The Gospel Observer (April 28, 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) What Is Relevant? (Robert F. Turner)
2) Understanding Expediency (Chuck Bartlett)
3) News & Notes
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What Is Relevant?
Robert F. Turner

When the Pharisees continued to doubt the divinity of Christ despite obvious proof, the man who had been blind said, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!” (Jn. 9:30).

Somehow these words came to mind recently when I was told that the church, baptism, Lord’s Supper, etc., were no longer “relevant.” And what is “relevant”? “Just be a follower of Christ, worship and obey Him.”

Why herein is a marvelous thing!! The church one reads about in the New Testament consists of those who follow the Lord. The “called out” “set apart” people (1 Peter 2:9) who have been separated from the world by virtue of this very distinction — that they are followers of Christ. And how did they become followers of Him? They obeyed the call of His gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14, Acts 2:37-41). These are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, “for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).

When someone answers, “I mean, just practice the sermon on the mount,” I simply turn and read some of that sermon (Matthew 5-7) and find out immediately that the excuse-maker doesn’t like that any better than he likes baptism, or other things Christ asks His followers to practice.

“Worship and obey Christ” are very empty words in the mouth of one who really means, “worship your self, and obey your own inclinations.” How can one obey Christ without giving heed to the things Christ commands? This means we have an external authority — something outside our own feelings on a given subject. We must turn to the words of Christ, the revelation of His will, and become subject thereto.

What “worship” is this that consists of things that tickle MY ears, and please MY feelings? The Lord says to partake of the bread and fruit of the vine “in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-f.) So — we ignore the memorial He requested, and set about establishing some sort of “Easter” festival — “because we love Him so much, and wish to worship Him.” To worship — whom??

The Pharisees could not see the truth because they did not want to see anything contrary to their selfish hypocritical ways. Following some pointed remarks by our Lord on this subject, they asked, “Are we blind also?” (John 9:40-41) And Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.”

It is an ultra-conservative modernist(?) who makes “follow Christ” relevant today, meaning only to reduce Christ’s teachings to what he thinks important. His more modern brothers have long since dropped the idea of divine authority, and proclaim “God is Dead!”

(Brother Marshall Keeble once said, “That’s strange; I was just talking to Him this morning, and He wasn’t even sick!”)

Better give attention to His word that will judge us. THAT’S RELEVANT!

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 16, Page 3, April 21, 2019
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Understanding Expediency
Chuck Bartlett

Let me start by saying that this is a Biblical lesson. The concept of expediency is taught in God’s word and it is vital that we understand what it means. We shall first start with the apostle Paul speaking on this when he wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful to me, but all things edify not” (I Cor. 10:23). The word expedient means to be helpful; however, not all things are helpful.

The easiest way to understand what is considered expedient would be the place of worship. Local churches are required to assemble on the first day of the week to worship God (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25, etc.). The scriptures reveal that brethren set up a time and place for them to fulfill the Lord’s desire (I Cor. 11:17-18). Knowing that it is expedient for the brethren to rent or purchase a place to assemble, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Would it really be in the best interest of a local church consisting of two families to go out and build a million dollar facility? The answer is obvious – no, this would not be helpful. Having a place to meet is expedient, but there are times wisdom dictates that something that is lawful, in and of itself (finding a place to meet) can be the wrong thing to do.

The same thing can be said for a congregation that wants to evangelize. It’s an expedient to use TV as a tool to share the gospel. But if a local church cannot afford to fund such an effort, it would be unwise to engage in it.  This is why the Lord Jesus stated clearly the need for His followers to use “righteous” judgment (Jn. 7:21-24).

Keep in mind that expediency is not some sort of loophole for the local church to do whatever they want with church funds. Staying with the discussion of the church building: it’s one thing to rent or buy, it’s another matter altogether for a church to rent or buy a meeting place to use it for social events. It’s the lack of discernment that has opened the door for religious groups to use the building for a daycare, Boy Scout meeting place, providing chicken dinners and celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Folks, these do not fall under the area of expediency. They fall under the realm of being unscriptural.

