The Gospel Observer (October 23, 2016)

Contents:

1) Beatitudes: “Nothing Succeeds Like Failure” (Paul Earnhart)
2) Truth Is A Mountain (Robert F. Turner)
3) Virtue (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Beatitudes: “Nothing Succeeds Like Failure”

Paul Earnhart

Perhaps there is no better statement of the message of the beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) than G. K. Chesterton’s curious little maxim, “Nothing succeeds like failure.” Of course, Jesus was not speaking of real failure even as Chesterton was not, but of what men have generally viewed as failure. The cross was certainly a colossal disaster by every conventional standard. It only seems “right” to many of us now because we have acquiesced in nineteen hundred years of well-established tradition. It is not so remarkable then that a kingdom destined to be hoisted to power on a cross should be full of surprises and that Jesus should say that only those who were apparent failures had any hope of its blessedness. In the following beatitudes the Savior makes very clear that the kingdom of heaven belongs, not to the full, but to the empty.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). Jesus begins by touching the wellspring of the character of the kingdom citizen — his attitude toward himself in the presence of God. Luke abbreviates this beatitude to, “Blessed are you poor” (Luke 6:20) and records also a woe pronounced by Jesus upon the rich (Luke 6:24). In the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus had read Isaiah’s messianic prophecy of the poor (“meek,” ASV) having the gospel preached to them (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) and was later to soberly warn that the rich would not come easily into the kingdom (Luke 18:24-25). But while it is true that “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37) because the rigors of the poor bring them to humility more easily than does the comfortable affluence of the rich, Matthew’s account of the sermon makes evident that Jesus is not speaking of economic poverty. It is not impossible for the poor to be arrogant nor for the rich to be humble. These “poor” are those who, possessing little or much, have a sense of their own spiritual destitution.

The Greek word here translated “poor” comes from a root word which means to crouch or to cringe. It refers not simply to those for whom life is a struggle, but to men who are reduced to the most abject begging because they have absolutely nothing (Luke 16:20-21). Here it is applied to the sinful emptiness of an absolute spiritual bankruptcy in which a person is compelled to plead for that which he is powerless to obtain (Jeremiah 10:23) and to which he has no right (Luke 15:18-19; 18:13), but without which he cannot live. Begging comes hard to men (Luke 16:3) — especially proud, self-reliant Americans — but that is where our sinful ways have brought us and we will not see the kingdom of heaven until we face up to this reality with humble simplicity.

“Blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4). Men have been brought up to believe that tears must be avoided if they are to be happy. Jesus simply says that this is not true. There is some sorrow which must be embraced, not because it is inescapable and the struggle futile, but because true happiness is impossible without it.

Even grief that is unavoidable to mortal men whatever their station can have salutary effects on our lives if we allow it to. It can, as Solomon says, remind us of the wispy momentariness of our lives and set us to thinking seriously about the most important things (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4). The psalmist who gave us such a rich meditation on the greatness of God’s law has linked pain and understanding. “Before I was afflicted,” he reflected, “I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” He then concludes, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:67,71). Tears have always taught us more than has laughter about life’s verities.

But there is something more to the mourning in this gem-like paradox than the tears we cannot escape, the sorrow that comes unbidden and unsought. This grief comes to us by choice, not necessity. The Old Testament should influence our understanding of these words first spoken to a Jewish audience. Isaiah foresaw that the Lord’s anointed would come to “heal the brokenhearted” and “comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2). But these words applied only to a remnant of Israel which would come through the nation’s affliction for its sins, humbled and grieved. Ezekiel’s vision of God’s wrath on a corrupt Jerusalem revealed that only those “who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it” were to be spared (Ezekiel 9:4). Zephaniah issued a similar warning (Zephaniah 3:11-13,18).

The prophets would have us understand this mourning as the grief experienced by those who in their reverence for God are horrified by their own sins and those of their fellows, and are moved to tears of bitter shame and grief. This is the “godly sorrow” of which Paul writes, a sorrow that “produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). These are the tears we must choose to shed, renouncing our stubborn pride; and out of that choice will come the unspeakable comfort of a God who forgives us all, takes us to Himself, and will ultimately wipe all tears away (Revelation 21:4). Nothing save God’s mercy can assuage a grief like this.

— Via Articles from the Douglas Hills church of Christ, January 1, 2016
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Truth Is A Mountain
Robert Turner

There is challenge in TRUTH. Towering, majestic and awesome, it beckons the climber. Great and wonderful, clothed in mysteries, it threatens and promises. Benevolently reaching to the world, it summons all; yet sternly holds aloft its crown, to defy the casual.

Below, in railed and graded trails move masses. Camera-clicking tourists, worn by travel, scarce grasp their guide’s trained words, and far less understand the magic scene. And as the way grows steeper, more and more are faint, and wander aimlessly — adrift in parks and glades of theory, with their creeds.

Content to pay lip service to the fountain-head above, they sip its waters, grimace, and add sweets or bitters to their taste. “It’s wonderful,” they say. “We must organize a party and bring others to this way.” So they sip, and talk; they praise with shallow phrase, then pause to rest, and resting, sleep.

Still TRUTH — glorious, wondrous, whole truth, wreathes its head with hoary clouds, and calls with voice of thunder: Onward! Upward! Excelsior!!! Error shouts derision, and stops the ear. With arrogance he hides his wounds and walks another way. Tradition, richly garbed and stiff with age, dares not attempt the rugged path. And weaklings, fearing to look heavenward, support a course that others plan, and wish themselves in better clime.

