The Gospel Observer (July 15, 2018)

“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) Having a Good Name (Tom Edwards)
2) Acceptance (anonymous)
3) News & Notes
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Having a Good Name
Tom Edwards

It was Shakespeare who said,

“Good name in man and woman…
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash…
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed… “ (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3).

Shakespeare, apparently, realized the importance of a good name over even material wealth.

Beginning way before Shakespeare’s time, and up to our generation, the Bible has been expressing this truth for many centuries:

“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1, NASB).

Though the word “good” is in italics (because it is not in the original text), the implication of it is easy to infer by the context — and even more so by an Israelite of that day.  For, as Albert Barnes points out, “To the Hebrew, ‘name’ by itself conveyed the idea of good repute, just as ‘men without a name’ (compare Job 30:8 margin) are those sunk in ignominy.”  Job 30:8 declares,

“Fools, even those without a name,
They were scourged from the land” (emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word for “name” in these passages is “shem” — and actually pronounced as “shame.” But certainly the opposite of our English word “shame.”  For  “shem” is defined as “an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character” (James Strong).

In Genesis 6:4, “shem” is rendered as “renown,” in speaking of “the mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (emphasis mine).  These had made quite a name for themselves.

When we think of  “name” (from the Hebrew “shem”) to mean “honor, authority, and character,” who would better represent all of that than Jesus Christ Himself?  For the Father has bestowed on Him “the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

We have seen that the name of Jesus is so great that we are to honor Him as much as we honor God the Father — and to do any less would be a violation of God’s word:  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23, emphasis mine).  Many people today and various religions need to realize this.  For they fail to give Jesus the honor He deserves.

In thinking on the meaning of “authority” in the Lord’s name, we know that Christians are to pray by that authority; and we often indicate that when closing our prayers with the phrase, “In the name of Jesus. Amen.”  This also often reminds me of what Jesus states in John 15, when pointing out the necessity of abiding in Him.  For in verse 5, He declares, “for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  But through Jesus Christ, by being redeemed by His atonement, we have the right and privilege to pray to God as our Father.

In the early church, miracles were performed “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 3:6, Acts 16:18) — by His authority.  When Peter was questioned concerning the healing of the lame man, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7), he answered by saying, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”  (vv. 8-10).

The account of that miraculous healing is given in the previous chapter.  The beggar, who had been carried to the temple-gate, had been lame from birth.  But Peter said to him, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — walk” (Acts 3:6)!  And it was so!

That miracle was witnessed by others who were then “filled with wonder and amazement.”  So Peter said to them, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.  But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all” (vv. 12-16).

What great power there is in the name of Jesus!  For He is Deity; and by His power, He created the universe (Jn. 1:1-3) and performed numerous miracles while on earth — such as giving eyesight to the blind; enabling the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the mute to speak.  He cast out demons, healed the sick and the afflicted, and even raised the dead back to life!

We can also be greatly impressed through what He has made, when seriously thinking about it, from the microscopic world to the immeasurable vastness of our universe.  In easily recognizing the intelligent design we see in all living things, it gives testimony toward the great Creator — and the very heavens indicate His eternal nature and also, therefore, His power that will never diminish (cf. Rom. 1:19-20).

With regard to shem’s meaning of “character,” we again can look to Jesus whose nature and moral quality was far above reproach.  For, while on earth, He lived a perfect life, having never sinned, and was always pleasing to His Father in heaven (Jn. 8:29; Heb. 4:15).  So not only did Jesus manifest Deity by His own life, thus revealing what His Father in heaven is like (cf.  John 1:18; John 14:7-9), but also set forth the perfect example of how we should be as human beings in all our relationships with one another and our concern for all.  For that is the godly character we are to develop.

In the King James Version and New American Standard, “good name” is found in only two passages — with the second being Ecclesiastes 7:1:

“A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.”