The best way to clear this up is by looking at two passages of scripture. First, in I Corinthians 11:22, after rebuking the brethren for turning the Lord’s Supper into some sort of meal, Paul said, “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”  Now, before we examine this, let’s now note a text in Romans 16, where Paul speaking about Priscilla and Aquila, mentioned, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (vr. 5).

Now, can brethren have social events in their own homes? Of course they can. I don’t know where the brethren were meeting when they were rebuked by Paul for turning the Lord’s Supper into a feast. Could they have been meeting in someone’s home? Possibly. Even so, does that mean the apostle could not have said what he did in I Corinthians 11? Not at all. Brethren could just as easily turn the Lord’s Supper into a feast even if meeting in someone’s home. The fact is, the church comes together to worship God His way (Jn. 4:24). When brethren have finished their worship, the brother and sister can now go back to the regular use of the home and even be hospitable (Rom. 12:13).

When brethren own a church building, it was bought with the purpose for which it is to be used. The local church doesn’t use its funds to build a kitchen or gymnasium onto the meeting place. Why not? It’s because it isn’t expedient. It doesn’t aid in worshipping God. In other words, it is not a help, it’s a hindrance. You don’t mix the two. Those who don’t understand expediency fail to see the error in using their church building for whatever use they see fit. This doesn’t respect the word of God.

— Via bulletin articles of the River Ridge church of Christ, January 26, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jon Newman has been in rehab the last couple weeks, due to a stroke, and is making much improvement.

Bud Montero has recently been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL); but, so far, he has none of its symptoms.

Doug Pennock recently had some major dental work done that he is healing from and having to temporarily adjust his diet for.

Rick Cuthbertson is now being treated for blood clots and is also continuing with his weekly chemo.

Melotine Davis often suffers from much pain and is now preparing for back surgery.

Others to also be praying for: Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Penny Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and Frankie Hadley, 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 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)

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The Gospel Observer (April 21, 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) Last Things First (Dan Shipley)
2) All Things Are Yours (Gene Taylor)
3) News & Notes
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Last Things First
Dan Shipley

The scene is Shechem. The occasion is Joshua’s farewell address just prior to his death. All the tribes of Israel are assembled to hear the aged Joshua, now 110, as he begins recounting God’s dealings with their great nation. Showing that God has continually been with and helping them, he concludes, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…” (Joshua 24:16).

The scene is Jerusalem. David is nigh unto death as he gives this last charge to his son Solomon: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:2–3)

The scene is a Roman prison. Paul is writing his last epistle. In giving his final charge to Timothy, he reminds the young evangelist not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8); to hold the pattern of sound words (1:13); to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3); to give diligence to present himself approved unto God (2:15) and to persevere with urgency in preaching the word (4:2) with the assurance that a crown of righteousness awaits all the faithful (4:8).

Such are the words with which these great men of God conclude the final chapter of their earthly existence. The last words of any dying man are generally regarded as having special significance, but the words of these men ought to be especially so regarded — not so much because of being last words necessarily, but because of who they were and what they said with these words.

Joshua, David and Paul were men who had given most of their lives in consecrated service to the Lord. God had used their tongues and talents extensively to serve His purposes among men. Through experience and revelation they accumulated such wisdom as experienced by few mortals. Joshua, for instance, knew how the lack of faith could prevent one’s entering into God’s rest. David understood about temptation and sin, and Paul himself had made the transition from “chief of sinners” to ambassador for Christ. As few others could, they perceived how the will of God complements the greatest needs of man — so their last words deserve an attentive hearing.

And what do we hear? Though different in expression and separated by hundreds of years, we hear messages that are strikingly similar. All emphatically recommend to others the same course they have now finished. All emphasize serving the Lord. Essentially, they are saying to all who shall come after them, “Live for the Lord!” or, as another wise man put it, “fear God and keep His commandments.” After all, that’s what living is all about. Theirs is a lesson we must learn! Apart from truly reverencing God and walking in His ways, man can have no meaningful existence here nor hope of life in the hereafter. As those destined to go the way of all the earth, may the last words of these godly men find first priority in our lives.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 51, Page 2, April 14, 2019
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“All Things Are Yours”
by Gene Taylor

“Therefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (I Cor. 3:21-23). Do you ever sit and think about all the wonderful blessings you have as a Christian? Do you stop to remember all the blessings and other good things God has sent your way?

