The Gospel Observer (October 27, 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 Sufferings of Christ Prior to His Death (Irvin Himmel)
2) News & Notes
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Luke22_44b

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The Sufferings of Christ Prior to His Death
Irvin Himmel

In the stillness and ebony of night, following the keeping of the Passover with His disciples and a period of lengthy discussions, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At a place called Gethsemane, He told the tired and weary apostles, “Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with Him to go a little farther into the garden. He “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mk. 14:33). His soul was “exceeding sorrowful” (Matt. 26:38). He went forward a short distance and fell on His face in prayer.

In Gethsemane

The prayer of our Lord in Gethsemane reflected His human feelings as He faced the reality of death. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Human nature shrinks “from the dissolution of the bond that binds to soul” (Edersheim). Jesus had taken upon Him the nature of man. He was nearing the time when He must bear the iniquity of us all. The prospect of death brought the deepest kind of agony to His soul. The physically exhausted disciples had now fallen asleep. “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk. 22:44).

I confess that my mind cannot fully fathom the horror and agonizing grief which our Master suffered in Gethsemane. It was a foretaste of Calvary. He who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, and was found in fashion as a man, “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death” (Heb. 5:7).

Night, with ebon pinion,
Brooded o’er the vale;
All around was silent,
Save the night-wind’s wail,
When Christ, the Man of Sorrows,
In tears and sweat and blood,
Prostrate in the garden,
Raised His voice to God.
– L.H. Jameson

A mob stormed into the garden with swords and staves, lanterns and torches. Judas positively identified Jesus, and they laid hands on Him and took Him away. After a brief appearance before Annas, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Before the High Priest

John records an incident which may have occurred before Annas or before Caiaphas. The account in John 18:19-24 is not clear as to which “high priest” is under consideration. Commentators are pretty equally divided on the point. I lean to the view that this took place before Caiaphas in a private interview. The high priest asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Since Jesus had taught openly in the synagogue and in the temple, not concealing His doctrine, He responded, “Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”

One of the officers of the high priest “struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?” Perhaps this officer was not accustomed to hearing a prisoner speak in such a forthright manner, standing for his own rights. Jesus replied, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?” The slap in the face was intended to insinuate that Jesus had not shown respect for the high priest. The truth is that the blow was illegal. Jesus was merely demanding that witnesses be brought if the court had a case against Him. Hendriksen thinks the officer tried to exploit the situation for his own selfish advantage – that he may have been dreaming about a promotion! It is worthy of note that he was not ordered to strike the prisoner. His action was daring and despicable.

Later, two false witnesses were brought to testify against Jesus. Being put under oath and commanded to state plainly whether or not He was the Christ, the Son of God, He answered, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

The high priest rent his clothes and charged Jesus with blasphemy. “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” (Matt. 26:67, 68). In addition to these indignities, they covered His face (Mk. 14:65). Luke explains what happened in these words: “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him” (Lk. 22:63-65).

Imagine how you would feel if you were held in custody and the men who held you began spitting on you, beating you in a sadistic manner, and they blindfold you and strike heavy blows, taunting, mocking, jeering! These insults and abuses were both unjust and contrary to civilized conduct. The brutality and vulgarity of the scene bring into sharp focus the animal instincts that had moved the guards and servants of Caiaphas to show the utmost contempt toward the prisoner.

After appearing before Annas, before Caiaphas, then before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was sent to Pilate, Judea’s Roman governor. In the course of the questioning, Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee, and since that was Herod’s territory, he sent Him over to Herod.

Before Herod

Herod had wanted for a long time to meet Jesus. Having heard many things about Him, the king hoped to see Jesus work a miracle. He questioned the Galilean prisoner in many words, and the chief priests and scribes were there vehemently accusing Him, but Jesus “answered him nothing.”

“And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate” (Lk. 23:8-11). To “set at nought” means “to count as nothing, to treat with utter contempt, as zero” (Robertson). The flinging of a brilliant robe around His body was a part of the mockery and derision.