The need for having a good name is seen or implied in various passages of the Old and New Testaments.  May we each, therefore, always strive to have that good name by submitting to the name which is above every name, the name of Jesus Christ!  For then death will truly lead to that which is far better than anything we have ever, or will have ever, experienced on earth — and regardless of how much that was enjoyed!  For the bliss of heaven will always be infinitely and eternally greater!

(All scripture from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.)
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“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:6-8, NASB).
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Acceptance

From rejected to useful. That describes how much Mark changed in Paul’s eyes between Acts 15 and 2 Timothy 4. Mark didn’t let Paul’s earlier opinion of him get in his way of serving Christ, but persisted through his own conviction and fixed what needed fixing and improved what needed improving.  So should we.  Go with God.

— Anonymous

In 2 Timothy 4:11, during his second imprisonment in Rome, shortly before his death, Paul instructs, “…Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”    And in writing to the Colossians, during  his first Roman imprisonment, Paul declares about Mark, “…if he comes to you, welcome him” (Col. 4:10).
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News & Notes

Let us continue to remember in prayer Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) whose massive brain bleed, which also put him in a coma for more than a week, has left him paralyzed except for one arm.

Rick Cuthbertson will soon find out — if he hasn’t already — of what type of follow-up treatment he will or will not have, following the recent removal of cancer from his kidney.

Olivia McCarthy has been sick lately.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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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: 2p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (July 8, 2018)

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

1) The Oneness of the Church (Harold Fite)
2) News & Notes
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Matthew16_18b

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The Oneness of the Church
Harold Fite

The oneness of the church is unique. There is only one! It far transcends religious organizations founded by men.

Background

The church belonging to Christ was conceived in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and brought into existence by his power through Jesus Christ. The church was not a substitute for the Kingdom as the Premillennialist would have us believe. It came into existence according to God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10, 11). Man cannot thwart the purpose of God. God  envisioned a people that would know him, from the least to the greatest, and would have God’s laws written on their heart. He would be their God and they would be his people (Heb. 8:10, 11). “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4, 5). To foreordain or predestinate is to “decide and design prior to acting; making out boundaries or setting limits beforehand; to determine before.” To illustrate the above: He who would be President of these United States must be a natural born citizen, being thirty five years of age, having lived in this country fourteen years, and be willing to take the oath of office, upholding the Constitution. It could be said that the framers of the Constitution foreordained—chose those who would sit in the President’s chair. In like manner, God foreordained those whom he would adopt as sons. God did not choose or foreordain individuals—consigning some to salvation and others to damnation—but as a class of people for his own possession (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). The chosen are those in Christ by virtue of their obedient faith. They fulfill the requirements of adoption.

The Church Becomes a Reality

When Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he announced, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Approximately six months later the church had its beginning. Peter preached Christ on that occasion and 3,000 obeyed the gospel and were added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).  Note the definite article “the.” Not “a” church, but “the” church! Christ said “my church.”

Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). The word “purchase” means “to gain; to get something for oneself.” It conveys “possession.” When Christ purchased the church, he purchased people: “for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). He possessed those whom he purchased. He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession” (italics mine), zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14). Peter echoes the same truth in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” He presented the church unto himself (Eph. 5:27).

There is only one church recognized by the Lord. From the time God planned the church, until it was born, only one church was in his mind. It was never God’s intention to bring forth a multiplicity of churches (denominationalism). Christ built one church, and he is the head of it: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). He is “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22, 23). That being true, Paul dogmatically declares that “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4). If the church is the body, and the body is the church, and there is one body, it logically follows that there is one church! Denominationalism has no scriptural foundation! It is made up of many bodies (churches), founded by man, wearing different names and adhering to different faiths. This is not what God planned from the foundation of the world. We “were called in one body” (Col. 1:15). We are “baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). “But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Cor. 12:20).

