The Gospel Observer (January 24, 2016)

Contents:

1) Parallel Offerings (Jim Robson)
2) News & Notes
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Genesis22_2
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Parallel Offerings

Jim Robson

In the twelfth chapter of Genesis, God makes some promises to Abraham (whose name was still Abram at this point), including the promise that he would become “a great nation” (verse 2). This is a remarkable promise, since Abraham is seventy-five years old, and as yet has no children since his wife is barren (11:30). Eleven years later, Abraham has a son by his wife’s maid, and names him Ishmael (chapter 16). In 17:19, God reveals to Abraham that Ishmael is not the descendant through whom the promises would be realized, but that Abraham’s wife Sarah would bear him a son, and God would establish His covenant with him. This son, the son of promise, was to be named Isaac. Finally, we find in chapter 21, Isaac is born when Abraham is one hundred years old, and Sarah is ninety. This brings us to chapter 22:

“Now it came to pass after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go up yonder; and we will worship and return to you.’ And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together” (Genesis 22:1-6).

As you may already know, God did not let Abraham kill his son, but stopped him in the nick of time. Of course, Abraham fully intended to carry out the Lord’s instructions, and so Isaac was as good as dead in his mind up until the moment the angel’s voice restrained his hand. It is a remarkable account of faith, but there are other lessons we can learn from this event.

In II Chronicles chapter 2, King Solomon began making preparations to build a palace for himself, and a temple for God. Chapter 3 opens by telling us where the temple was built, “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah” (II Chronicles 3:1). Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Isaac in Moriah, and we find that Mount Moriah is in Jerusalem. This calls to mind another sacrifice which was made in Jerusalem roughly two thousand years later: the sacrifice of Christ.

Remember that, although Abraham’s firstborn son was Ishmael, God referred to Isaac as his only son. This expression emphasizes Isaac’s preeminence; remember that it was Isaac through whom God would bring about His promises to Abraham, and so Isaac the one and only son of promise. Now, consider John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Here the same expression is used to express Jesus’ preeminence among God’s children: Jesus is the One through whom God ultimately fulfilled His greatest promises to Abraham and accomplished His plan of salvation for all mankind; and Jesus is the One who most perfectly displayed the image of God in which Adam was created. So, both Jesus and Isaac were preeminent among their respective fathers’ children to such an extent that both are referred to as only sons.

But God had also made a point of the fact that Abraham loved Isaac. Likewise, He made a similar point regarding Jesus at His baptism, “And behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). It is no great coincidence that both Abraham and God loved their sons. However, it is interesting that God specifically pointed out this fact in each case. And, since the writers of scripture were generally selective about which details they included in their accounts, it is interesting that both Matthew and Moses included this one. But there is more.

Abraham fully intended to kill his son at God’s command, and so far as he was concerned, Isaac was as good as dead until he got to the mountain and the angel spoke from heaven, which was on the third day from when God had issued the command. Similarly, consider the length of time Jesus was among the dead, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3,4). So, just as Isaac was as good as dead until the third day, so also Christ was in the grave until the third day from His crucifixion.

Again, remember that Isaac bore the wood for the burnt offering. Likewise, Jesus bore the cross, “They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17). Therefore, just as Isaac carried the wood upon which he was to be burned, so also Jesus carried the wooden cross upon which He was to be hung.

Further, Abraham carried the fire and the knife; he was to be the one to perform the sacrifice of his only son whom he loved. That being the case, consider that Jesus was delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). Thus, the sacrifice of Christ was ultimately God’s doing, and the men who physically performed the crucifixion were in essence God’s tools. God, knowing their hearts, was able to use their evil inclinations to achieve His purpose. In both sacrifices, then, the father was to execute the sacrifice of the son.

All of these parallels might be relegated to the realm of striking coincidence, except for the consideration that the book of Genesis was written some 1400 years before Jesus was born, and the authors of the various books of the Bible were all selective about the details they recorded. Many details which are ordinarily included in other literary works are generally left out of scripture. That being the case, we need to satisfy the question of how the author of Genesis knew which details to include in his story in order to bring out these parallels: unless he had divine guidance.

