form of lamp fuel, and the average lamp could hold enough oil to burn through the night. Despite this, the housewife would have to get up several times to tend the wick and keep her precious lamp lit.” See Proverbs 31:18.

During the days of the early Christians, some lamps bore inscriptions, such as: “The light of the Lord shines to all;” “The Lord is my light,” (or “beautiful light”). Lamps were frequently used in funeral rites, and have been found in burial places. (Cf. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Some vivid applications can be drawn from the “lamp.”

The Lamp Is Lit! “The clay bowl was fashioned first.” Before our lights can shine, we must become “vessels” for God. And it is God who, through His Word, creates true “vessels unto honor” who can truly carry His light. Thus, it is written, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Until one obeys the Gospel of Christ, he remains “unlit.” “For Thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness” (Psalm 18:28).

While many claim to be Christians, God knows those who really are. “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:19-21). Have you “prepared” yourself to let God’s true light shine through you?

The Lamp Burns Brightly! “It giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Thus was the light in the upper chamber where the disciples gathered to worship God. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7).

Something else–the lights of the Christians–burned brightly in that upper chamber; and their light illuminated God’s house! Does your light burn brightly in the assembly, or is it habitually dark in the seat you should fill? “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14,15). What is your attitude toward God’s house? Does your light shine on all who are in His house? Note carefully the following scriptures:

* David said he was happy to go to the house of the Lord (Psalm 122:1).

* Paul told the Galatian Christians to do good to all men–especially the brethren (Galatians 6:10).

* The Hebrew writer encouraged brethren to, by meeting with the saints, provoke one another to “love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24,25).

*  We are also instructed to “hold fast” to this attitude until the end (Hebrews 3:5,6).

How bright does your light shine in God’s house?

Lamps Emit a Sweet Aroma! Today, instead of lamps, we use candles. And some of these have added fragrances that, when burned, emit an aroma that fills the house with a sweet smell. As we burn brightly for the Lord, do we produce an “aroma” that is a “sweet-smelling savor?”

Old Testament sacrifices had an “aroma” about them. One of the first about which we read concerns Noah. “And Noah built an alter unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the alter. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; …” (Genesis 8:20,21). We should be “living sacrifices” unto God, and He should smell a sweet savor from these living sacrifices. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (spiritual) service” (Romans 12:1).

Also of interest is what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16: “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” Do our lives give off the “fragrances” of death and life? Are we, like our Savior, a “sweet-smelling savor”? It is written: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

How Long Will the Lamp Remain Lit? Before you read further, please study Matthew 25:1-13. The wise virgins made preparation, and took oil with them. I liken the oil to God’s Word. We need to be constantly “renewing” the oil supply to our lamps; so that we will not run short, as did the foolish virgins. Regarding the exhortation to be living sacrifices, it is written, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Let us endeavor to ensure the brightness of our lamps for as long as we live.

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength, they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:10,12). Truly, life is like a vapor (Cf. James 4:14-17). How then are you living your life before God? Are you applying your heart to wisdom? “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Let’s be certain our lamps are always lit!!!

— Via the Monthly Messenger of the Knollwood church of Christ, January 2004
——————–
DNA
-2-

Glory to the Reader or the Writer?
by David Diestelkamp

The fruit fly has long been the mainstay of biomedical research. An article in the April 3, 2000 Newsweek lauds the scientific breakthrough of reading “almost all of the chemical letters — 165 million of them — that make up its DNA.” It is called “an impressive technical feat in its own right.”

My marvel at the technological accomplishments of man falls far short of my awe for the One who took nothing and made all that man is discovering. The science of man is simply reading what God has written. And we are still in the primary reader stage at that — humans have almost 20 times more DNA than fruit flies!

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psa. 139:14).

— Via The Beacon, June 30, 2015
——————–

-3-

News & News

Let us who are Christians be remembering the following in prayer:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Jessica Elaine Parker who was fatally struck by a train last Sunday morning, here in Waycross. She was only 41.