Oneness of Those in the One Body

As the church is one body, there is oneness among those who compose the one body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the analogy of the physical body in explanation and application of the diversities of gifts. There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit. There are many members, but one body. Note the following verses, beginning with verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members. And all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” “For the body is not one member, but many” (v. 14). “But now there are many members, but one body” (v. 20). The human body is made up of various members operating in conjunction with the head. Each member has its work to do, but all work together for the benefit of the body. This shows the interdependence of the different members of the body on one another. “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee” (v. 21). The different members complement one another. Thus the spiritual  body of Christ is one body, but made up of different members, working together as per instruction from the head, Jesus Christ. The spiritual body of Christ is “knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part” (Eph. 4:16). This contributes to the increasing of the body. There is a oneness there, a mutual supportiveness, kinship, and like-mindedness. This is the reason why we “bear one another’s burdens.” When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. When one member is honored, all rejoice (1 Cor. 12:26). If one member of the physical body is injured, the entire body is affected. Whether one suffers or is honored, it touches other members of the spiritual body. We “rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12:15). This could be called sympathetic vibration: “vibration produced in one body by the vibration of exactly the same period in a neighboring body.” Strike one prong of a tuning fork and the tone is transmitted to the other prong, hence the musical term sympathy.

The believers gathered in Jerusalem “were of one heart and soul . . . they had all things common.” The apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to “stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).  “Seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).

Denominationalism has no justification in the Scriptures. Those who are being saved are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1). May we strive earnestly to attain that ideal oneness in the one body.

“All the churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).

— Via Truth Magazine, March 2007, Volume LI, Number 3, pp. 14-15
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News & Notes

Mary Vandevander was in the hospital last Saturday to Sunday afternoon, due to a heart problem that was giving her pain.  She is now back in the nursing home, in good spirits, and feeling better.

Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) had a massive brain bleed about 80 days ago and had been in a coma for more than a week.  He is now back home, but is still in bad shape, being able to move only his arm.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Rick Cuthbertson (who is now waiting to find out if he will be undergoing any precautionary treatment following the recent surgery that removed his cancer), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, and Michelle Rittenhouse.

Congratulations to Anita Young who is now a grandmother for the first time! Her daughter Elizabeth Harden gave birth on Friday to Leia, and they are both doing well.
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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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (July 1, 2018)

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

1) The Greatest Liberty (Bill Crews)
2) Pray for One Another (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
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John8_31-32

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The Greatest Liberty
Bill Crews

According to Isaiah 61:1 the Messiah was to proclaim liberty to the captives. In a synagogue in His home town of Nazareth Jesus read the Isaiah passage and announced, “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears” (Lk. 4:16-21).

The captivity referred to is not political (being held prisoner in a government prison) or social (being owned as the slave of another), but spiritual (being in bondage to sin). The word of Christ, in fact, calls upon every soul to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1-7) and upon slaves to be obedient to their masters (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25), but no one is called upon to be content in sin or obedient to Satan. Sin is, after all, the most oppressive and the most destructive form of slavery. Don’t wait until life is over to discover this!

To certain Jews that had believed on Him (nominally, according to the context), Jesus said, “If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). They mistakenly said, “We have never yet been in bondage to any man” (vs. 33; had they forgotten the long bondage in Egypt? the Assyrian captivity? the 70 years of Babylonian captivity?, and other times of national oppression? And if they referred only to themselves, did they think they were now free from the Romans? But Jesus had in mind none of these things. However, they were also enslaved by sin and in bondage to the human traditions of their fathers.)

When Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin” (vs. 34), He made clear His meaning. Christ, the great Deliverer, came to set at liberty those who are enslaved by sin. Solomon said, “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). And Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). However, full release is offered by and through Christ, and to the extent that mankind is made free from sin, other forms of oppressive bondage will in time disappear.

The saints at Rome, like all other saints who were saved through Christ, were once the bondservants of sin, but they became obedient from the heart unto that form of teaching unto which they were delivered, and were then made free from sin and became bondservants of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). They traded a bondage that was oppressive and destructive for a bondage that was beneficial and salutary (see Matt. 11:28-30 on “yoke”).