To say that the New Testament authors contrived their histories to fit the account in Genesis, does not fit the facts. For example, all four gospel accounts were recorded independently, yet all four describe details of Christ’s sacrifice that correspond to Isaac’s. Also, none of the gospels make any mention of parallels between the two sacrifices, whereas they certainly would have had the details been so contrived. In fact, we need to look at several different books in order to see all the parallels, which shows that the writers of the gospel accounts did not have these parallels in mind when they wrote; otherwise they would have been sure to include all of them and draw them out. Further, none of the gospel accounts even note the connection of the location of the two sacrifices: we need to go to the seemingly unrelated book of II Chronicles to find that both occurred in the same area. So then we are left with the fact that the author of Genesis, who was very selective as to which details he included in the various accounts, somehow managed to include several details of the sacrifice of Isaac which closely parallel the sacrifice of Christ: 1400 years before Jesus was born as a man!

In the New Testament book of Hebrews (which was not written by any of the authors of the gospel accounts), we find that God indeed had Jesus in mind when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.’ He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he received him back as a type” (Hebrews 11:17-19).

The word rendered “type” in this passage is the same word often translated “parable”: it refers to a story which is intended to symbolize something else. Jesus often used parables in His teaching in order to help make spiritual concepts more understandable. In this case, God orchestrated an event in Abraham’s life to symbolize what He intended to do with His own Son some two thousand years later: He created a living parable. He then saw to it that this event was recorded in writing, so that we could look back and see that what He accomplished in Christ, He had planned all along. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33). Amen.

For those who still insist that all of this is nothing more than mere coincidence, there is yet one more fact to consider. The “coincidences” mentioned here are just a drop in the bucket. There are many such parallels in scripture. For now, however, these parallels between Isaac and Jesus will suffice as our first discussion of the evidence which God has provided to show that He did indeed guide the writing of scripture.

— Via Watchman Magazine, February 1998, Volume 1, Number 2
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News & Notes

Let those of us who are Christians be praying for the following people:

Shirley Jernigan (Gege Gornto’s mother), who is in her 90s, began hospice care in the home of her daughter a couple weeks ago.

Frankie Hadley (Rex’s wife) recently had a mini stroke.

Carol Drain will be seeing her doctor February 1 to hear results of the recent tests she had, due to a possibly slight indication of a recurrence of cancer that has been in remission for 8 years.

Let us also continue praying for Shirley Davis (hip trouble), Deborah Medlock (pain around shoulder area), Andra Johnson (difficulties while being pregnant), Misty Thornton (heart trouble), and Michelle Rittenhouse (heart trouble).

The Golden Isles church of Christ in Brunswick, Georgia, will be having a congregational sing January 30 from 3 to 5 PM.  All are invited. They meet at 441 Touchstone Parkway.
——————–

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 (January 17, 2016)

Contents:

1) Job — A Real Humanitarian (Tom Edwards)
2) The Blessings of Forgetting (Robert F. Turner)
3) Why the Conscience? (William V. Beasley)
4) News & Notes
——————–
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Job — A Real Humanitarian

Tom Edwards

Thinking of Job probably first evokes the wonderful example he has long been as a man of great patient endurance when undergoing even the most difficult hardships and sufferings, yet still maintaining his integrity through it all.  But there is also more about him that can be said with regard to the godly person that he was, as we shall soon see.

It was to Satan, that “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10), to whom God had declared Job’s righteousness. Not only did He speak highly of him as being “…a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil,” but also as being the most righteous person at that time: “…For there is no one like him on the earth” (Job 1:8). And his outstanding godliness is also implied in Ezekiel 14:13-16.

But just as Satan, that evil foe, had falsely charged Job, even so did Job’s own friends who were certain that all of his tragic loss and adversity was due to sin in which he was guilty.  Eliphaz, for example, wrongfully accused Job by saying, “Is not your wickedness great, And your iniquities without end?  For you have taken pledges of your brothers without cause, And stripped men naked.  To the weary you have given no water to drink, And from the hungry you have withheld bread” (Job 22:5-7). “You have sent widows away empty, And the strength of the orphans has been crushed.  Therefore snares surround you, And sudden dread terrifies you” (vv. 9,10).

