The Gospel Observer (November 27, 2016)

Contents:

1) “Let Another Man Praise You” (R.J. Evans)
2) Born (Again) to Serve (John Thompson)
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1cor1_31
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“Let Another Man Praise You”
R.J. Evans

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger and not your own lips”  (Proverbs 27:2).

Is it safe to say that most of us have difficulty from time to time in heeding and obeying the words of wisdom in our text?  I’m sure we have all been guilty of doing a little bragging and boasting at times.  In fact, generally speaking, it appears that boasting has become an accepted practice in our present culture.  Just think about politics or the social media, and you realize how common it has become.

The boaster is the individual who wants other people to think of him as a great doer of many things.  He is the type individual who likes to talk about himself, and is not bashful about bragging about all his accomplishments.  There is an old saying that is associated with this kind of person: “If you want to know how great he is (or members of his family), just ask him, and he will tell you.”  Then there are those who do not have to be asked; they constantly boast about themselves, whether others want to hear it or not.

We just mentioned that boasting has become a part of our present culture.  We can also observe that this practice is addressed in God’s word.  In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul described the many evil characteristics of the Gentiles, one of which consisted of “boasters” (v. 30).  In writing to Timothy, he stated, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy”  (2 Tim. 3:1-2).  These sins are running rampant today, and most certainly, boasting is no exception.

The Apostle Paul did engage “in a little folly” — a type of foolish boasting in order to expose his opponents who were false apostles — taking advantage of the brethren at Corinth (2 Cor. 11).  However, he had already established the fact that acceptable glorying or boasting is to be only in the Lord — “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (2 Cor. 10:17).  Likewise, he told the Galatians: “But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

There are many admonitions throughout God’s word against being proud and boastful.  Jesus taught that when we do our good deeds, don’t “sound a trumpet” but let it be in secret to the extent that — “when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt. 6:1-4).  In other words, don’t be telling others and bragging about what good deeds you have done.  The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector teaches against self-righteous boasting and pride (Lk. 18:9-14). The Apostle Paul stated, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).  In planning for the future, James said “you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’  But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (Jas. 4:15-16).

Boasters are proud, which is totally against the humble spirit that should characterize the faithful child of God.  James said, “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6).  The boaster is one who thinks he is better/smarter/more important than others.  But the Scripture teaches that “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).  The boaster often makes others feel bad about themselves, and become discouraged over “falling so short” of all the braggart’s alleged accomplishments and abilities.  But the Lord says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2).  And there are other problems associated with all the damage a boaster causes.  Thus, boasting is an attempt to belittle others, while seeking to elevate self above everyone else.

It has been said that no one likes to be around a boaster — having to constantly hear him brag about himself.  No doubt about it, that is so true!  Who wants to hear and see actions of someone essentially saying: “Look at me and see how great I am”?  Never let it be said or observed that the faithful child of God is a boaster.  May we at all times heed the words of our title: “LET ANOTHER MAN PRAISE YOU.”

— via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, October 16, 2016
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2cor4_5
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Born (Again) to Serve
John Thompson

Jesus entered Jerusalem about six days before He was to be crucified. One evening at supper with His apostles, he did an unusual thing.  Ever the master teacher, he arose, removed his outer garments, tied a towel around his waist, put some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of his disciples. He had a reason for doing this most humbling act of servitude.

12“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him’” (John 13:12-16).

Jesus not only humbled himself, taking on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7), but he performed one of the more disgusting tasks of washing dirty, dust-encrusted feet.  Furthermore, he washed the feet of those under his authority: the teacher washing the feet of his students. Finally, he washed the feet of his enemy, his betrayer, for Judas had not yet left to carry out his plan.

Do you remember the story of young Samuel, how he was leant to the Lord by his mother and reared by Eli? After some misunderstanding who was calling him, Samuel was finally advised by Eli to respond by saying, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” Can you think of a better way to respond to the Lord? There is so much contained in that short response: a recognition of Deity; an attitude of servitude; and the willingness to learn and carry out the Lord’s will.

You know, some of the godliest people who have ever  lived were perfectly content to be servants of God.  When  Satan appeared before God, as reported in the book of Job, God expressed extraordinary confidence in His servant, Job: 8“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is no one like him on the  earth, a blameless and upright man, who  fears God and turns away from evil?’” (Job 1:8). Paul, who played such an indispensable role in the establishment and spread of the church, was just as prone to refer to himself as a servant of God as he was to call himself an apostle: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons” (Philippians 1:1).  See also Titus 1:1.  James, Peter, and Jude also begin their inspired letters by identifying themselves as servants of God.

Paul makes it plain that being  a servant of God means serving others. 5“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

In a time when entitlements are on everyone’s minds and people are quick to demand to receive what they believe they deserve, servitude will not be very popular.

When one becomes a Christian, he or she is born again, born again to serve Christ through service to others. Serving others is, very simply, the means by which the Christian serves God. 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:34-40).

An article on servitude is appropriate at any time, but especially so at this time. Our brother, Garry Banks, was a servant of the Lord who did not hesitate to serve others. He is now at rest awaiting his final reward.  I believe God could have said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant, Garry Banks?” And I believe Garry will hear, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…. as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

— Via University Heights Messenger, August 14, 2016, Volume 8, Number 34
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News & Notes

Cheryl Crews had been admitted to the ICU, due to a critical condition that required being kept sedated to an unconscious state, while also on a breathing ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis.  Since then, as R.J. Evans writes, “She is showing improvement each day. The doctors have cut back on the oxygen and pressure of the ventilator.  (This is the beginning of a process of weaning her off of the ventilator.)  She is now on dialysis every other day.  Thus, over-all, Cheryl continues to make progress with the passing of each day.  Please pray that her progress will continue and that she will fully recover.  Many prayers by multitudes of God’s people have been prayed on Cheryl’s behalf.  To God be the glory!”

Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse are both not well. Doyle had been back to the doctors Friday, the previous Monday, and the Monday prior. He has been breaking out in a sweat 4 to 5 times a day, had an EKG, blood tests, and was put on two different antibiotics. It is not thought to be the flu. Though Joyce had been getting better, she had a relapse and is now on a Z pack.

Others of our number who can also use the prayers of the saints for their health are Bennie and Deborah Medlock, Marie Pennock, Mikaela Jones, Shirley Davis, and Mary Vandevander.

…and also for the following whom we’ve been keeping in prayer: Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, Kelli Fleeman, Jim Lively, Brianna Mackey, and Ray Richards.
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“For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
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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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