No small segment of the pre-crucifixion suffering of the Savior was the manner in which He was shuttled from one court to another. Visualize Him being led shackled through the streets of Jerusalem, and He was arrayed in a gorgeous robe. Every step was one of burning ridicule.

Before Pilate

Pilate had to do something to appease the Jews. He hit on the idea of chastising Jesus and releasing Him. That did not suit the accusers. When he offered to release either Jesus or Barabbas, a noted criminal, they urged the release of the latter, and cried out concerning the former, “Let him be crucified.” Pilate yielded to their wicked demands.

Three of the writers report that Jesus was scourged (Matt. 27:26; Mk. 15:15; John 19:1). This was “a flogging with leather whips weighted with bone or metal laid on so hard that weaker men sometimes died from it” (Culver). “. . . The scourge of leather thongs was loaded with lead, or armed with spikes and bones, which lacerated back, and chest, and face, till the victim sometimes fell down before the judge a bleeding mass of torn flesh” (Edersheim).

At the Hands of Ruthless Romans

The soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and placed it on His head (John 19:2). This was done after they had stripped Him and arrayed Him in a scarlet robe (Matt. 27:28, 29). Somewhere the soldiers found some prickly plants to use in making this crown to press upon His head. “Rivulets of blood must have started to run down his face, neck, and other parts of his body” (Hendriksen).

Covered with blood, torn with stripes, and tortured with sharp thorns piercing the head, the body of Jesus must have throbbed with pain. This was coupled with mental cruelty. They put a reed in His right hand. A king needs a scepter. Now that they have robed, crowned, and sceptered the “king of the Jews,” they bow before Him in mockery, and they cry in cutting derision, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

As though all of this is not enough, they spat on Him, and they took the reed and smote Him on the head with it (Matt. 27:30; Mk. 15:19). And, “they smote him with their hands” (John 19:3). Probably the soldiers took turns bowing in mockery, removing the reed from His hand to hit Him on the head and drive the thorns deeper into His torn flesh, spitting on Him, slapping Him, and deriding His kingship.

But the worst ordeal was yet to come. They led Him away to crucify Him . . .

— Via Guardian of Truth,  XXV: 1, pp. 9-10, January 1, 1981
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“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative…” (John 10:17-18, NASB).
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News & Notes

Our condolences go out to all the family and friends of Mary Vandevander (Melotine Davis’ mother) who passed away October 21, after spending several days at the Hospice Satilla Hospice House in Waycross. She was 95 and survived by 4 generations of family members, which extends to her two great, great grandchildren (with the older, Olivia McCarthy, being 14).  Though sad when loved ones pass away, it can be a comfort when knowing that they are Christians who are safe in God’s eternal keeping and in a place more glorious and blissful than we can even imagine!  (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

On October 26, Shirley Davis was admitted to the Memorial Hospital in Savannah, due to a slight stroke on Friday. There is no paralysis, but she has been weakened in her left arm and with numbness and some drooping on the left side of her face.  She is now at the Memorial Satilla Rehab in Waycross, where she is undergoing therapy in the morning and afternoon. For a while, her diet will be liquids and pureed food, as a precaution.

Myrna Jordan is still having much discomfort from shingles, though the rash is gone.

Also for our prayer list: Melotine Davis, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Joyce Rittenhouse, the Medlocks, Jan Bartlett, Rick Cuthbertson, Barbara Thompson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Brandon Mullis.
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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) 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 sermons)

The Gospel Observer (October 20, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Abraham & Melchizedek (Wayne Goff)
2) Prepare to Meet Thy God (Robert F. Turner)
3) News & Notes
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Heb7_23-25N

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Abraham & Melchizedek
Wayne Goff

“The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” ~ Psalm 110:4 (Hebrews 7:17).

Abraham & Melchizedek

Historically, we read about Melchizedek in Genesis 14 when Abraham was returning from his defeat of area kings who had carried off his nephew, Lot. This event can be dated to around 2175 B.C.

