The Gospel Observer (April 23, 2017)

Contents:

1) The Greatest Reason for Our Being (Tom Edwards)
2) Offended By the Truth (Frank Himmel)
3) Consequences (Bill Crews)
4) News & Notes
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1cor8_6

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The Greatest Reason for Our Being
Tom Edwards

Though not recognized by all, nor acted upon by everyone who does know, the greatest reason for our existence is seen in 1 Corinthians 8:6.  Here, after pointing out that God is the One “from whom are all things,” the apostle Paul then declares that “we exist for Him” (NAS77)!  Or as the Weymouth New Testament expresses it, “and for whose service we exist.”

That we are here to serve the Lord is also what Solomon expresses in Ecclesiastes 12:13, where he speaks of “the conclusion of the whole matter,” and defines it as, to “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (KJV).

We each, therefore, regardless of who we are, certainly do have a great purpose for our being here, and which we need to be aware of and not shirk our responsibilities therein.

That we can even enter into a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, should be quite humbling to each of us!  To think that we who are mortal, sinful creatures can become a part of God’s forever family — and have that connection with Him who is our perfect, sinless, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-surpassing, omnipresent, eternal Creator, and loving Father — is truly amazing!

Even for those of us who feel like nothing in God’s sight, or terribly ashamed for being such wretched sinners and so unworthy, yet our existence does mean something to the LORD!  For did not Jesus die for every transgressor – and regardless of how sinful?  When the scribes and Pharisees were trying to find fault with the Lord for eating and drinking with the tax collectors and sinners, Jesus responded by saying, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31,32).  And at Calvary, Jesus went to the cross to make an atonement for every transgressor – not just a certain few.  Hebrews 2:9 shows that the Lord became a man in order that He would be able to “taste death FOR EVERYONE” by His suffering on the cross.  For “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the WHOLE WORLD” (1 Jn. 2:2).  Yes, God truly did make salvation possible for every lost soul and does want all to be saved and none to perish (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4).

God also wants us to have a relationship with Him, to belong to Him, and to not only be blessed forevermore in heaven’s glory, but also to be blessed in the here and now while we await that world to come!

To live for God truly is the greatest of all reasons for our being here; and Jesus Christ suffered a most terrible death so that not only could our sins be forgiven, but also so we could live that new life unto Him.  For “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor. 5:15).  Yes, Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).

We begin that new life after having been baptized in water for the remission of sins (cf. Acts 2:38), which must be preceded by our faith in Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:5), and an acknowledgement of our faith in Christ (cf. Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).  For Paul shows that baptism is “in order that…we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4, NAS77).

What great concern God has shown to the world by going to such an extreme of sending the best of heaven, His only begotten Son, so that we who have fallen away from God can be brought back into a meaningful relationship with Him.  May we each, therefore, certainly make the Lord a top priority in our lives by carrying out — and continuing to do so — what should always be our most important reason for being here!

***

(All emphases mine; and all Bible verses from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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Acts 20_27__Gal4_16

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Offended By the Truth
Frank Himmel

These days it seems that someone is always being offended by what another person says or does. Offended groups call for apologies, resignations, boycotts, and the like. The mere fact that someone may be offended has become a major concern, so much so that people are increasingly unwilling to declare anything wrong or unacceptable.

This growing concern about offending has affected churches and preachers. Some won’t preach the truth about Christianity’s uniqueness lest they offend Jews, Muslims, or other groups. Some won’t talk about the identity of the New Testament church lest they antagonize those who belong to some other group. Some won’t plainly preach the conditions of salvation lest they hurt the feelings of those who haven’t complied. Increasing numbers won’t take a stand on moral issues lest they upset those who are acting immorally and perhaps “drive them away.”

Matthew 15 records an incident we need to consider.  Some Pharisees came to Jesus and complained that His disciples did not keep the tradition of the elders by washing their hands. Jesus’ response was pointed. He indicted the Pharisees with breaking God’s commandments in order to keep their own rules, in practicality nullifying God’s word. He called them hypocrites. He said their commitment to God was mere lip service and was in vain (vv. 3-9). He then called together the crowd who had overheard this exchange and explained the error in the Pharisee’s view of the value of washing hands (vv. 10-11).

What happened next? The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” (v. 12). Perhaps the disciples could see it on their faces. Perhaps some of the Pharisees said something to the disciples.

Jesus was unmoved. He responded, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (vv. 13-14).

In summary, the Lord pointed out three things: 1) the Pharisees were wrong; 2) it mattered that they were wrong; 3) they were going to be lost because they were wrong, despite their claims of rightness with God. Why did Jesus say these things? Because they were true, because the Pharisees needed to hear the truth while they had opportunity to repent, and because the crowds and the disciples needed to be warned that if they followed the Pharisees, they, too, would be lost.

The Bible teaches us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and, to the extent we rightly can, to accommodate those we are trying to reach (1 Corinthians 9:20-23). But if people are offended by the truth, so be it. It is nothing new. Jesus did not compromise the truth to appease the disobedient, and neither should His followers.

— Via Pathlights, July 3, 2016
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consequences
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Consequences
Bill Crews

Thoughts entertained, words uttered, and deeds done have consequences.  Like seed that is sown, they bear fruit — pleasant or bitter, good or evil.  Decisions made, choices selected, steps taken, courses begun bring us, in time, to the goals, the destinies to which they inevitably lead.

Many are traveling toward goals and destinies of which they seem absolutely unaware or foolishly unconcerned — goals and destinies that will prove tragic and painful.  Only God can see the end from the beginning; in His revealed word He tries to tell us.

— via bulletin articles from the Collegevue church of Christ, August 14, 2016
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“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day (Psalm 25:4,5, NAS77).
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News & Notes

The heart surgery for Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister) went well last Thursday.  Not only did they replace her mitral valve, but also repaired a hole in her heart that was discovered during the operation.

The surgery for Don Swain (Myrna Jordan’s brother) also went well.

Shirley Davis has 5 different appointments next month, involving 5 different doctors. Then on June 1, she will be seeing another doctor to have stents put in her feet, due to poor circulation. Her legs have been swollen, and she has been having some back pain. Her eye, following her cornea surgery, is still a little blurry, but should clear up in 6 to 8 weeks.

James Medlock was taken to the hospital Wednesday, but was able to return home the same day.

Others who also need prayer are Lexi Crawford, Kay Byars,  Jim Lively,  Melotine Davis, Mary Vandevander, La Donna Andrews, Michelle Rittenhouse, Brianna Mackey,  Billy Lowe, and Tom Haney.
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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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