The Gospel Observer (March 31, 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) Isaiah 2:1-5 (2): The Nature Of The Church (Russell Dunaway)
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Isa2_3

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Isaiah 2:1-5 (2): The Nature Of The Church
Russell Dunaway

In our last article, we observed that the prophet Isaiah foretold the establishment of the church, and that his prophecy was fulfilled on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. But Isaiah said some other things about the church of the Lord that I hope we can see in this article. Isaiah prophesied concerning the nature of the church as well as the establishment of the church. Isaiah said, “It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills.” I understand, and hope you understand, that Isaiah was not saying that the church would be established in some literal mountain top or on some literal hill top. Isaiah is using a figurative language to show that the church was to be exalted in its nature, that the church was to occupy an exalted position in the heart of man. The church of the Lord is the only institution known to man which is completely spiritual in its nature.

In Luke 17, when the Pharisees questioned Jesus concerning the coming of His kingdom, Jesus answered them saying, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall ye say, Lo here! or Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus is simply saying that the kingdom of God, the church, is not a material kingdom built with man’s hands, but that it was to be a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of God can only exist in the lives of those who have had the seed of the kingdom, the word of God (Lk. 8:11), sown in their hearts. The kingdom of God is within. It dwells in the heart, the love, and the affections of its members. We are obligated to God to give the church the exalted position in our hearts that He gave the church in the Word of God.

In Matthew 13:44-47, Jesus taught that the kingdom of God ought to be the most important thing in our lives. He compared it to a merchant seeking after goodly pearls who, when he had found that one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and purchased that pearl for himself. Again, Jesus said that the church was like a treasure hid in a field which, when a man hath found it, he sells all that he has, in order to purchase that field. The church ought to be more important to us than all the material things in the world combined. It is to be exalted in our lives to the position that God gave it in the Bible.

God exalted the church. We ought to keep it that way. Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). If you do not love the church, I can tell you the reason why. It is because you have not placed your treasure there. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The church must be exalted!

Isaiah continued his prophecy saying, “. . . all nations shall flow unto it.” The church is universal in its nature. The Law of Moses was for the Jew and Jew alone. But the gospel of Christ was universal — “all nations shall flow unto it.” Under the law of Moses, the Gentile was separated from God and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But God’s eternal purpose for the church was to include the Gentile as well as the Jew. What God has provided for the Jew under the gospel of Christ, He has provided for the Gentile. Many people think that God has something for the Jew when this life is over that He does not have for the Gentile. Such is not the case. In Ephesians 3:6 Paul said, “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” What God has provided for the Jew, He has also provided for the Gentile. Everything past, present, and future is available to the Jew and to the Gentile alike. In Christ, the Gentile is a fellow heir of the promise God made to Abraham in the past. He is a fellow member of the body of Christ in the present. He is a fellow partaker of the promise of eternal life in the future. The Gentile will receive the same reward as the Jew. Therefore, Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Church is responsible for carrying the gospel into every nook and cranny of the earth. Any man in any comer of the globe is subject to the same terms of the gospel as you and I. It is our responsibility, as members of the church, to carry that gospel into all the world. Are we doing that? We read in Colossians 1:23 that in Paul’s day, the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven. They had no radios or televisions. They had no printing presses or newspapers. They had no cars or planes. But they did the work God gave them. And we shall stand and give account unto God if we fail in the meeting of our responsibility.

Isaiah continued his prophecy saying, “Many people shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He shall teach us of His ways . . . . ” The church was to be a taught or instructed church. No man can become a member of the church of the Lord except he first is taught the will of the Lord. Under the law of Moses, a man was born into a covenant relationship with God by his physical birth. Then, he was taught to “know the Lord” (Heb. 8:9-11). Under the New Covenant, the gospel, a man is first taught to “know the Lord,” and then by the “new birth” he is able to enter into a covenant relationship with God (John 6:44,45). It was through the teaching of the apostles on Pentecost that the church was established. No man can become a child of God today except he first is taught the will of God.

Isaiah continues, “. . . and we will walk in his paths.” The church is an obedient church. It is not enough to be taught the will of God. Man must obey the will of God to become a child of God. On the day of Pentecost, after the apostles had taught those Jews, the Jews rendered obedience to the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:37-41). Learning God’s will was not enough. God’s will had to be obeyed (Matt. 7:21-27; Jas. 1:19-22). The church is made up of an obedient membership.