Prior to this event, we know nothing of Melchizedek. We do not know his genealogy, we do not know when he was born nor when he died. So historically speaking, he had neither beginning of days nor end of life (Hebrews 7:3). These historical truths would be used by God in the New Testament symbolically to emphasize the greater priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7 points out that Melchizedek was both king and priest of Salem (later known as Jerusalem). He was ordained by the Most High God, and Abraham paid tithes to him. The nation of Israel was, so to speak, still in the loins of Abraham when this was done. So the rightful conclusion is that Melchizedek was a greater high priest than anyone who might have descended from father Abraham. We know that the nation of Israel, and Levi in particular, submitted to Melchizedek and his priesthood through Abraham. Therefore, if anyone became priest “after the order of Melchizedek,” that high priest would be superior to anyone of the Jewish nation.

Jesus Christ

God prophesied through King David that One would come and be both king and priest like Melchizedek, Psalm 110:4. The Hebrew writer refers to this prophecy in Hebrews repeatedly to emphasize how much greater Jesus Christ was as King and High Priest than anyone else, including Abraham, Levi, and any other descendant (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1, 10-11, 15, 17, 21). The nation of Israel should naturally believe in and submit to this new King and Priest!

The priesthood of Christ is greater than that of Levi because Jesus is an eternal high priest, never to be replaced. By the power of an endless life, He serves the needs of His people, Hebrews 5:6. What was symbolically true of Melchizedek is literally true of Jesus.

Jesus was called by God, just as Aaron was, Hebrews 5:10. Jesus is our Forerunner into heaven, having preceded us as the resurrected Lord, King and High Priest! (Heb. 6:20). We will go to heaven if we will follow Him! Jesus is greater than Abraham because of His Divine Nature, Divine Calling, and eternal High Priesthood, Heb. 7:10-11. And His priestly order was established by an irrevocable Divine oath, Heb. 7:21!

A Needed Change

Because the priesthood was changed by God, there must also of necessity be a change in the Law, for the Law of Moses only allowed for a Levitical priesthood, Heb. 7:12-14. Therefore, the Law of Moses was concluded, and all of its special favors and relationships between God and Israel. This was a difficult “pill to swallow” by the Jewish people. They had mistakenly thought that they would forever be God’s special people above all nations. However, if they had considered the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ as a New Lawgiver (Deuteronomy 18), and as a new High Priest (Psalm 110:4), and the need for a new covenant which they had broken (Jeremiah 31:31-34), then they would not have been so surprised.

Through Jesus Christ we have eternal forgiveness, a spiritual nation comprised of those from every nation, a better covenant than the law, an unchangeable priesthood in Jesus Christ, and a “perfected” (completed) One as well, Hebrews 7:22-28. All of this was foreordained by God long before Israel became a nation, and it was foreshadowed by the man, Melchizedek. The honest Bible student can come to no other conclusion.

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 41, Page 2
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Psalm 32:10-11

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart” (NASB).
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Mark13_35-37

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Prepare to Meet Thy God
Robert F. Turner

In Matthew 24:42, Jesus tells his disciples to “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh …therefore be ye also ready.” Paul echoes this thought when he writes, “so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thes. 5:6). And John records the words of Christ in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.”

These verses, as well as others, remind us of the inevitability of meeting God in judgment. As the song states, “There’s a great day coming…” and it seems that the vast majority of humanity is failing to prepare for that day. James warns us that this physical life is too uncertain to go unprepared to meet our Maker (Jas. 4:14). If we wish to have an eternal home with God, we must begin our preparation now.

We cannot begin to make significant preparation to meet God in judgment until we have developed the proper attitude. Solomon points out that our attitude determines what we do or say. In Proverbs he writes, “as a man thinketh within himself, so is he” and “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 23:7; 4:23). Christ also emphasizes this truth when he says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:24). If our actions are to be pleasing to God, we must set our hearts “to seek the law of Jehovah and to-do it” (Ezra 7:10). Our attitude should be “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:10). If we develop within ourselves the desire to serve God, our actions will reflect this desire. We will remain steadfast in our preparation by continuing to learn all we can concerning God’s will.