Tom Holland
has been in the hospital since June 16, due to some complications following two heart valve replacements.  The second one required open heart surgery; and, for about a month, he had to be on a ventilator.

Shirley Davis has had three blockages in her foot recently.  The doctor was able to eliminate one of them, and told her to keep off her feet for a while.

Judy Daugherty’s severe fall to the head had led to a spinal problem affecting her nervous system and having caused some immobility, which we pray is only temporary.

Raylee Metts, who is only 5 years old, has been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma that has led to tumors in many places and has begun receiving chemo. 

Lexi Crawford, who is only 14 years old, is also undergoing chemo treatments.

Steve Vesta continues receiving hospice care.

The shut-ins: Mary Vandevander, Sue Wooten, and Jewell Wilson

And others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Jesse Bailey, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams.  

Let us also not forget our elderly and those of our number who have chronic ailments.

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

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 28, 2015)

Contents:

1) The Roman Catholic Church (Earl Kimbrough)
2) Escape Without Freedom (Joe R. Price)
——————–
St. Peter's Basilica
-1-

The Roman Catholic Church
by Earl Kimbrough

The Roman Catholic church  is the most powerful religious organization in the Western World. It claims a world membership of more than 566 million out of a total “Christian” world population of some 985 million.

The church is a force to be reckoned with in national and world politics. Her aim is to rule through political means; and she possesses the machinery for exerting political influence even in those nations  wherein she is in the minority, as in the United States. Because of her great power she is able not only to wield tremendous pressure in advancing her religious views in the political arena but also in holding sway over the millions who are under her domination. Where did this great organization come from? By what authority does it function? How does it carry out its will upon its adherents and in the nations of the world?

1. The Origin of the Roman Catholic Church  

While the Catholic Church claims to be the one true  apostolic church of the New Testament, a careful study of the inspired  writings of the first century reveal  nothing about such an organization in that period. We must look this side of the New Testament to find the beginnings of Catholicism. The first century church in Rome was nothing more than a local congregation of Christians (or perhaps several local congregations existed there) with no claim for oversight of Christians beyond the congregation itself. During the apostasy that followed in the early centuries of the present era, the church at Rome became one of the great patriarchal churches that dominated large segments of the “Christian” world. Due to various circumstances of history (the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the dominance of the Eastern Emperors over the patriarchs of Constantinople, etc.) the patriarchs of Rome came to exert greater power and to claim universal oversight of the whole church. This led to the claim that the Roman patriarch was the head of the church and the vicar of Christ on earth.

Not all people accepted the pope’s assumptions of headship. A great struggle for power arose between the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople. This eventually resulted in a permanent rupture between the Eastern and Western churches. But the pope held his power in the West and the Roman Catholic Church emerged into the world organization it is today.

According to Roman Catholic teaching there can be no Roman Catholic Church without a pope. “The (Roman Catholic) Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the Holy Father, the Pope” (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, p. 12). But the first man in history to actually exert power in anything like universal dominion was Gregory the Great (590-604 A.D.). Even this powerful churchman “with shrewd humility” refused to be called Ecumenical Bishop. For nearly 500 years there was  no pope. The idea that the Bishop of Rome should have authority over the whole church was a slow growth in the apostasy. It was bitterly fought at every step and  as never universally accepted. Since there could be no Roman Catholic Church without a pope and there was no pope prior to 590 A.D., it is obvious that the Roman Catholic Church is the product of apostasy and is not the New Testament  church.

2. The Organization of the Roman Catholic Church

The government of the Roman Catholic Church is hierarchal and absolute. A hierarchy is “a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks each subordinate to the one above it.” In the structure of the Roman church the pope stands at the top of the hierarchy. He is believed by Catholics to be “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, and ‘the visible’ Head of the Roman Catholic Church.” His authority is supreme in all matters of faith and morals as head of  the church. The “College of Cardinals” elects the pope, serve as his advisers, and hold authority over the church between popes. Most of the cardinals reside in Rome. The Roman Curia is the administrative arm of the church, and it is through this bureaucracy the pope governs world-wide Catholicism.

