The Gospel Observer (August 25, 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” (Matt. 28:19-20).
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Contents:

1) If Baptism Is Not Necessary (Irven Himmel)
2) Toward Better Communication (Sewell Hall)
3) News & Notes
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baptism_underwater

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If Baptism Is Not Necessary
Irven Himmel

In the thinking of many religionists baptism is no more than a ritual. Its meaning is explained in a variety of ways, and to some it has no real meaning. While there is widespread agreement that water is the element prescribed in the New Testament for baptism, few acknowledge that baptism is necessary to the obtaining of forgiveness of sins.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Jesus Make It a Condition of Salvation?

After instructing the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, the Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15, 16). Note that Jesus did not say, “He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved.” And He did not say, “He that believeth shall be saved whether he is baptized or not.” To the contrary, Jesus said, “He that believeth and Is baptized shall be saved.”

On another occasion Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man . . .” (Matt. 7:24). This makes both hearing and doing essential to our being like a wise man. In like manner, Mk. 16:16 makes both belief and baptism essential to our being saved. Hearing without doing does not make one wise, and belief without baptism does not result in salvation. If two and two make four, two minus two cannot equal four. Belief and baptism must not be interpreted to mean belief minus baptism.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Peter Teach That It Is For the Remission of  Sins?

On Pentecost, Peter preached that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. His hearers, pricked in their heart with conviction, asked what to do. Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). How can one admit that repentance is for (unto) the remission of sins but deny that baptism is for that purpose?

When Peter said in Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” no one takes that to mean that repentance is necessary but being converted is non-essential. If Acts 3:19 makes both repentance and being converted necessary to blotting out of sins, Acts 2:38 makes both repentance and baptism necessary to remission of sins.

A disciple named Ananias was sent to Saul, a praying penitent man, in Damascus. “And now why tarriest thou?” said Ananias “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name, of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Were Saul’s sins already washed away? If so, why was he told to “wash away thy sins”?

It will not help to say this washing was symbolic. One might as well argue that the arising was symbolic rather than real, or that the baptism was symbolic rather than actual, or that the calling on the Lord was only symbolic rather than genuine calling, as to contend that the washing away of sins was only a symbolic portrayal. The language of Ananias clearly implies that Saul was still a sinner until he was baptized.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Did Paul Regard it As A Prerequisite for the New Life?

Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3, 4).

Baptism stands between the sinner and his entrance into Jesus Christ. Baptism puts one into Jesus Christ. And baptism puts one into the death of the Lord where the benefits of His shed blood are to be received. Furthermore, baptism enables one to enter into “newness of life.” The theory of salvation before baptism would have one walking in newness of life before the old man is buried.

If Baptism Is Not Necessary,
Why Does the Bible Say That It Saves?

According to the apostle Peter, “eight souls were saved by water” in Noah’s day. The water saved them in that it carried the ark with its occupants from the old sin-cursed world to a new beginning. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).

Baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is the gist of Peter’s statement. Just as water “saved” eight people who were in the ark, baptism “doth also now save us.” Many argue that baptism doth NOT save us. Peter said baptism doth NOW save us. Which do you accept, the teaching of the Bible, or the teaching of fallible men?

Reader, if you have not obeyed the Lord in baptism for the remission of sins, do it today.

— Via Truth Magazine XX: 45, p. 706, November 11, 1976
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Job12_11

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Toward Better Communication
Sewell Hall

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Can you imagine better advice for getting along with others? How often we hear it said that the problem in a family, a plant, an office, a school, or even a church is a breakdown of communication. Obedience to this verse would change all of that.

“Be quick to hear.” Listen! Try to understand where the one who is talking “is coming from” and what he or she really means. See if you can repeat what was said so accurately that the one who said it will agree that you have stated the position accurately.

Now, make sure a reply is needed. We do not have to correct every mistake we hear. Some are not serious enough to require attention. Others, though serious, may have to wait for a more suitable time to be corrected.

Even if a reply is needed, take your time. “Be slow to speak.” Think of what you are saying. Think how it will sound to the one hearing it and how it will sound if it is repeated to someone else. Ask yourself if what you are about to say will do good or do harm. Ask God to help you to say only what needs to be said. Nehemiah was asked a question by the king and managed a prayer before he answered (Neh. 2:4-5). Remember that once you have spoken, you cannot recall your words.