But faith responds, and in the earnest seeker whets desire. He dares look up. Toiling, sweating, step-by-step, he climbs. Struggling across downed timbers on the slope, he pushes upward. Pressing through the bush, slipping with the shale, he moves onward. Onward, upward, higher and higher, his lungs afire, he climbs with foot, and hand, with heart, and soul.

For TRUTH he lives and, if needs be, dies. He asks no quarter, hears no scorn. His hope is fastened on this goal, whose misty drapery sometimes part and to his raptured eyes reveal its sun swept crest.

He needs no other prize than this, for here men humbly walk with God.

— via Plain Talk, Vol. 16, No. III, pg. 1, May 1979
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day…” (2 Tim. 4:7,8).
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Virtue
Greg Gwin

Peter instructs us that we must “add to your faith virtue” (2 Peter 1:5).  What is this “virtue,” and how do we manifest it?

Thayer says that virtue is a word  that could be used to describe any kind of excellence in a person or thing.  When used of a person, it might denote a quality of body or mind.  But, when used in the ethical sense, Thayer says it specifically means “moral goodness or excellence.” Another commentator suggests that it is “courage . . . a resolute determination to do what it right . . . steadfast strength of will to choose always the good part” (Caffin).

How do we demonstrate this “moral courage?”  What will be the signs that we are “adding to our faith virtue?”  Numerous examples can be found in the Word of God.  Famous heroes of the faith displayed virtue.  Noah did in the matter of living faith-fully in the midst of an entirely wicked world.  Abraham did when he left the comforts of home to obey God, and later when he was willing to offer his own son at God’s command.  Moses did  when he chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25).

However, most of us will not find ourselves in the momentous situations of a Noah, Abraham or Moses.  Instead, we will be faced with the constant challenges of our everyday lives.  It is interesting that one of the most familiar uses of this terminology is found in application to a woman.  In Proverbs 31 the “virtuous woman” is described.  Hers was not the work of a soldier in battle, or that of a famous prophet standing up for truth and righteousness.  Instead, we read of her faithfully fulfilling her role as a wife and mother.  It was her God given job, and she did it well.  She was “virtuous.”

Christian, will you courageously do what is right regardless of the consequences?  Will you show “moral excellence” in how you talk, act, dress, etc.?  Will you take your stand — always — with those who are faithfully doing the will of God?  It will not always be popular or easy, but when you do you will be showing “virtue.”  Think!

— Via The Beacon, September 20, 2016
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News & Notes

Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember in prayer the following:

Melotine Davis fell last Tuesday morning while walking into Staples.  The impact was mainly on her right shoulder, which was still severely sore Saturday evening and requiring pain medicine.  She had immediately gone to her doctor who took an  x-ray which showed no broken bones, but put her on some pain medicine.  She returned to see her doctor Friday and also has an appointment this Monday with an orthopedist.

Shirley Davis still has the pin in her toe, following her recent surgery.  But if all goes well, it will be removed in about a week.   Her toe is sore, and she is to keep it propped up.  She still also has the pain in her back, which continues to be that which bothers her the most.  In addition, she will be seeing her doctor in Valdosta November 11 to look into having a complete knee replacement for her right knee.
Jonathan Abbott was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday, due to a gastrointestinal problem causing severe pain.  He improved by Thursday, discontinued his pain medicine, and was released late that afternoon.  On the 27th, Jonathan will be returning for a follow-up.

Also: Kay Byars (as she heals from her 3rd cancer surgery); La Donna Andrews, Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, and Kelli Fleeman (as they deal with cancer); Bennie Medlock (as he is still healing from an infection in his back); Jim Lively and Ray Richards (as they heal from open heart surgery); Mary Cribbs (who wasn’t feeling well recently), and Mary Vandevander who remains housebound, due to her health.

A Gospel Meeting begins today (Oct. 23-28) at the North Valdosta church of Christ (4313 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA) Speaker: Gene Taylor.  Sunday: 9-10-11 a.m. Monday through Friday: 7:30 p.m.
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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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CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (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, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (October 16, 2016)

Contents:

1) Can We Believe the Bible? (Dan King)
2) God is Concerned About “Little Things,” Too (Paul Earnhart)
3) News & Notes
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Can We Believe the Bible?
Dan King

Question:

“What proof do we have that we can trust the Bible for everything it says?  The Bible has been handed down so many times. The translation has been changed, and everybody knows when you’re passing on information the meaning never comes back the way it originated. One word changed can change the whole meaning of the passage. The Bible was written so long ago how do we know its meaning is still the same and how do we know it’s not just another man-made project?”

Answer:

The poof that you ask about is found in many places.

First, there is archaeology.  Archaeologists have uncovered evidence in many places and from across many centuries about many different aspects of the Bible.  For example, at one time skeptics doubted whether the Hittites, which are mentioned only briefly and with little detail in the Genesis account, actually ever existed at all.  Eventually archaeological discovery in Asia Minor uncovered an entire civilization, with their distinctive culture, language and history.  The simple biblical references were found to be representative of a people who settled and traded throughout the entire ancient Near East in the time of Abraham and the other patriarchs.