David’s attitude motivated him to meditate on God’s law day and night (Ps. 1:2). Because of his desire to serve God, the Psalmist exclaimed, “Teach me, 0 Jehovah, the way of thy statutes” (Ps. 119:33). David knew that God’s word was the only guide which could prepare him to meet his Creator. The Bereans, in Acts 17:11, were aware of this fact, so they “examined the scriptures daily.” Also, Paul instructed Timothy to “give heed to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13f). All of these men had a desire to serve God. This attitude motivated them to prepare to meet their God.

When we finally meet God in judgment, our attitude will greatly influence the outcome. Countless numbers will be lost because their hearts, or attitudes, are not right. Precious souls will be left outside the marriage feast crying “Lord, Lord, open to us!” (Matt. 25:1f) — they thought they had a little more time. Many, because of a selfish attitude, will be asked “and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?” (Lu. 12:16f) — they desired to serve themselves rather than God. You know what your attitude is — you know whether or not you are striving to serve God to the best of your ability. If your attitude and service to God is not what it should be, remember the words of Amos 4:12 — “Prepare to meet thy God!”

— Via Plain Talk, Vol. XVII, No. 1, pg. 6, March 1980
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Psalm 34:2-3

“My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together” (NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Mary Vandevander, who had been a member of the Tebeau Street church of Christ for many years, passed away October 21, after spending several days at the Hospice Satilla Hospice House in Waycross. She was 95 and survived by 4 generations of family members, which extends to her two great, great grandchildren (the older being 14). Our condolences go out to all of her family and friends. Her funeral will be at the Miles-Odum Funeral Home in Waycross, Georgia, October 24 at 11 a.m. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Though sad when loved ones pass away, it can be a comfort when knowing that they are Christians who are safe in God’s keeping (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Myrna Jordan has recently been suffering from shingles.

A.J. Joyner has had diverticulitis for about 10 years.  Since last week, it has become the worst ever in causing pain and a diet of nothing more solid than mashed potatoes. He will be seeing his doctor Monday for setting up an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

The 2 iron fusions that Pat Joyner had has helped. She is feeling better now than she had since January, but will not hear all  the results of last week’s testing until next month.  Both she and A.J. will be having a 2nd sleep test October 30.

Jim Lively had another fall recently; but, fortunately, no bones were broken.

Joyce Rittenhouse is feeling somewhat better, but having a little nausea at times and not knowing whether she still has the kidney stone or not.

Also for our prayer list: Melotine Davis, the Medlocks, Shirley Davis, Jan Bartlett, Rick Cuthbertson, Barbara Thompson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Brandon Mullis.
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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) 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 sermons)

The Gospel Observer (October 13, 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) “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” (Jim McDonald)
2) The Parable of the Sower (Wayne Goff)
3) God and Man (Bill Crews)
4) News & Notes
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peace

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“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”
Jim McDonald

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Christians are peaceable people. They cannot follow their Master and be otherwise! Isaiah wrote of “Immanuel” who, among other things, would be called “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 7:14; 9:6). Peter quotes from Psalm 34:12 when he wrote, “He that would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; and let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:10f). Paul commands, “So then, let us follow after things which make for peace and things whereby we may edify one another” (Rom. 14:19).

Jesus is called “Prince of peace.” Paradoxically enough he said, “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man’s foes shall be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-36). He did not mean that he intended that men be in opposition to each other; he knew that given the free-moral agency of man, that some (most) would rebel against him which would put them in opposition to those who follow Christ. Because Jesus said he came not to “send peace on the earth but a sword,” we understand that God’s wish that we seek peace must not be “peace at any price.” In Jeremiah’s day there were those who cried “peace, peace when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). We cannot seek a compromising peace, and we must remember it is not always possible for us to be at peace. The Holy Spirit knew this and so he caused Paul to write: “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Paul wrote about some that “the way of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3:17). With such, the only path to peace is through compromise and sin. In such a case, the faithful Christian really has no choice. He stands for truth and righteousness and lets the “chips fall where they may.”