Above all, “be slow to anger.” Anger almost always breaks down communication; shouting matches seldom end in a better understanding of each other. And, besides jeopardizing human relationships, they endanger our relation with God. We may fancy that our anger is “righteous indignation,” but the Holy Spirit says: “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

Are you thinking, “That’s not much of a way to win an argument”? RIGHT! But it is a pretty good way to stop one. How would you like to argue with someone who is “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger”?

— Via The Beacon, July 14, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Barbara Thompson had a follow-up in Jacksonville last Wednesday. The EKG looked real good and no AFib. She is coming along very well, though it might take up to 6 months for a complete recovery.

Melotine Davis has seen her doctor about her herniated disk that happened from a fall, after her recent back surgery.  But she has not yet heard when this additional surgery will be.

Rick Cuthbertson, who is being treated for lung cancer, will soon be seeing his doctor about beginning a more effectual chemo.

Let us also continue to remember our shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and Shirley Davis.

And also on our prayer list: Jim Lively; Pat & A.J. Joyner; James, Bennie, Deborah, and Penny Medlock; Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse; and Jan Bartlett
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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)

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The Gospel Observer (August 18, 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 Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Contribution to the Background of the New Testament (Marc W. Gibson)
2) News & Notes
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Dead Sea Scroll 2

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The Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Contribution to the Background of the New Testament
Marc W. Gibson

The ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave in the cliffs just above the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. In the years that followed, some eight hundred intact and fragmented manuscripts were found in several nearby caves, adding up to the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century. It continues to be the prevailing view of scholars today that these ancient scrolls were placed in these caves by the inhabitants of the settlement of Qumran, the remains of which lie between the cliffs and the Dead Sea.

The most likely inhabitants of Qumran were the Essenes, a sect of the Jews which separated itself from, and was critical of, mainstream Judaism based in Jerusalem. Though a point of dispute among scholars today, the manuscripts were most likely produced and owned by the Qumran settlement, and hidden when the Romans sent their army to the region to put down a Jewish uprising (A.D. 68-70). The excavators of Qumran have determined that it was destroyed in A.D. 68 by the Romans as they prepared to overthrow Jerusalem. Though Qumran was destroyed, the scrolls were safely hidden in the caves until their discovery 1,879 years later. The scrolls date from between 250 B.C. and A.D. 68 and include communal (sectarian) laws and regulations, religious documents, and most importantly for biblical textual studies, manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. Every book of the Old Testament was represented except Esther. This discovery pushed the evidence for the Old Testament text back more than one thousand years, and a study of these texts have shown that our Old Testament translations today are extremely accurate and based on solid textual evidence.

The remaining materials in the cache of scrolls should not be quickly dismissed as inconsequential to the study of the Bible or the New Testament in particular. When one understands that most of the sectarian and religious scrolls were produced and/or collected in a Jewish setting of the two centuries leading up to the time of Jesus and the New Testament (known as Second Temple Judaism), then he will realize that information may be available to shed light on the society and times in which Jesus lived and the New Testament was written. Jesus encountered various opinions and views among the Jews of his day. Could the scrolls help us identify some of this thinking? In what ways can they illuminate our understanding of New Testament backgrounds?

Dangerous Theories
In reading scholarly works on this subject, one will be inundated with the theories of men concerning the relationship of the New Testament and the Second Temple Judaism in the years before and during the first century. The Christian should beware of the liberal critical opinions that downplay, or even dismiss, the role of divine inspiration as the source of the message of the New Testament. Much speculation is practiced in the attempt to derive the “sources” of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. Emphasis is given to the Jewish “soil” out of which Christianity supposedly arose. While it is true that the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament must be understood against the backdrop of the promises, prophecies, and shadows of the Old Testament, Jesus was not dependent on the Jewish thinking of his day to help formulate his doctrine.

The prevailing Jewish opinions of that day about the Old Testament and the person and work of the Messiah were not the “soil” from which New Testament doctrine was founded. Any parallels that have been suggested are only that, parallels. They do not prove in any way that Christianity borrowed or tweaked the popular thinking of its day, and became just another sect of Judaism. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and reveal divine truth (Matt. 5:17; John 7:16-17). He confronted various erroneous views and faulty interpretations (John 5:46-47; Matt. 22:15-46). The scrolls can help us understand more about both the parallels and contrasts.