Isaiah continued his prophecy: “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into prunning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” The church is peaceful in nature. Before the death of Christ, the law of Moses stood as a wall of separation between the Jew and the Gentile. But Jesus died in order to make peace between the nations. Paul declared in Ephesians 2:13-16:

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Jesus fulfilled the law of Moses in His death, and took it out of the way by nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:13). In place of that law, Christ established a new man, the church, in which both Jew and Gentile could be reconciled to God and live forever at peace with God. In Romans 5:1 Paul said, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” A man does only one thing when he obeys the gospel of Christ; he makes peace with God. When a man obeys the gospel of Christ, he is no longer an enemy of God, but makes peace with God. No man can live at peace with God outside the church. It is only in the church that the peace of God which passeth all understanding can be made available unto man. In Romans 14:17 Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” There can be no peace without happiness. There can be no happiness without righteousness. When the righteousness of God fills the lives of men and women, they will be happy, and when happy, they will live at peace with God and with their fellow man. The church is presented in nature.

— Via Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 6, pp. 169-170, March 15, 1984
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“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
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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) 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)

The Gospel Observer (March 24, 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) Isaiah 2:1-5 (1) (Russell Dunaway)
2) News & Notes
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Isaiah 2:1-5 (1)
Russell Dunaway

The Establishment of the Church

One of the things setting the Bible apart from all other books ever written are the prophecies contained in the Old Testament Scriptures. Nothing like Old Testament prophecy can be found in any other book ever written. Prophecy sets the Bible in a class of its own. In this article, we are going to begin to study the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-5, and seek to understand the meaning and fulfillment of that prophecy. Thus, in the very beginning, it is important that we establish a few principles concerning prophecy and the interpretation of prophecy.

All to often men think of prophecy as being the mere predicting of future events. Such is not the case with the prophecies of the Old Testament. Prophecy of the Old Testament is more than a mere predicting of future events. A weatherman predicts what the weather will be in the future. His predictions are based on knowledge of certain facts that he has of the things that affect the weather. He knows the location of the high and low pressure centers. He knows the location of the cold and warm fronts. He knows the direction and the velocity of the wind. He knows the temperature and barometric pressure. It is with a knowledge of these facts that the weatherman is able to make somewhat accurate weather forecasts, or predictions of what tomorrow’s weather will be.

The Old Testament prophets had no knowledge concerning the things which they prophesied. There were no world conditions on which they could base their prophecies. There was nothing on this earth that could move the prophets to say what they said. Peter wrote, “. . . knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20,21). Prophecy did not come by the wisdom of man. It was not the product of any man’s own private interpretation of world trends and events of the time. Prophecy came by the will of God.

Peter, speaking of the salvation which was in the Church, wrote,

“Of which salvation the prophets inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven . . .” (1 Pet. 1:10-12).

The inspired prophets desired to know and to understand the meaning of the things they prophesied. All that was revealed unto them concerning these things was that it was not for themselves that they prophesied, but for those who should hear the Gospel of Christ as it was revealed by the Holy Ghost. The prophets did not understand what was prophesied. They did not understand that it was not for themselves until God revealed it unto them that they prophesied for those who should hear the gospel. Old Testament prophecy was given for the benefit of you and me, for the benefit of those who should hear the gospel of Christ.

With this in mind, we now point your attention to the facts revealed in the New Testament as we endeavor to understand the interpretation and fulfillment of Isaiah 2:1-5.

Isaiah said, “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains . . . ” To understand when this prophecy was fulfilled, it is essential that we determine when “the last days” began.

Every student of the Bible is aware of the fact that the history of God’s dealings with man can be divided into three ages. The first of these three ages is known as the “Patriarchal Age” and began with the creation of man. This was an age of family religion. The term “patriarchal” comes from Latin and means “father government.” The “Patriarchal Age” began with creation and lasted until God led Israel out of Egypt and gave His law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

When God gave His law to Moses, the second age, known as the “Mosaic Age,” began. This was an age of national religion. The law was for the Jews, and the Jews only. The “Mosaic Age” lasted until the death of Christ on Calvary.

