The Gospel Observer (March 10, 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) Almost or Altogether? (Rick Lanning)
2) A Broken Glass (Rufus Clifford)
3)  News & Notes
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Acts26_28b

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Almost or Altogether?
Rick Lanning

The old saying, “Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades” makes a very illustrative point. You get a point in horse shoes even if you don’t get a ringer simply by being “close” to the stake. The purpose in military combat is simply to get the hand grenade “almost” to the target, allowing the explosion to damage or destroy the surrounding area. This popular idiom emphasizes the exception, not the rule. The rule being, “almost is not good enough.”

“Almost” jumping over a ten foot hole lands you at the bottom with an injury or death. “Almost” winning the game leaves you as a loser. “Almost” passing the test means you failed. “Almost” starting the car in a Minnesota winter means you are stranded and paying big bucks for a tow truck and auto repairs. “Almost” being in Noah’s ark means you drowned in the flood. You can see that “almost” just doesn’t get it. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but not many. And the one example of that rule that is sadder than all others put together is the story of King Agrippa.

Paul had been arrested and had already given his defense to the Roman commander Claudius Lysias (Ac. 22-23), and to the Roman governor Felix, who sadly replied: “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’” (Ac 24:25). His convenient time likely never came, leaving him “almost” saved. Two years later Paul stands before the next governor Portius Festus, and when seeing he would not get a fair trial, used his right of Roman citizenship to say, “I appeal to Caesar!” Before sending him Festus needed some worthy reason and so had Paul appear before his court, having invited King Agrippa to hear the case. Paul’s power of reason and persuasion hit home to the king. Listen to this exchange in Acts 26:26-28:

“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

This Biblical record of the trial leaves us with the distinct impression that this governor and this king never obeyed the gospel. They were both oh-so-close, but as we have learned, almost doesn’t count. Just like you cannot be “almost pregnant” (either you are, or you aren’t), neither can you be “almost Christian.” Either you are born again, and thus have put on that “new man” in Christ, or you are still that “old man” who stands condemned (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10). You can’t be half old and half new. You are one or the other. Which is it?

Yes, “almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades,” for it sure doesn’t count in salvation, nor will it count for anything at Judgment. You will cry out, “Lord, Lord…” but He will only reply, “Depart from Me, I do not know you” (Matt. 7:23). Don’t be almost, but altogether, saved. Become a Christian today!

—  Via Online Bulletins from the Northwest church of Christ, August 5, 2015
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broken glass

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A Broken Glass
Rufus Clifford

I was getting ready to go to service and I went into the bathroom one last time and then it happened! A blue drinking glass that I had set on the edge of my bathroom counter was hit by my coat as I turned to walk out of the room. Boom! Well at least that’s what it sounded like to me! I turned around and couldn’t believe how many pieces of glass were lying on my bathroom and bedroom floor. I guess they don’t make them like they use too, because when it hit the floor pieces shattered and went everywhere. I didn’t have time to clean it up then and when I got back from church I actually had forgotten about that shattered glass. That is until I started to walk into my bathroom. I got my trusty rainbow air purification system (or vacuum to non-rainbow owners) and tried to clean up all that glass.

You might be wondering what this little story has to do with spiritual matters? Well, as the days went by little pieces of glass began showing up in the strangest places. The first one showed up on one of my toes and stayed there for two days. The second one showed up Friday night in Carey’s foot, at which point she removed hers, and since she did such a good job I let her remove mine as well! I began to think about how that shattered glass was like life. Everything can be going along just right and then our lives can become shattered by some trial or contrary wind that blows in our life. We have the choice at that point to let our life remain shattered or we can do something about it.

I thought about how sin often times is the culprit that shatters many lives. Paul said in (Rom.3:23) “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I thought about how God fixes our shattered lives when we obey His holy word. (Heb.8:12) “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” I thought about how shattered lives can be cleaned up but often times there remains some consequence, some little thing that pops back up as a result of the trouble that caused the disaster. The psalmist said in (Ps.55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” I can’t put back the pieces of that glass where they once were but I can put back the pieces of my life with God’s help anytime. He can fix any broken life!

We sing the song “Bring Christ your broken life, so marred by sin, He will create anew make whole again” Has your life ever been shattered by some unforeseen event? If not, get ready for that’s part of living on this earth. When it does happen, I hope you will remember this little story about my broken glass. I hope you will clean up the mess and go on with your life!

God loves us and sent Christ into the world so a life shattered by sin or some misfortune could be made whole again! I thought that glass was helpful before I broke it. But looking back, I see now, I’ve gotten more help from it since it shattered!

— Via The Old Hickory Bulletin, December 24, 2017, Volume 37, #52
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“The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of  the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him  out of them all.”

— Psalm 34:17-19, NASB
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Billy Harris Sr. was transferred to the Jacksonville Memorial Hospital last Sunday where they did a cauterization on the part of his intestine that had been bleeding and was able to stop it.  They also had him swallow a video camera that was in a capsule to make sure he was all right elsewhere, and everything checked out fine.  He is now back home and even back to work.