Because of the liberating power of the truth, the gospel of Christ, it is called “the law of liberty” (James 1:25; 2:12). Paul refers to it as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and declares that it made him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). To the saints in Galatia Paul wrote: “For freedom did Christ set us free; stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

And how are Christians to use, rather than abuse, this freedom? “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another” (Gal. 5:13). “As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16 — notice the context, vv. 13-17). We should think of our freedom in Christ more as freedom from things that are oppressive and burdensome rather than as freedom to do as we please or as freedom from restraint and responsibility

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 32 Issue 45 Page 02
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1Tim2_1-2

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Pray for One Another
R.J. Evans

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, a young evangelist he referred to as “my true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Both of the letters are filled with instructions, exhortations and admonitions that would come under the category of commands that Paul was giving his “son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:3, 18; 4:11; 5:7, 21; 6:17; 2 Tim. 4:1). Among other things, Paul commanded him to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15); live the Word (1 Tim. 4:12); preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). But in this article let us note the exhortation Paul gave Timothy concerning prayer: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Prayer is one of the most important duties and privileges of a Christian. And I am convinced that praying for others (“intercessions”) should take up a large portion of our prayer time. “I am praying for you” are some of the most encouraging words I have ever heard from others, especially during difficult times. There are some valid reasons for believing this.

Paul is giving a command to intercede by prayer for all men. In the next verse he mentions some in particular— “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Ephesians 6:18 and James 5:16 also commands us to pray for others. Thus, it is a duty commanded by God for every Christian to pray for others.

Our prayers for others manifest brotherly love and an unselfish attitude. These two areas are so important in the life of a Christian. The Apostle Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). This being true, the requests we make for others are just as important as the requests we make for ourselves. When the Lord answers our prayers for others, no doubt, our faith is increased. Jesus said loving our neighbor as our self is the second greatest commandment (Mk. 12:31).

The Apostle Paul prayed for all the churches where he labored. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians, he assured them of his prayers on their behalf. He said I “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:16-17). The list of things he asked God to do for the Colossians was similar (Col. 1:9-12). Epaphras offered fervent prayers for the Colossian brethren. Paul told them, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).

I have no doubt that Christians enjoy many blessings from God because some brother or sister in Christ prayed for them. May we not forget that praying for others should be a big part of our lives. Such encouraging words when some faithful brother or sister tells us, “I am praying for you”! Thus, may we constantly practice what James was teaching when he said “pray for one another” (Jas. 5:16).

— bulletin article of the Southside church of Christ, June 10, 2018
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News & Notes

Rick Cuthbertson will be undergoing some kind of treatment, as a precautionary measure, following the recent removal of all his cancer.

Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling, cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her shoulder), Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm), Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant), Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), Elizabeth Young Harden (has a baby due July 4), and Marie Maymoldi (who is also expecting).

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

Being the first Sunday of the month, our p.m. service today will primarily be the singing of spiritual songs led by several of the men. Song requests can be made prior to the service.
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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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (June 24, 2018)

“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) “And Be Ye Thankful” (Bill Crews)
2) If Only (Frank Himmel)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Psalm100_4

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“And Be Ye Thankful”
Bill Crews

The heading of this article is taken from the closing words of Colossians 3:15; it is an appropriate exhortation for every accountable individual. Gratitude is required of every person; ingratitude is deplorable and inexcusable. And why should we be thankful? Because God has given to each of us “life, and breath, and all things” and because “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:24, 25, 28). To put it another way, “And yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). In both of these passages the apostle Paul was addressing pagans (at Athens and at Lystra). As Christians we have far more reasons than these to be thankful.

A failure on man’s part to be thankful is sin. This is one of the sins charged against the pagan Gentiles in Romans 1:21 (“they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks”). This is one of the sins to be expected among men in the last days (“lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” — 2 Tim. 3:2). Being unthankful goes hand in hand with being selfish and arrogant. Gratitude must be taught and learned; we are not born with it. We must be thankful, express our thanks, and demonstrate that we are thankful TO GOD.  From the cradle to the grave, as long as we have our minds about us we should be thankful to God. We should also be thankful to other human beings to whom we are indebted.

