The Gospel Observer (July 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) Passion (Robert Hudson)
2) The Faith of Barak (Derek Long)
3) News & Notes
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Titus2_13-14b

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Passion
Robert Hudson

I ask you to think for a moment on this question: What is your passion? What are you passionate about? This very question is one that would often be misunderstood, one that would very often only be considered from an illicit sexual standpoint. This is an injustice to a very strong and thought-provoking word. The word can be defined in many ways and the most common is that which we will examine in this article. Webster states that passion “usually implies a strong emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect.”

With this in mind let us again ask ourselves what has this strong effect in our lives, our thoughts, our direction in life? Is it God? Well it should be; nothing should change us more than the influence of God in our lives. How many of us can see the impact of God in the lives of those around us? We need to feel this impact so strongly in ourselves, in our day to day living that there is no doubt or question when we proclaim that our God and his word is our passion.

In Philippians 3:8 Paul writes, “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” The words of the apostle here are most applicable to our train of thought; he had changed what meant the most to him, thereby he changed his passion. He was no longer driven by that which once had been his motivation, in fact he had laid that down, left it behind, and viewed it as worthless and even as trash which he had no desire or use for.

This concept of changing our passion or finding a new motivation is one that is developed throughout the ministry of Christ and continued in each of the books of the New Covenant. Peter clearly informs us that we must change in 1 Peter 2:1-2, “Therefore laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” We recognize that the evil works listed by Peter all have tremendous motivational powers. It is not unusual at all to see someone whose passion is that of envy, and that envy takes over all direction and guidance of his life until he ends up warped and twisted shells of the person that he once was. The apostle tells us to change what is directing us; in essence he says, “Turn from passions of evil to passions of righteousness.”

We often refer to patriots or martyrs as men of passion. Why? Because their conviction is so strong that they are willing to die for the cause. They demonstrate a high level of visibility concerning what they believe in, what they stand for. This is viewed as an honorable trait, and we need to develop this same degree of intensity in order to be pleasing to, and effective for our Savior and God. I guess the whole point here comes down to one rather simple question, how much does God mean to you? As easy a question that this is to ask, it’s much more difficult to honestly answer. Are we passionate about our service to Christ?

One of the most dramatic illustrations of passionate service and dedication to God is found in the death of the Judge over Israel, the man of God Eli. This is recorded in 1 Samuel 4:12-18; for reasons of space I shall set the context for you. The children of Israel had just lost a major battle to the Philistines, the army had fled, many people had been killed and the ark of God had been stolen by the enemy. Eli, who was 98, heard all of this from a young man who had escaped. Not only did this young man bear this news of great defeat and destruction, he also informed Eli that two of his own sons had died in this battle. Let us notice what Eli’s reaction was to all this. “Now it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years” (1 Sam. 4:18). What news had the most impact on Eli? Find that and we find his passion. It wasn’t the fact that the army had fled, or that many had died. Yes, these hurt him; his own children had been killed and he would see them no more. What hit this man of God the hardest was that the ark of God had been taken by an ungodly people. He cared about all of these other things, but he cared most about God. God was his passion.

Eli is not the only example of a passionate servant that we find in the Scriptures. Time after time we see men and women who were willing to die for, and most importantly, live for their Father and God. The question that needs to be addressed at this time is where did their godly zeal and passion come from? The writer of the Hebrew letter after discussing many of these impassioned men says, “all these obtained a good testimony through faith.” All spiritual direction and guidance, all righteous motivation, all godly passion must be grounded in faith. After all how can one truly be devoted and given to that which does not have his total trust and conviction? With faith comes a degree of passion and, as that faith grows, passion grows with it.

Our passion for God is predicated by our level of knowledge. We have all heard of a vicious circle, some set of unfortunate events that demand all the strength that only God could supply. What made Jesus rise up and walk to a quiet place to talk to God? The same thing that will make you get up earlier, or stay up later, or watch one less TV program so that you may pray to your Heavenly Father, a true passion for God.