When Paul wrote “Let us follow after things which make for peace” (Rom. 14: 19), he had given direction in that context that, in matters of indifference, men were to live peaceably with other men. Some could eat meats, others could not. The ones who could not eat were not to judge those who could; those who could eat were not to set at naught those who could not (Rom. 14:3). We are also told that to be spiritually minded “is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). But Jesus did not simply say, “Blessed are they that follow after peace.” He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Consider at least two ways in which we are to be peacemakers.

First, man must make peace with God. “He who makes himself a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God. The friendship of the world is enmity with God” (Jas. 4:4). We make peace with God by appropriating to ourselves the “peace offering” we find in Christ. Christ is “our peace.” Through his sacrifice he made possible our peace with God. Still, we must act. We must believe and obey his terms for peace. “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). This is an obedient faith, not faith only (Jas. 2:24).

Secondly, man must seek to bring about peace with others who are estranged from each other. He seeks to be a peacemaker when he preaches the gospel of peace; preaching “peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). There can be no greater “peacemaking” than to teach a lost soul how he may be at peace with God!

Those who are “peacemakers” are called “sons of God.” Such are “sons of God” because they are acting like their Heavenly Father who actively sought to reconcile man to himself through the death of his Son. May we ardently desire that we shall be sons of God because as he made the sacrifice which allows for peace, we tell others about this available peace and praise his goodness in providing it.

— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLVII, No. 1, January 2, 2003
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Psalm 33:16-17

“No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield” (NKJV).
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sower

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The Parable of the Sower
Wayne Goff

The parables of Jesus are some of the most fascinating stories because they tie spiritual truths to obvious natural events. In the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8), Jesus compares gospel preaching to seed-planting. The “seed” (Word of God, Lk. 8:11) is sent into four different soils: (1) wayside; (2) rocky soil; (3) thorny ground; (4) good ground. These soils represent four kinds of hearts. So ask yourself: “Of what soil am I made?”

1. Wayside: This is the one who hears the word but the devil comes and takes away the word before he obeys it (Matt. 13:19; Lk. 8:12).

2. Rocky Soil: This is the one who hears the Word and joyfully receives it and believes for a time. But when temptation, tribulation or persecution comes his way, he becomes weak, forgetful, and falls away from the truth (Matt. 13:21; Lk. 8:13). Christianity is just too hard for him!

3. Thorny Ground: This is the one who is too busy with life to consider what is coming in eternity. He hears the Word of God but the cares, riches and pleasures of life keep him from completing his spiritual duties and he dies spiritually (Matt. 13:22; Lk. 8:14).

4. Good Ground: This is the one who hears the Word with a good, noble heart, keeps it obediently, and bears fruit with patience throughout his life (Matt. 13:23; Lk. 8:15). Now if you have been paying attention to the parable of the Lord, then you know you want to be the “good ground.” You want to be a good Listener of God’s Word. You want to take it into your good and noble heart and apply it to your life. You want to do this over the entirety of your life so that at the end of this earthly journey, the Lord will say to you: “Good and faithful servant.” But the reality for most people is that they are one of the other three soils. (1) They never consider it. (2) They obey it for awhile until it gets to be too hard. (3) They would love to be a faithful Christian, and they love hearing the Word and going to church — but they’re too busy.

You see, dear reader, it takes time and effort to bring spiritual fruit to bear in your life. You have to make the time, cultivate your spiritual tastes, and do it habitually. Going to church once a week will not get the job done. You must hear the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit patiently (Lk. 8:15). So says Jesus Christ Himself.

—Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 40, Page 4, October 6, 2019
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man standing by water

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God and Man
Bill Crews

Remember that God sees the whole picture. He sees all the past; He sees all the present; and He has the power to see all the future. He can see the end from the beginning, and He knows the destiny of every person and the solution to every problem. He loves us and is always available to us, but He will force neither Himself nor His will upon us. As long as we live, we are allowed to choose. He is concerned about our true welfare and happiness – here and hereafter. With Him on our side every thing will turn out well (Rom. 8:28,31); but if He must be against us, nothing will turn out right.