Many of the Psalms bring out the importance of and the need for being thankful to God. “That I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and tell of thy wondrous works” (David in Ps. 26:7). The 50th Psalm is attributed to Asaph. Read verses 7-15; the reader is called upon to be mindful of the sovereignty of God, to be grateful for his blessings, to realize that God owns everything, to offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (David in Ps. 69:30). “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving” (Ps. 95:2). “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with singing” (Ps. 107:22). Read Psalm 100; verse 4 says:

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: give thanks unto him, and bless his name.”

Among the sacrifices offered by the Israelites under the law of Moses were voluntary sacrifices of animals — part of which the worshipers ate in feasts — that were called “peace-offerings” and “thank-offerings,” the latter of which were designed to help them to be thankful to God for their blessings and to express their thanks unto Him. See Psalm 50:14; 107:22; 116:17; Amos 4:5; and Leviticus 7:11-13.  In Nehemiah 12 certain Israelites were by Nehemiah divided into two great companies that marched along the new wall that had been built around Jerusalem at the dedication of that wall; as they marched they gave thanks unto God.

In the New Testament a number of examples are commended for the benefit of the reader. Christ is never depicted as partaking of food (which at times He provided for others (the feeding of the 5,000; the feeding of the 4,000; and the feeding of the seven disciples) without giving thanks unto the Father for it. It is usually expressed as “blessed” (cf. our “say the blessing”), and “blessed” and “gave thanks” are used interchangeably. Notice that in Matthew 26:26 Jesus “took bread, and blessed, and brake it,” but in Matthew 26:27 He “took a cup, and gave thanks.” (“Eulogy” and “eucharist” are English words taken from the Greek words.) We are to give thanks for our food also (1 Tim. 4:3-5).

Paul is a great example to us. In Acts 27:35 he gave thanks to God for his food in the presence of others to encourage them to eat. In Acts 28:15 he gave thanks to God for the brethren who came out of Rome to meet him at The Market of Appius (43 miles from Rome) and at the Three Taverns (33 miles from Rome) when he was being taken to Rome as a prisoner. Over and over in his epistles he wrote, “I thank God (or “my God”), “I give thanks,” “we give thanks to God” or “thanks be unto God” (Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4, 14; 14:18; 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 8:16; 9:15; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2:13 — in the last two, “we are bound to give thanks unto God for you”; 1 Tim. 1 :12 — he thanked “Christ Jesus our Lord”; 2 Tim. 1:3). He frequently gave thanks to God for the brethren to whom he wrote — in many of the preceding passages. In 1 Thessalonians 3:9 he said, “For what thanksgiving can we render again unto God for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before God.” How beautiful!

Heavenly beings are presented as examples to us. All the angels, the twenty-four elders, the four living creatures are depicted as giving thanks unto God (Rev. 4:9), as falling down before the throne of God on their faces, worshiping God, and giving thanks unto God (Rev. 7: 11-12).

And what does the New Testament say about our thanksgiving? We are to “be thankful” (Col. 3:15 —here, especially for the peace of Christ that is to rule in our hearts, and to which we were called in the one body, the church). We are to “give thanks” (Eph. 5:20 — “always, for all things”; 1 Thess. 5:18 — “in every thing give thanks.” “And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

Our prayers unto God must include thanksgiving. “Continuing stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Col. 4:6). Giving of thanks is set in contrast with various sins of the tongue. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:3-4). The lesson? Rather than misusing our tongues by uttering sinful things, let us give more time to the giving of thanks.

In conclusion, “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Col. 2:6-7).

— Via the Roadridge Reader, Volume 33, Issue 11, Pages 2-3
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John5_30

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If Only
Frank Himmel

If only my boss wouldn’t be so rude and domineering, I would be more cooperative at work. “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” (1 Pet. 2:18).