Amris Bedford had a brain tumor taken care of when she was just 2 years old.  She is now 9, and the tumor has recently returned.  Last week, she had a lumbar puncture and will be undergoing 8 to 10 radiation treatments, with chemo as an option, at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Kayleigh Tanner is only 3 years old; but she recently had a kidney removed, due to a tumor.  They have also found cancer in her lung and a tumor on her liver.

James Medlock, who is 93, is now in the hospital because of flu and a weakness that is keeping him from being able to stand. After his flu clears up, he will be transferred to rehab.

Pat Joyner will be having outpatient surgery March 13 and would appreciate your prayers.

Penny Medlock came down with bronchitis recently, which has also affected her asthma.  She still has a bad cough and is being treated with antibiotics.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Gene Kaplan, Arthur Laverne Robertson, and of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Elizabeth Harden, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts O’Berry, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Linn

I (Tom Edwards) will be having cataract surgery this Thursday (March 14) and would also appreciate your prayers.  I’m looking forward to the vision improvement!

Our gospel meeting with Gene Taylor will be April 7-10 (Sunday through Wednesday).  Sunday services will be at our regular times (9, 10, and 5), but the weeknight services will begin at 7:30.
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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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon)

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The Gospel Observer (March 3, 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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March 3, 2019
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Contents:

1) “Lest We Drift Away” (R.J. Evans)
2)  The Appeal of Religious Error (Bill Crews)
3) In Order To Be Happy… (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Sailboat drifting to waterfall_2

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“Lest We Drift Away”
R.J. Evans

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away”  (Hebrews 2:1).

God’s plan for His people is for them to grow closer to Him, not drift away from Him. The child of God should allow his light to increase and shine stronger. “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18). Jesus tells us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In our dedication and service, we are to “abound more and more.” Our love for each other as brethren is to “increase more and more” (1 Thes. 4:1,10).

Thus, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Yet, many are losing ground rather than gaining ground.  Unfortunately, these Christians are drifting away.

Why Do People “Drift Away”?

To put it plain and simple, they have allowed Satan to influence their lives. Satan uses the things of the world to pull us away from God.  So many times a Christian may allow “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22).

Forsaking the worship assemblies also results in drifting away. As someone has said, “Christians are like cars, they start missing before they quit.” Thus, Christians become “drifters” when they no longer attend services faithfully as they should (Heb. 10:25). Also, the failure to read and study the Bible, and to spend time in prayer, have had a part in many formerly strong Christians drifting away from God (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thes. 5:18).

Some Results of When We “Drift Away”

To put it in one sentence: It is a “hard” way to live (Prov. 13:15). When a child of God allows himself to “drift away” from the Lord (Heb. 2:1-2), he becomes an apostate in a miserable spiritual condition.  The Bible describes it in this manner: “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to wallowing in the mire'” (2 Pet. 2:22).

God Calls Upon the One Drifting Away to Return

God desires that the one who is drifting away from Him, or sliding back into sin, to return to Him. Notice His words to His people during the days of Jeremiah: “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings” (Jer. 2:22).  This illustrates that God still loves His people and is willing to heal or forgive them.  But in order to be forgiven, they must be willing to “return” i.e., repent, pray, and confess their sins (Acts 8:22; 1 Jn. 1:9). In other words, when one returns to God for healing, God will deal with him in loving mercy — “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

As we go back to the latter part of the verse cited above, Jeremiah 3:22, we find that there were some who did respond to God’s call in Jeremiah’s day— “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God” (Jer. 3:22). This example should encourage Christians today to do the same. Talk with any child of God who strayed or drifted away from the Lord and later returned. You will not find anyone who believes returning to God was a mistake. Thus, may we all faithfully serve Him, giving heed to all He has commanded us, “lest we drift way” (Heb. 2:1).

— From the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, February 10, 2019
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mat7_13-14

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The Appeal of Religious Error
Bill Crews

In most cases the man who is teaching the truth and can by it truly save and benefit people will find few who are interested, whereas the man who is teaching some other doctrine and will by it ultimately harm and doom people will find many who are interested. Religious error, because of its false promises and its deceptive nature, will always have a greater appeal to people in general than will the truth. The truth will only benefit those with good and honest hearts or those who are willing to change their hearts to be good and honest (Luke 8:15). Everyone did not reject Jesus, but most did (John 1:11-12; 12:42; Matthew 23:37).

— Via the RoanRidge Reader, Volume 34 Issue 08 Page 03, February 24, 2019
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phil4_11

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In Order To Be Happy . . .
Greg Gwin

I’ve made up my mind! I am determined to be happy!! Enough of this sadness. Away with all this discouragement. I’m finished with dejection, depression, and despondency. No more gloom and doom. I WILL be happy!

Now, what do I need to achieve my goal? If I am to be truly happy, I’ll need

a.  Money – and plenty of it.

b.  And I must have friends – the kind that never fail, and always act just like I want.

c.  Of course, success is important; I will need to have unlimited success in every endeavor that I undertake to do.

d.  My family will have to behave perfectly, and respond immediately to my every whim.

Surely, with all of this, I can be happy. Right? WRONG!

The wise, powerful, famous, and wealthy king Solomon sought after happiness through every avenue known to man.
The end result was “…vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Eccl. 2:11).