— Via The Beacon, October 6, 2019
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Psalm 33:13-15

“The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works”
(NASB).
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News & Notes

The gospel meeting at the Oak Grove church of Christ in Jennings (FL) begins today and runs to the 18th (Sun-Fri) with John Zellner as the guest speaker. Weeknight services will begin at 7:30 at 2922 NW 76th Terrace.

Ron Daly update (Oct. 10) from Edward T. Rangel:  “Truly God is so good. Just received word that after 8 weeks since his accident, Ron Daly will be going home this Saturday. He will still need therapy 3 or 4 times a week that Thelma will be able to take him to since he can not drive yet. His voice has returned to about 80%. He still is not able to turn his head left and right with ease due to the vertebrae in his neck still being healed with a brace. I want to personally thank all the brothers and sisters in Christ as well as friends who contributed to them personally as well as the gofundme account of close to $19,000. Please, continue your prayers for the family. It has truly been a great blessing to be able to see the working of God during this.”

Jan Bartlett had her 2nd chemo treatment Friday, and Rick Cuthbertson had another on Wednesday.

Myrna Jordan has not been feeling well lately.

Also for prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, the Medlocks, Shirley Davis, Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse, Jim Lively, Barbara Thompson, Mary Vandevander; Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Brandon Mullis.
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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 (October 6, 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) Living As Christians Should Live (R.J. Evans)
2) Are You Noble-Minded? (Rick Lanning)
3) “Let This One Pass” (Steve Patton)
4) News & Notes
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luke9_23b

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Living As Christians Should Live
R.J. Evans

Throughout history, men generally have been selfish and lacked genuine concern for God and others.  In recent years, we have had many describe those of this world as the “Me” generation.  And, not to be cynical, but in reality, we live in a world where most people think only of themselves and their own interests.  So many think nothing of using or taking advantage of others; they show hatred, envy, and jealousy toward those within their circle of friends and associates; they never show sympathy, or are willing to empathize with others; and they seek to gratify and fulfill whatever desires they have for themselves.

While Jesus was here on earth, He taught many wonderful lessons in what is referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5 – 7).  One thing for certain, what He teaches “goes against the grain” of what men naturally tend to do in their day-to-day living.  In the sermon, He taught the blessings of serving God; being examples to others (salt/city/light); the sin of committing murder and adultery in one’s heart; going the second mile; loving and praying for our enemies; not doing our good works for show; and a host of other great lessons. This sermon tells us how we ought to live, not as the world lives, but according to God’s will for our lives.

But when it comes to living the kind of life that pleases God, and not self, there are many other instructions throughout God’s Word.  In this article, here’s just a sampling of living as Christians should live:

1. Be open to and heed correction.  “The ear that hears the reproof of life will abide among the wise” (Prov. 15: 31).  The Apostle Peter had to correct and rebuke Simon the sorcerer for his attempting to purchase the power of laying his hands on others to impart miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:9-25).  The Apostle Paul had to openly correct the Apostle Peter by withstanding him to the face for being a hypocrite at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14).

2. Be interested and considerate of others.  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).  This characterized the life of the Apostle Paul.  He consistently prayed for his brethren, as is evidenced in all his epistles.  Beyond all his physical difficulties, he stated: “Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: My deep concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28).

3. See ourselves realistically.  “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).  Again, this involves not being conceited and lifted up with pride (Phil. 2:3).

4.  Rejoice with others when they are happy and cry with them when they are sad.  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).  This eliminates envy and jealousy.  Again, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

5.  Sympathize and empathize with others.  We do this when we practice what is sometimes called “The Golden Rule.”  “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

6.  Deny ourselves.  “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).  And, of course, denying self and following Christ involves serving others.  The Apostle Paul said it this way: “And I will gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor. 12:15).