If only my husband weren’t so lazy and self-centered, if only he would learn to control his temper better, I would live with him. “…wives, be submissive to your husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Pet. 3:1-2).

If only the brethren were friendlier and that preacher not so dry, I would go to church more often. “…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” (Heb. 10:24-25).

If only I had more income and less bills, I would give a lot more. “…in the churches of Macedonia…in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:1-2).

If only my family would be more supportive, I would become a Christian. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me… (Mt. 10:37).

Do you notice that what God expects of us, He expects regardless of our particular circumstances? Instead of excusing ourselves due to adverse conditions, let us commit ourselves to our Creator and Benefactor. If only we would be like Jesus, who said, “…I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (Jn. 5:30). He not only said it, He lived it — even to the point of death.

— Via The Beacon, May 27, 2018
——————–

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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Betsy Wallace Reister and Ian Reister (33), the mother and the youngest son of Robert Reister.  Their recent passing was within three days apart.  Rob had also lost his daughter Jessie (34) in April 2013.

Our sympathies also go out to all the loved ones of Kenneth Evans (the youngest brother of Cheryl Crews) of Baldwyn, Mississippi, who passed away June 15 at only 55 years of age.

Jordyn Mackey (Cheryl Corbitt’s 4-year-old grandson) had a series of seizures early Thursday morning.  He was taken to the ER, tested, and received seizure medication.  The CT scan and EKG looked good. He also saw his pediatrician and will be having an MRI this week.  As of yesterday morning, there had been no more convulsions; and he was even more energetic than he had been prior to the seizures.

Shirley Davis reports that her legs are healing, but slowly. Both the swelling and cellulitis have improved, but not completely. She still has pain in her shoulder and in both legs.  When the cellulitis is gone, she is to call her doctor for an appointment. She also expressed for the congregation, “Tell everyone, I love them.”

Let us also remember in prayer Bentley O’Berry (who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm),  Charles Crosby (healing from a knee implant),  Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger Head (spot on lung), Elizabeth Young Harden (has a baby due July 4), and Marie Maymoldi (who is also expecting).

Others to also pray for:  Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
——————–

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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (June 17, 2018)

“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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Myth or History? (Part 3 of 3) (Forrest D. Moyer)
2) Teeth (Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Matthew1_23-25

-1-

Myth or History?
(Part 3 of 3)

Forrest D. Moyer

Was Jesus Who He Claimed To Be?

It is the claim of skeptics that Jesus was given the attributes of “a god” by fanatical disciples who decided to pattern Jesus after the Greek mythical gods. However, there is not proof that there was teaching of a mythical deity being raised from the dead “…was taught prior to the late second century A. D. Thus, it is certainly a plausible thesis that the mystery religions borrowed this aspect from Christianity, not the reverse.”14

The Old Testament pointed to a Messiah who would be “the Mighty God” (Isa 9:6) born of a virgin (Isa 7:14). The New Testament teaches that Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:1,2,14; I Timothy 3:16; et al). The first line of proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be is the Biblical account itself. The gospels form a reliable historical account of the life and activities of Jesus. Under the scrutiny of the most critical eye, the gospels will stand the test. They are historically reliable. Inasmuch as they can be shown to be reliable, what they record about Jesus is true. He is who He claimed to be.

A second line of proof of the fact that Jesus is Deity is the resurrection itself. There is overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. A number of books have set forth irrefutable evidence of the resurrection.

Professor Thomas Arnold, for fourteen years the headmaster of Rugby, author of a famous three-volume History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. He said: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” 15

McDowell quotes English scholar Brooke Foss Westcott as saying,

“Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”16

Dr. Simon Greenleaf is noted as having one of the greatest minds in law in the world. While he was professor at Harvard School of Law, he wrote a book examining the legal value of the testimony of the apostles to the resurrection of Christ. He believed that it was impossible that the apostles

“‘could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.’ Greenleaf concluded that the resurrection of Christ was one of the best supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in courts of justice.”17

Frank Morrison was another lawyer who determined to refute the evidence of the resurrection. However, after examining the facts with his legal training, he concluded that Jesus had indeed been raised from the dead and wrote a best-seller, Who Moved the Stone? (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI. 1958). This book is a great addition to any library.