But isn’t that just the way of a false accuser —  to paint a distorted or an untrue picture of someone that portrays the exact opposite?  For Job was not guilty of any of these charges that Eliphaz had made against him.

To the contrary, note what kind of person Job really was: “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper.  The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy.  I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.  I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame.  I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know.  I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth” (Job 29:11-17).

Yes, as the above passage shows, Job truly was a real humanitarian, bearing the burdens of others!  He was concerned for their well- being.  He was kind and benevolent toward them in doing what he could to help out.  And, perhaps, these are characteristics he possessed that we had not known or have overlooked, but well- worth in now seeing or in seeing again to refresh our minds.

His concern for others is initially seen in that toward his own children, in the very first chapter of the book of Job.  For they were often in each other’s homes for days of feasting (v. 4).  But when that feasting was over, “…Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually” (v. 5).

So in addition to helping others with their physical needs, Job was also continually concerned about the spiritual welfare of his family. He desired each of them to be in a right relationship with God, and sought to do what he could in regard to that as well.

Though we find the book of Job right before the book of Psalms, and many of those Psalms written by David who was born during the Mosaical Period about 1085 B.C., yet Job actually lived during the Patriarchal Age, many centuries prior to the time of David.  In the Chronological Bible, the book of Job is placed  between Genesis 11 and Genesis 12.

But what I want us to primarily remember from this article is that Job was not only a man of great patient endurance, but also a righteous man who bore the burdens of others and showed kindness toward them.  Of course, we would think that for one to be righteous, it would also involve one’s relationship with others in treating and helping them the right way.  But it is good to see of these specified means in which Job demonstrated that kind of righteousness in his own life.  As we saw earlier, Job helped the poor, the orphan, the widow, the blind, the lame, and he rescued the helpless from the wicked.  What a great blessing and comfort he must have been to all of these people, and a good example, influence, and encouragement to those who knew him.

May these thoughts of Job as a true humanitarian, and these specific ways in which he was, be also added to our knowledge of him, if they haven’t been already.  And may we, too, be encouraged, influenced, and motivated by his good example in helping others.
——————–
Philippians3_13-14
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The Blessings Of Forgetting

Robert F. Turner

Are you proud of your memory? Are you anxious to show folk how you can recall the little details of long ago? Not me! Maybe I’m seeking justification for my weak mind, but I find reason to be proud of my forgettery. I believe there are blessings in forgetting — and my wife says I am of all men most blessed.

The Preacher said to remember the Creator in youth — before the evil days come — when the clouds return after the rain (Eccl.12:1-2). In good days the clouds appear, it rains, and it is all over. But there comes a day when “the clouds return after the rain.”  Our troubles will not depart. And sometimes they stay because we will not let them depart — we recall, and relive them, over and over. It is a wise, and happier man, who knows when and how to forget.

Joseph had been ill-treated by his brothers — sold into slavery. He could have dwelt upon this injustice, growing more and more bitter — and finally have allowed it to wreck his own life and that of his people. But when his first-born, Manasseh, came, Joseph said, “God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house” (Gen. 41:51).

“Forgiving” contains that sort of forgetting. Jesus said, “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” When Peter asked how often he should forgive his brother, Jesus gave the indeterminate number, “Until seventy times seven” (Matt. 6:15 18:22). One has not truly forgiven who buries the hatchet, but sets up a marker so that it may be easily exhumed. The facts of the past may remain, as they did for Paul, but the bitterness, and any desire for vengeance we may have felt, must vanish.

Paul said, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-f). No one can build a glorious future by wallowing in a sordid past. God forgives — and He calls it “remission” (Acts 2:38) or cancellation. “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). God has a good forgettery when such is in order. Do we propose to know more than He about these matters? Oh ye of little faith!!

Many years ago I knew a couple who were deeply hurt by the indiscretion of one. The man, in the wrong, pled for forgiveness — to no avail. The woman freely acknowledged, “My pride has been wounded — I can not forget.” I fully believe this was a case where a sharp memory was a curse — and a forgettery would have been a blessing.

God has endowed us with the capacity to forget. A hot, dusty, insect-filled, flat-tire, hard-work fishing trip soon boils down to the fun we had catching that bass — the hardship part is forgotten. Wouldn’t life be more fruitful if we would apply our forgettery to personal bitterness, little “digs” and “slights” that begin with pride, and feed on acid rehearsals? Christ died to give us a way to get rid of sin. Must we live trying to find a way to keep it??

