The Gospel Observer (July 29, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Is Obedience Essential to Salvation? (Bill Crews)
2) “Speak As the Oracles of God” (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
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Is Obedience Essential to Salvation?
Bill Crews

According to what the New Testament of Christ teaches, what is the place, the importance, the purpose of obedience — our obedience to the commandments of God?

Matthew 7:21 reads: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Obedience is essential to our entering the kingdom of heaven.

Hebrews 5:8-9 reads: “Though He was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation.” Obedience is essential to our receiving eternal salvation.

1 Peter 1:22 reads: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to (KJVin obeying) the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently.” Obedience is essential to the purifying of our souls.

Jesus said: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience grows out of love for Christ and is proof of our love for Christ.

1 John 2:4-5 reads: “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Obedience is proof that we know Him. Anyone who does not obey Him cannot know Him.

Romans 6:17-18 reads: “But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (KJVdoctrine) whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” Obedience is essential to being made free from sin, and that obedience must come from the heart.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 reads: “And to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” At His second coming and the judgment the Lord will render vengeance to those who have not obeyed His gospel.

Men Teach That Obedience Is Not Essential To Salvation

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that man merits or earns salvation, for that is an impossibility — as impossible as living a sinless life, as impossible as rendering flawless obedience to God all the days of one’s life. Everyone sins; salvation is a matter of God’s forgiveness; and man cannot possibly earn forgiveness. All of the passages that are misunderstood by men to teach that our salvation does not depend upon any doing or works on our part are really passages denying that men can be justified by the works of the law of Moses or any such law (which would demand perfect obedience). These were designed to answer the Judaizing teachers who were denying the sufficiency of Christ and the gospel and casting man’s hope of salvation in the works of the law of Moses (they were especially telling Gentile Christians that they could not be saved without practicing circumcision and obeying the works of the law of Moses). They were shown the consequences of such teaching.

Obedience And Salvation By Faith

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by faith. Salvation is by faith, but it is not by faith alone. It is by faith that obeys; it is by obedience that comes from the heart. Faith alone cannot save (James 2:14-16); faith alone is dead (James 2:17); faith alone is barren or fruitless (James 2:20); faith alone cannot justify (James 2:24); faith alone is what the demons had (James 2:19). James 2:14-26 teaches that faith is shown by obedience (verse 18) and that faith is made perfect by obedience (verse 22). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys the commandments of Christ. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Obedience And Salvation By Grace

To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by grace. Salvation is by grace, but the spiritual blessings of grace are conditional, not unconditional. “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). The “not of works” of Ephesians 2:8-9 refers to works of which man can boast (which would be the case if man could be justified by the works of the law of Moses, which demanded obedience, but which contained no sacrifice that could actually take away sin — Hebrews 10:1). Conditions of forgiveness under the new covenant or the gospel are not under consideration in Ephesians 2:8-9.

In Revelation 22:14 the King James Version reads: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

— Via the Roanridge Reader, January 21, 2018, Volume 33, Issue 03, Page 2-3
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“Speak As the Oracles of God”
R.J. Evans

“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

The importance of faithfully and completely preaching the word of God manifests itself in many passages throughout the Bible. The scriptures warn against adding to, or taking away from, the word of God (See Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). In the days of King Jehoiakim, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to reveal His message to the people. God commanded Jeremiah to “speak to them—do not diminish a word” (Jer. 26:2). While it may have been tempting for Jeremiah to leave off parts of God’s message that would have stirred the anger of the people, Jeremiah faithfully preached the word of God.  The importance of delivering all of God’s message to the people is seen in the very beginning of Jeremiah’s work as a prophet — “But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say,“I am a youth,” For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak’” Jer. 1:7).

In Ezekiel 33, the Lord explained why the Lord’s servants must always preach God’s complete message.  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ And you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.  Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek. 33:8-9).

Now we can better understand why it was so important for Paul to tell the elders of Ephesus— “I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).  This always concerned Paul because when the Jews at Corinth rejected his message— “Jesus is the Christ,” we are told, “when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles’” (Acts 18:6).