Parallel Themes
One of the more interesting parallels in the teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament is the distinction between Light and Darkness. One Qumran text, The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, speaks of the battle between the forces of Light and Darkness. Jesus used light and darkness to illustrate the distinction between truth and error (John 3:19-21; 8:12), as did Paul (2 Cor. 4:3-6; 6:14) and John (1 John 1:5-6; 2:9-10). Other parallel themes found in the scrolls include criticism of loving riches, righteousness, flesh and spirit, and the necessity of conversion. These parallels illustrate the common use of metaphors and the understanding of general themes revealed in Scripture.

Old Testament Prophecy

The Qumran community cited the Old Testament in its religious texts, but the fulfillments of its prophecies were often interpreted in the context of their ideology. One such example is found in the Manual of Discipline [Community Rule] (8:12-15) where Isaiah 40:3 is applied to the community itself, instead of John the Baptist’s heralding of the coming of Jesus (Matt. 3:1-3). They also understood themselves to be the eschatological “last generation” through whom God would bring final victory for the righteous. Through them would come a “Teacher of Righteousness” that would give the proper understanding of God’s Word. These examples affirm the fact that the Old Testament prophecies and promises were not fully understood until Jesus Christ revealed their fulfillment in him and his kingdom.

Views About the Messiah

One of the most significant subjects that the Dead Sea Scrolls helps us to understand is the confused first century view of the person and work of the Messiah. Those at Qumran reflected their times in that they had a high expectation of the Messiah. References are made to “the Messiah of Righteousness . . . the Branch of David” (Genesis Commentaries [4Q252]; Commentaries on Isaiah [4Q161]), and to a royal and militaristic “Prince of the Congregation” (Damascus Document 7:18-20; War Scroll 5:1). But the concept was taken further in the expectation of two messiahs: “They shall depart from none of the counsels of the Law to walk in all the stubbornness of their hearts, but shall be ruled by the primitive precepts in which the men of the Community were first instructed until there shall come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel” (Manual of Discipline 9:10-11). Actually, three different characters are spoken of here: the Prophet, Messiah of Aaron, and the Messiah of Israel. The Messiah of Israel was a royal messiah, while the Messiah of Aaron was a priestly messiah and is the prominent one in that context. These beliefs again reflected erroneous views of Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. On the other hand, the Messianic Apocalypse accurately speaks of a Messiah whose work would be of liberating captives, restoring sight to the blind, healing the wounded, reviving the dead, and bringing good news to the poor (see Isa. 61:1; Matt. 11:4-5). There were many different views and opinions as to whom the Messiah(s) was and what role he would fulfill, but there is no suggestion that he would be a suffering servant who would die. The expectation that the Messiah would suffer and give his life as a ransom for sinful man is noticeably absent in Jesus’ day and in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Matt. 16:21-23; Luke 24:25-26).

Misunderstanding and confusion is also found concerning the Prophet and the Messiah being understood as two different individuals, instead of two roles being combined in the Coming One (John 1:19-21; Acts 3:22-26). The popular conceptions of the Messiah did not consider him to be a suffering servant who would die (Matt. 16:21-23; John 12:34). The Jews were looking for a victorious earthly warrior-king (John 6:14-15). Christ and the apostles would be the ones who would expound the divine truth concerning Jesus the Messiah as Prophet, Priest, and King (Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 2:36; 17:2-3). Jesus was given all authority and brought grace, truth, and salvation (Matt. 28:18; John 1:9-16). He fulfilled the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant discoveries in the history of Biblical archaeology. They reveal snapshots of Jewish thought in the years leading up to Jesus and the New Testament. We view in them the struggle to understand the meaning of the text of the Hebrew Bible. We see the confusion and errors that plagued the thinking of many who needed the light of truth revealed in Jesus. Only in that truth would they be able to find familiar themes placed in their proper context and the divine plan of God revealed in its fullness. Only in Christ would they be able to see the mystery revealed (1 Cor. 2:26-16; Eph. 3:1-7).

Recommended Reading
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Geza Vermes (New York: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1997).
Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review, Hershel Shanks, ed. (New York: Random House, 1992).
The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hershel Shanks (New York: Random House, 1998).
The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature, John J. Collins (New York: Doubleday, 1995).
The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years, Hershel Shanks, et. al. (Washington D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1991).
Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Edward M. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994).
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Charles F. Pfeiffer (New York: Weathervane Books, 1969).
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Modern Translations of the Old Testament, Harold Scanlin (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993).
Dead Sea Scrolls,” William Sanford LaSor, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, rev. ed., (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), 883-897.

— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLV, 1, p1, January 4, 2001
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson, who is being treated for lung cancer, will soon be seeing his doctor about beginning a more effectual chemo.