Most of us spend too many waking hours thinking about the problems we have, bills we must pay and  day-to-day frustrations. We focus on what we lack instead of what we have. We not only dwell on our own imperfections but also on the imperfections of others.

It may be that much of the preaching we hear, mine included, is responsible for such negative thinking. It is natural for a preacher to direct his comments against those things which need to be improved. If we are not careful, though, our total emphasis can become negative. Such is regrettable. We should be thinking of the good that is about us — the encouraging achievements of the past, the great blessing of the present and the great potential of the future. It is a marvelous thing to be a Christian! The above text jumps out at us with this fact. It is an optimistic passage that when read should send you on your way with a song in your heart and a prayer of thanksgiving on your lips. Consider what it teaches about the blessings of a Christian.

Paul, Apollos, Cephas

Why would Paul say that he and these two other men were theirs? The Corinthians had begun to call themselves after the man who had baptized them (1:11-12). To wear a man’s name meant to belong to that man. But they did not belong to their teachers. They belonged to Christ. Their teachers, preachers and leaders belonged to them.

We do not belong to preachers and elders. They belong to us. Their place is to serve and they have been provided for our spiritual good. They are ours!

World, Life, Death

The world is ours. Sometimes it seems the world is passing us by without paying the slightest bit of attention. Consider the teaching of Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Who possesses the good life? The worldly revelers? Christians are the only ones who know what life is about (Eccl. 12:13; 2:1–11). Our present life, and its fullness, is a gift from God (John 10:10).

In one way, death belongs to all because “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27). But it belongs to the Christian in the sense that he does not have to fear it (I Cor. 15:55; Psa. 23:4). To the Christian, death is not a loss but a gain (Phil. 1:21-23). It is a way in which the faithful are blessed (Rev. 14:13).

Things Present, Things to Come

As to things present, consider Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” God’s child is always in His tender care (Matt. 6:25–34).

In the matter of things to come, we have a splendid future if we center our lives on Christ. The future blessings which will be given to faithful Christians are incredible (Rom. 8:18-19; I Pet. 1:3-9).

You Are Christ’s, And Christ Is God’s

The future belongs to us only because we belong to Christ. It is because we have embraced those truths which He came to teach that we can have such confidence in our future. Without Christ, and we have nothing to anticipate but despair.

The future belongs to Christ and His disciples because He is God’s. When we belong to Him, our future is as secure as His (Rom. 8:17).

— via the Centerville Road church of Christ in Tallahassee, Florida
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in  Christ (Ephesians 1:3, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Shirley Davis was in the hospital in Douglas last Thursday to Friday, due to an ulcer on her heel for three weeks.  They also eliminated blood clots that were in her leg.  Her new knee is doing fine, but the other is becoming worse.

Rick Cuthbertson is now being treated for blood clots and is also continuing with his weekly chemo.

Penny Medlock had been moved to a hospital in Atlanta, due to her condition.

Others to also be praying for: family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich; Pat and A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and 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 (April 14, 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) Matthew’s “Good News” of Jesus Christ (Luther W. Martin)
2) The Father of the Prodigal Son (an excerpt from Luke 15:20-24)
3) Audio Sermons by Gene Taylor
4) News & Notes
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Matthew’s “Good News” of Jesus Christ
Luther W. Martin

The first book of the New Testament, was written by Matthew, a resident of Capernaum. At this time, the Roman government had established a custom-house at Capernaum, and Matthew, a publican, had been appointed as a resident deputy (portitor), a collector of taxes, for the Romans. Portitors were not popular among their own people; they seemed to have “sold out” to their conquerors by collecting taxes for Rome from their own kinsmen, the Jews. Alexander the Great through his military conquests several centuries before Christ, had spread the Greek language throughout the Mediterranean World. Now, Rome had conquered the “civilized” world, and had forced Roman laws (civil and military), as well as politics, throughout its territories. And, although the koine Greek, was the language of politics, commerce, and even religion; it would be several centuries before the Latin Language would begin its ascendency.