— via Plain Talk, Vol. IV, No. 2, Pg. 5, April 1967
——————–
1timothy1_5
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Why the Conscience?

William V. Beasley

For years we have opposed the false standard of those who say, “Just let your conscience be your guide!” We have pointed out that Saul of Tarsus (Paul) “lived before God in all good conscience” (Acts 23:1) while he was “breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). We read verses like Jer. 10:23 to show that man cannot guide himself. We turn to 2 John 9 and show the word of God is the proper standard for our lives. We do all of these things but to no avail. Men still cry “just let your conscience be your guide.”

Interestingly, letting one’s conscience be one’s guide would in many cases be an improvement. This is true because most men do not live as good as they know to live. They steal, lie, and cheat — even when they ‘know better.’

In fact, even many Christians would be improved if they “just let your Biblically educated conscience be your guide.” They know they should be giving liberally (2 Cor. 9:6), studying more (2 Tim. 2:15), telling others the good news (Mark 16:15; Acts 8:4; 2 Tim. 2:2), joining with the saints every time they assemble (Heb. 10:25), etc.  Yes, “just let your conscience be your guide” would be an improvement for many folks.

— Via The Beacon, February 24, 2015
——————–

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News & Notes

Let those of us who are Christians include in our prayers Barbara Darsey (who is recuperating from a heart attack and the installation of a pace maker), Judy Daugherty (who had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure, but now is back home), Shirley Davis (painful hip trouble), Deborah Medlock (arthritic pain around shoulder area), Andra Johnson (difficulty while pregnant), Misty Thornton (heart trouble), and Michelle Rittenhouse (heart trouble).
——————–

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 (January 10, 2016)

Contents:

1) Jesus — A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–


isaiah53_3

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Jesus — A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief

Tom Edwards

It is in the Messianic chapter of Isaiah 53 where Jesus is described as the above title shows.  The verse declares, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (v. 3).

It can also be pointed out, however, that it was not for himself that the Lord was sorrowful, as if in having a pity party.  Rather, as the passage goes on to show, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted” (v. 4).

Yes, so much the Lord was willing to undergo for us — and even though we could never earn nor deserve His great concern.  “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” (v. 5).

When on trial for His life, following Judas’ betrayal, Jesus did not defend Himself to try to avoid the sentence of death.  “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” (v. 7).  After false charges were made against the Lord, the High Priest said to Him, “…’Do You not answer?  What is it that these men are testifying against You?’  But Jesus kept silent…” (Matt. 26:60-63).  It was not until the High Priest then adjured the Lord by the living God to tell whether He was the Christ, the Son of God, that Jesus then spoke up, saying, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN” (vv. 63,64).

The Lord’s sorrow and grief over others, due to His divine knowledge in knowing where they were heading, can clearly be seen in Luke 19:41-44: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.'”

So just as God the Father and the Holy Spirit can be grieved over the sins of man (Gen. 6:6; Isa. 63:10), even so can Jesus the Son of God (Mk. 3:5).

The apostle Paul speaks of the “great sorrow and unceasing grief” that he had in his heart for the lost (Rom. 9:2-4) — and how much more the Lord must have experienced that!  Not only had He wept over the city of Jerusalem, as noted above, but Jesus had also greatly longed for their salvation — but they refused.  The Lord’s desire to have saved them can also be seen in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!”  This also corresponds with 2 Peter 3:9, that “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Jesus’ heart truly went out to people.  He could sympathize.  He was greatly moved by their troubles, by their lost state, and by their helplessness: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest'” (Matt. 9:36-38).