George Eldon Ladd concludes: “The only rational explanation for these historical facts is that God raised Jesus in bodily form.”18

When all the evidence is in and is carefully considered, one must conclude that Jesus is Who He said He was — the divine Son of the Living God. He is God and, as such, lived a sinless life on earth and went to the cross in order to atone for our sins. He was raised from the dead and now rules at the right hand of God. Jesus is not a myth. He is what and who He claimed to be.

Since Jesus Is Deity, Then Genesis Is Not A Myth

By what right can we say this? Because Jesus taught that Genesis is history.

* He taught the creation. “For those days will be a {time of} tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never shall” (Mark 13:19).

* He taught about Adam and Eve and the beginning of the marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4-6).

* He taught about Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:38-39).

* He taught about righteous Abel and the fact of his blood being maliciously shed (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51).

* He talked about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

* He spoke of Lot: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

We can see from these few references that Jesus considered Genesis to be the history of God’s dealing with man. He did not look upon it as mythical at all. To Him it was what God said and what God did. Since Jesus is Deity, then He could not make a mistake in this matter. We must conclude that the Bible is a book that contains historical reality and that it does not contain myths and fables that are pawned off as history.

When we examine all the evidence that is before us, we must conclude that the Bible is from God and not from man. The various creation and flood accounts in different cultures only bear record to the fact that God did create the world and there was a flood. The Bible gives us the accurate information about this creation, about this flood and about God who came to earth in a human body. Let us reverently bow before the Lord Jesus Christ and give our hearts totally to Him while we can.

*****

14. Gary R. Habermas, The Verdict of History, Thomas Nelson Publishers, op. cit., 36
15. Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter, Tyndal House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, IL., p. 96.
16. Ibid., p. 96-97.
17. Ibid., p. 97.
18. Ibid., p. 98.

— Via the bulletin of the La Vista church of Christ
——————–

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7, NASB).
——————–

teeth

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Teeth

Recently, I was thinking about teeth. If I didn’t believe in God, I’d probably be wondering of the odds of those teeth being right there in my mouth where I needed them. That would then be highly incredible — but that is just one of the many members that make up a human body! I can’t think of any better place to have my teeth than where they are. This, of course, can also be said about every other part of our anatomy as well. They each have their own function and are each in the right place. To an atheist, if the odds of having teeth are highly astronomical, well then how much more so when considering all the many other numerous, essential parts that we have and right where they should be!

— Tom Edwards (from my facebook page, picture from public domain)

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well”
(Psalm 139:13-14, NASB)
——————–

-3-

News & Notes

Charles Crosby received a good report last Tuesday (June 12), which confirmed (from the recent fluid-test around his knee) that his infection is all gone; and the knee is healing.

Bennie Medlock has a few physical problems: an aortic aneurysm (which his doctors will be keeping an eye on), hiatal hernia, hernia around the navel, cyst on his kidney, and a bad case of arthritis in his lower back.

Bentley O’Berry recently had a seizure which affected his right side of leg and arm. On last report, he does have some movement on that side, but it is not back to normal yet.

Michael Crawford (Debra Carter Crawford’s husband) has several health issues, and one being a heart that is functioning at only 30%.

Danny Bartlett’s leg is slowly getting better, but it is not totally healed yet.

Doctors will be keeping watch over the spot on Ginger Head’s lung over the next three months. She is Bennie’s niece.

I (Tom Edwards) will be seeing my doctor this Monday (June 18) for consultation on the upcoming hernia surgery.

