The Gospel Observer (May 15, 2016)

Contents:

1) We Preach Christ Crucified (Joe R. Price)
2) “Buy the Truth and Sell it Not” (Bob Waldron)
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preaching_old_painting
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We Preach Christ Crucified
by Joe R. Price

“We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:23). Let there be no mistake: Preaching “Christ crucified” is gospel preaching. The “word of the cross” is the power of God to save the lost (I Corinthians 1:18, 21; Romans 1:16). It reveals how God forgives sinners and what sinners must do to receive God’s forgiveness (Romans 1:17; 3:21-26; Acts 2:37). It must be preached.

The apostle Paul observed that when he preached at Corinth he “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2). Some hastily conclude that to preach Jesus is to preach only the life and death of Jesus and not the doctrine recorded in the inspired epistles by Christ’s apostles and prophets. We are told, in effect, that Jesus is more important than His doctrine. Yet, He is “the Truth,” which indisputably involves His doctrine (John 14:6; 7:16-17). Such minimizing of doctrine allows for the subjective interpretation of Scripture (“choose the doctrine of your choice”). Such a view affirms that Jesus approves of each person deciding what doctrine is important and what is unimportant. We are scolded when we teach there is one body of doctrine (teaching) that is truth for all (John 17:17). “Just preach Christ and leave others alone,” we are told.

In order to preach the “message of the cross” we must know what that preaching includes (I Corinthians 1:18, 21). Does it include the plan of salvation? Does it include principles of divine authority? Does it include the work and organization of the church? Does it include teaching about sin? Does it include instruction on human obedience? Does it include preaching the fulfillment of prophecy? The Scriptures answer “yes” to each of these questions. Let us see what it means to “preach Christ crucified.”

In Acts 8:5, Philip “preached Christ” to the city of Samaria. What did that entail? In Acts 8:12 we learn that he preached the “things concerning the kingdom of God.” Without question, preaching Christ is preaching about His kingdom, the church of Christ (Matthew 16:18-19). After all, the church is His body and fullness (Ephesians 1:22-23). How can one preach Christ and not preach about His body, the church? How can one preach Christ and not preach that He is the savior of His body, the church (Ephesians 5:23)?

When Philip “preached Christ” he preached concerning “the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12). He proclaimed Christ’s authority; His right to rule our lives (Matthew 28:18-19; Ephesians 1:20-23). To fully preach Christ we must preach His authority. Preaching how the authority of Christ is established and applied in Scripture should not be denounced as not preaching Jesus. Just the opposite is true; we will preach about Bible authority when we preach Christ. Whatever we say and do must be supported by His authority (Colossians 3:17). And, by the way, His authority is revealed to us in “the word of His power,” His New Testament — “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 16:13; II Timothy 3:16-17).

When Philip “preached Christ” he preached baptism, since “both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12). This means he preached about sin and how sinners are saved (Acts 2:37-38, 40). This means he taught the plan of salvation when he preached Christ to the Samaritans (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8; 8:1, 4). Those who believed the gospel obeyed it and were saved (Acts 8:12-13). We conclude that Philip preached the continuing responsibilities of faithful, obedient discipleship (Acts 8:13). None should object to preaching the responsibilities of discipleship (such as moral purity, Romans 12:1-2) as not preaching Christ. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

When Philip “preached Christ” he preached fulfilled prophecy. In Acts 8:35, Philip “preached Jesus” from Isaiah 53:7-8, instructing the Ethiopian that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy. The Jesus whom we preach is the suffering Christ of Old Testament prophecy (Acts 17:2-3).

The New Testament of Christ is the apostles’ doctrine that was preached in the first century (Romans 16:25). It is what lost souls heard, believed and obeyed in order to be saved from their sins (Acts 2:40-41). The gospel they preached was not their own; it was revealed to them by the Spirit of God (John 16:12-15; Galatians 1:11-12; I Thessalonians 2:13). It was the “word of the cross” then, and it continues to be the “word of the cross” today (I Corinthians 1:18; I Peter 1:22-25).

