The Gospel Observer (January 26, 2020)

“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) Tradition and God’s Word (Doy Moyer)
2) Frequency of the Lord’s Supper (Billy Moore)
3) Mark 6:53-56 (NASB)
4) News & Notes
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matt15_1-3

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Tradition and God’s Word
Doy Moyer

Mark 7 tells one of the more well-known accounts of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees. The Pharisees and some scribes had seen Jesus’ disciples eating with “impure” or unwashed hands. The tradition of the elders was that they were to wash their hands very carefully before eating, and then when they return from the market place they would not eat unless carefully cleaning themselves. Additionally, “there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.” So these Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples not doing this: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” (v. 5)

Before considering Jesus’ answer, let’s note a few items. First, there is something good about keeping yourself clean. Washing hands before you eat is good practice; there was nothing inherently wrong here, and most of us would promote this as healthy practice. Second, tradition, in itself, is not the problem. It is simply something that is passed down to others. Tradition is unavoidable in many ways. Coupled with being clean in this context, tradition can be noteworthy and good. It is something we might all like to pass down to our children. Third, notice that the appeal of the Pharisees is the tradition. They did not ask about the disciples breaking the Law of God.

The essence of Jesus’ response is: first, He called these Pharisees hypocrites; second, He quoted Isaiah 29; third, He showed how they were placing their traditions above God’s commandments.

Isaiah 29 comes in the middle of a context in which Isaiah is rebuking God’s people for the sins of idolatry and apathy toward His covenant. The first chapter of Isaiah rebukes Israel for merely going through the motions without really desiring to please God. They were offering their sacrifices, but then they were going out and committing all kinds of evil. Ironically, Isaiah does tell the people to wash themselves and make themselves clean (Isa 1:16). However, his emphasis was not physical, but spiritual: “Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.” This was the way they were to clean themselves, and it is a far more important kind of washing than we can ever do with the hands.

In Isaiah 29, one of the phrases is this: “their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” (v. 13). That is, the extent of their respect for God was, at best, learned tradition. That tradition was not in itself the Law. They appeared to care little for the Law itself, but were concerned about keeping a tradition in place even though it was not Law.

When Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, He was noting how they were neglecting the commandments of God for the sake of their traditions. Now here they were chastising others for failing to keep a tradition while they themselves were guilty of the violation of God’s commands. The beam in their eye was much larger than any speck in the eyes of the disciples of Jesus, who were not breaking God’s Law on this occasion.

Traditions are a part of life. We really cannot do without them. To one degree or another, all that we know is passed down. Railing against tradition just because something is a tradition is rather naive. Even the commands of God are traditions handed down to us (2 Thess 2:15).

How we act about these traditions may be another matter. Again, we must distinguish between traditions that are commandments of God and traditions that are handed down otherwise. If we put man-made traditions on par with, or even over, God’s word, then we are guilty of something very insidious. This is the point made in Isaiah 29:15-16. By putting their own traditions on par with God’s commands, they were essentially saying that they were God’s equal. They were guilty of pulling God down to their level and acting as though He did not have sufficient understanding of what they needed. They were smarter than God. If we think that breaking our own human traditions is on par with breaking God’s word, then we are guilty of bringing God down to our level. That’s serious business for which we need to repent.

Jesus illustrated how they had disrespected God by showing their neglect of the command to honor father and mother. They were more concerned about washing their hands than they were about caring for their parents. Talk about upside down! Yet, if we are not careful, we can fall into the same trap. Human traditions change, but what we receive from God’s word will never change. Let us be careful to make that distinction. Even more, let us always be careful to engage in God’s will over our own.

— Via Mind Your King
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1cor11_25-26

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Frequency of the Lord’s Supper
Billy Moore

As to the frequency of eating the Lord’s Supper, many have wrestled with this question. Since Acts 20:7 is the only reference of disciples coming together to eat the Lord’s Supper, it is the only reference to which we can appeal to establish frequency. We learn “what to eat” and “what to drink” from the words of Christ when he instituted it (Matt. 26:26-28) and in Paul’s reference to it in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. The Acts 20:7 reference does, in fact, teach “how often” they came together to “break bread,” and it does so by a necessary inference, one of the three ways of teaching. I reach this conclusion based upon the following reasoning:

1. A thing that is to be observed annually must have both the month and day of the month for its observance. Example: your birthday. Or a Bible example would be Pentecost, the day following the seventh Sabbath after the Passover, which was an annual occurrence.

2. Anything that is to be done monthly must have a day of the month. Example: a house payment, or rent, due on the first day of the month.

3. That which is to be observed weekly need only have the day of the week. Example: the Sabbath day. The command was simply, “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” And since every week had a Sabbath day the people knew that it was a weekly observance. The local Lions’ Club has a sign in front of a restaurant which says: “Lions’ Club meets here, Friday at Noon.” It does not say “every Friday,” but all who read it will certainly reach that conclusion. Other clubs may meet twice a month and their sign may read: “Second and Fourth Friday at 12:00.”

If the Lord ’s Supper were not to be eaten each week, then who is to decide which “first day” of which week? Incidentally, everyone seems to understand that “upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store” (1 Corinthians 16:1,2) authorizes a weekly collection. The identical expression is used regarding the breaking of bread and it also necessarily infers a weekly observance.

— Via The Beacon, January 19, 2020
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touched hem of garment

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Mark 6:53-56

“When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured” (NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

On May 27, 2018, Rick Cuthbertson had surgery to remove cancer from his liver. It is now back. He still also continues to receive treatment for cancer in his lung.

James Medlock had a tube placed in his leg Friday in order to improve circulation to his foot, which it has. It was also detected that he had a heart attack — probably a couple weeks ago.  His first one.

A.J. Joyner also had a procedure performed last week and is now back home from that, but weak.  His wife Pat is still going through the healing process from her recent surgery and appreciates the thoughtfulness of folks who have brought food to them.

Let us also continue to pray for the following: John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, Ann Vandevander, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Melotine Davis, Jan Bartlett, Baxter Cribbs, Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse, Brook & Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams
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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)

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