When Jesus came, He said to His disciples, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me …. Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Lk. 24:44-47). When Jesus was crucified, He fulfilled all that was written in the law, the prophets, and the psalms concerning Himself, and took the law out of the way by nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:14). This marked the beginning of the third age, the “Gospel Age.”

In Acts 2, Luke tells us that “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the apostles were gathered in Jerusalem with one accord.” Fifty-three days after Christ’s death, the disciples were in Jerusalem as Christ had commanded them (Luke 24:47-49), and God poured out His Spirit upon them (Acts 2:14). The apostles began to speak as the Spirit of God gave them utterance, and the Jews which had gathered at Jerusalem to observe the Pentecost feast were unable to understand what was happening. They began to reason among themselves, and some mocked the apostles, saying, “These men are drunk on new wine.” Peter answered this false charge as He began the first Gospel sermon to ever be preached. Peter said, “These men are not drunk on new wine as ye suppose, for it is but the third hour of the day.” The first Gospel sermon began at 9:00 on Sunday morning. If these men are not drunk, Peter, then what is the explanation of what is happening? Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” What had Joel said? “It shall come to pass in the last days. . . ” Joel gave a prophecy that was to be fulfilled “in the last days. ” Isaiah said that the Lord’s house was to be established “in the last days.” Peter said, “This is that.” The day of Pentecost marked the beginning of “the last days.”

Peter proceeded to proclaim the gospel of Christ, and for the first time, “repentance and remission of sins” in the name of Christ was preached (Acts 2:37,38). Luke said, “They that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Again, Luke said, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). For the very first time, the Church was spoken of as being in existence.

Isaiah had prophesied over 700 years before that the church would be established “in the last days.” John the Baptist came preparing the way for Christ and said, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The church had not yet been established. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It had not yet been established. But in Acts 2, Luke said that the church was in existence, and that the Lord was adding unto it daily. Thus, we have a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The “last days” were come, the church was established.

— Via Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 5, pp. 141-142, March 1, 1984
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“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name” (Psalm 63:4, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Kayleigh Tanner,  who recently had a kidney removed because of a tumor,  also had a tumor removed from her liver, and has another in her lung.  On a positive note, the doctors were pleased with the shrinkage of the tumor on her kidney, as well as the one in her lung, due to the chemo.  She is now undergoing chemo every week until September.

Amris Bedford will also be continuing radiation treatments for her brain tumor, with chemo as an option.  She is only 9 years old, and first had this kind of tumor when 2.  But with treatments, had been rid of it until recently.

Others to also be praying for:  Pat &  A.J. Joyner, James Medlock, Jim Lively, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis,  Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse,  John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

I (Tom Edwards) have now undergone the second surgery for the cataracts that had been in both eyes.  Multifocal lenses were also implanted for both.  I am still applying the different eye drops each day as the eyes heal, and have already noticed a major improvement in my vision — and hope that will continue.

Our Gospel Meeting with Gene Taylor will be April 7-10.  We will be meeting at our regular times on Sunday (9, 10, and 5); but our evening services for Monday through Wednesday will begin at 7:30.
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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) 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)



The Gospel Observer (March 17, 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) Blaming Others for Our Sins (Mike Johnson)
2) A Man Called David (Robert F. Turner)
3) News & Notes
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Blaming Others for Our Sins
Mike Johnson

It is very common for people to try to blame their mistakes on others; we have a tendency to want to shift responsibility. People also blame SIN on other people.  Many did this in biblical times; regrettably, the blaming of sin on others also takes place a lot today.  Commonly blamed for people’s sins today are:

1.  Satan — The idea “the Devil made me do it” is very common.  At least people who say this realize Satan is involved in sin.  However, they may not understand that responsibility for sin cannot be shifted to Satan. Eve, in the beginning, tried to blame Satan when she sinned.  She partook of the forbidden fruit and said in Genesis 3:13, “ . . .  The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”  It is true Satan tempts people; he does influence people to sin (I Cor. 7:5).  However, Satan can be resisted (James 4:7), and the fact that Satan tempts us does not mean we are not responsible for our sins.  It does no good to try and shift the blame to Satan.

2.  God — Some people actually try to blame God for their sins.  Perhaps this is what Aaron was trying to do in Exodus 32. He tried to explain the golden calf he made for the people to worship by pointing out (v. 24) that the people gave him the gold, and he went on to say, “ . . .  then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.”  Was he trying to say that it was some kind of miracle from God?