The procedure for Barbara Thompson to close the hole in her heart went well last Tuesday.  She is now also doing remarkably well following the mini stroke she had a couple weeks ago that affected her speech, which has already greatly improved!

Bennie Medlock has been having some painful trouble with his back and legs.

Deborah Medlock was also having some back pain.

Let us pray that Jan Bartlett will make the right decision about whether to have or to not have treatments, following her recent surgery.  The cancer was eliminated, so the treatments would be a precautionary measure.

We are glad to have Doug and Marie Pennock back with us, after their visit up north for a few weeks!

Melotine Davis is healing well from her back surgery; but a fall soon afterwards has caused a painful herniated disk.  She will soon be seeing her doctor about that.

Let us also be remembering our shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and Shirley Davis.

Also for our prayer list: Jim Lively, Pat & A.J. Joyner, and Doyle & Joyce Rittenhouse.
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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 (August 11, 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) Some Bible “Excepts” (Bill Crews)
2) Babylon Clay Tablet Confirms Jeremiah (Ben M. Shropshire)
3) Never Give Up! (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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john15_4

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Some Bible “Excepts”
Bill Crews

The English word “except” is a strong word. It can be used as a verb, either transitive or intransitive, and as a preposition. But it is also identified as a conjunction, at least “archaically,” with the meaning of “unless.” This simply means that in the past in the English language the word was used as a conjunction and meant “unless.” That is exactly how the word is used, and frequently, in our English translations of the Bible. It has the meaning of “if not,” “unless,” “but that” and “without.” It is used to emphasize conditions that must be met. For example:

THE NECESSITY OF FAITH: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for except ye believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Thus, it is imperative that we believe that Jesus is He (the Christ, the One sent from God). (The necessity of that faith is also stressed in this way: “And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him,” Hebrews 11:6).

THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but (or except) by Me” (John 14:6). We cannot come unto God unless we believe; we cannot come unto God except by His Son. How do we come unto that Son? “No man can come to me except the Father that sent Me draw him” (John 6:44). And how does the Father draw men unto the Son? “It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught of God” (that’s in Isaiah 54:13, B.C.). “Everyone that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). So the Father, through His word, draws men unto His Son. This is the same way that men are led to have faith (Romans 10:17 — faith comes by hearing the word of God; Acts 15:7 — by Peter’s mouth the Gentiles were to hear the word of the gospel and believe).

THE NECESSITY OF BEING BORN AGAIN: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew (or again), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This is explained further: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). On being born (or begotten) of the Spirit see James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Corinthians 4:15 — we are begotten by the word or the gospel which was given by the Spirit. On being born of water see Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12 and 1:18 — we are brought forth from the water of baptism as new creatures.

THE NECESSITY OF HONESTY AND SINCERITY: “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Their righteousness was only apparent, external and hypocritical. Ours must be real, according to God’s word and from the heart.

THE NECESSITY OF HUMILITY: “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein” (Mark 10:15).

THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE: “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Jesus addressed these words to some specific individuals, as He compared them to others, but the words Except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” can be applied in a spiritual and eternal sense to all sinners. “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now He commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30-31).

THE NECESSITY OF CONTENDING LAWFULLY: “And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5). The Christian is likened to a soldier (verse 4) and to a contestant in the athletic games (verse 5). Like the soldier he must be dedicated and loyal. Like the contestant in the games, he must abide by the rules that govern the “race.”

For other “except” passages dealing with things that are necessary for our salvation see Matthew 6:15; John 15:4, 6; 1 Corinthians 9:16; James 2:17; Revelation 2:2, 22, 3:3.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 31, Page 3, August 4, 2019
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Nebo-sarsekim tablet

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Babylon Clay Tablet Confirms Jeremiah
Ben M. Shropshire

The recent discovery of a cuneiform clay tablet by an Austrian scholar at the site of ancient Babylon confirms the historical accuracy of the book of Jeremiah. The recently deciphered tablet, which dates from 595 BC, refers to an official in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, which is also mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah. The tablet names a Babylonian officer called Nebo-Sarsekim, who, according to Jeremiah (39:3) was present in 586 BC when “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it” (Jeremiah 39:1).