Intensity and depth, love and devotion, strength and discipline, these are the elements that form the passion for God that all of us must have in order to please God, to serve him, and to bring others to him. Passion is such a misunderstood and yet powerful word; does it dwell in your heart as far as your God and Savior is concerned?

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 4, pp. 117, 120, February 15, 1990
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Barak

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The Faith of Barak
Derek Long

During the days when Deborah was serving as a prophetess and judge in the land of Israel, we are introduced to the individual named Barak (Judges 4:4-6). Deborah commissions Barak to go to Mount Tabor against the forces of Sisera with ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun (Judges 4:6-7). Barak will demonstrate for us the type of faith we must have to be acceptable and pleasing to God. The Hebrew writer calls our attention to the faith of Barak among others in Hebrews 11:32. He writes, “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.” What are some important lessons we can learn from the example of Barak?

* Like many people who are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as examples of faith, Barak was not immediately confident or sure perhaps. Judges 4:8 says, “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!’” Perhaps Barak shows he was not someone who was simply confident in himself to be able to go up against Sisera all alone. Deborah was a prophetess and perhaps he wanted to know God was with him and thus wanted God’s spokesperson with him. Because of Barak’s statement Deborah tells him there will be no glory for him but Sisera will be given into the hand of a woman (Judges 4:9).

* Barak’s faith can be seen in the fact he obeys the instructions given by the Lord through Deborah. Deborah instructed him to take ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and Judges 4:10 says, “And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.” A second example of Barak’s obedience to the instructions given to him by the Lord is in Judges 4:14. Judges 4:14 says, “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.” God, through Deborah, tells Barak to go up to the battle and Barak goes. People who have the type of faith which results in salvation are those who are willing to hear and heed God’s commands. Do we have such a faith?

* Judges 5 records for us a song sung by Deborah and Barak after the defeat of Sisera’s army. Notice what they say about the victory Israel had just had. Judges 5:4-5 says, “Lord, when You went out from Seir, when You marched from the field of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens poured, the clouds also poured water; the mountains gushed before the Lord, this Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.” Judges 5:13 says, “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles; the Lord came down for me against the mighty.” The song ends in Judges 5:31 by saying, “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” The song Deborah and Barak sing after their victory ascribe their success to God and not to themselves. Faith in God leads us to see ourselves as servants of God. Faith in God leads us to see our efforts as being made prosperous because of the Lord. Faith in God allows us to praise God for the things He does through us.

Barak may not be as well-known as someone like Abraham but he provides us a good example of faith for us to follow. Do we seek to have a type of faith which allows us to please God (Hebrews 11:6)? Do we seek to learn from the example of the faith of others who lived by their faith in God?

— Via the bulletin of the Oak Grove church of Christ, Jennings, Florida, July 14, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to remember in prayer:

Doyle Rittenhouse has been having some recent trouble with his pulse being too high, and his blood pressure and sugar levels too low. He will be seeing his doctor again tomorrow.

Melotine Davis is now awaiting the results of an MRI, concerning a new and different pain in her leg, following her recent back surgery.

Jan Bartlett’s cancer was eliminated through her recent surgery. As a precautionary measure, she will soon begin radiation treatments. She is also deciding on whether to do the chemo, as well.

Penny Medlock has been having some trouble with her medication and is now back at St. Simons-By-The-Sea.

Mary Ann Fuller, who is in the hospital, has requested the prayers of the saints on her behalf.

Myrna Jordan has not been feeling well lately.

Ronnie Davis recently had a shot for the painful arthritis he began developing in his knees a few months ago, and it has been helpful!

Let us also continue to remember in prayer these folks with ongoing ailments and health issues: Shirley Davis, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
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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)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (July 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) The Small Things (Kent Heaton)
2) Take It To the Lord in Prayer (Terry Ryan)
3) News & Notes
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jam3_4

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The Small Things
Kent Heaton

In April of 1990, the $1.6 billion Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit with great anticipation. It was discovered that something was very wrong. The problem was a few 25-cent washers that technicians used to fill in a gap in an optical testing device had shaken loose. The cost of the rescue mission to fix Hubble was $86 million. It is hard to believe how something so small can cause such damage and bring about such costly repairs. Small things matter.