It is important to understand that God is not responsible for our sins.  James 1:13 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man . . . .”  Thus, we cannot blame God.

3.  Wives — Some husbands try to blame their wives for many things and some even try to blame them for their sins.

Consider one Old Testament example.  Earlier we noted that Eve tried to blame Satan for her sin.  Adam did not try to blame Satan, but instead, he tried to blame his wife (Eve) for his part in the eating of the forbidden fruit.  She actually did give her husband the fruit to eat and had an influence on his deed.  Nevertheless, this did not make him less guilty.

Further, when a man feels an inclination to shift responsibility for his sins to his wife to justify himself, he should consider the Old Testament example of Job and his wife.  Job suffered much affliction, and his wife told him that he ought to just curse God and die.  Job rebuked her and said in Job 2:10, “. . .  shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?  In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  He resisted his wife’s bad advice.

4.  Husbands — At times, a woman who is a faithful Christian will have a husband who is not a Christian.  Sometimes she may be neglectful in her service to God, and when confronted about her neglect, may blame her spiritual problems on her husband.  Again, the husband may have caused her to become discouraged.  (Generally, it is more difficult for a person to be faithful to God if his/her spouse is unfaithful.)  Yet, the wife is still responsible for her sins.  Many women have remained faithful to God even though their husbands have discouraged them spiritually by their words and deeds.

Peter gave some good advice to women, whose husbands were not believers, in I Peter 3:1 when he said, “Likewise, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”  The woman is to win her husband to Christ by her “conversation,” i.e. manner of life.

5. Preachers — Sometimes people become offended by something a preacher says in his sermon and refuse to attend any more services.  They sometimes blame their unfaithfulness on the preacher when they are asked about their neglect.  It may have been that the preacher said something that was correct and was needful in his sermon.  II Timothy 4:2 says that he is to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.”  It is also true that a preacher can make a mistake in judgment as preachers are not perfect.  Regardless of mistakes that others might make, we must remain faithful to God.  We can blame the preacher for our neglect, but we are still responsible and must answer to God.

6. Other Christians — Sometimes a Christian is mistreated by another Christian.  He then may try to excuse his neglect in serving God by the fact he was mistreated.  Some might say they will not attend services because there are “so many hypocrites there.”  These are trying to blame their spiritual neglect on others, but they are still responsible for their sins.

Many people take the easiest course with regard to their sins.  Instead of repenting, they simply blame others.  It does no good for us to shift responsibility.

A person who is not a Christian must believe (Heb. 11:6), repent (Acts 17:30-31), confess Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized (Acts 2:38).  A Christian who sins must repent, pray, and confess his sins (Acts 8:22, James 5:16, I Jn. 1:8-10).  God will not excuse any of us because of what someone else did or did not do.  We bear responsibility of our own sins.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 2, October 2018
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A Man Called David
Robert F. Turner

Often it is asked, “How could David be called a man after God’s own heart”? (Acts 13:22) “Like David” usually means the querist sees only the sinful side of David’s life — and it is certainly there. But someone has answered this question, “Read Psalms!”

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (119:59). “My soul waiteth in silence for God only: From Him cometh my salvation” (62:1). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked …but his delight is in the law of Jehovah…” (1:1-f).

“Preserve me, O God; for in thee do I take refuge” (16:1). “I love thee, O Jehovah, my strength. Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer” (18:1). “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will make mention of the name of Jehovah our God” (20:7).

“Who can discern his errors? Clear thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, and I shall be clear from great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer” (19:12-14).

“I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee” (41:4). “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight.” “Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.” “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.” “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (From Psm. 51).

“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters He restoreth my soul…” Many thousands knew the “Shepherd Psalm.” But David knew the Shepherd.

— Via The Auburn Beacon
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“Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” (Psalm 61:1-4, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Last Wednesday, 3-year old Kayleigh Tanner had a tumor removed from her liver.  The doctors were pleased to see that the tumor had shrunk, as well as the one in her lungs, due to the chemo. From March 25 to 29, she will be having chemo every day, which will be followed by chemo every week until September. As mentioned last week, she also had a kidney removed recently, due to a tumor.