Matthew Wrote To Convince The Jews About Christ

It is not known whether Matthew’s biography of Christ was the first to be written, or not. Some scholars have thought that it preceded Mark and Luke. In any event, Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s biographies of Christ are called “synoptic gospels,” because they generally cover the same sequence of events in the life of Christ, while John’s biography of Christ approaches the subject from a different perspective.

As a tax collector under Herod Antipas, Matthew possessed a fluent ability in Aramaic or Hebrew Languages, as well as the commonly spoken koine Greek. Like most of the Jewish people, Matthew eagerly awaited the coming Messiah and King; and anticipated the establishment of a kingdom, that would be military, and political; and would possess such strength, that it would conquer all of its neighbors.

The Book of Matthew serves as a vital connection between the Old and New Covenants. Beginning with the very first verse, it is designed to interest the Jews: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” because the Jews had long heard and read from the Old Testament prophets, how their King would be a descendant of King David … harking back to the “glory days” of Israel and Judah, in their expectations!

The Gospel according to Matthew, would also provide a relationship between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ; and this would prove to be particularly applicable to the Jews. Mark’s biography of Christ, would be written in a style and manner to appeal to the Romans, and Luke’s biography would be directed toward the Greeks. This would leave John’s “spiritual” biography, with its different approach from the other three biographies, to bring to completion, the Heaven-inspired record, described as: “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31).

Matthew’s Record Has Some Peculiarities

One unusual aspect of Matthew’s biography of Christ, will be listed: although there are some others.

Of the four biographical books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, only Matthew uses the expression “Kingdom of Heaven” and it is used in thirty-one verses! Neither Mark, Luke nor John make use of the expression “Kingdom of Heaven!”

Matthew does use “Kingdom of God” five times; but the term “Kingdom of Heaven” emphasizes a connotation that had a special appeal to the Jews . . . for whom Matthew’s biography, was especially written!

Ever since the prophet Daniel had written: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44); the Jewish people had been looking for, and longing for, the prophetic kingdom! In fact, the very last question asked by the Apostles of Jesus, just before he ascended into heaven, was: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

The expressions “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” are synonymous, they refer to the same thing; but specify some different aspects and characteristics concerning this “kingdom” that would also be designated as the Lord’s ekklesia, the called-out assembly, community, or church (called out of the world; called away from carnality and worldliness).

May I suggest that by using the term “Heaven” to the Jews, who were so all-wrapped-up in their thoughts of an earthly, political kingdom, that inspiration was stressing the heavenly or spiritual make-up of this kingdom! Jesus said: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) So, it appears that the “Kingdom of Heaven” was used in contrast to earthly kingdoms.

A kingdom, possesses several attributes: (a) A king, as its ruler and law-giver — Christ! (b) The subjects; citizens who are obedient to the King — Christ! (c) The statutes or laws, as issued by the King — Gospel of Christ, contained in the New Testament! (d) The territory (scope) of this kingdom; the minds of men! “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or, ‘See there!’ For, indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21), rather than a geographical realm.

Christ also proclaimed: “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (Jn. 18:36). Thus, Christ left no question as to the nature of his kingdom! It was spiritual or heavenly! This, I believe, is why Matthew exclusively used the expression “Kingdom of Heaven” in writing to these earthly-kingdom-anticipating Jews!

Matthew’s biography of Christ’s life, was specifically for instructing the Jews of the first century, A.D. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, the destruction of Jerusalem was predicted and described. This event took place in 70 A.D., when the Roman Legions over-ran Palestine.

— Via the Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 3, pp. 84-85, February 2, 1989
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The Father of the Prodigal Son

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20-24, NASB).
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Audio Sermons by Gene Taylor

We were glad to have Gene Taylor preach for us last week, during our gospel meeting.  He did an excellent job with each of his lessons.   And all of his audio sermons, except one, can be accessed at the following website:

https://thomastedwards.wordpress.com/gospel-meetings/

Though there is no audio recording for the first one, there is a PowerPoint presentation of it (with its 67 slides) that has also been made available at the website above.  Once there, just click on the sermon of your choosing (below the flyer-picture).  They are as follows:

1) “An Unchanging Standard in a Changing World”
2) “A Kingdom Not of This World”
3) “Condemning the World”
4) “By This, All Men Will Know You Are My Disciples”
5) “Three Ways of Life”
6) “Living Life to the Fullest.”