Contrast Solomon with Paul, who lost his wealth, gave up his fame and power, and ultimately suffered extreme persecution and imprisonment. Yet he could write, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). How could this be? Verse 13 explains; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

It is on this basis that Paul instructs us: “Rejoice, in the Lord alway” (vs. 4). True happiness is not found in external “things.” It comes only from faithfully serving God (Eccl. 12:13, 14).  Are you happy?

– Via The Beacon, February 24, 2019
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“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.”

— Psalm 33:13-15, NASB
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Billy Harris Sr.  went into the hospital Friday, due to internal bleeding and fainting. He first experienced that at work that day and then again when in the hospital.   It is said to have been caused by a “pocket” in his intestines that had been causing the bleeding.  It coagulated and ceased for a while that afternoon, but then started back up again.  They gave him a blood transfusion and are now waiting on his blood count before giving another.  (It is thought that being on Ibuprofin for 2 weeks, 3 times a day, for the pain in his foot, has caused the bleeding.) His wife asks for our prayers for him.  (Update: More blood was given to Billy, and they performed a cauterization on the area of the intestine that had been bleeding.  They also had him swallow a video camera that was in a capsule to check for any more problems.  The bleeding has stopped, and Billy is now back home.)

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Gene Kaplan, Arthur Laverne Robertson, and of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Elizabeth Harden, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Linn
——————–

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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon)

The Gospel Observer (February 24, 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) The Gall of Bitterness (Doy Moyer)
2) “Your Reasonable Service” (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
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Acts8_21-23

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The Gall of Bitterness
Doy Moyer

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears” (Heb. 12:15-17).

Bitterness is a problem of the heart. It essentially comes from telling ourselves a story about how badly we have been treated, how much we have been hurt, and how unfair others are toward us. It works together with a heart of hatred, anger, and malice, often wishing ill will on those we think have offended us. Think about what bitterness does:

1. Bitterness causes us to come short of God’s grace. A heart of bitterness is not a heart for grace. If we are seeking after the grace of God, we must cut away bitterness, for it cannot coexist with grace.

2. The root of bitterness will spring up and cause trouble. It is a poison that infects and kills, and through which many become defiled. All it takes is one bitter, angry person to wreak so much havoc that many will be destroyed. One bitter person can turn away many souls from Christ, leaving in its wake division and heartache, wherein is found “disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).

3. Bitterness stands contrary to repentance. While bitterness resides in the heart, there will be anger, excuses, complaining, and failure to repent. Shortly after Simon was baptized, he jealously desired the ability of the apostles to lay hands on others to bestow the Spirit. Peter told him that his heart was not right with God, that he needed to repent and pray for forgiveness, “for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity”  (Acts 8:21-23). Bitterness puts us in the bondage of sin; it is a horrible master that only pays the wages of death (cf. Rom. 6:23).

4. Bitterness stands between people. Grudges cause division. Where there is bitterness, there can be no forgiving one another. When unwarranted divisions occur among churches and Christians, mark it down: bitterness will almost certainly be a factor! It is a wedge that destroys peace and unity.

5. Bitterness goes hand in hand with jealousy and selfish ambition. “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (James 3:14). Bitterness coupled with pride makes for liars who will invariably speak against truth. It destroys good, sound thinking and warps our perspective.

Recall that when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing, Esau became bitter and bore a grudge (Gen. 27:41). This consumed Esau so much that he wanted to kill Jacob. He found no place for repentance in his anger and bitterness. How much quality of life and happiness did he give up in order to remain angry and hateful toward his brother? Bitterness will rip out our hearts and cause us to hate one another. There can be no place for this in the heart of a child of God. “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26).

Paul spoke of “spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3). John was clear about the problem of those who hate their brothers:

1. They are in darkness and blinded (1 John 2:9, 11).

2. Their attitude is such that it renders them as murderers (1 John 3:15).

3. Those who say they love God but hate a brother are liars (1 John 4:20).

Hatred, anger, bitterness are all cut from the same cloth. These are works of the flesh that will keep people out of God’s kingdom. Therefore:

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31-32).

It matters not how much we think another has wronged us. There is no place for bitterness. Let’s meditate, therefore, on what it means to be wise:

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).

— Via Bulletin Articles of the Vestavia church of Christ, January 31, 2016
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rom12_1

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“Your Reasonable Service”
Greg Gwin

Do you believe that there is a God? Are you convinced that He is the Creator of the entire universe? Have you examined the evidence and become persuaded that He not only has made everything, but also sustains all things that we see and know (Col. 1:16,17)? There is ample proof, and believing in these things requires no ‘blind leap of faith.’ Rather, it is a logical conclusion based upon the evidence. The apostle Paul said: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever” (Rom. 11:36). Those who will honestly study the matter must surely agree.

Having made this point, Paul proceeds in the next verse to make a plea based upon the truth that God is the Creator and sustainer of the universe: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (12:1) Do you see it? The emphasis here is upon what is “reasonable.” If God made all things, and continues to provide the necessary support to keep all things functioning, then it is simply the “reasonable” thing for us to serve Him. Think about it: we are His; we belong to Him; He made us; He upholds us. It only makes sense for us, therefore, to do what He wants us to do.