James reminds us of the small fire kindled by a loose tongue. “Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:3-5). The tongue is a little member but how much damage can be done when not used properly. Careless words can be few but start a conflagration of hurt and destruction.

It must also be remembered that a few words can encourage and lift up the spirits of the downtrodden. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Paul wrote the brethren at Thessalonica to “encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing… encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14). This type of encouragement does not take many words. Words fitly spoken for those who need to be uplifted can be of such value to the work of the Lord.

Small things take on the importance of sharing the gospel of Christ. Jesus set the pattern in John 4 when He spoke to the woman at the well. From this discussion with one woman, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39-42). How many people can tell the story of their conversion from the small beginning of a tract, a radio program, a bulletin article, a caring heart who helped them find the truth?

Elijah became discouraged with the work of the Lord in 1 Kings 19 and desired the Lord to take his life. As he sat in his despair, Jehovah comes to him “and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). The problem with Elijah was he thought the will of Jehovah had to be accomplished with great things (see 1 Kings 17 & 18 for examples of great deeds); he was reminded that the will of the Lord can be accomplished with one man if the Lord so desires.

Small things matter to God: a cup of water (Matthew 25:31-46); little children (Matthew 18:1-6); one soul (Luke 9:25); one sheep, one coin, one boy (Luke 15). You (John 3:16).

— Via the Taylorsville church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky, April 11, 2018
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prayer and praise to God

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Take It To the Lord In Prayer
Terry Ryan

Romans 8:26 (ESV)“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Have you ever felt like this? So overwhelmed or sad or depressed, that you don’t even know where to begin your prayer? The Spirit of our Lord knows our hearts and can understand our despair, without us even uttering a word. But sometimes we can neglect to go to the Lord like we should. He desires for us to come to him in prayer. What a comfort and what a privilege!

So why don’t we go to him? Understanding God and his love is essential in maturing as a Christian. Getting to know him throughout our lifetime should bring us great joy! God’s majesty is endless, and his love is beyond comprehension. To study and learn about him, and try to grasp an understanding of the depth of his love, can only help us in our prayer life. We are not strangers to him, but sometimes he can be a stranger to us. Not that we don’t know who God is, but we don’t know his attributes. You are not going to confide your innermost fears or your greatest joys with someone you don’t trust. So, we need to really get to know God on a deeper level and understand his character.

John 15:7 (NIV): “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Psalm 34:17 (ESV): “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

Will God help us when we are in trouble? God loves us, and one way he shows us is that he does answer prayers. Sometimes he does not answer them right away. But he does in his time, and he will tell us yes, or no, or not yet. We need to understand and trust his way. Prayer is a very important part of our relationship with God. Reading and studying his word, then praying, is how we commune with him. Prayer is how we connect to him, and in a very special way, demonstrate our love for him.

Philippians 4:6 (ESV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

1 Peter 5:7 (ESV): “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

We are to separate ourselves from this world, live in it but don’t love it. That is a difficult thing to do, because most of our time, other than sleeping, is spent in the world, and we are surrounded by worldly things and people. God is our last bastion. He is our only defender, and we must pray to him for help, as we strive to be his people.

Psalm 34:4 (ESV): “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

God is not going to come down and literally stand in front of evil and protect us while we are in this flesh. But spiritually, we can count on him to protect us daily.  Every time we pray, he hears us, and his protective hand is upon us.

Psalm 91:14 (ESV): “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.”

Psalm 91:1-5 (ESV): “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

Psalm 138:7 (ESV): “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”

Do we call on his name? Or do we neglect him and try to do it on our own? How does that usually turn out for us? Someday, when Jesus comes to gather us to him, nothing in this world will matter. But until that day, the avenue of prayer is our link to him.

