The Gospel Observer (January 20, 2019)

“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) The Heavenly Mindset (Dennis Stackhouse)
2) Enlightened Eyes (Wayne Goff)
3) “A Cappella” (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Mat6_20

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The Heavenly Mindset
Dennis Stackhouse

In writing the church at Colossae, Paul said this in Colossians 3:1: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”  We know the apostle is addressing baptized believers, as these people had been raised up with Christ, according to Colossians 2:12.  With that in mind, all Christian people should recognize this teaching as an encouragement to not allow worldly matters to interfere with a proper mindset, a heavenly mindset.  After all, Paul does instruct us to “keep seeking the things above.”  In other words, this is something the Christian never stops doing; it is a continual exercise, we are to keep seeking the things above as long we dwell in these earthly bodies.  This is the case because that’s where Christ is and we want to be where He is.  Our goal should be that of reaching heaven.

Colossians 3:2 continues this thought: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  If we can continually fill our minds with “the things above,” such as God and Christ in their heavenly home, the heavenly preparations being made for Christians (John 14:2-3) and our expectation to imitate God and Christ (Ephesians 5:1; I Corinthians 11:1), then our lives will be more reflective of what God wants them to be.  So it is entirely appropriate for Christian men and women to remove their focus from worldly things and concentrate their thoughts on heaven; in fact, the Scriptures strongly encourage us to do so.  Let’s consider a few more examples of this.

In Matthew 6:19-21, our Lord said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If worldly treasures have been replaced by heavenly treasures, the Christian truly is seeking the things above.  Jesus plainly said that our heart will follow after our treasure, so if that treasure is in heaven, we have our priorities in order.  Paul indicated that his desire was “to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better,” in Philippians 1:23.  Paul was undeniably focusing on the heavenly home.  In Philippians 3:14 he also said: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  If this is not a focus on heaven, I’m not sure what it is.  Then in Philippians 3:20 we learn that the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven.  Doesn’t it make sense to focus on the “country” where our citizenship is?

The apostle wrote in II Timothy 4:8: “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  Could there be any better reason to embrace the heavenly mindset?  If we really did make heaven our priority, perhaps the things of this world would not be so troublesome to us; perhaps we would eliminate a great deal of frustration and anxiousness.  Make sure that heaven is your goal.

— Via article from the La Vista church of Christ
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Enlightened Eyes
Wayne Goff

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter one reads, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…”  (vv. 17-19). Paul prayed that the Ephesians would have enlightened eyes. My prayer for all of us is that we would have enlightened eyes, too.

Enlightened eyes see things that others do not see. In this text, God is giving us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” as the means of that enlightenment. Today God’s revelation is fulfilled and complete, so that the Holy Spirit enlightens our eyes through the knowledge of the Scriptures. Additionally, wisdom may be prayed for so that this knowledge might be used properly. God gladly gives us wisdom when we desire it and ask for it (James 1:5).

Do you desire to have your “eyes” of understanding enlightened? If you do, then you already know to read the Scriptures habitually, for therein is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Having read the Scriptures, you meditate on them day and night (Psalm 1:2). Having meditated on the Scriptures, you also learn to rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Finally, having done all of that, you make a personal application of them (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

More specifically, in our Ephesian text, Paul and God desire that your eyes may be enlightened so that you may know:

1. What is the hope of His calling. If you do not have the hope of eternal life, then you will not remain faithful throughout your lifetime. Satan is always striving to place doubt in your mind about going to heaven. God’s Word removes that doubt and strengthens that conviction as part of the enlightening of the eyes!

2.  What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Does Paul mean for us to comprehend what God gets from
His scheme of redemption? Or does Paul want us to comprehend the riches of our future glory? I have always taught that God wants us to know and appreciate what He has gotten out of the eternal plan of salvation. But we undoubtedly should strive to comprehend the greatness of our eternal reward as well! In order to do this, consider Revelation 20-21 as a starter. Meditate on the glories of heaven, and you will do more to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

3. What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. We need to be reminded constantly that God is working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our eternal security is absolute from God’s standpoint. Nothing can prevent us from being saved, except ourselves! Read Romans 8:31-39 to appreciate this concept. Read also John 10:27-28 for another example of God’s power to keep us saved. Yes, we must “hear” the Shepherd’s voice and “follow” Him. Yes, we must “trust and obey” His will! But with God’s help we can become more spiritually-minded, have a greater enlightenment of our spiritual eyes, and rest assured of the promised rest that is before us. The real question remains: “How much do you desire to have your spiritual vision enlightened?”  Enough to seek and find?

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 02, Page 02, January 13, 2019
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“A Cappella”
Greg Gwin

The word “a cappella” is defined by the dictionary as: “music without instrumental accompaniment.”  It comes from a Latin word which literally means “as in the church.”  Interestingly, the etymology (origin) of this word, proves that at the beginning of the church (and for many centuries thereafter), the music in worship was singing  only, without  instrumental accompaniment.

— Via The Beacon, January 13, 2019
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“Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray. 
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch” (Psalm 5:1-3, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:  Pat & A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Rick Cuthbertson, Jim Lively, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Myrna Jordan, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

The Walnut Street church of Christ will be having a gospel meeting February 6-10. Wednesday through Friday: 7 p.m.  Saturday: 10:30 a.m.  Sunday: 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Guest speaker: Ryan Hasty (of Auburn, Alabama). The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street, Jesup, GA.
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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 sermon

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