Many biblical cities have been uncovered and excavated to reveal distinctive events such as destruction layers which coincide with the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt and capture of many of the cities of ancient Canaan in the books of Joshua and Judges.  Many other such things are well attested in both the literature of the other peoples and from excavation activities.  For example, during the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the book of Jeremiah (with 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings) represents the fall of the surrounding cities while Jerusalem lay under siege.  In the excavation of the city of Lachish, the so-called “Lachish letters” were found, which detail the gradual capture of the towns precisely as Jeremiah and the books of history describe. Furthermore, it mentions some who were “weakening the hands of the people” in the midst of the siege, which is precisely the charge leveled against Jeremiah in the book by his name.  There are many other things, far too numerous to mention here, which establish the general tenor of the biblical writings as recording genuine history.

Further, as to the fact that the Bible has been handed down to us in the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament through many hands and many centuries, let it be noted that the Bible is the best attested ancient book in the entire world. There are literally thousands of copies of both the OT and the NT in their original languages which have come down to us — some of them extremely ancient.  For example, many copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Hebrew manuscripts of OT books) go back to the first century before the time of Jesus, others perhaps even a century earlier than that.  If we may trust that we have the works of Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and the host of other ancient writers whose materials are not nearly so well attested, why would we not also be able to believe that we have the precise words of Christ and his apostles, as well as those of Moses and the Old Testament prophets?

As to whether the words were changed in the process of time and transmission to our day, you must remember that the transmitters (scribes) of ancient times were extraordinarily careful, believing that a curse from heaven was upon the one who would change even a single word of Holy Scripture (see Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Matt. 5:18; Rev. 22:18,19).  But since mistakes did occasionally occur because of oversights and writing errors, it was the hundreds of other copies of the scripture that acted as a countermeasure to assure the mistakes could be corrected.

This process of establishing the original text has come to be called “the science of textual criticism.”  The translation process itself is really the most convincing part.  Think of all the translations there are out there — literally hundreds of different ones in the English language alone.  Take a few translations and compare them side by side.  You know what happens?  You come up with very little difference between them. Most only differ in the different ways of saying the exact same things!

The ultimate answer is YES, we can definitely trust the Bible.

— Via bulletin articles from the Collegevue church of Christ, August 28, 2016
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“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
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God is Concerned About “Little Things,” Too
Paul Earnhart

The order of Jesus’ model prayer makes clear that the glory of God and the accomplishing of His will in the world must always be at the heart of the life and thinking of the Christian.  His prayers, like his life, should begin and end there.  It is on just such a note that the section of the sermon which contains this instructive prayer concludes (Matthew 6:33).  Yet this does not preclude the bringing of our own needs and burdens to God’s throne.  This is made evident by the three (some say four) concluding requests of the prayer (Matthew 6:11-13).  These all center on basic human necessities.

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).   With these words the Lord makes a sudden shift from the exalted to the commonplace.  The apparent discontinuity of  it caused many of the ancient commentators to spiritualize the “bread,” but there is nothing in the context to justify it.  On the face of things it just seems that physical considerations should be left till last, after forgiveness and the the strength to endure temptation.  But that is not where Jesus put them (either here or in Luke 11:2-4).  He certainly does not intend that physical necessities become life’s overriding concern (Matthew 6:19-32) but He is also not discounting their importance.  The “Word” who became flesh understood from experience the bodily needs of men (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15) and demonstrated how seriously He took them in His compassion for the sick and hungry (Mark 1:40-41; Matthew 15:32; 25:41-43). The inclusion of this brief petition demonstrated that there is no matter so small that we may not with confidence bring it to our Father.  Paul urges this: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication… let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).  Peter says the same: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).  Once we have determined to do His will at all costs, we may speak freely to Him of all our needs from the least to the greatest.

This simple petition speaks not only of God’s wide-ranging concern but of our own complete dependence on Him.  “Bread” as here used likely stands for all of life’s bodily needs — food, shelter, health, family, etc.  In any case we cannot by our own unaided strength supply one of them.  As Clovis Chappell once observed, we could no more create one loaf of bread than we could create the universe.  “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness” (Psalm 24:1).  Hence we have no real choice but to trust God even at the most elemental level.

The English translation “daily bread” is somewhat of an educated guess since the Greek word for “daily” occurs nowhere else for  certain in Greek literature.  It may suggest bread for the day ahead or bread sufficient to sustain us.  In either case Jesus teaches us to ask for no more than a day’s supply.  This is a tough assignment for people like ourselves who are inclined to fall to pieces without a lifetime provision in hand and fully insured.  If we follow the Lord’s counsel we will quit trusting in bread (John 6:25) and learn to lean wholly on God and His promises.  Learning to live trustingly with what we have each day calls to mind God’s manna experiment with Israel while they were in the wilderness.  “He humbled, you,” wrote Moses, “allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna… that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).  Jesus had used this passage once to great advantage (Matthew 4:4).  We can do the same.

However much, then, it might have seemed at first that this prayer for bread was prayer from a very low ground, it turns out to have powerful spiritual benefit.  It teaches us faith.  And this is a prayer for the poor and the rich alike; for no matter how little or how much we have or how hard we struggle to obtain and keep it, God alone can secure it.  If we will learn to trust Him, God’s children can live serenely in the confidence once expressed by the aged David: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).  And if we learn this kind of
trust about bread, it will free us to get about the things that are even more important.