I love this song:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

— Via Cedar Park church of Christ, April 19, 2019
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“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6, NASB).
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News & Notes

We are glad that tropical storm Barry did not bring a repeat of the terrible flooding that many had experienced in 2016.  RJ Evans writes:

“Louisiana escaped the worst of Barry’s flooding. I am happy to report that all turned out well for our members. Prayers have been answered. We are so thankful for the prayers of Christians all over the nation. We express our deepest gratitude for your love, concern, and again, your prayers. May God continue to bless us all as we serve Him faithfully. To Him be the glory!”

For those to be praying for…

Myrna Jordan has not been feeling well lately.

Doyle Rittenhouse has been having some recent trouble with his blood pressure and sugar levels being too low, while his pulse has been too high.

Bud Montero has been under the weather the last couple days.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer those folks with ongoing ailments and health issues:  Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
——————–

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)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (July 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Apostles Judging on Thrones (Frank Himmel)
2) We Must Obey the Truth (J.F. Dancer)
3) News & Notes
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mat19_28

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The Apostles Judging on Thrones
Frank Himmel

One of our readers asked about Jesus’ promise to the apostles in Matthew 19:28: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Understanding this promise hinges on the answer to several questions.

What is the Regeneration?

The word itself means a rebirth or a renewal. The specific term occurs only here and in Titus 3:5 in the phrase washing of regeneration, a reference to baptism. When we are baptized into Christ we are raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), hence we are “born again” (John 3:3). Being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and putting on the new self (Ephesians 4:24) are parallel ideas.

Jesus identifies it as the time when the Son of Man “will sit on His glorious throne.” That same phrase in Matthew 25:31 is a reference to the final judgment, leading millennialists to see our text as a reference to an earthly kingdom yet to be established. But the Bible plainly affirms that Jesus is already on the throne (Revelation 3:21) and His kingdom is a present reality (Colossians 1:13-14).

Luke records a parallel promise about the apostles sitting on thrones and judging (22:28-30), connected with eating and drinking with Him in His kingdom. While it is true that the word kingdom is sometimes used in a future eternal sense, these references are certainly capable of a much more immediate application.

In our text, the rich young ruler had just departed, unwilling to give up his possessions to follow Jesus. Jesus pointed out to the apostles that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God (vv. 23-24). The apostles, who had left all to follow Jesus, asked, “What will there be for us?” Jesus’ answer included not only them (v. 28) but all (v. 29). They would sit on thrones, and all would receive many times as much “in this present age” (Mark 10:30) as they had given up . .. And then eternal life in the age to come.

Thus, the regeneration is the gospel era. Those who are dead in sin come to life in Christ, who now reigns. “The eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11) is the culmination of this era, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).

How Do The Apostles Judge?

Judgement is based on Jesus’ words (John 12:48), the message the Father gave Him to speak (v. 49). It was the apostles’ work to preach that word to the whole world (Mark 16:15), completing, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the divine revelation that Jesus began (John 16:13-15). Thus, they are said to be the foundation of God’s house, Jesus being the corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus previously told these “judges,” “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).

In view of these references to the apostles’ authority, it is a serious mistake to take the popular approach that denigrates what they said and sees only what Jesus said personally as binding on us.

All saints in some sense judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2). Just as Noah by his faithful obedience condemned the ungodly world of his day (Hebrews 11:6), faithful Christians stand, both now and in the judgment, as a testimony against those who choose to reject the gospel. The apostles certainly lead in that role as well.

Who Are the Twelve Tribes of Israel?

The apostles first preached to literal Israel. On the day of Pentecost Peter began, “Men of Israel, listen to these words . . .” (Acts 2:22); and he concluded, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (v. 36). Literal Israel is clearly judged by the apostles’ word, however. . .

The gospel is for the whole world. The apostles’ message convicts all of sin, condemns all who remain in it, and offers regeneration to any who will come to Christ. Nationality is no advantage or disadvantage.