Oh, what a blessing it is when we are living as Christians should live.   Many other things could be mentioned, but this should be sufficient to help us see the need to do what the Lord said in Revelation 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, September 29, 2019
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“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification” (Romans 15:2, NASB).
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Studying the Bible

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Are You Noble-Minded?
Rick Lanning

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). On Paul’s second missionary journey, he came for the first time to preach the gospel of Christ in the regions of Macedonia and Achaia (modern Greece). He preached the gospel in the great cities of Philippi and Thessalonica, but when persecution arose he moved on to the city of Berea. At this place, the above remarkable statement is made about the Jews who heard the word of God proclaimed. Luke records that they were more noble-minded than the audience in Thessalonica. Notice the reasons given for this noble attitude:

1. The text says “they received the word with great eagerness.” Literally, the word eagerness means, “a rushing forward.” As one would rush forward to greet and hug an old friend, these noble-minded individuals “rushed forward” to eagerly receive the word of God. But although they were eager, the next phrase teaches us that they were in no way gullible.

2. Secondly, the text says that they were “examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” The word examined means “to sift,” or “to make careful and exact research.” These individuals were searching for the truth. They were sifting through the word of God as an archaeologist sifts through the dirt at an ancient tell. An archaeologist does not use a bulldozer to uncover the remains of civilizations long buried. He carefully and patiently examines every inch of dirt to find the valuable treasures that are waiting to be discovered. The Bereans were sifters, carefully examining the word of God. They had the Old Testament Scriptures, and when Paul and Silas came preaching Jesus, and they carefully examined the Scriptures to make sure that these things were so.

Are you noble-minded? Do you carefully compare what you are taught by religious teachers with the revealed will of God found in the Bible?

— Via Online Articles of the Northwest church of Christ, New Hope, Minnesota, April 12, 2012
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1cor16_8-9b

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“Let This One Pass”
Steve Patton

He had been walking all morning and was tired. The day was hot and the journey was not over.  He was near a town full of people who didn’t like his kind.  So he sat down by a well and sent his friends into town to get some food.  A Samaritan woman came to the well to get water, someone his people had nothing to do with.  This was certainly a time to just ignore the woman and quietly wait for his friends to return with some food.  But Jesus didn’t do that.  Though everything about the situation said, “Let this one pass,” He did not do it.  Here was a soul to teach.

The result was a town full of people came out to hear the words of Jesus and many people were led to the Lord.  Who woulda thought!

This account from John’s gospel (4:1-42) illustrates how open doors are often where we least expect them.  The secret is being open and aware to the souls around you.  We fill our mind with our jobs, our daily chores, our recreation and entertainment, our emails, games, family and friends.  Nothing wrong with that.  Except all those things bring us into contact with souls – lost souls – and we must see them that way.  I know every conversation we have can’t include an offer of spiritual teaching.  However, if we are sensitive and thoughtful about other’s lives throughout the day we will begin to see how many open doors God places before us.  There are Christians in this congregation today who are here because someone saw them as a friend, neighbor or associate in need of the Lord.  And they talked to them.

How many open doors will be placed in front of you this week?  Pray for opportunities and then keep yourself aware each day of doors God opens.  God will lead you to a soul.

— Via the University church of Christ, Tampa, Florida
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News & Notes

An update on Ron Daly (10/04/19): “He can talk, and is walking some without a walker. GOD is awesome.”

Pat Joyner has been having some internal bleeding since February.  She will be seeing 3 doctors this week, and in hopes of finding the problem.

Jan Bartlett will be having her next chemo treatment this coming Friday.

Rick Cuthbertson will have another treatment this Wednesday for his lung cancer.

Cheryl Corbit has been having some re-occurring sinus trouble, which she is now on antibiotics for.

Also pray for A.J. Joyner, the Medlocks, Shirley Davis, Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse, Barbara Thompson, Mary Vandevander; Rex and Frankie Hadley, and Brandon Mullis.
——————–

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)