The clay tablet relates that Nebo-Sarsekim bestowed a gift of gold on the Temple of Esangila in the city of Babylon. It does not mention that he was with Nebuchadnezzar when he laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and then destroyed it. The cuneiform inscription, therefore, just confirms that Jeremiah was accurate when he reported there was an official (Jeremiah refers to him as a prince of the king of Babylon) of the Babylonian government whose name was Nebo-Sarsekim. The dating of the tablet from 595 BC, which was just nine years prior to the event reported by Jeremiah, demonstrates the likelihood that the tablet and Jeremiah were both referring to the same person.

This is just another evidence, along with many others, that the Bible is not just a collection of legends, fables and hand-me-down stories, but that it is a historically accurate document. Believing that the Bible was inspired of God, we would expect it to be historically accurate.

— Via Lifeline, July 15, 2000
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don't quit do it

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Never Give Up!
Greg Gwin

Winston Churchill is remembered as one of the great motivators of the past century. His leadership qualities were a deciding factor in helping the British people through the darkest hours of World War II.

Later in life Churchill was invited to return to the preparatory school he had attended as a youth. He was to address the students, and they had been told to expect “one of the greatest orators of all times.” Their instructions were to listen carefully, and take notes.

Churchill’s speech to the student body was incredibly brief. You, no doubt, are familiar with the entire text of that speech. Sir Winston said, “Young Gentlemen, Never, never, never, never give up!” That was it. No  more. But it was a message that could not be forgotten.

Others have pointed out that the key to success is not necessarily talent, or training, or luck. It is patience, persistence, and perseverance that wins the prize.

This principle also applies in spiritual pursuits. We’ve known of some incredibly talented folks who have given up. And others who have received the finest opportunities have simply quit.

We need determination to continue on, no matter what comes our way. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t whine and drop out at the first sign of adversity.

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were tempted to give up. The words of encouragement written to them are needed by us today: “Cast not away therefore your confidence. . . ye have need of patience. . . we are not of them who draw back (10:35—39) . . . Let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (12:1).

Never give up!

— via The Beacon, August 4, 2019
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“By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Last Sunday, Barbara Thompson had a TIA (a “mini stroke”).  It caused no paralysis, but did affect her speech.  She returned home Thursday and is to be kept in for a few days.  This Tuesday, she will be having a non-invasive procedure to repair a hole in her heart  .

Joyce Rittenhouse was bitten by an insect that has left quite a mark and had her feeling ill.  Her blood pressure had been up to 202/102 several days afterwards, but then dropped a few hours later to 149/98. She is also experiencing other symptoms.  If not better by today, she will begin antibiotics and see her doctor tomorrow morning.

Doyle Rittenhouse has still been having some trouble with a fast pulse and will soon begin wearing a heart monitor to better determine the problem.

Melontine Davis has healed well from her recent back surgery; but a fall, following that surgery, has caused a herniated disk that is giving her much pain.  She will soon be seeing her doctor about this.

Bennie Medlock has been having painful trouble with his back and legs.

Jan Bartlett has a decision to make about what kind of treatments (and possibly two) to have following her recent surgery for breast cancer.  The cancer was removed.

Our shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and Shirley Davis.

Our other members with health issues: Pat & A.J. Joyner; Jim Lively; Myrna Jordan, James and Deborah Medlock, and Bud Montero. 
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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)
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 (August 4, 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) Fix Your Eyes on Jesus (Frank Himmel)
2) Two Wise Goats (Anonymous)
3) A Question About John’s Baptism (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
——————–

mark9_23

-1-

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
Frank Himmel

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The Example

Jesus is the author of salvation. The Greek word used here “primarily signifies one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of, anything” (Vine). Some suggest pioneer or trail-blazer is the idea. Jesus opens the way to God because He is the way (Hebrews 10:19-20; John 14:6).

Jesus is also the perfecter of faith. In Him faith found its perfect expression. He completed the faith by carrying out God’s plan, and He is also able to bring our faith to its complete end.

Other Examples

As we run our race we should rightly be able to look to each other for instructive and encouraging examples.  While elders (1 Peter 5:3) and preachers (1 Timothy 4:12) are especially charged  with leading by example, every disciple ought to be able to say with Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Even the best disciples, however, have their flaws. Never make the mistake of judging the greatness or power or value of Jesus by the weakness of His followers. Fix your eyes on Jesus!

An Illustration

While Jesus, Peter, James, and John were away on a mountain to pray, a man brought his demon-possessed boy to the other apostles to be healed (Mark 9:14-29). The demon was causing seizures and self-destructive behavior. Despite having cast out demons previously (see 6:13), this time the apostles failed. The father was crushed. When Jesus arrived, the father explained the situation to Him and pled, “But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (v. 22). Due to the disciples’ failure, this man who had come in faith was now not so sure.