Amris Bedford was also mentioned last week as being treated at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis because of a brain tumor, which she first had 7 years ago when just 2 years old; but it has recently returned. She will be undergoing radiation treatments, and with chemo as an option.

Pat Joyner had outpatient surgery last week that she is now healing from, and has been in some pain during that process.

A.J. Joyner will be having an EKG this Monday, which is required for a checkup on the sinus problem he has long had.

James Medlock was transferred to the Harborview Health System at 1600 Riverside Avenue, here in Waycross.  Due to his flu, he is being kept in isolation. And will also be undergoing physical therapy to be able to get back on his feet.

Others to also be praying for: Jim Lively; Anita Young; Doyle Rittenhouse; Bennie, Deborah, and Penny Medlock; Shirley Davis; Mary Vandevander;  Michelle Rittenhouse; John Stoval; Everleigh and Hazel Greer; Danny Hutcheson; Roger Montgomery; Mary Aldrich; Rex & Frankie Hadley; and Tommy Lin

——————–

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) 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)



The Gospel Observer (March 10, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Almost or Altogether? (Rick Lanning)
2) A Broken Glass (Rufus Clifford)
3)  News & Notes
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Acts26_28b

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Almost or Altogether?
Rick Lanning

The old saying, “Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades” makes a very illustrative point. You get a point in horse shoes even if you don’t get a ringer simply by being “close” to the stake. The purpose in military combat is simply to get the hand grenade “almost” to the target, allowing the explosion to damage or destroy the surrounding area. This popular idiom emphasizes the exception, not the rule. The rule being, “almost is not good enough.”

“Almost” jumping over a ten foot hole lands you at the bottom with an injury or death. “Almost” winning the game leaves you as a loser. “Almost” passing the test means you failed. “Almost” starting the car in a Minnesota winter means you are stranded and paying big bucks for a tow truck and auto repairs. “Almost” being in Noah’s ark means you drowned in the flood. You can see that “almost” just doesn’t get it. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but not many. And the one example of that rule that is sadder than all others put together is the story of King Agrippa.

Paul had been arrested and had already given his defense to the Roman commander Claudius Lysias (Ac. 22-23), and to the Roman governor Felix, who sadly replied: “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’” (Ac 24:25). His convenient time likely never came, leaving him “almost” saved. Two years later Paul stands before the next governor Portius Festus, and when seeing he would not get a fair trial, used his right of Roman citizenship to say, “I appeal to Caesar!” Before sending him Festus needed some worthy reason and so had Paul appear before his court, having invited King Agrippa to hear the case. Paul’s power of reason and persuasion hit home to the king. Listen to this exchange in Acts 26:26-28:

“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

This Biblical record of the trial leaves us with the distinct impression that this governor and this king never obeyed the gospel. They were both oh-so-close, but as we have learned, almost doesn’t count. Just like you cannot be “almost pregnant” (either you are, or you aren’t), neither can you be “almost Christian.” Either you are born again, and thus have put on that “new man” in Christ, or you are still that “old man” who stands condemned (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10). You can’t be half old and half new. You are one or the other. Which is it?

Yes, “almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades,” for it sure doesn’t count in salvation, nor will it count for anything at Judgment. You will cry out, “Lord, Lord…” but He will only reply, “Depart from Me, I do not know you” (Matt. 7:23). Don’t be almost, but altogether, saved. Become a Christian today!

—  Via Online Bulletins from the Northwest church of Christ, August 5, 2015
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broken glass

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A Broken Glass
Rufus Clifford

I was getting ready to go to service and I went into the bathroom one last time and then it happened! A blue drinking glass that I had set on the edge of my bathroom counter was hit by my coat as I turned to walk out of the room. Boom! Well at least that’s what it sounded like to me! I turned around and couldn’t believe how many pieces of glass were lying on my bathroom and bedroom floor. I guess they don’t make them like they use too, because when it hit the floor pieces shattered and went everywhere. I didn’t have time to clean it up then and when I got back from church I actually had forgotten about that shattered glass. That is until I started to walk into my bathroom. I got my trusty rainbow air purification system (or vacuum to non-rainbow owners) and tried to clean up all that glass.