We have two letters written by Paul to the young evangelist, Timothy.  Please observe what Paul charged Timothy: “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).  If we faithfully preach God’s word, we will find ourselves at times rebuking people for their wrongs or reprimanding them for their sins.  This is not an easy task.  But whether it involves encouraging or rebuking, we must still preach the word with “longsuffering” and “in love” (2 Tim. 4:2; Eph. 4:15).  We live in a time much the same as described by Paul when he said, “because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).  However, the Bible is God’s word, and since we are commanded to “preach the word,” we should ever strive to be faithful to declare God’s revealed will.  By so doing, it is the only way that we can truly join in with Paul and say— “I am innocent of the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26).  Thus, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, July 1, 2018
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News & Notes

Let us be praying for the following:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mason Montgomery (Rex Hadley’s brother-in-law) who passed away July 15.

Our sympathies also go out to the loved ones of Helena Hunt (sister of  Becky Pennock) who passed away July 14.

Roger Montgomery (Mason’s son) has too much ammonia in his body, had been in a coma, and is in need of a liver transplant.

Rex (“Rick”) Hadley Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

Danny Hutchinson (Anita Young’s cousin) has made some improvement from his massive brain bleed, but can still move only one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson, who was to be undergoing 24 chemo treatments over a few months, as a precautionary measure, following the recent removal of cancer and part of his liver, had a bad reaction to the first treatment.  So we are waiting to hear what they will try next.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s surgery went well last week.  He later had an additional procedure to remove a melanoma on the back of his neck, which was only in the first layer; so not as extensive as his previous surgery.

Jim Lively has been having some trouble recently with his equilibrium and has also been diagnosed with collagenous colitis, which only about 42 people out of 100,000 have.  He recently began a new medication for it and should know in a couple weeks whether it is effective or not.

The hernia surgery for me (Tom Edwards) was changed to August 9.

Also for prayer: Tommy Lindsey, Rex & Frankie Hadley,  Pat & A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Danny Bartlett, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation</big>

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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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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The Gospel Observer (July 22, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Man’s Spirit After Death (Bill Crews)
2) What about Mormonism? (Derrick Dean)
3) News & Notes
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Luke 23_43d

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Man’s Spirit After Death
Bill Crews

How Did Jesus Prove The Resurrection Of The Dead?

The Sadducees, concentrated at Jerusalem and represented especially among the Jewish Levitical priests, were the liberal religious party among the Jews in the first century. They differed from the Pharisees by believing “that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit” (Acts 23:8). The Sadducees consistently denied both the existence of spirits and the reality of a coming resurrection. If humans are spiritual beings as well as physical beings, if physical death does not bring all of one’s existence to an end, if something about humans survives the death of the body, then there will indeed be a resurrection of the dead.

In Matthew 22:23-30 the Sadducees, to put Jesus to a test, came to Him with their famous hypothetical case involving a woman married consecutively to seven different husbands (all brothers and according to a provision of the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 25:5ff). Jesus handled their “hard” question (“In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven?”) with ease. Such a case, far from disproving the resurrection of the dead, presents it with no problem at all. Jesus informed them that in the resurrection there will be no marrying or giving in marriage; the marriage relationship will simply not exist. Then, giving them more than they asked for, Jesus remarked, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” To which He added the observation, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32).

In the Old Testament passage quoted by Jesus, Exodus 3:6, God was speaking to Moses at the burning bush.

Abraham (Genesis 25:8), Isaac (Genesis 35:29), and Jacob (Genesis 49:33) had all been dead (physically) for many years when God spoke to Moses. He did not say, “I used to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He rather said, “I am the God of…” This, according to Jesus, necessarily implied that in Moses’ day there was some sense in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still lived. Without their spirits, their bodies were dead (James 2:26), but their spirits still lived. Therefore, there will be a resurrection.

A Look At Other Passages On The Subject

In many instances the Bible uses “spirit,” “soul,” and “inward man” interchangeably. The fact that in a few instances (e.g., Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23) a distinction is made between “soul” and “spirit” does not change this fact. Man is frequently described as “flesh and spirit” (Matthew 26:41), “body and soul” (Matthew 10:28), “inward man and outward man” (2 Corinthians 4:16). When Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead, the child’s “soul” came into him again (1 Kings 17:21). When Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, her “spirit” returned to her body (Luke 8:55).

Though man is able to kill the body, he is not able to kill the soul, according to Jesus (Matthew 10:28; cf. Luke 12:4-5). God is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9); He gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7); He formed them in us (Zechariah 12:1). At the death of the body, the spirit or soul departs (Genesis 35:18; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; James 2:26; 2 Corinthians 5:1-9; 2 Peter 1:13-14; Philippians 1:23-24).

That the spirit or soul still exists after the death of the body is shown by:

Ecclesiastes 12:7 — the spirit returns unto God who gave it. See Luke 23:46 and Acts 7:59 also.