Feel free to share these with anyone!
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News & Notes

It was reported that though John Stoval was finally able to have cancer surgery, yet it appears that some had metastasized to his brain.

Rick Cuthbertson, who had surgery almost a year ago, due to cancer in his liver, now has a blood clot in his leg being tended to.

Penny Medlock had recently been hospitalized here in Waycross, due to some problems she was having; but had to later be transferred to a hospital in Atlanta.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) who recently passed away; Pat and A.J. Joyner; Jim Lively; James Medlock; Deborah Medlock; Shirley Davis; Mary Vandevander; Michelle Rittenhouse; Kayleigh Tanner; Amris Bedford; Danny Hutcheson; Roger Montgomery; Rex and Frankie Hadley; and Tommy Lin

The Hoboken church of Christ will be having their Spring Gospel Meeting April 19-21. The theme will be on “Spreading the Gospel” with speakers Kerry Keenan and Chuck Bartlett. The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia.

The Lessons & Times will be:

Friday 7:30 p.m.: Motivations for Spreading the Gospel

Saturday 7:30 p.m.: Congregational Evangelism

Sunday:
9:30 a.m.: Tools to Spread the Gospel
10:30 a.m.: To God Be the Glory
5 p.m.: Overcoming Obstacles for Evangelism

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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 (April 7, 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).
——————–

1) A Portrait of the Early Church (David McClister)
2) News & Notes
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phil1_27

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A Portrait of the Early Church
David McClister

The New Testament is our pattern for living. Its pages reveal the will of God concerning personal godliness, church organization, our relationship with non-Christians, and a host of other subjects. The New Testament shows us, through various figures and numerous examples, how God wants us to live and work as His children.

If I may be allowed to use the imagery of a photograph album, the book of Acts preserves for us a series of snapshots of how the Christian life was lived in the first century A. D. It is the New Testament pattern in the form of historical, literary pictures. As one goes from chapter to chapter in Acts, he sees picture after picture of life in the early church. An interesting picture appears in Acts 4:23-35. In this portrait of the early church we can see several remarkable things which we ought to have in the church today. The portrait of Acts 4:23-35 shows the early Christians in a difficult situation: Peter and John had just been released by Jewish officials, having been threatened not to preach Christ publicly. Yet because of the marvelous features apparent in this portrait, the early church stood firm.

Prayerful

These Christians knew about the power of prayer and used it! When the world threatened them, they did not disband. They did not waste their precious time worrying about the threat of persecution (Phil. 4: 6), nor did they place their trust in their own plans, programs, or strength. Instead they gathered together to pray. They knew that God cared for their state and was receptive to their pleas, and thus they placed the matter squarely in His hands. Even if they themselves could do nothing to stop the threats of their enemies, they knew that God could and would care for His own.

Their prayer, recorded in Acts 4:24-30, is a gem. First of all, these Christians asked for strength to do God’s work (v. 29). How many times do we find ourselves asking God to do our work for us! But these Christians were not so lazy. They wanted to do God’s work, and they prayed for the necessary strength. Sure, the work was difficult, and they knew it. That is why they did not try to do it on their own. The early Christians knew that they could be effective only if they relied on the strength which God supplied, not on themselves. We would all be benefited immeasurably if we would stop asking for worldly things, which only drains our strength and hinders growth (Jas. 4: 3), and start praying as the early Christians prayed.

Secondly, the early Christians realized in their prayer that all things, including their present distress, were in accordance with God’s plan (vv. 24-28). They, like their Lord, had resigned themselves to accept God’s will and working, and put their own desires aside. How great a lesson this is for us today! Too many times the Lord’s work is hindered because of our petty jealousies and conflicting worldly desires. We ought to review what commitment to Christ really means.

God heard their prayer and answered it. Although we may not expect miraculous answers to prayer (of the kind in Acts 4:31) today, we may still expect an answer to our prayer. Just as God indicated His support of these early Christians, so will He be on our side if we will resolve to do God’s will regardless of what the world says and ask for God’s help in doing it.