You might be wondering what this little story has to do with spiritual matters? Well, as the days went by little pieces of glass began showing up in the strangest places. The first one showed up on one of my toes and stayed there for two days. The second one showed up Friday night in Carey’s foot, at which point she removed hers, and since she did such a good job I let her remove mine as well! I began to think about how that shattered glass was like life. Everything can be going along just right and then our lives can become shattered by some trial or contrary wind that blows in our life. We have the choice at that point to let our life remain shattered or we can do something about it.

I thought about how sin often times is the culprit that shatters many lives. Paul said in (Rom.3:23) “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I thought about how God fixes our shattered lives when we obey His holy word. (Heb.8:12) “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” I thought about how shattered lives can be cleaned up but often times there remains some consequence, some little thing that pops back up as a result of the trouble that caused the disaster. The psalmist said in (Ps.55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” I can’t put back the pieces of that glass where they once were but I can put back the pieces of my life with God’s help anytime. He can fix any broken life!

We sing the song “Bring Christ your broken life, so marred by sin, He will create anew make whole again” Has your life ever been shattered by some unforeseen event? If not, get ready for that’s part of living on this earth. When it does happen, I hope you will remember this little story about my broken glass. I hope you will clean up the mess and go on with your life!

God loves us and sent Christ into the world so a life shattered by sin or some misfortune could be made whole again! I thought that glass was helpful before I broke it. But looking back, I see now, I’ve gotten more help from it since it shattered!

— Via The Old Hickory Bulletin, December 24, 2017, Volume 37, #52
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“The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of  the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him  out of them all.”

— Psalm 34:17-19, NASB
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Billy Harris Sr. was transferred to the Jacksonville Memorial Hospital last Sunday where they did a cauterization on the part of his intestine that had been bleeding and was able to stop it.  They also had him swallow a video camera that was in a capsule to make sure he was all right elsewhere, and everything checked out fine.  He is now back home and even back to work.

Amris Bedford had a brain tumor taken care of when she was just 2 years old.  She is now 9, and the tumor has recently returned.  Last week, she had a lumbar puncture and will be undergoing 8 to 10 radiation treatments, with chemo as an option, at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Kayleigh Tanner is only 3 years old; but she recently had a kidney removed, due to a tumor.  They have also found cancer in her lung and a tumor on her liver.

James Medlock, who is 93, is now in the hospital because of flu and a weakness that is keeping him from being able to stand. After his flu clears up, he will be transferred to rehab.

Pat Joyner will be having outpatient surgery March 13 and would appreciate your prayers.

Penny Medlock came down with bronchitis recently, which has also affected her asthma.  She still has a bad cough and is being treated with antibiotics.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Gene Kaplan, Arthur Laverne Robertson, and of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Elizabeth Harden, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts O’Berry, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Linn

I (Tom Edwards) will be having cataract surgery this Thursday (March 14) and would also appreciate your prayers.  I’m looking forward to the vision improvement!

Our gospel meeting with Gene Taylor will be April 7-10 (Sunday through Wednesday).  Sunday services will be at our regular times (9, 10, and 5), but the weeknight services will begin at 7:30.
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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).
——————–

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) 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)

The Gospel Observer (March 3, 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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March 3, 2019
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Contents:

1) “Lest We Drift Away” (R.J. Evans)
2)  The Appeal of Religious Error (Bill Crews)
3) In Order To Be Happy… (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Sailboat drifting to waterfall_2

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“Lest We Drift Away”
R.J. Evans

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away”  (Hebrews 2:1).

God’s plan for His people is for them to grow closer to Him, not drift away from Him. The child of God should allow his light to increase and shine stronger. “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18). Jesus tells us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In our dedication and service, we are to “abound more and more.” Our love for each other as brethren is to “increase more and more” (1 Thes. 4:1,10).

Thus, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Yet, many are losing ground rather than gaining ground.  Unfortunately, these Christians are drifting away.

Why Do People “Drift Away”?

To put it plain and simple, they have allowed Satan to influence their lives. Satan uses the things of the world to pull us away from God.  So many times a Christian may allow “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22).

Forsaking the worship assemblies also results in drifting away. As someone has said, “Christians are like cars, they start missing before they quit.” Thus, Christians become “drifters” when they no longer attend services faithfully as they should (Heb. 10:25). Also, the failure to read and study the Bible, and to spend time in prayer, have had a part in many formerly strong Christians drifting away from God (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thes. 5:18).