— Via Articles from the Douglas Hills church of Christ, January 1, 2016

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News & Notes

Melotine Davis fell October 18 while walking into Staples.  The impact was mainly on her right shoulder, which was still severely sore Saturday evening and requiring pain medicine.  She had immediately gone to her doctor who took an x-ray which showed no broken bones, but put her on some pain medicine. She returned to see her doctor Friday and also has an appointment this Monday with an orthopedist.

 

Shirley Davis still has the pin in her toe, following her recent surgery.  But if all goes well, it will be removed in about a week.   Her toe is sore, and she is to keep it propped up.  She still also has the pain in her back, which continues to be that which bothers her the most.  In addition, she will be seeing her doctor in Valdosta in November to look into having a complete knee replacement for her right knee.

 

Jonathan Abbott was admitted to the hospital October 18, due to a gastrointestinal problem causing severe pain.  He improved by the 20th, discontinued his pain medicine, and was released late that afternoon.  On the 27th, he will be returning for a follow-up.

Let those of us who are Christians also be remembering the following in prayer: Kay Byars (as she heals from her 3rd cancer surgery); La Donna Andrews, Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, and Kelli Fleeman (who are  dealing with cancer); Bennie Medlock (as he is still healing from an infection in his back); Jim Lively and Ray Richards (as they heal from open heart surgery); Mary Cribbs (who wasn’t feeling well recently), and Mary Vandevander who remains housebound, due to her health.
A Gospel Meeting begins today (Oct. 23-28) at the North Valdosta church of Christ (4313 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA) Speaker: Gene Taylor. Sunday: 9-10-11 a.m. Monday through Friday: 7:30 p.m.

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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 p.m. (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, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (October 9, 2016)

Contents:

1) Question About Judas and Jesus (Keith Sharp)
2) News & Notes
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Question About Judas and Jesus
Keith Sharp

Question

“You can’t show Jesus existed. There is no historic record. Judas is the ‘sacrifice’ in the Gospel of Judas, so what does it say about Jesus being sacrificed? It was just a scam to start a new religion.”

Answer

Of course, the canonical gospels, those accepted by believers in Christ for twenty centuries as the inspired, accurate record of the life of Jesus, present Judas as the evil (John 6:70-71), covetous (John 12:5-6) betrayer of Christ (Matthew 26:14-15, 21-25, 47-50; Mark 14:10-11, 18-21, 43-46; Luke 22:3-6, 21-22, 47-48; John 13:10-11, 18, 21-30; 18:2-5) who subsequently committed suicide (Matthew 27:3- 5; Acts 1:16-18) and is lost (Acts 1:25).

Should we believe the canonical gospels or the “Gospel of Judas”?

Luke, a physician, was Paul’s traveling companion (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11). He probably wrote the account of the life of Christ that bears his name in A.D. 60, toward the end of Paul’s imprisonment in Caesarea, when he had the opportunity to interview Judean eye witnesses of the life of the Lord (Luke 1:1-4). Early Christians characteristically considered the account by Matthew to be the earliest record of Jesus’ life, so the apostle Matthew probably wrote before A.D. 60.

Mark was as close to Peter as Timothy was to Paul (1 Peter 5:13). Writers of the second century believed that Mark recorded Peter’s sermons about the life of Jesus Christ. In fact, Peter’s sermon on Jesus to the Roman centurion Cornelius is almost a very brief version of Mark (Acts 10:36-43). Early Christians generally believed his account of Christ was third in time order.

John lived longer than the other apostles, though he was exiled to Patmos for the cause of Christ (Revelation 1:9). He wrote five New Testament books: John, First, Second, and Third John, and Revelation. They were probably written toward the end of the first century.

We have the first hand testimony of Matthew and John (Matthew 28:16-17; John 20:1-10, 19-29, 21:1-24), who were intimate with the Lord during His ministry. We have the historical record of Luke, who researched his subject by interviewing the eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4, New American Standard Bible; Luke chapter 24; Acts 1:1-11), and the testimony of Mark, who was probably the spokesman for Peter, the eyewitness.

In history as well as in a court of law, the most powerful witnesses are those who, while confirming the testimony in question, are either disinterested or hostile. The apostle Paul qualifies as a hostile witness, for, as Saul of Tarsus, he “persecuted…to the death” the disciples of Christ and, before those who could refute his testimony if it were false, called upon the high priest and elders of the Jews as his witnesses to this fact (Acts 22:4-5). Yet, Paul’s own letters confirm the truth of the gospel story (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

Josephus, the great Jewish historian contemporary with Paul, qualifies as a neutral witness. Leaving out the part of his notice of Jesus that negative critics claim Christians later added, Josephus testified:

“At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man….. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin…. And when Pilate, because of accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who loved him previously did not cease to do so…. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out” (Johnson. 114).

The parts of the quote from Josephus which are omitted confess Jesus to be more than a man, to be the Messiah, and to have appeared to the disciples after His death in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. The quote actually reads smoother with those portions still intact, and there is just as much textual evidence for them being the words of Josephus as to the portion quoted. But the quote which even the negative critics allow testifies that Jesus lived, was a wise teacher who worked great deeds, taught the truth, gained a wide following, was crucified by Pilate at the instigation of the Jewish leaders, and still had a wide following of people named after Him.