We will not make distinctions in God’s word where there are none. To “preach Christ crucified” includes preaching that Jesus fulfilled God’s prophetic plan to save sinners. It includes His life, death, resurrection and exaltation; it includes man’s faith and obedience; it includes the church of Christ and the authority of Christ over our lives. We must preach the “whole counsel of God,” the inspired Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-4:2; Acts 20:27). To do less is not preaching Christ crucified to the world.

— Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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Bible 6

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“Buy the Truth and Sell it Not”
Bob Waldron

One of the most important attitudes one can have in striving to go to heaven is that of intense zeal for the truth of God. Too often, people settle on something far less than the truth. Remember, a counterfeit, though it may look relatively genuine, is nevertheless worthless. Likewise, we cannot enjoy the benefits of truth just by getting pretty close. We must take our position firmly and foursquare on the truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

There are many among us who, like Pilate, would ask, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Many do not believe in absolute truth. The Bible, however, is absolute, unchanging truth. “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89). The belief that there is absolute truth is fundamental to one who desires to “buy the truth and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23).

One Can Be Wrong

It is a fact that anyone can mistakenly be wrong. Paul, when speaking of his past manner of life, before his conversion, said, “I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day” (Acts 23:1). Yet he was before a “persecutor, and a blasphemer, and injurious” (1 Timothy 1:13). How could he have lived in all good conscience when he had been so wrong? The answer is simple. He thought he was right. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). The fact that we can be wrong means that it does not behoove us to close our minds to further investigation. Jeremiah said, “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Faith vs. Opinion

Naturally, study brings us to certain conclusions. All of us live by certain principles. But upon what do our conclusions rest? All too often they rest upon mere opinion. Realize that if something is a matter of faith, then God must have said something about it. We cannot know the words of eternal life by opinions. One man’s opinion is just as good as another man’s; but no man’s opinion is worthy to be compared to God’s.

You would not want to risk crossing the ice over a river merely because somebody thinks you can. Neither should we risk trying to go to heaven by the opinions of men. The difference between an opinion and conviction is that an opinion is usually a spur-of-the-moment conclusion someone comes up with based upon skimpy premises, if any. A conviction is a conclusion based upon evidence which has been thoroughly studied and meditated upon. God has given us a wonderful book. It furnishes man with doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that he may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Bible is our evidence. It is the truth. When believed, it becomes subjective faith. The Bible did not come from men, so there need be no question about its reliability. It was given unto men though, and designed so they could understand it when they read it (Ephesians 3:3-5). This is not to say that all the Bible is simple to understand. There are difficult portions of it that demand much study. The matters of conversion to God and everyday living are simple and easy to understand. What many find difficult about such matters is the application of that which may be so simple to understand.

Feelings — A Poor Standard

Do not base your conviction upon some peculiar feeling you might have. Feelings are a poor standard of truth. We have already mentioned Paul. We might mention Jacob also who believed with all his heart that his son Joseph was dead, but that did not make it true. Remember, God has given us revelation, facts. Our convictions must rest upon these facts or else we will find ourselves upon shifting sand.

Conscience — Not a Reliable Guide

Neither is conscience a reliable guide in determining whether your convictions are sound or not. The conscience is very pliable to begin with. Our conscience is usually formed at a tender age. At that time it may be trained to approve good or evil. When we reach maturity our conscience alters and becomes almost unchangeable. From then on it tells us only whether we have done as we learned to do or not.

Changing the conscience then is a slow, difficult project. If your conscience were trained correctly, well and good. If it were trained incorrectly, then it will approve even when you do things that are really wrong, because it was taught that which was wrong. “Let your conscience be your guide” is therefore poor advice.

This brings us back again to the fact that we must ultimately make our stand upon the word of God. Everything is to be judged by it.

— Via the Charlottesville Beacon, September 25, 2011
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“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious” (Psalm 66:1,2, NASB).

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:12, NASB).
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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
, living for the Lord; 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)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com
(Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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