1) “My Lord and My God!” (Tom Edwards)
2) “It’s About Me!” (Steve Patton)
3) Why Do We Have the Lord’s Supper on the First Day of the Week? (Bill Crews)
4) Still Growing! (Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
“My Lord and My God!”
Thomas was not present when the Lord had first appeared to the ten apostles, after His resurrection. In later hearing their testimony that “We have seen the Lord!,” Thomas then responded, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25).
It was the following Sunday when Thomas was given that opportunity. For the Lord again appeared to His disciples, standing in their midst and saying, “Peace be with you” (v. 26). And then, specifically to Thomas, Jesus said, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing” (v. 27).
We are not told whether Thomas actually touched the Lord or not, but we are given his response in what he saw, when he acknowledged, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28).
Jesus then said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (v. 29).
We note that Jesus does not specifically say that Thomas had touched Him, but that he had seen Him – and that appears to have been all that was necessary for this previous doubter!
Thomas, of course, had not been the only doubter, prior to seeing the resurrected Lord. For that was also the case of all the Lord’s apostles – and even after hearing the testimony of Mary Magdalene, that faithful follower of Jesus Christ who had often been with them, and the one to whom the Lord first appeared, following His resurrection (Mark 16:9). For she had declared to them that she had seen the Lord; yet, the apostles did not believe her (vv. 10,11). Where was that knowledge and even that inkling of faith in them that the Lord was to arise from the dead? Had they had that, would not such a testimony of Mary have been all they needed to have sparked and brought them to the realization of this marvelous event?!
The Lord’s resurrection is that which truly bears witness to His Deity. For as Paul writes concerning Jesus, “who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was DECLARED THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER BY THE RESURRECTION from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:3,4, emphasis mine).
And as we just saw, it was in seeing the resurrected Jesus that prompted Thomas to declare, “My Lord and my God!”
If Christ had been merely a man, would not His response to Thomas have been a rebuke for calling Him “God”?!
Thomas would certainly not call the apostle John “God” nor say that about any other man. But he said that of Jesus, and the Lord did not point out any error in what Thomas had said, but accepted it. And not only that, but He also pronounced blessing upon all those who had not seen, but yet still believed in His resurrection.
We recall the time when Peter came to the household of Cornelius, and Cornelius “fell at his feet and worshiped him” (Acts 10:25). But in seeing that, “Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up, I too am just a man’” (v. 26).
And when the apostle John, while receiving the great Revelation from God through an angel, “fell at his feet to worship him,” the angel said, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God…” (Rev. 19:10).
So even holy angels are not to be worshiped. Yet, according to Hebrews 1:6, all the angels are to worship Jesus Christ!
While on earth, Jesus was worshiped. He was worshiped when an infant (Matt. 2:11). He was worshiped in adulthood (Matt. 14:33, 28:9,27; John 9:38) – and not once did He rebuke any of these for doing so! For Jesus is to be reverenced and worshiped just as greatly as we reverence and worship the Father – and to not do so is to not honor the Father at all! As the Lord declares, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (Jn. 5:22,23).
After considering all of these above passages, we should well understand what the Lord meant by warning, “unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24).
May the world not only come to that great conclusion that Jesus truly is Lord, and that Jesus is truly God; but also be able to declare, like Thomas, that Jesus is “My Lord and my God!”
* All Bible verses are from the New American Standard Bible.
“It’s About Me!”
Our world constantly emphasizes that life is “all about me.” We have it hammered into our brains daily with ad slogans like: “You are special. You deserve a break today. Have it your way. Because you’re worth it. We do it all for you. It’s everywhere you want to be.” So life is all about me and my wants and desires. Happiness means getting everything I want.
I believe such an idea can be attributed to two things. One is the battle with our own lusts — lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-16). Flesh versus spirit is a battle we fight our whole life. God’s Word teaches us that self-denial and sacrifice are fundamental to a meaningful existence (Luke 9:27; Romans 12:1, etc.).
But secondly, we are told that life can be meaningful without a belief in a Creator God who is the source of all existence and to whom we will ultimately answer. Radical evolutionists have been at the heart of this idea, telling us that this world is here without the hand of God, and that its continued successful existence is up to man. In the evolutionist’s mind we are but one species in a long continuum of beings evolving into higher forms over billions of years. Our responsibility is to do our part to see that this evolutionary march continues throughout the millenniums ahead. I’m not sure why they think we should do this since we each live only one lifetime. Shouldn’t that one brief lifetime be filled with doing whatever I want, not with fulfilling any responsibility to future higher evolved beings? After all they will not care one bit about me and how I lived.
The evolutionist says that to find meaning to life, do not look up. Rather look around you and find something more important than yourself and work for it. Sounds good but I think someone long ago tried that. King Solomon recounted his quest for meaning in “something more.” With great success he completed grand projects, amassed fortunes, and enjoyed mountaintop experiences, each failing to quell his heart’s deepest pangs. His life lesson: Lasting significance is not found in something, but in Someone (Eccl. 12:14).
Do not let this world fool you. Life is not just about “me.” It is about both God and others. When your life needs meaning, learn to look up. Have the heart of the Psalmist when he wrote, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psa. 42:1). There you will find life’s meaning.
— Via articles from Manslick Road church of Christ, January 19, 2014
Why Do We Have the Lord’s Supper on the First Day of the Week?
The New Testament accounts of the institution of the Lord’s Supper are found in Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; and Lk. 22:19-20. Paul also cites this occurrence in 1 Cor. 11:23-26. In all of these the followers of Christ are commanded to observe the Lord’s Supper. Those who constitute a congregation or local church are taught to assemble together for this observance (1 Cor. 11:18,20,33). In Acts 20:7 we have the example of the church in Troas assembling together “upon the first day of the week” for the purpose of eating the Lord’s Supper (called “breaking bread,” just as it is in Acts 2:42). This approved example is the only New Testament clue we have as to when first century Christians observed the memorial feast of the Lord’s Supper. Church histories compiled by men confirm that it was indeed the practice of Christians in the first few centuries to assemble on the first day of each week for the purpose of eating the Lord’s Supper. In later years, led by those who believe that the frequency of doing so and the day of the week upon which it is done are not important, the practice of annual, quarterly, and monthly observances were begun. There is no Bible authority for such.
— via the articles of the Collegevue church of Christ, November 13, 2016
In thinking of our need to continually grow in our relationship with God, I was once reminded of that by Pablo Casals — that renowned cellist who was a virtuoso in his field. On his 75th birthday an interviewer asked him why he still found it necessary to practice the cello for four hours a day. “Because,” Casals answered, “I think I’m making some progress.”
Regardless of how long we have been a Christian, we, too, can still make some progress as we continue in our service to God and grow in His word. And may that always be our desire.
News & Notes
Last Thursday, Cheryl Crews was taken off the ventilator and continues to improve each day.
Shirley Davis has been receiving physical therapy for the last few weeks to strengthen her legs, which is needful prior to her having a knee replacement and which she will soon be talking to her doctor about.
Bennie and Deborah Medlock have both fallen recently, which has led to some back trouble.
Doyle Rittenhouse had been getting better over his illness, but also had recently fallen, which has caused some back trouble (and to a back which he has long had trouble with).
Jim Lively has also fallen again and put a couple bruises on the back of his head. He is still undergoing cardio therapy 4 days a week.
Let those of us who are Christians also continue to remember in prayer the following: Joyce Rittenhouse, Michelle Rittenhouse, Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Lexi Crawford, Camp Tatum, Kelli Fleeman, Mikaela Jones, Brianna Mackey, Ray Richards, and Mary Vandevander.
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).
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
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://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)