In this text, the phrase “present your bodies a living sacrifice” indicates the degree of this “reasonable service.” We are not being called upon to offer ourselves to Him on a part-time basis — maybe a few hours per week, or a couple of days each year. Instead, we are to give ourselves completely over to Him.

In our selfish, self-centered age there are many who are totally unfamiliar with the notion of “sacrifice.” They are the center of their own universe. They think constantly of what can be gained for self. They completely ignore the duty that is due to the One who made them and constantly blesses them with the things that maintain their existence. Such conduct is absolutely ‘unreasonable.’

If you believe in God, logic and reason demand that you humbly serve Him. Are you doing so? Think!

— Via The Beacon, February 3, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Gene Kaplan who recently passed away.   Let us be keeping his loved ones in prayer.

Jim Lively continues to have frequent falls and had been feeling dizzy Friday.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Arthur Laverne Robertson, and also those of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Linn
——————–

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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon)

The Gospel Observer (February 17, 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) Kindness (John Thompson)
2) What is “The Septuagint”? (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
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eph4_32

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Kindness
John Thompson

A commodity lacking in the world today is kindness. While it is impossible to prove that there is less kindness practiced now than previously, one must admit that we could use much more of it. A universal recognition of the need for more kindness is evident by the speed with which certain phrases have caught on and developed lives of their own. For example, in 1988 George W. Bush used the expression “a kinder and gentler nation” during his presidential campaign. Not long after, the phrase was seen throughout the world in advertisements and company slogans. It quickly became part of everyday speech. It caught on because kindness was more the exception than the rule.

Another expression, “random acts of kindness,” has become so popular that it now refers to a social movement. It originated with the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in Sausalito, California in 1982. The phrase, or some variation of it, soon began to appear on bumper stickers. In 1993 Herbert’s book with the same title was published. In it she recounted stories of people who had either provided or received such kindness. This was her attempt to steer people away from what has been described as random violence and acts of senseless cruelty.

An internet search of “random acts of kindness” shows how far the phrase has come. For instance, the website randomactsofkindness.org offers several options: one can become inspired by accessing the latest kindness ideas, quotes, videos and more; educators can download free K-8 kindness lesson plans and projects; one can take on a more direct role by becoming a Raktivist (a Random Acts of Kindness activist); and, of course one can sign up for the Kind blog. Too numerous to list are additional internet resources for those interested in learning more about kindness, how to employ it in their own lives, and how to encourage it in the lives of others.

The very definition of random acts of kindness exposes the belief that kindness is rare. “A random act of kindness is a non-premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world.” Non-premeditated means that kindness happens as the result of a spur-of-the-moment thought rather than as the result of careful planning and intention. One acts kindly when the thought just pops into one’s head, or when it seems like a good idea at the time. Inconsistent means that given the same or similar set of circumstances, there is no guarantee that one will act kindly the next time. Either way, non-premeditated or inconsistent, the implication is that kindness is not the norm, and when it happens it is such an unusual event that it ought to be publicized and honored.

Anne Herbert, were she still living, and all of her followers might be shocked to learn that she neither invented kindness nor began a movement to heighten people’s awareness of it. Those honors belong to God. God is a kind and loving God. His kindness and love are so great and work so well together to the eternal benefit of mankind that they are frequently designated by one word in the Bible. The Psalmist said in Psalm 63:3, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” Just as God is love, so God is kind. Consequently, His kindness is as eternal as His love. It is not just kindness, but lovingkindness, kindness permeated with love; a kindness not given for God’s benefit, but for man’s benefit.

Since man was created in the image of God, humans have a built-in capacity for kindness. God intended kindness to be man’s way of life. There was no hint of unkindness between Adam and Eve in the garden until the serpent deceived Eve into sinning. Ever since, virtually everyone has believed, to some degree, the lie that unkindness has its proper place in human behavior. I don’t believe there is anything about which humans are more ambivalent than they are about kindness. On the one hand we desperately long for more of it in the world, yet we do not want to give up the “right” to be just as unkind as we think we need to be at certain times. We fully subscribe to the principle of doing unto others what we want done to us yet seek revenge with great zeal.

Kindness can indeed be abundant and universally practiced, not by going to a web site and signing up for access to a kindness blog, but by becoming well-schooled by the lessons on kindness contained in God’s Word. The Law of Moses was so much more than a law of “eye for eye and tooth for tooth.” It was a law of fairness and kindness. Those who extended kindness expected kindness in return. Those in positions of authority were to be kind to those subject to them. In 1 Samuel 20 David fled from an enraged King Saul. The friendship of he and Jonathan is sorely tested at this time. David feared for his life from Saul, and Jonathan feared for his life should David become more powerful. He says to David, “But if my father intends to harm you, may the LORD deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father, But show me kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, unfailing kindness like the LORD’s and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” Kindness that is unfailing is constant and reliable, dependable, steadfast, steady, and sure, just like the Lord’s. It is neither unpremeditated or inconsistent.