United

The early church was united. One of the most common features among all the portraits of early church life in Acts is the unity of the believers. That such an emphasis on unity should be apparent is no accident. God wants us to know that a church which is pleasing to Him is not ridden with strife and factions, but rather is united in peace (Eph. 4:3).

The portrait in Acts 4:23-35 gives great place to unity. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (v. 32). Their unity was not superficial, but real. It was grounded in their hearts and souls and was manifest in their attitudes toward each other. The determination and sentiment among them was one. And it is this very thing which accounts in a great measure for the immense strength of the early church. Rome fell to pieces in the first century but the church stood solid. Herein lay God’s message on growth, effectiveness, and progress: it begins with unity in spirit. But where there is selfishness there is no flowering of the Lord’s work.

Evangelistic

The early Christians knew that their primary work was to preach the gospel to the lost. Thus Acts 4:33 records, “And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” This preaching the gospel with great power was due in part to the unity of the church, but its real cause lay in the grace of God. Grace is favor. God favored and approved of the work these Christians were doing in spreading the gospel, and He blessed them in doing it. Brethren, God will bless us in the same way if we will just get engaged in that same work.

Because the early church was evangelistic, it grew. Notice that it grew, not swelled. There is a difference. Churches swell in size when there is a shifting of members to different locations, but growth only comes when there are new additions to God’s family. But more specifically, the early church grew because of the essence of its evangelism: the resurrection of Christ. The first century Christians did not push human creeds or try to accommodate current social tastes. They simply laid emphasis upon Christ’s resurrection, knowing that this is the cornerstone of Christianity and the very basis of Christian living (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:24).

Characterized By Love and Devotion Among Its Members

Acts 4:34f is one of the most remarkable features of this portrait of the early church. When was the last time you saw or heard of a Christian selling his house to help another Christian financially? I am not denying that this ever happens today, but you must agree that it occurs only rarely. I know that our society is extremely affluent compared to the setting of the New Testament, and that saints in such a condition of need as in Acts 4:34f are usually not seen as a result. But what Acts 4:34f shows is a lack of worldliness in a willingness to help one another. The Christians of the first century freely gave up their possessions for the cause of Christ, and this was the effect of their great love and devotion to each other in the Lord. Such love is described in 1 Cor. 13, and its results are seen here. Eph. 4:16 describes these Christians perfectly.

Of course these Christians were devoted to Christ more than anything else, but their devotion to Christ caused them to love each other in a sacrificial way. They did not mind sacrificing possessions and pleasure for the benefit of brethren.  And so must our attitude be today. The apostle John asked the timeless question, “But whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth” (1 Jn. 3: 17f).

Conclusion

In Acts 4:23-35 we see the church as God would have it. But the Lord’s church in any locale can only be this way with the “working in due measure of each several part” (Eph. 4: 16). If the local church is to be pleasing to God, it will take each member working with this goal in mind. Let us all resolve to copy the portrait of Acts 4.

— Via Searching the Scriptures, Volume XXVI, Number 1, January 1985
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) who passed away last Thursday, April 4. Let us also be remembering her loved ones in prayer.

James Medlock was able to return home Tuesday, but a cough had him back to the doctors.  His strength is now returning, but he is still not entirely over all his symptoms.

Others to also be praying for: the friends and family of Veleria Synder who recently passed away;  Pat Joyner who had been in the hospital a couple week ago because of congestive heart failure and trouble in breathing; Jim Lively, A.J. Joyner; Deborah Medlock; Shirley Davis; Mary Vandevander;  Michelle Rittenhouse; John Stoval; Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Everleigh and Hazel Greer; Danny Hutcheson; Roger Montgomery; Rex & Frankie Hadley; and Tommy Lin

We are glad to have Gene Taylor to preach for us a gospel meeting that begins today and goes through Wednesday (April 7-10). Our Sunday services will be at their regular times: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 5 p.m. But we will be meeting Weeknights at 7:30.

The following sermons will be presented (and in the order shown):

1) “An Unchanging Standard in a Changing World”
2) “A Kingdom Not of This World”
3) “Condemning the World”
4) “By This, All Men Will Know You Are My Disciples”
5) “Three Ways of Life”
6) “Living Life to the Fullest.”
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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)