“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) A Most Challenging Command (Ethan R. Longhenry)
2) The New Testament on Giving (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
A Most Challenging Command
Ethan R. Longhenry
“To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
How do we define a “good, moral person”? Much of the time, a “good, moral person” is defined more by what he is not doing than what he is doing. “Good, moral people” do not get drunk, do not kill other people, do not steal (at least that much), do not lie, and avoid many other sins. They are “good neighbors” because they mostly keep to themselves and do not bother “us.”
In the New Testament, priests and Levites would, by common confession, be considered “good, moral people.” In fact, in the eyes of many, they were quite holy: they worked for God, perhaps even in the Temple. They worked quite diligently to avoid contracting any form of uncleanness.
Yet, when Jesus tells us the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the priest and the Levite in the story do not turn out to be that “good.” They are the ones who saw the man beaten up by robbers but did nothing to help him. In so doing, they failed to prove to be “neighbors” to that man, and thus violated the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (cf. Lev. 19:10; Luke 10:27).
But the priest and the Levite were “good, moral people”! They would surely have been morally outraged had they seen the robbers beating up the man. They might even have complained about how terrible times were — you cannot even go from Jerusalem to Jericho in peace! Nevertheless, as unpalatable as it may be, the priest and Levite are just as condemned as those robbers who beat up the man in the first place. Sure, the priest and the Levite did not actively hurt the man — yet, when presented with the opportunity to do good to him, they failed to do so. Instead, the “dirty half-breed” Samaritan proved to be more righteous than they!
The New Testament makes it clear that, for those who wish to serve Jesus Christ, it is not sufficient to just avoid evil: we must also do what is right. It is not enough to “abhor evil”; we must also “cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9). We are incomplete if we only avoid the works of the flesh; we must also develop and manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:17-24). James 4:17 goes so far as to declare it sin to fail to do what is good. Since the New Testament never provides any indication that there is a hierarchy of sin, failure to do what is good is just as bad as actively doing what is wrong!
What, then, are these “good things” that we should be doing? We need to be praying for all men (1 Tim. 2:1-4). We need to show love, mercy, and compassion to all people, even those who hate us and who stand against us (Luke 6:27-36; 1 John 4:7-21). As we have been forgiven, we must forgive others (Eph. 4:32). As we have opportunity, we ought to do good for all people, especially those in the household of faith: we may do so through financial benevolence, giving of our time, and/or using our talents for their benefit (Gal. 6:10; James 1:27). In all things we must imitate our Master, and be willing to serve and be a blessing for others, even without reward (1 Cor. 11:1; 1 John 2:6).
This is a most challenging command for even “mature” believers. It would be much easier if all we had to do was avoid committing acts of sin! Nevertheless, we have all been called to die to self and live for Christ (Gal. 2:20): that requires us to take on the mind of Christ and to serve others as much as it requires us to renounce self and the desires of sin. Let us not prove disobedient to this charge, but instead to do good whenever we have opportunity!
— Via Truth Magazine, Volume LIII, Number 10, October 2009
The New Testament on Giving
Said the apostle Paul to the Ephesian elders, “In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving, if properly done, brings greater happiness to a person and contains more to develop his soul than does receiving. He who gives to another stands a little taller and becomes a little richer (not a little weaker and poorer as the world might insist).
Some New Testament points on giving:
1. We are to give as we have opportunity. Galatians 6:10 sets forth the principle; our responsibilities are modified by opportunity.
2. We are to give of what we have, or as we have ability, 2 Corinthians 8:12; Acts 3:6; 11:29.
3. We are to give cheerfully and willingly, not grudgingly (wishing we didn’t have to) and of necessity (because we have to), 2 Corinthians 9:7. A readiness is to be there, 2 Corinthians 8:12.
4. We are to give liberally, generously, bountifully. Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 9:6.
5. We are to lay by in store on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2); and we are to give to him that has need (Ephesians 4:28), to the poor (Galatians 2:10), to the weak (Acts 20:35), to him that asks (Matthew 5:42), but not to those who will not work (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
6. When we are able to do but little, God does not overlook that little or even count it as little, Matthew 10:42; Mark 12:41-44.
7. We are not to give oral blessings only, but physical blessings as well, blessings that come of faith, James 2:15-16. Love in deed and truth, not in word and tongue only, 1 John 3:17-18.
8. We are not to give merely because others are giving, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
9. We are not to give because others expect it of us, 2 Corinthians 8:8, 12.
10. We are not to give to others merely because they gave to us, Luke 6:33-34.
11. We are not to give expecting something in return, Luke 14:12-14.
12. We are not to give to be seen of men or have glory of men, Matthew 6:2-4.
13. The deepest giving involves giving self first, 2 Corinthians 8:5; Romans 6:13.
14. The noblest giving is done in love; giving without love profits nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:3.
15. The supreme gift consists in giving one’s life for another, John 10:11; 15:13; 1 John 3:16.
Remember not only whose we are, but whose is the whole world around us. “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with a perfect heart they offered willingly to Jehovah: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy” (1 Chronicles 29:9). There followed David’s prayer of praise unto God in which he said, “For all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine,” and “For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:11,14). Friend, do you feel that way about the things you give unto God? The New Testament says, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26).
Wayne Goff: We commend Bill’s points on giving to you. It would be very good if you would take the time to sit down in a quiet place, read every single passage on giving, and then reflect on your own attitude in the light of these verses. It is so easy to become selfish, complacent, and stingy in life because so many in this world are just like that.
Develop a benevolent, loving spirit of giving, and life will be so much better — now and eternally.
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 10, Page 2, March 8, 2020
** Postponed Gospel Meeting **
As a precautionary health measure, we have postponed our gospel meeting at the Tebeau Street church of Christ with Gene Taylor, which had been scheduled for March 22-25.
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Let us pray for our nation and the nations of the world concerning the coronavirus that it will soon be remedied — and eliminated.
Andy Berendt recently had two heart attacks and was also diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has also spread to his stomach and is inoperable.
Patrick, Lynn, and Tatum Downs recently lost their home in a fire. They are currently staying in their camper at a friend’s who has camper hookups.
Kim Rowell had been out of the hospital, following her recent heart surgery, but has now been readmitted because of pneumonia.
Rick Cuthbertson has been having a difficult time with his cancer treatments.
Joyce Rittenhouse is on medication for another kidney stone.
Ginger Ann Montero has not been feeling well with a respiratory illness, which she has been seeing a doctor for.
A.J. & Pat Joyner both have health issues.
Tina Allen will be having a medical procedure tomorrow.
The shots and prednisone pack helped Doyle Rittenhouse’s back pain, but raised his blood sugar level to 400, requiring 5 insulin shots a day (and of different kinds).
Bud Montero will see his doctor on the 17th for consultation about his upcoming treatments and cyberknife procedure.
Also for prayer: Jim Lively, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John Jordan, John Bladen, Ann Vandevander, Kelly Stoneheart, Melotine Davis, the Medlock family, Shirley Davis, Sandra Goodrich, and Kerry Williams.
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 Jesus 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).
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
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://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)