Kindness is to permeate every action and thought of God’s people from loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31), to loving your enemies and doing good to those who persecute you (Matthew 5:34-38); from looking to the interests of others and considering others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3-4), to living quietly minding your own affairs (1 Thessalonians 4:11). The last half of Ephesians 4 is a treatise on all of the evil things one lets go of by putting on a new life in Christ, things like falsehood, anger, violence, theft, corrupting talk, bitterness, wrath, clamor, slander, and malice. The last verse of chapter 4 summarizes that new life by stating “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). The world can use random acts of kindness, but what it really needs are more Christians who are kind like the Lord is kind.

— Via University Heights Messenger,  June 24, 2018, Volume 10, Number 26
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Septuagint

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What is “The Septuagint”?
Bill Crews

The word “Septuagint” is from a Greek word meaning “seventy.” It is sometimes referred to as the “LXX,” the Roman numerals that mean  “seventy.”  The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament books. It was made by a number of Jewish scholars (supposedly, seventy of them) in Alexandria, Egypt (a very Greek city founded by Alexander the Great, and in which many Jews lived). And it was made in the third century B.C. The arrangement of the Old Testament books in present-day translations, and even their titles, were influenced far more by the Septuagint translation than by the original Hebrew books as kept and arranged by the Jews. The words, “Genesis,” “Exodus,” “Deuteronomy,” and “Ecclesiastes” are from Greek, not Hebrew. New Testament quotations in the Greek are usually from the Septuagint translation.

— Via The Roanridge Reader, February 10, 2019, Volume 34, Issue 06, Page 03
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Arthur Laverne Robertson who passed away last Monday, February 11, at just 71 years of age.

The stitches have been removed from Pat Joyner’s surgery; but she had to return to the hospital every week, due to not healing properly.  She also had extensive repair on her right leg, and is now waiting on an appointment to surgically remove a cyst that has been giving trouble.  Due to having to sit with her legs elevated has also been painful for her; but she hopes to be back with us in two weeks if she can walk well enough.  She thanks every one “for the uplifting cards & great food” and also writes, “It has done my heart good. It helped me crawl out of that deep hole I was in.” Pat continues to want our prayers.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Eddie Fullard; A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

There will be a fifth annual congregational singing at the Hoboken church of Christ this Saturday (February 23), beginning at 5 p.m.  The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia.  All are invited.
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“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11, NASB).
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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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon)

The Gospel Observer (February 10, 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).
——————–
February 10, 2019
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Contents:

1) Thanksgiving and Singing (David Maravilla)
2) A Greased Pole (Ken Green)
3) News & Notes
——————–

col3_16

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Thanksgiving and Singing
David Maravilla

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations (Psa. 100:4-5).

As God’s people, we have many reasons to be thankful. What is the correct way for us to voice our thanks to God? Prayer is usually the answer, but the Bible reveals that thanksgiving through song is just as valid as giving thanks through prayer.

Thanksgiving Through Song

The two most famous New Testament passages about singing discuss thanksgiving. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). Singing “with grace” means to sing with “gratitude” (N.I.V) or “thankfulness” (N.A.S.B). Therefore, singing is obviously a way to give thanks.

Likewise, singing and thanksgiving are connected by this passage: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20).

Singing or Praying?

Some think Paul changed the focus from singing to prayer in these passages when he mentioned thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Indeed, without the preceding verse, Colossians 3:17 sounds like a reference to prayer: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Likewise, Ephesians 5:20, apart from verse 19, could be mistaken for a description of prayer: “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, these passages are about singing, not prayer. Even in passages about singing, we tend to think of prayer when we see “giving thanks” in connection with “in the name of the Lord” because we have not fully considered that singing is as legitimate a way of giving thanks to God in Jesus’ name as prayer is. We have developed a tradition of stating aloud that our public prayers are “in Jesus’ name.” However, as Paul wrote here, singing, and everything else we do, must be “in the name of the Lord,” regardless of whether we state it every time.

Similar Actions

Though we distinguish between “acts of worship,” it is clear that various actions can serve the same purpose. In this case, thanksgiving in Jesus’ name can be done through song as well as prayer. Though prayers and songs are, by definition, not the same thing, similarities exist. The difference is simply music—remove the melody, harmony, and timing from many hymns and what remains is a prayer. We can give thanks through song or prayer, and God takes one as seriously as he does the other.

Similar Seriousness

We take prayer seriously. Those who arrive late to services do not usually come down the aisle to find a seat during a prayer. People do not habitually walk to the bathroom in the middle of a prayer, nor do deacons leave their seats to adjust the thermostat. We wait until the prayer is over to do some necessary things because we do not want to distract others. If thanksgiving through song is just as valid as thanksgiving through prayer, should we not show the same courtesy when singing? Whether our heads are bowed in prayer while the leader says, “Lord, we thank you for this day and all of its blessings,” or we joyfully sing “Lord of all to Thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise,” we are voicing our thanks to God in the way he prescribed. We must be reverent, regardless of the method used to give thanks.