Thus, true “Israel” is those who follow Jesus (see 8:11-12; 21:43; cf. Romans 2:28-29). As the apostle Paul wrote, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel
of God” (Galatians 6:15-16).

—  Via Pathlights, July 7, 2019
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heb5_9d

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We Must Obey Truth
J.F. Dancer

Truth is something that we cannot ignore and successfully escape. It is something we must search out — understand — obey — uphold. It is something that is worth losing all to find and yet, it is something that we have a tendency to let slip by as we busily engage in the time consuming work of ”making a living.”

Jesus told Pilate that he came to the world to bear witness unto the truth (John 18:37). He had earlier identified “truth” as being the word of the Father (John 17:17). There are things that are “truth” in many areas, but the truth of which I speak is that regarding man’s spiritual being, well-being and destiny. One of the tests of true discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ is one’s knowledge and continuing in truth (John 8:31-32). Yet some men say that truth is unattainable and that there is no such thing as TRUTH. Could be we are trying to justify our refusal to search out truth and stand for it.

What is your attitude toward religious truth? How hard are you seeking to find it? How firmly do you stand in the defense of it? How earnestly do you oppose all that opposes truth? In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 Paul speaks of those who do not believe the truth and who do not love it. He points out that God will thus send them a strong delusion and that they will be damned because of this! They didn’t love it — They didn’t believe it!

In Romans 2:8 Paul points out that God will punish those who do not obey truth. This same thing is taught in Galatians 2:14 and 5:7. Thus the importance of knowing truth and obeying the same cannot be over emphasized. God would have all men to come to a know-ledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1) and be saved. Souls are purified when men obey truth (1 Peter 1:22). We should clearly see the need to search out, understand, obey, and uphold God’s word (TRUTH) in all things. Are you doing that?

—  The Beacon, 7/7/19
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News & Notes

Folks with ailments and health issues to continue praying for:

Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
——————–

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)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (July 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).
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Contents:

1) “Try a Little Tenderness” (Larry Ray Hafley)
2) The Governor Called (Frank Himmel)
3) News & Notes
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phil4_5

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“Try a Little Tenderness”
Larry Ray Hafley

A radio station in Chicago used to play soft, gentle music. Their motto was the title of this theme. It is good advice. “Gentleness” is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted” (Eph. 4:32). “Comfort the feebleminded (faint), support the weak, be patient toward all men” (1 Thess. 5:14). “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness (gentle tenderness), humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:12,13). We are to walk the way of life “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2,3).

The yoke of Christ is “easy,” or kind (Matt. 11:30). Paul spoke of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1), and we are to walk “even as he walked” (1 Jn. 2:6). Hence, let us “try a little tenderness.”

In The Home

Have you listened – really listened – to yourself as you talk to your mate and your children? It is easy to develop a snapping turtle response. Ever been around a frisky, feisty little dog that just wants to bark when you are around? Pressures, problems, “every day stress and strain,” can lead us to sharp, biting replies to our loved ones. It can become a habit. Everywhere, but especially in the home, “try a little tenderness.” If a soft answer turneth away wrath (Prov. 15:1), what does a harsh answer do?

The wonderful woman in Proverbs 31 possesses many valuable virtues, but none is greater than the fact that “in her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). Gentle kindness fills her heart, adorns her countenance and flows from her tongue. It is the material with which man would create an angel if he could.

One’s tongue can become a razor, a sword, a club (Psa. 52:2; 57:4; Prov. 12:19). It can cut and hew and dismember a loved one. Some children and marriage companions have never been physically beaten, but they have suffered daily the harsh brutality of a demeaning, belittling tongue. The victims of a malicious mouth would gladly trade their broken hearts for black eyes and broken bones. At least broken bones will heal.

Family members are bonded in bliss by blessed words of affection, praise and thanks. Husbands and wives should speak words of appreciation and approval to one another.