Finally, the unbeliever cannot account for the most important fact of all concerning the witness of the gospel writers. Why were they willing to be savagely persecuted and even killed for their testimony, when they had nothing earthly to gain for telling it? (cf Acts 4:1-31; 5:17-42; 6:8-8:4) Not even one of the apostles of Christ ever changed or recanted His testimony, although tradition assigns a violent death at the hands of persecutors to all but John, who was exiled to a lonely, barren, rocky ancient Alcatraz (the island of Patmos) for his faith.

The writings of many early Christians and heretics, particularly Gnostics, from the second and third century have been preserved, are available in English translation, and bear witness to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the true historical records of Jesus. In the first generation after the apostles there is Clement (letter to Rome, A.D. 95), Ignatius (martyred before 117), Polycarp (letter, 108-117), Basiledes, a Gnostic (117-139), and the Epistle of Barnabas (not the New Testament Barnabas, sometime between A.D. 70 and 130). The second generation includes Marcion, a Gnostic, before 140, Papias, about 140, and Justin (martyred in 148). Other early witnesses to the New Testament canon of Scripture are the Muratorion Canon (about 170), the Peshitto (Syriac New Testament, mid second century), and the Old Latin Version (second century). By the year 170, there is credible witness to the existence and acceptance of every one of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and to no others. As Professor R. Laird Harris has written:

“It seems clear that the New Testament books arose in the latter half of the first century A.D., and almost all of them were clearly known, reverenced, canonized, and collected well before a hundred years had passed” (202).

This is almost incredible, when we consider that Christians were a small, persecuted, group of social outcasts without means of publishing books, communicating, or enforcing a standard on all believers in Christ. Furthermore, the various books were originally handwritten parchments produced in a single copy.

By the middle of the third century (about A.D. 250), all the books of our present New Testament and no others were known and accepted as Scripture. Origen (185-253) “names the books of the New Testament as we recognize the canon now” (Frost, 12). This was a lifetime before the Emperor Constantine or any church councils.

The Gospel of Judas was developed by a Gnostic sect in the second century A.D. and was originally written in Greek around 130-170. This fact alone tells us that it was not authored by Judas himself. The oldest extant copy is a Coptic manuscript written in Sahidic (last phase of ancient Egyptian) in the fourth or fifth century.

The Gospel of Judas apparently depicts Judas in favorable terms and commends him as doing God’s work when he betrayed Christ to the Jewish religious leaders. This, of course, contradicts what was written by the apostles in their gospels of Matthew and John as well as those gospels written by Mark and Luke who are under the direction of Peter and Paul.

“The Gospel of Judas falls into the category of pseudepigraphal writings. This means that the gospel is not authentic but is a false writing. In fact, the gospel was not written by Judas, but by a later Gnostic sect in support of Judas. Gnosticism was an ancient heresy that taught salvation through esoteric (understood by or meant for only the select few — K.S.) knowledge. Gnosticism was known at the time of the writing of the later epistles in the New Testament and was rejected by the apostle John.

“The ancient writer Irenaeus (A.D. 130-202) in his work called Refutation of All Heresies said that the gospel of Judas was a fictitious history….

“We can conclude that the Gospel of Judas is not authentic, is not inspired, and was properly rejected by the early church as an unreliable and inaccurate depiction of what really happened concerning Judas.

“Of course, the complaint is often raised that this opinion, like that of the early church, simply rejected anything that opposed a preconceived idea. But, this complaint falls by the wayside when we understand that the early church knew which documents were authored by the apostles and which were not. God did not make a mistake when he led the Christian Church to recognize what is and is not inspired. The Gospel of Judas was never recognized by the church as being inspired” (Slick).

The skeptic through prejudice rejects the only primary sources we have for the historical Jesus and is thus both confused and ignorant of Christ. He does not accept the facts of Jesus’ life, does not understand their significance, and fails to acknowledge who the Lord is. His stubborn adherence to unbelief leaves him incapable of knowing the real Jesus.

The informed Christian accepts the Jesus of the gospels, not through blind, unreasoning faith, but because of the evidence from multiple, unimpeachable, primary sources. Thus, Christians alone truly know the historical Jesus, the real Jesus, the risen Lord of glory. He is the Christ the Son of the living God, God who became flesh and dwelt among us.

Skeptics vainly inquire, Will the real Jesus please rise? Christians triumphantly declare, He is risen!

*****

Works Cited

Gene Frost, History of Our English Bible.

R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible.

Luke Timothy Johnson. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels.

Matt Slick, “The Gospel of Judas,” https:// carm.org/.

— Via Highway 5 South church of Christ, Mountain Home, AK, October 5, 2016
——————–

-2-

News & Notes

Two of those whom we have often mentioned for prayer in our bulletin have recently passed away: Sue Wooten, who had been in the Baptist Village nursing home for quite some time, left this world October 14; and Raylee Metts, who was just 6 years old and had been battling with cancer, passed away October 13.  Let those of us who are Christians be remembering in prayer all of their loved ones.