Another form of grief that Jesus underwent pertains to those emotions in facing the torturous death on the cross at Calvary, as He acknowledges: “…’My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death…'” (Mark 14:34).  Here “deeply grieved,” from the Greek word “perilupos,” is defined as “1) very sad, exceedingly sorrowful  2) overcome with sorrow so much as to cause one’s death” (Thayer).  In the setting, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal by Judas.  It was a time in which He was “very distressed and troubled” (v. 34), with the Greek word for “distressed” meaning, “to throw into terror…to alarm thoroughly…to be struck with terror”; and “troubled” being not only “to be troubled,” but also “great distress or anguish…” (Thayer).  It was also during this time in the garden that Luke says of the Lord, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

What a terrible ordeal the cross was to face, yet Jesus willingly submitted to it as part of His Father’s will and through which an atonement could be made for every lost soul.  As the Lord Himself points out: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (Jn. 10:17,18).

We have seen in this article that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit can all be grieved over the sins of humanity.  Is this not another reason for why we should all become Christians and ever strive to live for the Lord, so that we will not be bringing any grief to the Almighty God? And by serving Him, instead of grief, it will then be quite the opposite that our God will have for us, as seen in these following verses which I have emphasized: “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation” (Psa. 149:4) and “honor” those who serve His Son (Jn. 12:26). “The LORD  favors those who fear Him…” (Psa. 147:11), and “…the blameless in their walk are His delight” (Prov. 11:20).  The righteous are certainly not a grief to God.

Especially in view of all that Jesus was willing to go through for us, including its sorrow and grief, we should be even more motivated to live for Him — and to do so joyfully!  For “…He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor. 5:15).  In that sacrifice, Jesus tasted death for everyone, which required His being made “a little lower than the angels” by taking on the body of a man that could be put to death (cf. Heb. 2:9).  And in entering this world, born of the virgin, what a great sacrifice that was in itself!  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).  The spiritual wealth obtained through Christ is of far greater value than all the material wealth of the world combined! How humble Jesus was to willingly leave the blissfulness of heaven and the glorious state of His heavenly body in order to come to earth to dwell in human flesh, as a man, yet still retaining His Deity. As Paul writes, “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” (Phil. 2:6,7).  Jesus was God incarnate (Jn. 1-3, 14).   “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).  While on earth, Jesus declared, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.  …He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (Jn. 14:7,9).  Jesus was and is “the radiance” of His Father’s “glory” and “the exact representation” of His Father’s “nature” (Heb. 1:3).

Christ had been “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”  But because of His life and sacrificial death, we can have joy and gladness for all eternity by simply accepting God’s plan of salvation and striving for that heavenly goal where all the redeemed will dwell and where there will be no death, no mourning, no crying, nor pain (Rev. 21:4).  For “…the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).  And how much more so that will be experienced in the eternal kingdom of heaven itself, which we are now striving for.  As Peter exhorts, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Pet. 1:10,11).

Looking to Jesus and what He went through on our behalf can help us in our striving against sin and keeping on the right track. “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3).

Jesus’ becoming “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” also indicates the great love that He has for humanity — a love that prompted Him to be willing to undergo great difficulties, sacrifices, and sufferings on our behalf.  So we should never doubt His great concern for us. And let us also remember that that which led to our Lord being that “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and having to endure all the suffering in which he did, can be summed up in one word, and that being “sin”; but not because of His own sin — for He had none — but because of the sins of others. All of us — as well as all who had ever been or ever will be — who have transgressed God’s word are each the reason for why Christ had to come to this world and do what He did.

May we, therefore, ever live to never more be a cause of grief or sorrow to the Almighty God who has always loved us more than we can even fully realize, but do see supremely expressed in the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who willingly went to that terrible cross in order to make the great and only atonement that can set man free from the bondage of sin!
——————–

-2-

News & Notes

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

Barbara Darsey, Anita Young’s sister-in-law, had to spend longer time in the hospital than first expected.  For after receiving two stents, following her heart attack, there was later also the need for a pacemaker, which was installed.  She is now back home recuperating, and especially over the next couple weeks.

Judy Daugherty was recently admitted back into the hospital, due to congestive heart failure, but is now also back home.

Misty Thornton is to continue wearing her Life Vest for 3 more weeks.  She also says that she seems to be doing well with her cardiac rehab, but her heart rate still gets too high too quick.

Rex Hadley had been down to Express Care on the 5th, due to bronchitis.  After the Z-Pak, prednisone, and CoughGels had not seemed to clear things up, he began also taking Brotapp on the 10th, which has been helping to make some improvement.