 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 — one can be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.

 Philippians 1:23-24 — one can depart (suffer physical death) and be with Christ.

 Psalm 16:10 (cf. Acts 2:27, 31) — when Jesus died on the cross, His soul was in hades (KJV: “hell”) while His flesh was in the tomb.

Matthew 17:3 and Luke 9:11 — Moses and Elijah, long after their deaths, came to Jesus and conversed with Him.

 Luke 16:22-23 — after his death, Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, but the rich man, after his death, was in hades in torment. The rich man could see, hear, speak, feel, care about others, and remember (verses 23-29).

 Luke 23:43 — the dying Jesus said to the dying robber, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” which also describes the state of the beggar, Lazarus, after his death.

An Appeal To You, Dear Reader

Yes, there is more beyond. Physical death will not be the end of you. The inward man still exists, either comforted or in torment (Luke 16:19-31), awaiting the resurrection (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22), the judgment (Matthew 25:31-32; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12), and eternity (Matthew 25:34, 41, 46). God is very much concerned, and you should be equally concerned about the salvation of your soul or spirit (1 Corinthians 5:5; Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21; 5:19-20). He wishes none to perish (2 Peter 3:9); He would have all to be saved (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Be saved; be faithful; be ready.

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— Via Roanridge Reader, 2/12/18, Volume 33, Issue 06, Page 03
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What about Mormonism?
Derrick Dean

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith who claims to have received revelations from God in the 1800s. Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, insist they are part of the Christian orthodoxy (mainstream Christian churches that share the same foundational doctrines). Others disagree because the “revelations” of Joseph Smith, recorded in the Book of Mormon, are highly suspect. This book claims to reveal the history of ancient civilizations in America that had Hebrew and Christian beliefs.

No ancient copies of this book exist. No persons, places, or nations it lists have been found. There is absolutely zero historical or archaeological evidence to support Smith’s writings and there have been 3,913 changes in the book since its first printing. Smith, who claimed to be a prophet of God, made 64 specific prophecies. Only six were correct. Some of his prophecies included Jesus would return to earth by 1890 and the moon would be found to be inhabited by six-foot tall people. Should not a true “prophet of God” be 100% correct? In fact, Deuteronomy 18:21-22 provides that very test: If what the prophet says does not come to pass, he is not a prophet. Sounds like common sense.

Perhaps we should remember the biblical mandate “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). We are also warned about being taken in by deceitful teachings (I John 4: 1), human traditions (Colossians 2:8; Isaiah 29:13), emotions (Proverbs 28:26) and believing in myths (I Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Titus 1: 14).

— Via The Beacon (the bulletin of the Collegevue church of Christ), July 15, 2018
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News & Notes

Let us continue to remember in prayer Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) whose massive brain bleed, which also put him in a coma for more than a week, has left him paralyzed except for one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson will be undergoing treatment over the next few months, as a precautionary measure, following his recent cancer surgery that involved the removal of part of his liver.

We are glad that Olivia McCarthy is now over her sickness.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Danny Bartlett, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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)

The Gospel Observer (July 15, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Having a Good Name (Tom Edwards)
2) Acceptance (anonymous)
3) News & Notes
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Having a Good Name
Tom Edwards

It was Shakespeare who said,

“Good name in man and woman…
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash…
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed… “ (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3).

Shakespeare, apparently, realized the importance of a good name over even material wealth.

Beginning way before Shakespeare’s time, and up to our generation, the Bible has been expressing this truth for many centuries:

“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1, NASB).

Though the word “good” is in italics (because it is not in the original text), the implication of it is easy to infer by the context — and even more so by an Israelite of that day.  For, as Albert Barnes points out, “To the Hebrew, ‘name’ by itself conveyed the idea of good repute, just as ‘men without a name’ (compare Job 30:8 margin) are those sunk in ignominy.”  Job 30:8 declares,

“Fools, even those without a name,
They were scourged from the land” (emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word for “name” in these passages is “shem” — and actually pronounced as “shame.” But certainly the opposite of our English word “shame.”  For  “shem” is defined as “an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character” (James Strong).

In Genesis 6:4, “shem” is rendered as “renown,” in speaking of “the mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (emphasis mine).  These had made quite a name for themselves.