Let us also continue in our prayers for the following as well:

LaDonna Andrews (who has now begun her chemo treatments, following her recent surgery for colon cancer.  It was found that the cancer had also spread to her liver); Kay Byars (as she heals from her 3rd cancer surgery); Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, and Kelli Fleeman (as they also deal with cancer); Shirley Davis (as she heals from her toe surgery); Bennie Medlock (as he heals from infection in his lower back, which he goes to the hospital for every day and will continue to do so until the 26th of this month.  Prior, he was going twice a day); Jim Lively and Ray Richards (as they heal from open heart surgery); and Mary Vandevander who remains housebound, due to her health.
——————–

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).
——————–

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 p.m. (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, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (October 2, 2016)

Contents:

1) Beatitudes: The Strength of “Weakness” (Paul Earnhart)
2) Hope for Eternity (Frank Vondracek)
3) Anger (selected)
4) News & Notes
——————–

matthew_5_5


-1-

Beatitudes: The Strength of “Weakness”
Paul Earnhart

The second basic statement of the beatitudes is that the kingdom of God does not yield itself to the “mighty” who seek to take it by force, but it is easily accessible to the “weak” who yield their cause patiently to God and abandon their own rights for the sake of others. The world in which the beatitudes were first spoken was not a hospitable place for such an idea. Seneca, a prominent first-century Stoic philosopher and brother of Gallio (Acts 18:12), gave expression to the sentiment of his times in the following words: “Pity is a mental illness induced by the spectacle of other people’s miseries….The sage does not succumb to mental diseases of that sort” (Arnold Toynbee, An Historian’s Approach to Religion, p. 68). Wholly outside the spirit of His age, Jesus announced the blessedness of the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers and the persecuted. It was not an idea “whose time had come.” It still is not.

“Blessed are the meek” (Matthew 5:5, KJV). In a world of harshness and cruelty, meekness would appear to be a quick way to commit suicide. The violent and self-willed prevail. The meek are summarily run over. The truth is that in the short run this may indeed be so. People that are drawn to the kingdom of God must face this. The gentleness of Jesus did not save Him from the cross. But, ultimately, Jesus teaches us, it is meekness alone that will survive. The challenge for us is to understand what true meekness is.

Meekness is not a natural disposition. It is not an inborn mildness of temperament. It is not the obsequious behavior of a slave whose powerless station forces him to adopt a servile manner which he despises and would abandon at the first opportunity. Meekness is an attitude toward God and others which is the product of choice. It is a disposition held by a steely moral resolve at a time when one may have the power, and the inclination, to behave otherwise.

Meekness is not an indifference to evil. Jesus endured with much patience the assaults made on Him, but He was strong to defend His Father’s name and will. He hated iniquity as much as He loved righteousness (Hebrews 1:9). Moses was the meekest of men when it came to abuse offered to him (Numbers 12:3), but his anger could burn hot against irreverence offered to God (Exodus 32:19). The meek man may endure mistreatment patiently (he is not concerned with self-defense) but he is not passive about evil (Romans 12:9). There is in him a burning hatred for every false way (Galatians 1:8-9; Psalm 119:104).

Meekness is not weakness. There is no flabbiness in it. The one who had 72,000 angels at His command (Matthew 26:53) described Himself as “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The depth of meekness in a man may indeed be gauged in direct proportion to his ability to crush his adversaries. Jesus was not meek because He was powerless. He was meek because He had His immense power under the control of great principles — His love for His Father (John 14:31) and His love for lost men (Ephesians 5:2). It would have been far easier for Him to have simply annihilated His foes than to patiently endure their abuse. He took the hard road.

The meekness of the Son of God is powerfully demonstrated in His attitude toward the privileges of His station (“who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself,” Philippians 2:6-7 ASV), and in His submission to His Father (“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered,” Hebrews 5:8). He came into the world as a servant. He emptied Himself for the sake of others.

Although kingdom meekness derives from a new view of oneself in the presence of God (“poor in spirit”) it’s primary emphasis is on a man’s view of himself in the presence of others. “Meekness” (Greek, praus) is found in the constant company of words like “lowliness,” “kindness,” “longsuffering,” “forbearance,” and “gentleness” (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:24-25; Titus 3:2; 2 Corinthians 10:1). Even when applied to our Savior the word seems to speak to His relationship to men rather than to His Father (Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Corinthians 10:1). “Meekness” (praus) had a special use in the ancient Greek world. It was applied to an animal that had been tamed (Barclay, New Testament Words, p. 241). The meek man is one who has been tamed to the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:29) and, consequently, has taken up the burdens of other men (Galatians 6:2). He no longer seeks to take by force even that which is rightfully his nor attempts to avenge the injustices done him — not because he is powerless to do so, but because he has submitted his cause to a higher court (Romans 12:19). Instead he is concerned to be a blessing, not only to his brethren (Romans 15:3), but even to his enemies (Luke 6:27-28).

The meek man has had enough of himself. He has felt his own ultimate spiritual emptiness and yearned for a right relationship with God. Self-righteousness has become a disaster and self-will a sickness. The very ideas of self-confidence and self-assertiveness have become a stench in his nostrils. He has emptied his heart of self and filled it with God and others. Like his Master, he has become the ultimate servant. And for this very reason the future belongs to him.

— Via Articles from the Douglas Hills church of Christ, January 1, 2016
——————–

hebrews-6_19
-2-

Hope for Eternity
Frank Vondracek

Hope is defined by Webster as — (1) a feeling that what is wanted will happen, and (2) to want and expect. When we hope, we are counting on our desires becoming reality. Something hoped for is not yet come to be reality. The apostle Paul wrote, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:24-25).