Let us also continue praying for Danielle Howard (swelling in arm), Anita Young (healing from hip surgery that removed the bursa), Shirley Davis (hip trouble with pain), Deborah Medlock (pain around shoulder area), Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten (shut-ins), Andra Johnson (difficulty in going through her pregnancy), and Michelle Rittenhouse (heart trouble).
——————–

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 (January 3, 2016)

Contents:

1) The Days of Our Years (Morris W.R. Bailey)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Psalm90_12c
-1-

The Days of Our Years

Morris W.R. Bailey

——————–
Editors note: Though the following article was written 54 years ago, it still has much relevance for today, as we begin our new year.
——————–

When you read these lines, we will have crossed the threshold of another year. There have been, on the part of some, the usual New Year celebrations. With some it has been a time for making New Year resolutions. With many business firms it will be a time for taking inventory. As the clouds of war loom upon the horizon, and nations are feverishly engaged in an armament race, political leaders view the coming year apprehensively.

To the Christian, confident in the belief that “To them that love God, all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28), business interests and world tensions will be of minor concern when compared with the great issues of eternity. Nevertheless, we live in a world of time. The skeptic, Herbert Spencer, spoke of the five manifestations of the unknowable as time, force, action, space, and matter. Our plans are made with regard to time, and are governed largely by the clock or the calendar. Solomon said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). Recognizing this great truth, we sow seed in the spring and reap the harvest in the autumn. The events of history have been recorded with due regard for time, either B.C. or A.D. In point of duration they are spoken of in terms of days, weeks, months, and years.

Since time occupies such an important place in the warp and woof of life, the fact that we have entered upon another year should be an occasion for sober meditation. We are one year nearer to our eternal destiny than we were this time last year. We have one year less of our allotted span in which to serve God and to prepare for that day when we must give account to God for the way in which we have used the time that He has given us. The year of 1961 now lies behind us and has merged with the eternal past. It cannot be relived. The unkind and the unjust things that we have done cannot be undone. Unkind words that have been said cannot be unsaid. We can only hope and trust that God has graciously forgiven us our trespasses. Opportunities that we have neglected have probably gone forever. We can only hope to make use of other opportunities that will be ours in the coming year.

The year of our Lord 1962 now lies before us. What will it hold for us? Will it be a year of more devoted service to God? Will it be a year of spiritual growth, or will it be a year of backsliding? What will it mean for the church of the Lord? Will it see congregations standing firm for the truth? Or will it see many of them drifting into apostasy? These are questions that only the future can answer. I am reminded here, of the words spoken by Joshua, in the long ago, as he was giving the children of Israel last minute instructions prior to leading them across the river Jordan and into the land of promise. “Ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Joshua 3:4). How much like life! Insofar as the future is concerned we will be traveling an unfamiliar road, for we have not passed this way heretofore. To this we may add that we will not pass this way again, since the door of man’s past is locked the moment he leaves it.

As our thoughts are turned toward the coming year,–its possibilities and its probabilities, it would be well for us to meditate upon a passage of scripture spoken by the Psalmist David and recorded in Psalm 90:10-12: “The days of our years are threescore and ten. Or by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger, and thy wrath according to the fear that is due unto thee? So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.”

In these words God teaches us that our lives are very brief. Even if we attain unto our threescore and ten years, or by reason of strength, fourscore years our life has still been comparatively short. Ask anyone who has lived out his allotted span and he will tell how rapidly the years have come and gone.

Even those of us who have reached middle age, realize that each year seems to pass a little more rapidly than the preceding one. And so, in view of the brevity of life, David said, “Teach us to number our days that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” How much we need to heed the admonition of David. Time is a precious commodity and should never be wasted. Benjamin Franklin said, “If time is of all things most precious, then wasting time is the greatest prodigality.” How true! Money that has been lost, may be recovered or replaced; but time that has been wasted is irretrievable. In these days of inflation we budget our money and try to make it stretch as far as possible. How much we need to number our days and crowd into them the utmost in service to God and man, realizing that soon they will be gone forever.

The Bible abounds in expressions that teach us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. Job said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6). David said, “As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field he flourisheth” (Psalms 103:15).