— Via Truth Magazine,  November 2007, Vol. LI, No. 11, p. 10
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phil3_12

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A Greased Pole
Ken Green

Ever tried to climb a greased pole? Even if you haven’t, you know that it’s almost impossible, even for an excellent climber in tip-top shape. For the rest of us it’s just downright impossible.

Well some have put salvation at the top of a greased pole and are constantly exhorting folks to climb right up and enjoy the benefits.

This extreme has probably been occupied as a reaction to the idea of escalator salvation. Once one steps onto the escalator, no effort is necessary whatever. One might expedite matters by taking a few steps, but one does not need to do so to reach the destination. Such is the view of those who hold to the doctrine of unconditional security. The doctrine is certainly contrary to many simple and clear passages in God’s word. Heb. 4:11 exhorts us to “be diligent to enter that rest.” Rev. 2:10 demands that we “be faithful unto death.” Escalator religion is contrary to sound doctrine.

Equally erroneous, however, is the concept of conditional insecurity. Perhaps such a doctrine has not been actively taught. But it has been accepted by way of default. I would think that the great assurance that is constantly given the faithful, striving, child of God should be administered in equal doses, at least, in our teaching as the warnings
against falling or drifting away from so great a salvation.

Even before the plan of salvation was consummated at the cross, the people of God expressed great assurance: “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25); “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forever” (Ps. 121:7-8); “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

Do we who are privileged to live under a better covenant, established upon better promises, possess less confidence than the people of a darker age? May it never be!

Paul lived in the security of God’s love. Because life to him was Christ, he could declare confidently that to die was gain and to depart was to be with the Lord (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:6-8). He could say this in spite of the fact that he had not reached perfection in this life (Phil. 3:12-16).

He exulted in the knowledge that a crown of life awaited him and all who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4: 8). Jude commends us all to the God who is able to keep us from falling (verse 24). Peter declares that “if” (that’s conditional, folks), “you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Let us examine ourselves. Are we preaching a greased pole salvation? Are we guilty of binding “heavy burdens, hard to bear” when we ourselves will not move them with one of (our) fingers” (Mt. 29:3)? Let us balance warning with consolation that the committed and submissive Christian might be motivated to sing with rejoicing and praise: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

— Via Searching the Scriptures, June 1991, Volume XXXII, Number 6
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of  Eddie Fullard who passed away February 2 at just 53 years of age.

Marilyn Roberts’ surgery went well, and she is now in the healing process.

Jim Lively has been experiencing some swelling of the lower legs.

Shirley Davis had been a week in the hospital, due to pneumonia; but is now back home.  She will soon be resuming her physical therapy for her knee replacement.

Pat Joyner also had to return to the hospital recently following her heart valve replacement surgery, but is also now back home.

Others to also be praying for:  A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
——————–

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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon)

The Gospel Observer (February 3, 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) “What Then Shall I Do With Jesus Who Is Called Christ?” (Bill Crews)
2) “Evidence of Things Not Seen” (Greg Gwin)
3) You Don’t Deserve Mercy (Doy Moyer)
4) News & Notes
——————–

Jesus before Pilate_2

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“What Then Shall I Do With Jesus Who Is Called Christ?”
Bill Crews

When this question was asked by Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, Jesus was on trial in Jerusalem at the official residence there of Pilate. Pilate was addressing the chief priests, scribes and elders, the ones who had orchestrated this whole nefarious affair.

Prior to this, Jesus had been illegally arrested in the garden of Gethsemane — illegal because it was night, illegal because it was during Passover week, illegal because it was without any criminal charges. He had been arrested and bound and brought before Annas, ex-high priest and father-in-law to Caiphas. There, without any charges against Him, Jesus had been asked to tell Annas about His teaching and His disciples — an illegal “fishing expedition.” He was unlawfully struck in the face and taken to the house of Caiphas, the acting high priest, where were gathered chief priests, scribes and elders of the Sanhedrin (enough for a quorum).

There, hired false witnesses had been gathered to testify against Jesus — to no avail. That failing, Jesus was placed under oath and illegally asked if He were the Christ, the Son of God. When He answered in the affirmative, He was falsely charged with blasphemy and sentenced to die. The elders all agreed and then abused Him without mercy. At break of day a quorum of Sanhedrin judges (the elders) convened and quickly repeated what Caiphas had done — the meeting and the procedure were both illegal. From there Jesus was hurriedly taken to the residence of Pilate for two reasons: they could not kill Jesus without Roman permission, and they wanted Jesus slain by the Roman method of crucifixion.

After finally extracting from the Jewish leaders their capital charges against Jesus, manifold lies because they were not their charge of blasphemy, because they were all false, and because they had not been “found” in a judicial sense (such a trial had not taken place). But Pilate, based on their false charges, took Jesus inside, examined Him (Jesus made clear that His was not a secular kingdom and how He went about reigning as a king). Based upon His examination, Pilate came out and pronounced Jesus innocent and not worthy of death. From the protests of the mob he learned that Jesus was from Galilee, and immediately sent Him away to Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea and in Jerusalem for Passover. There Jesus would say nothing at all, was shamefully arrayed and mocked, then sent back to Pilate.

Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus to death and again declared His innocence. A disturbing message from his wife did not make the situation any easier. Some from the crowd reminded Pilate of his Passover practice of releasing a prisoner of their choosing. Rather than allow them to choose just anyone, he selected Barabbas, now in prison and bound with several others who had robbed and murdered in an attempted insurrection. Pilate then gave them a choice between Jesus and Barabbas (surely they would never want a man like Barabbas set free). He was wrong; leaders of the Jews had moved among the crowd ordering them to shout for the release of Barabbas. As stunned as he must have been, Pilate ordered the release of Barabbas and then uttered the words that serve as the heading of this article. It was Pilate’s and Pilate’s alone to make that decision, but he had not a clue as to the true identity of the man whose physical life was in his hands.

He did not know that this was indeed the promised Jewish messiah (John 1:41; 4:25-26), deity that had become flesh (John 1:1,14), the very one who created the heavens and the earth and all therein (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16), the one who sustains that creation (Colossians 1:17); the Christ, the Son of the only living God (Matthew 16:15-16), the one sent by the Father in heaven to speak His words and to do His works (John 5:36; 6:38; 14:24), the only one on earth to live a sinless life (1 Peter 2:11-12), the one who was soon to die as a sacrifice for all the sins of all mankind (Romans 5:8; 1 John 2:2), the one who will one day return, raise and change all the dead, and judge the living and the dead (John 5:28-29; 2 Timothy 4:1); and the one who will receive the righteous into heaven and send the wicked into hell (Matthew 25:1-46). No, Pilate did not know these things. But he did declare His innocence, tried to absolve himself of any guilt, and yet delivered Jesus up to scourging, mocking, and execution by crucifixion.

This same Jesus, during His ministry on earth, chose, trained, and equipped His twelve apostles and sent them forth to preach the gospel (the good news of salvation and service — Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). They offered all the opportunity to believe in and to follow Jesus with the reward of salvation and eternal life. They laid out all the evidence to prove that Jesus was who He claimed to be (e.g., see Acts 2:22-36). Then and now, every person who comes in contact with the gospel of Christ is faced with the same question asked by Pilate: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” And He will either be ignored, rejected or believed and obeyed (Hebrews 5:8-9). Kind reader of this article, what will you do with Jesus; yes, what will you do with Jesus, now that you know who He is?

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 04, Pages 02-03, January 27, 2019
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Naaman's_slave_girl

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“Evidence of Things Not Seen”
Greg Gwin

Picture her — a young girl taken captive in a war — an innocent victim in a dispute between powerful countries. Now, her freedom gone, she is obligated to perform slave duties in the house of the conquering army commander.

Who is this girl? She is a minor player in a well-known Bible account that centers on her slave master. And, who is her master? Naaman is his name, and his story is found in 2 Kings 5. Naaman, as you recall, was a successful army captain — but he was also a leper.

The lesson from this slave girl is found in verse 3 of the text. Without any hint of the hatred or bitterness that could have easily filled her heart, she suggests a positive cure for her master’s affliction. “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”

From this minimal information we can classify the young girl as a person of great faith. Why? It is because of her one simple statement. The prophet she had reference to was Elisha. How did she know he could heal leprosy? Someone might suggest that she had seen him do it many times. No! In fact, he had never done it before! Jesus said, “many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian” (Lk. 4:27). She knew he could do because she had FAITH IN GOD!

Faith is the “evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The Bible speaks of many things that we have not personally observed. Do you believe them anyway? There are many things that God has said, including eternal promises He has made to us. Do you trust Him? Are you confident that He has the power to do all things? Judgment and your eternal destiny will be determined by your reaction to things you have not seen.

How strong is your faith? Will you obey Him (Jas. 2:26)?

— Via The Beacon, January 27, 2019
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Romans5_8

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You Don’t Deserve Mercy
Doy Moyer

Have you seen these scenes where someone is taking vengeance on another, and at the point at which the one is about to drop the hammer, the other cries out for some form of mercy? Then, the avenger says something like, “You don’t deserve mercy!” Boom.

You don’t deserve mercy. Let that sink in a moment. That’s why it’s called mercy. Mercy cannot be deserved. If you deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy. And the same goes for grace.

God offers us mercy and grace. We don’t deserve it. Yet, while we cry out for God’s mercy, He won’t just say, “You don’t deserve it” only to condemn us. Through Christ, it’s, “You don’t deserve it, but here it is. You are forgiven.”

Thank the Lord today for His mercy. We don’t deserve what He offers in abundance.

Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 5:6-11; 8:1-2

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

The family and friends of Larry Welch; Pat & A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Jim Lively,  Mary Vandevander,  Gene Kaplan, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
——————–

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)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon

The Gospel Observer (January 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Way of Man (Bill Crews)
2) Thank You, God, For Patience (John Thompson)
3) News & Notes
——————–

prov14_12b

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The Way of Man
Bill Crews

One of the fundamental principles which must be embraced by those who truly believe in God, earnestly desire to honor Him as God, and ardently long to spend eternity in heaven with Him, is found in Jeremiah 10:23. It reads: “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

In this verse from one of God’s prophets can be seen the divine right and wisdom of God and the weaknesses and limitations of men. God is the Creator, and man is the creature; God is the Maker, and man is the made; God is the offended, and man is the offender; God is the sinned against, and man the sinner. God has the divine right to direct our religious and moral path; God also has the divine wisdom essential to that great task. Man has neither.

