The Gospel Observer (December 16, 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) “Lest You Become Weary and Discouraged in Your Souls” (R.J. Evans)
2) The Conversion of the Ethiopian (Mike Johnson)
3) News & Notes
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“..Lest You Become Weary and Discouraged in Your Souls”
R.J. Evans

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged”  (Heb. 12:3).

The devil uses various cunning and deceptive means to lure a child of God back into sin.  One of the strongest and most pervasive is discouragement, to which many Christians succumb.  The Apostle Paul said, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).

Trying to cope with the present, while worrying about the future causes people to become discouraged.  Someone once said, “God gives us strength to bear our present burdens, but He never calculates for us to carry over yesterday’s grief and borrow on tomorrow’s worry.”  We must, with God’s help, bear today’s burdens, and let tomorrow take care of itself.  Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34).

Allowing others to “get us down” can also be a cause of discouragement.  For example, we invite someone to worship services, and with their assurance that they will definitely be there, we excitedly await their coming.  But suppose they don’t show up.  What do we do?  While that is disappointing, we should not allow it to get us to the point of deciding not to ever invite anyone else to services.  Disinterest on the part of some is disheartening and sad, but there are others who are just as lost and would love to hear and obey the gospel.  We must keep on working until we find those who are desirous of truth and spiritual matters.  Yes, men often let us down, but may we ever be mindful of the Lord’s promise: “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5).

Sometimes we become discouraged by the small number of Christians who make up the local church where we worship.  But rest assured, if we are worshiping God “in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24), the Lord will be with us when we meet— “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).

Sometimes when our sins are rebuked by the preacher or the elders, we get discouraged (as well as offended) and become unfaithful.  However, we should appreciate their efforts and their interest in our salvation.  Preachers have been given the charge to “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).  Concerning the elders, Christians are told to “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).

It is true, we all may succumb to discouragement at times.  No doubt, Satan uses discouragement to lure Christians back into his domain.  But we must resist the devil (Jas. 4:7).  We must therefore resist becoming discouraged.  We have too much for which to be thankful here in this life, as well as the glorious hope and promise of everlasting life in heaven.  The Apostle Paul admonished, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).  Consider further the inspired words of the Hebrew writer “looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:15).  Again, let us look and labor diligently…“lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls”  (Heb. 12:3).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, October 7, 2018
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The Conversion of the Ethiopian
Mike Johnson

The conversion case of the eunuch from Ethiopia is one of the more familiar conversion cases in the Bible.  We know the facts are accurate because they come from the inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16-17).

Acts 8 is where the conversion is recorded.  The account takes a natural division.  First, verses 26-29 tell us about the bringing together of the preacher and the sinner.  Next, verses 30-35 reveal Philip “preaching Jesus” to the Ethiopian, and then verses 36-39 tell of the response of the eunuch.  Consider some important lessons to be learned from the conversion case.

We see the importance of the individual. Philip, according to Acts 8:5-25, had been preaching in the area of Samaria.  This was a populated area and was a place where Philip had much success.  Yet, an angel of God spoke to Philip and told him to go to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza.  There he met the eunuch and preached to him.  Thus, Philip was sent from a populated area to preach to one person.  This shows us that God views each individual as important.  He wants salvation for everyone (II Pet. 3:9).

A religious man needed to be saved.   The eunuch was a religious man.  He had been to Jerusalem to worship God (v. 27).  Nevertheless, he still needed to hear the truth and obey Christ so that he might be saved.  Such was also the case with Cornelius who was a God-fearing man (Acts 10:2, 22) but was an unsaved man (Acts 11:14).  It takes more than being a religious person to be saved.

Preaching Jesus meant preaching baptism.  Verse 35 says that Philip “…preached unto him Jesus.”  After hearing “Jesus preached,” they came to a certain water, and the eunuch said, “See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”  This helps us to see that preaching Jesus involves preaching baptism.  The Bible tells us that baptism is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38).  Many claim to “preach Jesus,” and yet they hardly ever mention the subject of baptism.

The proper mode of baptism is seen.  The Bible teaches that baptism is a  burial” (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12).  The word translated baptism means  “immersion.”  The case of the eunuch (Acts 8) is in perfect accord with the rest of the Bible’s teaching that baptism is a burial or immersion.  They came “unto a certain water” (v. 36), they “went down both into the water” (v. 38), and they “came up out of the water” (v. 39).  The language is quite clear if immersion is being described.  However, it is difficult to understand if sprinkling or pouring water is under consideration.  Sprinkling or pouring water on a person’s head is not baptism at all.  The Bible teaches that baptism is immersion or burial.

He confessed Christ.  The eunuch was not required to confess and memorize various articles of faith or to pledge allegiance to a denomination before his baptism.  No, he simply confessed Christ (Rom. 10:10).  Many are guilty of adding conditions before baptism that the Lord does not require.

He was baptized immediately.  The eunuch did not have to wait for the church to vote on him before his baptism.  He did not have to wait for others to decide to be baptized so that they could have a big baptizing day.  He did not have to tell his experience.  He simply responded to God’s Word and became a Christian.  He was baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:27).  Have you ever read in the Bible where one had to be “voted on” before he could be baptized?

The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch serves as a pattern for us today.  Each individual is important to God and worthy of our teaching.  Our teaching must center on Christ and baptism cannot be ignored in salvation.  Most important, we must follow God’s will explicitly and not take it upon ourselves to change His will for our convenience.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 4, December 2018
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News & Notes

Shirley Davis is feeling better.  Though the hurt on the side of her leg since the surgery became more of a pain yesterday, she sounds in good spirits and has been thankful for the food brought to her by some of the brethren and for their visits with her.

We are glad that Melotine Davis’ gall bladder surgery went well.

Joyce Rittenhouse is now almost 90% healed of her Bell’s palsy as she continues to improve, but is still having vision trouble with  one of her eyes.

Others to remember in prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Judy Daugherty, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rick Cuthbertson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
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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 services9:00 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) 281-9917
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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