Jesus told of a certain rich man whose land brought forth so plentifully that he had no place to store his abundance of goods. Then he thought of a plan. He said, “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up these many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night is thy soul required of thee, and these goods that thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?” (Luke 12:16-20).

God called this man a fool. Why? From the divine standpoint there were several reasons for calling him foolish. He was unthankful for his blessings. In fact there is no acknowledgment on his part that God had given him his bountiful harvest. Then too, he left God out of his plans for the future. Further, he had a false sense of values. He seemed to think that his riches would supply everything he needed.

But another, and perhaps his greatest mistake, is seen in his use of the expression, “these many years.” He thought that he had a long-term lease on life. And how mistaken he was! Already death was knocking at his door. God said, “This night shall thy soul be required of thee.” Yet many are making the same mistake today and living as if they expected to be here forever, not heeding the warnings of inspiration and the events of history which teach us that life is so uncertain. The holiday season just past has witnessed the usual number of tragedies. In the air, in flaming buildings, on crowded highways the grim reaper has struck without warning leaving a trail of frustrated plans, broken homes and saddened hearts.

As touching the uncertainty of life, the language of James is very pertinent. “Come now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade and get gain; whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15). We have a cloud of mist as it hangs out in the early morning air, and how quickly it is dispelled by the rising sun. One moment we see it. The next moment it has disappeared from our view. How much like the life of man! So short and so uncertain. One moment he stands before us a conscious being, vibrant with life. But tragedy strikes, and the next moment he lies before us unconscious and locked in the cold embrace of death. On this basis James teaches us a lesson that is sorely needed. He tells us that our plans for the future should be made subordinate and subject to the will of God. Someone has well said, “Man proposes; but God disposes.” This is so true with regard to the uncertainty of life. The best-laid plans are often frustrated by the sudden visitation of death.

The Bible lays considerable emphasis upon making the proper use of and the most use of the time that God has given us. Jesus, himself, set an example along this line. “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4). Thus Jesus taught that this lifetime is all that we have in which to work for God. Soon will come the dark night of death when we must leave our unfinished tasks to others.

In writing to the Ephesians, Paul said, “Look carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15,16). Thus Paul taught that time is something that must be redeemed. The footnote makes this perhaps even clearer when it says, “Buying up the opportunities.” During our lifetime we will have opportunities to do good. Time can be redeemed only by making use of our opportunities. The Christian who places the proper value on time will never neglect them. Once they are gone they will probably never return.

How much of our time is given to God and to the things that relate to God’s kingdom? Many professed Christians seem to think that an hour or so spent in the worship service of the church on Lord’s Day morning fulfills their obligations. Statistics sometimes reveal things, which are cause for grave concern. Such is true of an article I read some time ago in which the writer gave a breakdown of the average life of seventy years and the amount of time spent in various activities. The facts presented were as follows: Three years spent in education, Eight years spent in amusements. Six years spent at the meal table. Five years spent in transportation. Four years spent in conversation. Fourteen years spent in work. Three years spent in reading. Twenty-four years spent in sleeping. Three years spent in sickness. The reader will be reminded that the above figures only represent an average.

But the disturbing aspect of the matter is that the article further pointed out that if one spends an hour in church service each week, in a lifetime of seventy years it will amount to about five months. Think of it! Sixty-nine years and seven months of our life spent in temporal pursuits. Five months of our life given to God. Yet many Christians think that their only obligation is to be present at the worship service on Lord’s Day morning. What shall be said for those who attend only casually?

1961 is now past. 1962 lies ahead. We cannot change the past. We can only hope to make the best use of future opportunities. Lord, teach us to number our days. To those who wish to make 1962 a better year, we commend the words of the apostle Peter, found in 1 Peter 3:10,11: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it.”

– Via Truth Magazine VI: 4, pp. 1, 8-9, January 1962
——————–

-2-

News & Notes

Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Lonnie Drain (who passed away December 27), Danielle Howard (swelling in arm), Anita Young (healing from hip surgery that removed the bursa), Shirley Davis (hip trouble), Deborah Medlock (pain around shoulder area), Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten (shut-ins), Andra Johnson (difficulty in pregnancy), Misty Thornton (heart trouble), and Michelle Rittenhouse (heart trouble).
——————–

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)