1) The Value of Bible Study (Frank Himmel)
2) That You May Not Sin (Heath Rogers)
3) Are You Getting Better? (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
The Value of Bible Study
Years ago I heard someone observe that we too often set aside what is actually more important for what seems more urgent. A ringing telephone illustrates the principle. To be sure, some folks have mastered ignoring telephone rings…to the point that it is hard to get hold of them! But for many, that ring (or notification) demands immediate attention. We will stop whatever we are doing (maybe even worship!) to see who is contacting us.
Is this perhaps one of the reasons we might let an entire day go by without opening a Bible? We know it’s important, but there is so much else going on that calls for our attention. The morning routine is already rushed, days are full of work, evenings bring more work at home or activities elsewhere, and before we know it the day is done.
Take a moment to reflect on the value of Bible study. Surely you will agree it needs to be a part of your day.
The sacred writings are able to give us the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15). That is a wisdom that comes from no other source, and it is the best kind of wisdom to have. Being knowledgeable about money or sports or movies or fishing or any other worldly matter won’t be worth a thing on judgment day!
The Scriptures make us complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Moses told ancient Israel, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Without God’s word we are woefully incomplete and ill-equipped for life.
Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). In our daily interaction with the world we encounter many influences that seek to undermine our faith. We must fortify it, and hearing God’s word is the primary means of doing so.
Treasuring God’s word in our hearts helps us not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). It enables us to know what is and is not sinful. It helps us see through temptation. It reminds us how short-lived sin’s pleasure is and how far-reaching its consequences are.
The things written are for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). All of us face discouragement from time to time. Bible study cheers us. It reminds us of our hope. It comforts us with accounts of God’s people of old, seeing the struggles they faced and the outcome of their faith. It puts things back in perspective.
Not knowing the Scriptures results in erroneous thinking (Matthew 22:29). God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts. We dare not assume that because we see something a certain way, He sees it that way. Men devise all sort of error. God’s word is truth (John 17:17), the truth that makes us free (John 8:21-32).
The word of God lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:22-25). Men’s judgments and philosophies are constantly changing. Yesterday’s wisdom is today’s folly. This simply proves how little we really know, how foolish we are apart from God. His word, in contrast, is constant. His plan works in all times and places. His way is best. Those who want to adapt the Bible to modern thinking have it just backwards; we must conform our thinking to His timeless revelation.
The words of Jesus will judge us at the last day (John 12:48). In school, we always wanted to know what would be on the final exam; what do we have to know to pass? To successfully pass through the judgment, we must know God’s will, His plan for our salvation, His requirements for our lives. The only place we can learn those things is the Bible. In the end, God’s approval, not man’s, is what matters.
Won’t you make a place for at least a little Bible study each day?
— Via Pathlights, January 17, 2016
That You May Not Sin
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
This passage presents some great truths regarding the blessings that we have in Jesus. For one thing, Jesus is our Advocate with the Father. When we sin, Jesus speaks on our behalf before God as we seek forgiveness. He is a merciful and faithful High Priest, sympathizing with the weaknesses which have resulted in our sin (Heb. 2:17-18, 4:15).
Second, Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. A “propitiation” is that which appeases or satisfies. God’s law states that the penalty for sin is death. When Jesus died on the cross, He made a way for God’s righteous law to be satisfied without us having to personally pay the penalty for our own sin (Rom. 3:25-26).
While these are great blessings, I want us to notice the instruction which was given prior to these blessings — “that you may not sin.”
God has made a way for Christians to receive forgiveness for the sins that they commit, but His will is that we not sin. I wonder, how many of us are careless about sin and temptation, feeling as if we are “covered” if we do sin? God’s grace should never be viewed as a license to sin (Rom. 6:1-2,15). Instead, God’s grace calls us to a higher standard of living (Titus 2:11-12).
Brethren, let us “awake to righteousness, and do not sin…” (1 Cor. 15:34).
— via Articles from the Happy Hill church of Christ
Are You Getting Better?
Here’s a challenge for you: Try to find a single place in the Scriptures where the Lord ever encountered a person and encouraged him to stay as he was. You can’t do it, can you? The Lord always encouraged people to change; to become better than they previously were.
We know, of course, that some were already morally purer than others. For instance, Cornelius was “a devout man who feared God … gave alms liberally … and prayed constantly” (Acts 10:2). But then there were folks like the Corinthians who had been immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
But, regardless of their existing condition, they had to change. Why? Paul answered that question for us: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
There are too many people who call themselves Christians who have never gotten serious about making changes and improvements in their lives. They still want to act like they used to act, dress like they used to dress, talk like they used to talk, etc. The heart of the problem may be that we have failed to see ourselves as real sinners. After all, it is reasoned, we aren’t nearly as bad as many others in our society.
We need to stop deceiving ourselves by such useless comparisons (2 Cor. 10:12). Unless the stats have changed, it still remains true — “there is none righteous, no, not one.” That being the case, we need to be changing — improving — for the Lord.
— via bulletin articles from the Collegevue church of Christ, January 29, 2017
News & Notes
Let those of us who can pray be praying for the following:
There will be a gospel meeting at the Hoboken church of Christ March 16-19. Services will begin Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m, and Sunday services will begin at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. The guest speaker will be John Gibson from Athens, Alabama. The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia.
Also to keep in prayer: Lexi Crawford, Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Mary Vandevander, Tanya Terrones, Shirley Davis, Charles Crosby, Jim Lively, Misty Thornton, Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse, Lawrence Anthony Montero, Brianna Mackey, James “Buddy” Gornto, Billy Lowe, Tom Haney, Kelli Fleeman, Randall and Linda Hickox, and Ray Richards
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)