Children need criticism and condemnation at times, but they also need sweet and loving words of commendation and encouraging exhortation. All of you, mother, father, children, listen to yourselves speak to one another. Is your conversation filled with negative, derogatory, cutting, complaining, whining words? Is your voice sharp, caustic, full of sarcasm and irritation? If so, you have our prayers, and your family has our sympathy.

Among Brethren

“Pleasant words,” the Bible says, “are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24, NASB). “The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Prov. 16:21). In other words, one will listen to you more readily.

Would you gloat at a funeral? Certainly, you would not, but do we gloat and glory over a fallen brother? Do we appear to be glad when one is overtaken in a fault, or do we seek to “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness” (Gal. 6:1)? “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” (Prov. 24:17). You may feign sorrow over the fall of another, but the Lord God knows your heart (Heb. 4:13).

There is a time and place for sharp rebukes and verbal slaps in the face (Tit. 1:9-13; Gal. 2:11-14; 2 Cor. 13:10). It is not possible to wink at sin, smile at error and grin all the time (Mk. 3:5). Occasionally, whips must be fashioned and used, and seats and moneychanger’s tables must be overturned and their occupants cast out. It is not pleasant. Some object to it, except when they turn their oral guns on those who will do it. Then, they castigate the castigators and verbally thrash those who have the faith to do what must be done; namely, reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. But enough on that.

The other side is that there is a large amount of time and a great deal of space for one to “try a little tenderness.” “And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Tim. 2:24,25, NASB). “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone” (Prov. 25:15). One’s kindness builds his influence, his ability to reach others (Prov. 19:22). With patient goodness, one can alter the adamant will of a prince. Soft, tender words will break a bone, i.e., they will melt the heart of stone. Sweet, kind words will open an arrogant mind so that it will be amenable to reflection and instruction.

Yes, deal with men and sin firmly, even sharply, when the situation warrants, but let us have grace and use it that our words may be seasoned with salt in order to answer every man properly and appropriately in the fear of God (Jude 22,23).

How many erring, wavering, wandering, fearful, sinful souls are driven to despair and banished to ruin because no one could find a word of brotherly kindness with which to plead? Truly, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Is my tongue an executioner’s sword, poised to behead any who become weary and faint, fail and fall? If so, may God help me to see it and remove my cursing and replace it with blessing. Or is my tongue a salve to wounds, bruises and putrefying sores, an ointment for the broken spirit, a balm for the wounded heart, a cleansing, soothing agent for the dirty hands of the defeated victims of sin?  If so, may God bless me to use wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time, restoring the fallen.

In this critical hour of pain and suffering, in this era of heartache caused by sin, it is time to show a little kindness, to exercise a little patience and to “try a little tenderness.”

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXII: 24, pp. 748-749, December 15, 1988
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man holding cell phone

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The Governor Called
Frank Himmel

I received a phone call from the Governor a few weeks ago. Well, sort of. It was the Governor’s voice, but it was actually a recording. You see, it was election eve and he wanted my vote. I suspect many others got the same call.

The Governor had never called me before. He never asked my counsel on any issue he faced. He never expressed concern about how I felt about any matter. He never thanked me for being a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of the State.

Even in this call the conversation was one-sided. I had no opportunity to respond. I was not allowed to make any suggestions. The Governor called only when he wanted something, and he gave me no indication of interest in a personal relationship beyond that.

Of course, I understand the situation. I do not expect more from a head of state. It just got me to thinking about another means of communication: prayer.

How often does God hear from me? Is it only when I need something? Am I disposed to do all the talking instead of listening to His word? How interested am I in His perspective? Am I thankful? Might I leave the impression that, despite the contact, I have little interest in a personal relationship with Him? Think about it.

— Via The Beacon, June 30, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to remember in prayer:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mildred Ann Hagen of Bloomfield, Kentucky, who passed away July 4 at the age of 91.  She had long been a member of the Willisburg church of Christ.

Let us also continue to keep the following in our prayers: Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, A.J. and Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Jan & Danielle Bartlett, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
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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)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)