The Gospel Observer (April 5, 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) “For Such A Time As This” (Tommy G. McClure)
2) Humble Enough to Worship (Gary Henry)
3) News & Notes
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“For Such A Time As This”
by Tommy G. McClure

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?

All who are familiar with the book of Esther are familiar with this statement uttered by Mordecai when he urged Queen Esther to go and appeal to the King Ahasuerus to save the Jews in Persia who were about to be destroyed by the evil plans of Haman who had risen to power and had respect of the King for a while. This story of Esther is a beautiful example of God’s providence unfolding during a circumstance that seemed to be hopeless for the Jews of that time. As we wrestle with the present distress brought on by the coronavirus COVID-19 global crisis, you may wonder what will come to pass and what can we do “for such a time as this”?

Let me offer some things to consider:

Don’t fear! Remember that this crisis will end, but we do not know when. John encouraged those being persecuted to remain faithful to the Lord, come what may. Said he, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10; cf. Matt. 24:13). John’s statement – “ye shall have tribulation ten days” indicates that the suffering was temporary. So it is with the COVID-19 crisis. It will end!

Don’t give up! Christians must be those willing to endure any trial that comes our way. Consider the example of Jesus when He was tried in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11). Don’t be like the 3 unprofitable soils (hearts) in the parable of the sower (Lk. 8:5-15). Don’t give up on your desire for the milk of the word (1 Pet. 2:2). Don’t give up on reading and studying God’s word daily (Acts 17:11).

Don’t give in! There are many new scams that have risen as a result of the crisis. Evil people are creating schemes to steal your information and thereby profit off naive people during this crisis. Warnings have been issued by Medicare, the IRS and health care organizations concerning scams that are popping up. Be aware of people who are posing as though they are in need when they are probably not in need. As Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Use sound judgment and due diligence and don’t let “wolves” pull the wool over your eyes!

Don’t give over! There are a number of errors and false ideas in the religious world. This COVID-19 crisis is unusual and all calamities are not the same. Don’t give heed to false teaching and unscriptural material that is on the internet. A number of sound churches of Christ are offering online studies during this time when we are ordered by civil leaders to “stay at home” which is a good and needed effort. But, don’t get the idea that when the “stay at home” order is lifted, you can “stay at home” when the saints assemble. Remember, the “stay at home” order is a temporary order that was issued to help stop or slow the spread of this highly contagious virus. Christians are commanded to NOT forsake “the assembling” (Heb. 10:25).

Give your time and thanks to God. Use the time you have to “stay at home” to catch up on your Bible study, Bible reading and praying to God. Pray for our leaders as they make decisions they had no idea they would have to make when elected to office. Pray for the leaders of the church as they make difficult decisions. Pray and give thanks that you are safe and have a safe place of shelter during “such a time as this.” Give thanks that our government is making provisions to help those who have been severely negatively affected by this crisis. Give thanks for the blessings of technology that can be used to study God’s word and glorify God. How many online sermons have you listened to during this “stay at home” order?

Finally, when the “stay at home” order is lifted, will you be as thirsty, studious and prayerful for spiritual things as you have been during “such a time as this” every day afterward and in the future when things are back to as normal as they can be? “…think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).

– Via Think on These Things, March 29, 2020

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Humble Enough to Worship
Gary Henry

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’” (Luke 18:11,12).

JUST AS AGITATION GETS IN THE WAY OF CAREFULNESS, PRIDE GETS IN THE WAY OF WORSHIP. Nothing in the spiritual life is more important than awe and utter respect before God, and so if pride hinders us from being reverent, it’s a deadly danger to our souls.

What is pride, really? It can be thought of in two directions: toward God and toward other people. Toward God, pride is a sense of independence; and toward other people, it’s a sense of superiority. In both cases, pride is a sinful sense of self-satisfaction. Pride sees itself as doing a pretty good job of standing on its own two feet before God; it believes it has the inside track as far as God is concerned, so that God will make special allowance for any mistakes that might be made. And in regard to other people, pride pats itself on the back (secretly, of course, and always with admirable “humility”) that it sees things from a more mature vantage point than some others, especially its rivals and its enemies.

If this is what pride is, then, it should be obvious that it’s a great hindrance to worship. Indeed, one way of looking at pride is to see it as the opposite of worship. The spirit of worship is the spirit of selfless wonder at the majesty of God — the smallness of self in God’s presence. And for sinful beings like us, it’s also the spirit of brokenness and repentance. Our hearts may be proud or they may be worshipful, but they can’t be both. And if they’re not worshipful, we’re lost. It doesn’t matter how many hardships we think we’ve overcome. Without real reverence, we’re lost.

There is no living person who does not need to be constantly vigilant concerning pride. It’s the source of all other sin, and it can creep into our hearts in so many disguises that, too often, it gets in the door and seizes the throne room of our hearts before we know what’s happened. More often than not, it gets past our defenses wearing a cloak of humility. “And the devil did grin, for his darling sin is pride that apes humility” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

“Beware of a proud and haughty spirit. This sin puts a great barrier between an individual and God. You will have a hard time being aware of God as long as you are filled with pride. If it gets angels cast out of heaven, it will certainly keep your heart out of heaven” (Richard Baxter).

– Via WordPoints, April 4, 2020
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News & Notes

As we continue to feel the loss in not being able to assemble and worship as we had been, let us continue to remember each other in prayer, during this time of separation.

Let us also continue to remember Jonathan Abbott’s mother in prayer as she undergoes chemo treatments, due to Amyloidosis.

Others to also be praying for:

Kim Rowell is back in the hospital; and this time because of mediastinitis, which is a type of infection.

The “markers” have now been implanted to prepare Bud Montero for his upcoming procedure. It went well. He will also be prepped again April 17.

Many of our church family have acknowledged they are doing well, which we are glad and thankful for.

Sandra Goodrich will have to wear a cast on her foot and leg until April 14, when she will then be able to walk again.  In the meanwhile, she is thankful for the use of  a wheelchair.

Let us also remember the following in prayer: Andy Berendt, Ann Vandevander, Rick Cuthbertson, Jim Lively, Rex &  Frankie Hadley, Kelly Stoneheart, A.J. & Pat, John Bladen, the Downs, Joyce, Shirley, the Medlock family, 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 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).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Services Temporary Cancelled Until Further Notice (out of a concern for others and the need to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as our government has urged)

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)