When we think of  “name” (from the Hebrew “shem”) to mean “honor, authority, and character,” who would better represent all of that than Jesus Christ Himself?  For the Father has bestowed on Him “the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

We have seen that the name of Jesus is so great that we are to honor Him as much as we honor God the Father — and to do any less would be a violation of God’s word:  “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” (John 5:22-23, emphasis mine).  Many people today and various religions need to realize this.  For they fail to give Jesus the honor He deserves.

In thinking on the meaning of “authority” in the Lord’s name, we know that Christians are to pray by that authority; and we often indicate that when closing our prayers with the phrase, “In the name of Jesus. Amen.”  This also often reminds me of what Jesus states in John 15, when pointing out the necessity of abiding in Him.  For in verse 5, He declares, “for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  But through Jesus Christ, by being redeemed by His atonement, we have the right and privilege to pray to God as our Father.

In the early church, miracles were performed “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 3:6, Acts 16:18) — by His authority.  When Peter was questioned concerning the healing of the lame man, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7), he answered by saying, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”  (vv. 8-10).

The account of that miraculous healing is given in the previous chapter.  The beggar, who had been carried to the temple-gate, had been lame from birth.  But Peter said to him, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — walk” (Acts 3:6)!  And it was so!

That miracle was witnessed by others who were then “filled with wonder and amazement.”  So Peter said to them, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.  But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all” (vv. 12-16).

What great power there is in the name of Jesus!  For He is Deity; and by His power, He created the universe (Jn. 1:1-3) and performed numerous miracles while on earth — such as giving eyesight to the blind; enabling the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the mute to speak.  He cast out demons, healed the sick and the afflicted, and even raised the dead back to life!

We can also be greatly impressed through what He has made, when seriously thinking about it, from the microscopic world to the immeasurable vastness of our universe.  In easily recognizing the intelligent design we see in all living things, it gives testimony toward the great Creator — and the very heavens indicate His eternal nature and also, therefore, His power that will never diminish (cf. Rom. 1:19-20).

With regard to shem’s meaning of “character,” we again can look to Jesus whose nature and moral quality was far above reproach.  For, while on earth, He lived a perfect life, having never sinned, and was always pleasing to His Father in heaven (Jn. 8:29; Heb. 4:15).  So not only did Jesus manifest Deity by His own life, thus revealing what His Father in heaven is like (cf.  John 1:18; John 14:7-9), but also set forth the perfect example of how we should be as human beings in all our relationships with one another and our concern for all.  For that is the godly character we are to develop.

In the King James Version and New American Standard, “good name” is found in only two passages — with the second being Ecclesiastes 7:1:

“A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.”

The need for having a good name is seen or implied in various passages of the Old and New Testaments.  May we each, therefore, always strive to have that good name by submitting to the name which is above every name, the name of Jesus Christ!  For then death will truly lead to that which is far better than anything we have ever, or will have ever, experienced on earth — and regardless of how much that was enjoyed!  For the bliss of heaven will always be infinitely and eternally greater!

(All scripture from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.)
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“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:6-8, NASB).
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Acceptance

From rejected to useful. That describes how much Mark changed in Paul’s eyes between Acts 15 and 2 Timothy 4. Mark didn’t let Paul’s earlier opinion of him get in his way of serving Christ, but persisted through his own conviction and fixed what needed fixing and improved what needed improving.  So should we.  Go with God.

— Anonymous

In 2 Timothy 4:11, during his second imprisonment in Rome, shortly before his death, Paul instructs, “…Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”    And in writing to the Colossians, during  his first Roman imprisonment, Paul declares about Mark, “…if he comes to you, welcome him” (Col. 4:10).
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News & Notes

Let us continue to remember in prayer Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) whose massive brain bleed, which also put him in a coma for more than a week, has left him paralyzed except for one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson will soon find out — if he hasn’t already — of what type of follow-up treatment he will or will not have, following the recent removal of cancer from his kidney.

Olivia McCarthy has been sick lately.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, 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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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)

The Gospel Observer (July 8, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Oneness of the Church (Harold Fite)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Matthew16_18b

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The Oneness of the Church
Harold Fite

The oneness of the church is unique. There is only one! It far transcends religious organizations founded by men.