How can we frail creatures know what is pleasing to Him who is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6), whose thoughts and ways are above our thoughts and ways as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9)? How can we devise our own way of salvation or provide our own way of redemption? We know not the way! The fact is we cannot and must not even attempt it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reads: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” In the days of Isaiah God said to His people, Israel, “I have stretched out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good according to their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2).

Friend, are you directing your religious walk by what you think best or by the instructions of God’s word?

By His divine wisdom God knows how you must live, and by His divine right God has specified how you must live. It is yours and mine by faith to follow.

— Via The Roanridge Reader, January 6, 2019
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Thank You, God, For Patience
John Thompson

We have so much to thank our heavenly Father for, but patience? Should we put patience on our list of things to be thankful for? Should it be part of our daily prayers? In a recent sermon on waiting on the Lord, patience was discussed at length. The selflessness of patience and the selfishness of impatience were often repeated themes in that lesson. The sermon was a very important and much needed exhortation and, hopefully, it has already produced positive results in your life.

But what is there about patience that makes it something to be thankful for? Is it something like rain or sunshine? No, it is probably something much more intangible than those things. Perhaps we should consider it to be a blessing from the Father, a blessing that benefits us immensely and without which we would find it virtually impossible to be pleasing to our Maker. I would suggest that we should thank God for creating this thing called patience that is so intimately a part of all that goes into making a faithful, fully committed, obedient Christian. Our thankfulness should include the fact that we are created with an innate capacity to learn what patience is all about, to appreciate its usefulness to the Christian, and to grow in its application as we live from day to day. We cannot endure without patience. We cannot persevere without patience. We cannot be gentle and kind without patience. We cannot trust without patience. We cannot love without patience. The bottom line is that we simply cannot be pleasing to God without patience.

Take endurance, for instance. How in the world are we to get through the darkness of difficult times to the light on the other side of the darkness if we do not endure? Patience is what gets us through. Patience enables us to remain calm; and when calm, we are able to reason things through. Patience puts us into the proper frame of mind consistent with prayer, with Bible reading and meditation, and with remembering that God has promised better things. Here is what Jesus wrote to some of the seven churches of Asia:

To the church at Ephesus: “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:3).

To the church at Thyatira: “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first” (Revelation 2:19).

To the church at Philadelphia: “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Endurance is not consistent with some constantly happy-go-lucky, stress free, all’s right with the world time. No, endurance implies hard work, struggle, despair, temptation, persecution, and various and sundry other plagues of life. Endurance is our victory over such obstacles and patience is what carries us through. Some obstacles are specifically mentioned in the scriptures. Paul told Timothy he must patiently endure evil (2 Timothy 2:24), and he wrote to the Corinthians commending them for patiently enduring the same sufferings he experienced (2 Corinthians 1:6).

It seems, though, that we will more likely experience impatience than patience unless we can train ourselves away from that deadly attitude. Impatience is manifested in a variety of ways, such as: We cannot wait; we cannot tolerate, put up with, sit through, submit, or persevere. While impatient we may become irritable, agitated, fidgety, mouthy, obnoxious, disruptive. Impatience is selfish in that it places expectations upon others. If I expect you to cater to my need to not have to wait, who benefits? Not you. You are the one that my impatience is inconveniencing. My impatience benefits only me, and that is the essence of selfishness, i.e. seeing to my welfare at the expense of all others. When you get right down to it, impatience is a failure of endurance and perseverance. Impatience makes no provision for gentleness and kindness and destroys one’s capacity for love. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4? Love is patient and kind.

But we can learn to be more patient. We must learn to be patient. And we can grow our patience by sitting at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher. Paul stated his desire for those Christians in Thessalonica, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NKJV). No man has ever been calmer and more patient than the Christ Jesus as he proceeded through his trials and crucifixion.  “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Sometimes we sing “None of Self and All of Thee.”  Our hymn book leaves out the wording in verse 3 that is in bold type below:

“Day by day His tender mercy
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
‘Less of self, and more of Thee!’”

We sing “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee.” Perhaps the next time we sing this song verses 3 and 4 will remind us of our responsibility to learn of and grow in patience.

“Teach me Thy patience! still with Thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broad’ning way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live.”

Thank you, God, for patience. And, thank you, Adam, for the sermon.

— Via the University Heights Messenger, January 2, 2019, Volume 11, Number 1, Lexington, Kentucky
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“Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:12, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jim Lively had another fall last Wednesday, but this one had him in the emergency room for 10 stiches.

Others to remember in prayer:  Pat Joyner, Myrna Jordan, Anita Young, Shirley Davis, Melotine Davis, Doyle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

The Walnut Street church of Christ in Jesup will be having a gospel meeting February 6-10 with Ryan Hasty (from Auburn, AL) as their guest speaker. Wednesday  through Friday: 7 p.m.  Saturday: 10:30 a.m.  Sunday: 9 & 10 a.m.  The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street .
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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 services9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
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 sermon