Jesus picked up on his “if You can.” “And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can?’ All things are possible to him who believes” (v. 23). The humble, honest, struggling father immediately responded, “I do believe; help my unbelief ” (v. 24).

Jesus cast out the demon. The boy was cured at once. The Lord explained to the apostles that they had failed due to lack of faith (Matthew 17:20). He urged them to pray more (Mark 9:29). And everyone involved learned the valuable lesson, “fix your eyes on Jesus.”

— Via Pathlights, August 4, 2019
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two goats on steep ledge

-2-

Two Wise Goats
(Anonymous)

Martin Luther is credited with the following interesting story:

Two mountain goats meet each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one of the animals. On the left there is a sheer cliff, and on the right a deep lake. The two face each other. What should they do? They cannot back up, that would be too dangerous. They cannot turn around because the ledge is too narrow.

Now if the goats had no more sense than some people, they would meet head on and start butting each other until they fell into the lake below. Luther tells us that goats have better sense than this. One lies down on the trail and lets the other literally walk over him . . . both are safe. They must be willing, at least one of them, to humbly lie down and let the other pass over him. If they were like some people, they would argue over who should lie down, and who should walk over. But evidently “goat sense” is common sense!

Is there any need to make an application to ourselves? How often our stubbornness results in tragedy! How hard to be the least, to humble ourselves for the best interest of others! We hear folks say, “I’m going to stand up for my rights!” How much better it would be to meekly “suffer wrong” (1 Cor. 6:7) and be the least. It’s hard to learn such a lesson as this. Another says, “It’s not the few pennies involved, or the results I’ve borne … but I must defend my principles!” Remember the principle is love, and the Bible says “Love suffers long and is kind … love does not seek its own…” (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Better allow yourself to be walked over than to quarrel!

Here lies the body of Jonathan Gray,
Who died maintaining his right of way.
He was right — dead right — as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong!

“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 30, page 1, July 28, 2019
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baptism_m

-3-

A Question about John’s Baptism
Greg Gwin

We received this question:

I have a question about baptism. John’s baptism was before Acts 2: The question is: were those who were baptized by John baptized again when the church was established? I use Acts 19:3 when Paul found some brethren who knew only the baptism of John and they were baptized again to be in a right relationship with God.

While the New Testament doesn’t really answer the question about ‘re-baptism’ of those baptized by John, I think there are some indications that they were re-baptized after the preaching of the gospel on the Day of Pentecost. The passage you mentioned about Paul in Ephesus is one that is applicable to the discussion, but some argue that those men were baptized with John’s baptism AFTER Pentecost, and thus they claim it doesn’t pertain to the question of those who were baptized by John PRIOR to Pentecost. I’m not sure you can prove the ‘timing’ argument, but they may be right.

Here’s an argument that may provide the answer: Matthew 3:5-6 says: “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” Thus, we know that John’s baptism was VERY popular with the people.

Now, on Pentecost, when the people asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), notice that there were not two answers given, but only one: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (vs. 38). If those baptized by John didn’t have to be baptized again, it seems some exception would have been stated. Surely there were people in that audience that had been baptized with John’s baptism, since it was so popular, as noted above. But, there was no exception offered — everyone was commanded to be baptized. This would indicate that those baptized by John were re-baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.”

— Via Collegevue church of Christ, July 28, 2019
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-4-

News & Notes

Around 5 p.m., August 4, Barbara Thompson suffered a stroke.  Fortunately, it did not cause any paralysis. It did, however, affect her speech.  But that has already greatly improved since then. Soon she will begin therapy treatments.

Frankie Hadley fell Friday and had to be hospitalized.  Her daughter writes, “She had a large hemotoma on her forehead, but it has settled now in her eyes so they’re black. Looks like someone beat her.  She also has UTI.”  Frankie is now back home.

Doyle Rittenhouse has been having some trouble with his pulse being too high.  So he will soon begin wearing a heart monitor to better determine the cause.

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 treatments.

Penny Medlock is still at St. Simons-By-The-Sea, due to having trouble with her medication.  She has now also started experiencing some dizziness.

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

Ronnie Davis recently had a shot for the painful arthritis that started developing in his knees a few months ago, and the treatment has helped!

Let us also continue to remember in prayer those 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
——————–

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)