Background

The church belonging to Christ was conceived in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and brought into existence by his power through Jesus Christ. The church was not a substitute for the Kingdom as the Premillennialist would have us believe. It came into existence according to God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10, 11). Man cannot thwart the purpose of God. God  envisioned a people that would know him, from the least to the greatest, and would have God’s laws written on their heart. He would be their God and they would be his people (Heb. 8:10, 11). “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4, 5). To foreordain or predestinate is to “decide and design prior to acting; making out boundaries or setting limits beforehand; to determine before.” To illustrate the above: He who would be President of these United States must be a natural born citizen, being thirty five years of age, having lived in this country fourteen years, and be willing to take the oath of office, upholding the Constitution. It could be said that the framers of the Constitution foreordained—chose those who would sit in the President’s chair. In like manner, God foreordained those whom he would adopt as sons. God did not choose or foreordain individuals—consigning some to salvation and others to damnation—but as a class of people for his own possession (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). The chosen are those in Christ by virtue of their obedient faith. They fulfill the requirements of adoption.

The Church Becomes a Reality

When Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he announced, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Approximately six months later the church had its beginning. Peter preached Christ on that occasion and 3,000 obeyed the gospel and were added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).  Note the definite article “the.” Not “a” church, but “the” church! Christ said “my church.”

Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). The word “purchase” means “to gain; to get something for oneself.” It conveys “possession.” When Christ purchased the church, he purchased people: “for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). He possessed those whom he purchased. He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession” (italics mine), zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14). Peter echoes the same truth in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” He presented the church unto himself (Eph. 5:27).

There is only one church recognized by the Lord. From the time God planned the church, until it was born, only one church was in his mind. It was never God’s intention to bring forth a multiplicity of churches (denominationalism). Christ built one church, and he is the head of it: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). He is “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22, 23). That being true, Paul dogmatically declares that “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4). If the church is the body, and the body is the church, and there is one body, it logically follows that there is one church! Denominationalism has no scriptural foundation! It is made up of many bodies (churches), founded by man, wearing different names and adhering to different faiths. This is not what God planned from the foundation of the world. We “were called in one body” (Col. 1:15). We are “baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). “But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Cor. 12:20).

Oneness of Those in the One Body

As the church is one body, there is oneness among those who compose the one body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the analogy of the physical body in explanation and application of the diversities of gifts. There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit. There are many members, but one body. Note the following verses, beginning with verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members. And all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” “For the body is not one member, but many” (v. 14). “But now there are many members, but one body” (v. 20). The human body is made up of various members operating in conjunction with the head. Each member has its work to do, but all work together for the benefit of the body. This shows the interdependence of the different members of the body on one another. “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee” (v. 21). The different members complement one another. Thus the spiritual  body of Christ is one body, but made up of different members, working together as per instruction from the head, Jesus Christ. The spiritual body of Christ is “knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part” (Eph. 4:16). This contributes to the increasing of the body. There is a oneness there, a mutual supportiveness, kinship, and like-mindedness. This is the reason why we “bear one another’s burdens.” When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. When one member is honored, all rejoice (1 Cor. 12:26). If one member of the physical body is injured, the entire body is affected. Whether one suffers or is honored, it touches other members of the spiritual body. We “rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12:15). This could be called sympathetic vibration: “vibration produced in one body by the vibration of exactly the same period in a neighboring body.” Strike one prong of a tuning fork and the tone is transmitted to the other prong, hence the musical term sympathy.

The believers gathered in Jerusalem “were of one heart and soul . . . they had all things common.” The apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to “stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).  “Seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).

Denominationalism has no justification in the Scriptures. Those who are being saved are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1). May we strive earnestly to attain that ideal oneness in the one body.

“All the churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).

— Via Truth Magazine, March 2007, Volume LI, Number 3, pp. 14-15
——————–

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News & Notes

Mary Vandevander was in the hospital last Saturday to Sunday afternoon, due to a heart problem that was giving her pain.  She is now back in the nursing home, in good spirits, and feeling better.

Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) had a massive brain bleed about 80 days ago and had been in a coma for more than a week.  He is now back home, but is still in bad shape, being able to move only his arm.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Rick Cuthbertson (who is now waiting to find out if he will be undergoing any precautionary treatment following the recent surgery that removed his cancer), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, and Michelle Rittenhouse.

Congratulations to Anita Young who is now a grandmother for the first time! Her daughter Elizabeth Harden gave birth on Friday to Leia, and they are both doing well.
——————–

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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)

 

The Gospel Observer (July 1, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Greatest Liberty (Bill Crews)
2) Pray for One Another (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

John8_31-32

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The Greatest Liberty
Bill Crews

According to Isaiah 61:1 the Messiah was to proclaim liberty to the captives. In a synagogue in His home town of Nazareth Jesus read the Isaiah passage and announced, “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears” (Lk. 4:16-21).