Next in the hierarchy, in descending rank, are archbishops, bishops and priests. The archbishop is spiritual ruler of an archdiocese made up of several dioceses. Bishops rule over dioceses as their territorial jurisdiction. And under the bishops are the parish priests. A parish is the ecclesiastical unit of area committed to one pastor. All members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy are ordained priests. In addition to the regular ranks of the hierarchy, the Roman Catholic clergy includes other priests, monks, deacons, subdeacons, and the whole army of “Orders of Congregations.”  The latter are of two kinds: monastic orders and the religious congregations of priests and various brotherhoods and sisterhoods, such as the Jesuits, Franciscans, etc.

3. The Role Authority of  Catholicism.

The Roman Catholic Church’s faith and doctrine is founded upon “that deposit of faith given to it by Christ and through his apostles, sustained by the Bible and by tradition.” While Catholics make use of certain passages in the Bible in an effort to justify their peculiar doctrines, they make no claim to follow the teaching of the Word of God. In addition to the Bible they have added what they call “Divine Tradition.” They say: “Not all truths revealed for us by God are found in the Bible; some are found only in Divine Tradition. By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His apostles, which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing, principally by the Fathers of the Church. Divine Tradition must be believed as firmly as the Bible because it also contains the word of God” (Ibid., p. 44).

The Bible teaches that the New Testament is the complete and final revelation of God’s will for all time to come. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16,17). We are forbidden to go beyond the revealed will of Christ and are without God if we do (2 John 9,10). That which Catholics call “Divine Tradition” is nothing more than the doctrines and commandments of men which Jesus said makes our religion vain (Matt. 15:8,9).

The Roman Catholic Church did not begin in the first century; it began in the apostasy that followed the first century. Its organizational structure is completely foreign to what we read about the church of Christ in the first century. It does not even claim to follow the New Testament as its sole authority in religion. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church can in no sense be the church Christ established on Pentecost in A.D. 33.

— Via The Gospel Guide, July 2010, Volume 41, Number 7
——————–
escape without freedom

-2-

Escape Without Freedom
by Joe R. Price

Two convicted murderers escaped from a maximum security prison in New York state last weekend. It was an elaborate escape that took a much planning and evidently help on the inside. At this writing they have been on the lam for about six days. Although they escaped from prison, one would be hard pressed to say they are free. It appears at the moment they may be in a thickly wooded area trying to evade capture while being hunted by over 500 law enforcement agents (“Search for escaped killers focuses on wooded area near New York prison,” J. Freedom du Lac and Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post).

This serves as a reminder that sin promises freedom and liberty, but in truth it enslaves everyone who chooses to indulge its lustful passions and futile promises. Peter observed this principle and applied it to false prophets whose sinful teaching seduces people to follow error: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Pet. 2:19).

Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jno. 8:34). Yet, the world views sinful activities as an “escape” from life’s monotonous routine. Yet, sin never delivers what it promises. Drugs and alcohol, pornography, fornication, lewd, irreverent behavior, and gambling are just some of the so-called escapes offered by the world and indulged in by the worldly-minded (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Col. 3:5-10). The momentary escape sin offers invariably makes life harder; not to mention the spiritual ruin it causes (Rom. 6:23). But, that is never mentioned during the sinful escape; afterwards it becomes evident.

Jesus gives real freedom from the prison of sin: “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jno. 8:36). The release from sin that Christ gives is obtained by obeying His gospel: “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). The gospel is the only successful escape from sin.

— via The Spirit’s Sword, June 14, 2015, Volume 17, Number 49
——————–

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again”‘” (Jn. 3:5-7).
——————–

-3-

News & News

Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following in prayer for their health: Mary Vandevander, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Ronnie Crews, Jewell Wilson, 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 ladies’ Bible class meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the building.  All ladies are welcomed!
——————–

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)