The Gospel Observer (November 15, 2015)

Contents:

1) Are We “Committed” in Our Marriage? (R.J. Evans)
2) “As Long as It Doesn’t Harm Anyone” (Doy Moyer)
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couple
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Are We “Committed” in Our Marriage?
by R.J. Evans

Commitment is the cement which keeps the bricks of marriage in place.  Sadly, many couples in our selfish, self-indulgent culture do not make a genuine commitment when they marry.  I believe the Scripture gives four basic, clear principles that define the necessary commitment for marriage.  Too many among us approach marriage  concerned only with  self —  “what’s in it for me?” Commitment demands something other than that.

1. Commitment between marriage partners begins with a deep trust in one another (1 Cor. 13:7). This means that we do everything possible to maintain trust.  Nothing is done to violate the promise, the vow, or in any way destroy the priority of the two remaining “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).  Trying to make one’s spouse jealous is foolish, juvenile, and can be a precursor to serious marital problems.

2. A solid marriage demands deep devotion to one another (Eph. 5:22-25).  This takes the commitment from a promise to a passion.  It means that we cannot live the promise without total effort to meet the needs of our mate. It means that we would never abuse, use, or take advantage of our spouse.  We protect and provide for one another — supplying each other’s needs.  When our spouse is sick, we care for them with deep devotion and loving concern. In such a marriage, we each fulfill our God-given roles (1 Cor. 7:1-9; Eph. 5:22-29; Col. 3:18-19; Titus 2:1-6; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).

Also, a devoted husband or wife will not indifferently sit by and allow someone else to use, manipulate, mistreat, or take advantage of their spouse. This is especially true of a husband toward his wife since he is primarily her provider and protector (Eph. 5:25, 28-29; 1 Tim. 5:8). This principle is illustrated in Paul’s attitude toward the Corinthians.  He told them: “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.  For I have betrothed you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 2:2).  But then notice his deep concern for them in the next verse: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (V. 3).  Likewise, he earlier gave them proper instruction, “lest Satan should take advantage of us”  (2 Cor. 2:11).

3. A happy home is where the husband and wife are dependent on one another (Gen. 2:18).  Here there is developed a strong sense of mutual need and dependence.  The husband and wife see the other as strength to their own weakness — a God-given complement (Gen. 2:18, 23).  No one will be allowed to come between the husband-wife relationship — not parents, grandparents, children, in-laws, or friends.  Also, jobs, hobbies, outdoor activities, sports, etc. should never be allowed to drive a wedge between a husband and wife.

4. An unshakable determination to succeed is the standard equipment in the home that is outfitted for a lifetime of happiness. Just as the Apostle Paul pressed toward the goal of heaven (Phil. 3:14), the faithful couple presses on toward making their marriage a success.  Nothing happens without complete effort.  If we will make it work…it will work.  More than that, it will be to God’s glory and our joy.

With these truths as our constant companions, the strong winds of adversity and trials will never blow our marriage apart. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, August 30, 2015
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Doy Moyer
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“As Long as It Doesn’t Harm Anyone”
by Doy Moyer

One of the most prominent moral justifications heard today is that as long as the practice doesn’t harm anyone, then it is right and should be allowed. The primary argument this is being used for today is gay marriage, to no one’s surprise. However, it carries broader applications, and those applications aren’t just about politics.

“The practice is not harming anyone, so you need to let them do what they want.”

Doesn’t that just make sense? How can we not agree with that?

First, the argument from “no harm” makes assumptions not only about what “harm” is or is not, but also about who should or should not perceive something as harmful.

We might notice that when people talk about what doesn’t “harm” anyone, they don’t really define what they mean. They assume that everyone’s on the same page, and proceed to argue from their assumptions. Interestingly, some of the same people will argue against all religion on the basis that they believe religion “harms” people, showing that “harm” is often a matter of perspective.

What does it mean to “harm”?

“Harm” means to injure or do damage to something. Something good can harm something bad, and something bad can harm something good. Truth will injure the false, and what’s false can damage the cause of truth. The issue shouldn’t be so much, “does it cause harm?” but rather, “is it right or wrong?” What we should always be concerned about is doing what is right, and “no harm” isn’t to be equated with “right.”  “Harm” is too fluid of a concept to be anchored to “right” or “good.” If what’s good harms what’s bad, then that’s as it should be.

Is there such a thing as universal harmlessness? Is there really a practice that is totally and completely harmless to everyone and everything in all circumstances? When people say that a practice “doesn’t harm anyone,” are they making some universal statement of truth? Or are they focusing on a particular circumstance? Are there bigger issues that we ought to think about?

What of something considered harmful to one group or person, but not another? Do we ignore part of the equation in order to push an agenda? Who gets to decide that? Who is the authority on what harms people?

There are different kinds of harm, including physical, emotional, and moral harm. These seem most obvious, but let’s also consider the idea that something can be subtly harmful overall because it chips away at and destroys the structural foundation of a society. When it comes to matters like living together apart from marriage, having children apart from marriage, easy divorce, or gay marriage, we are looking at practices that challenge the infrastructure of the family, which in turn harms the structural foundation of our society.

By redefining marriage or family, against both God’s revealed will and all conventional wisdom of many thousands of years, we are naive if we think that there is no harm to the structural foundation.

Of course, the worst of all harms is spiritual in nature. Sin is always the real harm, so if something is sinful, as defined by God, then it is absolutely harmful to the ones who practice the sin as well as the surrounding society. We all ought to desire avoiding that.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

If we take something that is sinful, then argue that it is acceptable because it doesn’t cause anyone “harm,” then we have misunderstood the true nature both of what is harmful and the consequences of sin. We are no different from those who called good evil or evil good (Isa. 5:20).

Rather than asking whether something is harmful, we need to ask whether some- thing is right.  “Right” isn’t defined by our own selfish perspectives, but by a Creator who ultimately knows what is most beneficial or harmful to all of us.

Finally, the gospel addresses the situation in that it calls on us to repent of sin while offering forgiveness and reversing the eternal effects of what sin does to us (Acts 3:19). When we deny the harm that sin causes, then we deny the power of the gospel to overturn our sinful condition. This will result in irrevocable and permanent harm to us, and none of us can afford that. This is why we need to diligently teach the truth that will set us free from sin (John 8:31-32). This isn’t about taking a political position; it’s about reaching a lost world that needs to come home to God.

— Via Search for Truth, November 15, 2015, Volume VII, Number 16
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“…’I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'” (Jn. 11:25,26).
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News & Notes

It was good news to hear of Danielle Howard’s kidney transplant Friday.  All went well; and the kidney is already functioning, though it is not “fully awake” yet.  After spending several days in the hospital, Danielle is now in a nearby apartment to be able to easily return to the hospital every day for about a month.

Judy Daugherty is now in a nursing home for rehabilitation.

There will be a Gospel Meeting at the Golden Isles church of Christ November 20-22 (Friday — Sunday).  Keith Crews will be the guest speaker. Friday and Saturday services will be at 7 PM, and Sunday’s will be 2 and 3 PM.  The church meets at 445 Touchstone Parkway, Brunswick, GA.  The sermons will be on the following topics:

Friday: How to Become a Christian
Saturday: Pattern of the Lord’s church

Sunday 2 PM: A Woman’s Contribution to the Local Church
Sunday 3 PM: A Man’s Contribution to the Local Church
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ
(John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services:
9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday:
7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go
(Gospel Observer website)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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