The captivity referred to is not political (being held prisoner in a government prison) or social (being owned as the slave of another), but spiritual (being in bondage to sin). The word of Christ, in fact, calls upon every soul to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1-7) and upon slaves to be obedient to their masters (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25), but no one is called upon to be content in sin or obedient to Satan. Sin is, after all, the most oppressive and the most destructive form of slavery. Don’t wait until life is over to discover this!

To certain Jews that had believed on Him (nominally, according to the context), Jesus said, “If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). They mistakenly said, “We have never yet been in bondage to any man” (vs. 33; had they forgotten the long bondage in Egypt? the Assyrian captivity? the 70 years of Babylonian captivity?, and other times of national oppression? And if they referred only to themselves, did they think they were now free from the Romans? But Jesus had in mind none of these things. However, they were also enslaved by sin and in bondage to the human traditions of their fathers.)

When Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin” (vs. 34), He made clear His meaning. Christ, the great Deliverer, came to set at liberty those who are enslaved by sin. Solomon said, “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). And Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). However, full release is offered by and through Christ, and to the extent that mankind is made free from sin, other forms of oppressive bondage will in time disappear.

The saints at Rome, like all other saints who were saved through Christ, were once the bondservants of sin, but they became obedient from the heart unto that form of teaching unto which they were delivered, and were then made free from sin and became bondservants of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). They traded a bondage that was oppressive and destructive for a bondage that was beneficial and salutary (see Matt. 11:28-30 on “yoke”).

Because of the liberating power of the truth, the gospel of Christ, it is called “the law of liberty” (James 1:25; 2:12). Paul refers to it as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and declares that it made him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). To the saints in Galatia Paul wrote: “For freedom did Christ set us free; stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

And how are Christians to use, rather than abuse, this freedom? “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another” (Gal. 5:13). “As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16 — notice the context, vv. 13-17). We should think of our freedom in Christ more as freedom from things that are oppressive and burdensome rather than as freedom to do as we please or as freedom from restraint and responsibility

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 32 Issue 45 Page 02
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1Tim2_1-2

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Pray for One Another
R.J. Evans

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, a young evangelist he referred to as “my true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Both of the letters are filled with instructions, exhortations and admonitions that would come under the category of commands that Paul was giving his “son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:3, 18; 4:11; 5:7, 21; 6:17; 2 Tim. 4:1). Among other things, Paul commanded him to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15); live the Word (1 Tim. 4:12); preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). But in this article let us note the exhortation Paul gave Timothy concerning prayer: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Prayer is one of the most important duties and privileges of a Christian. And I am convinced that praying for others (“intercessions”) should take up a large portion of our prayer time. “I am praying for you” are some of the most encouraging words I have ever heard from others, especially during difficult times. There are some valid reasons for believing this.

Paul is giving a command to intercede by prayer for all men. In the next verse he mentions some in particular— “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Ephesians 6:18 and James 5:16 also commands us to pray for others. Thus, it is a duty commanded by God for every Christian to pray for others.

Our prayers for others manifest brotherly love and an unselfish attitude. These two areas are so important in the life of a Christian. The Apostle Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but 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). This being true, the requests we make for others are just as important as the requests we make for ourselves. When the Lord answers our prayers for others, no doubt, our faith is increased. Jesus said loving our neighbor as our self is the second greatest commandment (Mk. 12:31).

The Apostle Paul prayed for all the churches where he labored. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians, he assured them of his prayers on their behalf. He said I “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:16-17). The list of things he asked God to do for the Colossians was similar (Col. 1:9-12). Epaphras offered fervent prayers for the Colossian brethren. Paul told them, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).

I have no doubt that Christians enjoy many blessings from God because some brother or sister in Christ prayed for them. May we not forget that praying for others should be a big part of our lives. Such encouraging words when some faithful brother or sister tells us, “I am praying for you”! Thus, may we constantly practice what James was teaching when he said “pray for one another” (Jas. 5:16).

— bulletin article of the Southside church of Christ, June 10, 2018
——————–

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News & Notes

Rick Cuthbertson will be undergoing some kind of treatment, as a precautionary measure, following the recent removal of all his cancer.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm), Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant), Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), Elizabeth Young Harden (has a baby due July 4), and Marie Maymoldi (who is also expecting).

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

Being the first Sunday of the month, our p.m. service today will primarily be the singing of spiritual songs led by several of the men. Song requests can be made prior to the service.
——————–

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).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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)