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
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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
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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
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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)
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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.
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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)

 

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