All of us have wishes, desires, dreams and hopes. It has been said that “life void of all hope would be a heavy and spiritless thing.” Hope helps to stimulate us on in life. We are refreshed by the expectation that tomorrow hopefully will be a day for us to enjoy being alive. We hope for the pleasant welfare of ourselves and others. We have high hopes for our children’s lives to be better than ours have been. We hope for the recovery of a sick loved one. We hope that our world will be at peace more often than at war. Hope takes a priority place in our days of living. It is as a fuel which feeds the fires of life.

Do you have a capacity for hope beyond this life? Do you look forward to the time when time will be no more and we will be enveloped by eternity? The Bible teaches us — “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Each person will be in eternity someplace. Jesus Christ said, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Where does your hope lie for eternity: in everlasting punishment because you are yet in your sins, unforgiven by God, or in eternal bliss because the Lord has found you faithful in all things? I believe that everyone reading this article has hope of spending eternity in life with God and not in eternity separated from God. What have you been doing NOW with your life to have the confidence that your hope will become reality in eternity?

Jesus Christ declared — “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). God’s word is truth (John 17:17). The truth of God’s word is that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The truth of God’s word is that the saved (those whose sins have been forgiven by God) are saved “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). You cannot forgive or remove your own sins, only God can do that (Mark 2:7). And yet, some people tend to live in careless and reckless lifestyles which put their souls in jeopardy for eternity. Living in such a manner and saying at the same time, “God will forgive me,” is folly.

But to learn God’s will and see His expectations for man’s life (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) is a much better way to go through life. With repentance (changing ones mind about how one is living and living in God’s way) is the safest way. Remember, if you really want to have true hope for eternity, it can only be found in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. That’s why God sent His Son to find the lost. To bring them to God for all eternity. Is your hope in Christ? Unless it is, one does not have much to hope for in eternity.

— Via Articles from the Gallatin Road church of Christ, July 1, 2014
——————–

proverbs14_17
-3-

Anger

A short-tempered man is a fool. It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9, Proverbs 19:11, and 16:32: “Don’t be quick-tempered — that is being a fool.” “A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit.” “It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army.”

Get over anger quickly. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:26-27: “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry — get over it quickly; For when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”

Don’t fight back when wronged. It’s in the Bible, I Peter 3:9:  “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it.”

Anger produces strife. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 30:33: “For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

— selected  (via The Beacon, May 10, 2016)
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Let us who are Christians keep the following in our prayers:

Shirley Davis is now healing from recent surgery she had on her toe.  She is also waiting on an appointment November 11 concerning knee surgery.

We were glad to see Deborah Medlock back with us, after her recent absence due to some painful trouble with her back.

Let us also remember in our prayers those with cancer: Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, and LaDonna Andrews.

Cedell Fletcher, who has long had a blood problem, is now doing better.

Bennie Medlock, who recently had a procedure on his lower back, due to an infection, will continue going to the hospital every day for treatment on that, until the 26th of this month.  Prior, he had been going twice a day.

Also, we want to keep Jim Lively and Ray Richards in our prayers as they both continue to heal from open heart surgery.
——————–

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).
——————–

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 p.m. (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, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (September 25, 2016)

Contents:

1) When Joy Follows Weeping (R.J. Evans)
2) Does God Hear All Prayers? (Roger D. Campbell)
3) Simplifying Cubit Conversions to Yards or Feet (Tom Edwards)
——————–

psalm-30_11
-1-

When Joy Follows Weeping
R.J. Evans

“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psa. 30:5).

Even the most faithful of God’s people experience affliction and sorrow.  The Psalmist stated, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19).  Paul and Barnabas told the new disciples in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).  While this might be somewhat disturbing and alarming, it may look different when we realize that joy often follows periods of sorrow.  And it is most certainly encouraging to realize that the ultimate eternal joy of heaven will follow whatever afflictions, persecutions or sufferings we may have to endure while here on earth.  Our text is not the only Scripture which says that joy follows weeping.  In this article, let us notice a few examples of this principle.

Just a few verses below our text, we find the Psalmist saying, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psa. 30:11).  Job spent many long nights of weeping, but finally joy came in the morning (Job 42).  In the days of Esther, wicked Haman sought to destroy the Jews.  They, no doubt, had many long nights of weeping.  But they were delivered through the efforts of Esther, resulting in Haman being hanged instead of Mordecai.  The Bible referred to this as “the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday” (Esther 9:22).  Looking toward the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus said to His disciples, “you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy” (Jn. 16:20).

Surely no one ever experiences joy following weeping more than the sinner who comes to Jesus in gospel obedience and is forgiven of all his sins (Matt. 11:28).  We may never, in this life, fully understand why Christians often experience joy after weeping.  One reason, however, may be found in Ecclesiastes 7:3 — “Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.”  Perhaps weeping helps get our heart in a condition for a blessing.  Weeping has a way of releasing us from our sorrows. Also, I feel confident that joy so often follows weeping because our Lord is touched by our tears and responds to our needs.  We close with this wonderful assurance: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana (January 4, 2015)
——————–

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the “greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13, NASB).
——————–

praying_daniel


-2-

Does God Hear All Prayers?
Roger D. Campbell

God communicates the thoughts and desires of His mind (that is, His will) to you and me through His word, the Bible.  The way that we, as humans, communicate or speak the message of our mind to God is through what the Bible calls prayer.  In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we often read about prayer.  The truth is, it is only through the teaching of the Bible that we can know the Lord’s will concerning prayer.  Thus, for any question about prayer, we must turn to the word of God and see what it says.  Doesn’t that make sense to you?