Some Results of When We “Drift Away”

To put it in one sentence: It is a “hard” way to live (Prov. 13:15). When a child of God allows himself to “drift away” from the Lord (Heb. 2:1-2), he becomes an apostate in a miserable spiritual condition.  The Bible describes it in this manner: “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to wallowing in the mire'” (2 Pet. 2:22).

God Calls Upon the One Drifting Away to Return

God desires that the one who is drifting away from Him, or sliding back into sin, to return to Him. Notice His words to His people during the days of Jeremiah: “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings” (Jer. 2:22).  This illustrates that God still loves His people and is willing to heal or forgive them.  But in order to be forgiven, they must be willing to “return” i.e., repent, pray, and confess their sins (Acts 8:22; 1 Jn. 1:9). In other words, when one returns to God for healing, God will deal with him in loving mercy — “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

As we go back to the latter part of the verse cited above, Jeremiah 3:22, we find that there were some who did respond to God’s call in Jeremiah’s day— “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God” (Jer. 3:22). This example should encourage Christians today to do the same. Talk with any child of God who strayed or drifted away from the Lord and later returned. You will not find anyone who believes returning to God was a mistake. Thus, may we all faithfully serve Him, giving heed to all He has commanded us, “lest we drift way” (Heb. 2:1).

— From the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, February 10, 2019
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mat7_13-14

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The Appeal of Religious Error
Bill Crews

In most cases the man who is teaching the truth and can by it truly save and benefit people will find few who are interested, whereas the man who is teaching some other doctrine and will by it ultimately harm and doom people will find many who are interested. Religious error, because of its false promises and its deceptive nature, will always have a greater appeal to people in general than will the truth. The truth will only benefit those with good and honest hearts or those who are willing to change their hearts to be good and honest (Luke 8:15). Everyone did not reject Jesus, but most did (John 1:11-12; 12:42; Matthew 23:37).

— Via the RoanRidge Reader, Volume 34 Issue 08 Page 03, February 24, 2019
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phil4_11

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In Order To Be Happy . . .
Greg Gwin

I’ve made up my mind! I am determined to be happy!! Enough of this sadness. Away with all this discouragement. I’m finished with dejection, depression, and despondency. No more gloom and doom. I WILL be happy!

Now, what do I need to achieve my goal? If I am to be truly happy, I’ll need

a.  Money – and plenty of it.

b.  And I must have friends – the kind that never fail, and always act just like I want.

c.  Of course, success is important; I will need to have unlimited success in every endeavor that I undertake to do.

d.  My family will have to behave perfectly, and respond immediately to my every whim.

Surely, with all of this, I can be happy. Right? WRONG!

The wise, powerful, famous, and wealthy king Solomon sought after happiness through every avenue known to man.
The end result was “…vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Eccl. 2:11).

Contrast Solomon with Paul, who lost his wealth, gave up his fame and power, and ultimately suffered extreme persecution and imprisonment. Yet he could write, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). How could this be? Verse 13 explains; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

It is on this basis that Paul instructs us: “Rejoice, in the Lord alway” (vs. 4). True happiness is not found in external “things.” It comes only from faithfully serving God (Eccl. 12:13, 14).  Are you happy?

– Via The Beacon, February 24, 2019
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“The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.”

— Psalm 33:13-15, NASB
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Billy Harris Sr.  went into the hospital Friday, due to internal bleeding and fainting. He first experienced that at work that day and then again when in the hospital.   It is said to have been caused by a “pocket” in his intestines that had been causing the bleeding.  It coagulated and ceased for a while that afternoon, but then started back up again.  They gave him a blood transfusion and are now waiting on his blood count before giving another.  (It is thought that being on Ibuprofin for 2 weeks, 3 times a day, for the pain in his foot, has caused the bleeding.) His wife asks for our prayers for him.  (Update: More blood was given to Billy, and they performed a cauterization on the area of the intestine that had been bleeding.  They also had him swallow a video camera that was in a capsule to check for any more problems.  The bleeding has stopped, and Billy is now back home.)

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Gene Kaplan, Arthur Laverne Robertson, and of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Elizabeth Harden, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Linn
——————–

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) 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)