Does the God of heaven hear the prayers of humans?  If you mean, “Does God know when people are praying to Him?” then the answer is “yes.”  God knows all that is taking place on the earth at all times.  He knows our every thought, every action, and every word spoken, including our prayers.  How can we be sure about this?  Because the Bible says, “God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20).  All the affairs of mankind are “naked and open unto the eyes” of the Lord (Hebrews 4:13).  So, yes, God knows when humans are praying.

Does the God of heaven hear prayers that are offered to Him in different languages of the world at the same time?  Because He is the “Almighty God” (Genesis 17:1), there is nothing that is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14).  He understands all languages of men.  And, yes, He can handle all the prayers that might be coming His way all at the same time, regardless of the language!

Should we conclude, though, that every prayer is acceptable to the Lord?  To say that He can hear and understand when people speak to Him is one thing.  To say that every prayer is acceptable to Him, well, that is another matter entirely.  In Proverb 28:9 it is written, “He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”  This verse makes it clear that if a person refuses to heed or obey the message of God’s law, then he should not expect the Lord to receive his prayer.  Why?  Because God counts it as an abomination when men refuse to obey Him, and all the praying in the world cannot change that.  Prayer cannot take the place of obedience.  The Lord rejects the prayer or cry of a disobedient person.

What does the New Testament say?  In 1 Peter 3:12 we read, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ear is open to their prayers….”  According to this verse, which prayers does the Lord receive?  The prayers of “the righteous.”  A righteous person is one who does righteousness (1 John 3:7).  Since all of God’s commands are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), then a righteous person is one who keeps the commandments of the Lord.  The Lord promises to receive the prayers of such a person, but not the prayers of the unrighteous.

One final consideration.  What about praying for salvation?  Never in the Bible do we read that the Lord or any of His inspired spokesmen told a person that had never been saved something like this: “To be saved from your past sins, you need to pray to God, and He will forgive you.”  The so-called “sinner’s prayer” is not to be found in the Bible at all.  It is true that there are New Testament passages in which we read that people were told to pray in order to receive forgiveness, but when we closely examine the contexts of those verses, what do we find?  They were addressed or spoken to those who were already Christians and had committed sin after being saved.  Thus, as Christians or children of God, in order to get back into the right relationship with God, what they needed to do was pray.  Simon, who had already believed and been baptized (saved — Acts 2:38-41, 47), was told to pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:13, 21-23).  We also read “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  Again, however, this was not spoken to non-Christians, but to those who were already God’s children (compare 1 John 2:12).

Does God want men to pray?  The Bible says He does.  But does He accept all prayers?  Not according to the Bible.  Let us all search the Scriptures and accept the instruction that we find therein concerning prayer.

— via Seek The Old Paths, January 2015)
——————–

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22, NASB).
——

Pray “…on behalf of all men” (1 Timothy 2:1, NASB).
——

“pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, NASB).
——————–

calculator-3


-3-

Simplifying Cubit Conversions to Yards or Feet

Tom Edwards

This is very simple, but maybe something often overlooked and not used:  As pointed out back in April, we don’t have to convert Hebrew cubits to yards by multiplying the number of cubits by 18 (the length of a Hebrew cubit in inches) and then dividing by 36.  Rather, we can simplify that by dividing the number of cubits by 2 (just by glancing at it).  So 50 cubits equals 25 yards.

Of course, we could then also easily multiply the 25 yards by 3 to convert it to feet; but here, too, is another way, which wasn’t mentioned last time:  Simply add to the number of cubits 1/2 of that number.  So you can think of 50 cubits, for example, as “50 cubits + 25 cubits = 75 feet.”

This was helpful in a recent daily Bible reading that ended with Esther 5:14.  In that passage, Haman, who was filled with much anger toward Mordecai for never bowing down to him and giving homage, was advised by his wife and friends to “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it….”   If you’re like me, then you find it much easier to visualize seventy-five feet rather than 50 cubits; and of which it appears (by that extraordinary height for a gallows) that Haman wanted to make sure that this display would be observable from anywhere in the city!  Of course, little did Haman know at the time that it would actually be him — and not Mordecai — that would end up on the gallows! (Esther 7:10).

The word “cubit” comes from the Latin “cubitum,” the “elbow.”  The length of a cubit is the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger, which is usually about 18 inches (or 45.72 cm).
——————–

-4-

News & Notes


Raylee Metts, who is in only first grade, has been in much pain with brain cancer.  Her family has requested prayer for her comfort and for her family.

Lexi Crawford is only fifteen years old and has a type of muscle cancer that has metastasized and is also giving her much pain and fatigue.

Though Camp Tatum’s MRI showed “clear” September 22, a lumbar puncture revealed on the following day that there are still some cancer cells; but they have decreased from 23% to 16%, and there are still more treatments to go.

Cedell Fletcher (Jim Lively’s brother-in-law) has had trouble with his blood for a few years, which a transfusion about every 6 weeks will normally improve; but this last recent time it did not work; and he has been weak and dizzy.

Shirley Davis’ toe-surgery will be October 5.

Ray Richards’ open heart surgery turned out to be a triple bypass.  All went well.

Bennie Medlock has been receiving treatment for his recent surgery on his lower back that had been infected.

We are glad to have Jim Lively back with us, following his open heart surgery.  He is also doing well.
——————–

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).
——————–

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 p.m. (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, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)