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

——————–

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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (June 10, 2018)

“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” (Matt. 28:19-20).
——————–

Contents:

1) Myth or History? (Part 2 of 3) (Forrest D. Moyer)
2) News & Notes
——————–

matthew24_37-39b

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Myth or History?
(Part 2 of 3)

Forest D. Moyer

There are many effective ways to respond to the claims that the Bible either contains or is made up of myths. For example, we can show that the Scriptures have the mark of inspiration totally (plenary inspiration). We can show that prophecy helps to prove the authenticity of the Scriptures. However, the approach that I want to use has to do with the person of Jesus Christ. If we can show that Jesus was a historical person, we will have proven that He was not a myth. If we can show that the claims that He made for Himself are valid, we will have shown that His disciples did not, after His leaving this earth, manufacture the claims of His Deity. If we can show that Jesus is from God, then we will have also shown that Genesis is an inspired account because Jesus looked upon Genesis as actual history. We might state our approach in this manner:

1. Was Jesus a historical person or was He a myth?

2. If Jesus was a historical person, was He who He claimed to be — Deity?

3. If Jesus is Deity, then Genesis is not a myth.

Was Jesus A Historical Person?

“Comparatively few recent scholars postulate that Jesus never lived. Such positions are usually viewed as blatant misuses of the available historical data.”9

It is not within the scope of this paper to elaborate upon the historical trustworthiness of the four gospels. However, they will bear the scrutiny of the severest historical critic. They give testimony to the fact that Jesus was a historical person.

All of the New Testament narratives were completed within sixty years or so of the Lord’s death, and of the twenty-seven New Testament books, no less than ten were penned by personal companions of Jesus. Paul, an eye-witness of Christ, wrote at least thirteen of the remainder. It used to be fashionable in liberal circles to ascribe most New Testament books to the second century A. D., but interestingly, even liberal critics are now admitting that the New Testament documents are first-century sources of information. For example, modernistic theologian John A. T. Robinson of England, in his book, Redating the New Testament (1977), conceded that all of the New Testament books were written within seventy years of the death of Christ, and by men whose names they bear!10

Most skeptics claim that they want non-biblical proof of the existence of Jesus. This, too, can be given.

While some believe that we know almost nothing about Jesus from ancient, non-New Testament sources, this plainly is not the case. Not only are there many such sources, but Jesus is one of the persons of ancient history concerning whom we have a significant amount of quality data. His is one of the most-mentioned and most-substantiated lives in ancient times.11

(One book that contains much information about the historical Jesus is He Walked Among Us by Josh McDowell, Here’s Life Publishers, San Bernardino, California. See pages 35-70 for information on historical sources dealing with Jesus.)

The following information is from A Ready Defense (Josh McDowell, Here’s To Life Publishers, San Bernardino, Ca., pp 198-208):

Ancient Secular Writers

Cornelius Tacitus was born circa A.D. 52-54 and was a Roman historian. He alluded to the death of Jesus and to Christians in Rome when he wrote:

“Hence to suppress the rumor, he (Nero) falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius; but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also” (Annals, XV. 44).

Lucian of Samosata was a satirist of the second century. He spoke of Christ as:

“the man who was crucified in Palestine because He introduced this new cult into the world… Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist Himself and living under His laws” (The Passing Peregrinus).

Flavius Josephus was born A.D. 37 and was a noted Jewish historian. He is quoted as saying:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first did not forsake Him; for he appeared to them alive again in the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians so named from Him are not extinct at this day” (Antiquities, xviii. 33).

In another place he refers to Jesus when he speaks of James “the brother of the so-called Christ” (Antiquities XX 9:1).

Seutonius was another Roman historian and a court official under Hadrian. He said, “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [another spelling of Christus], he expelled them from Rome” (Life of Claudius, 25. 4).

McDowell quotes from Pliny the Younger, Tertullian, Thallus, Phlegon and from a letter by Mara Bar-Serapion all showing the historical evidence that Jesus was a historical person.

Jesus was not a myth. He was a historical person who lived during the first century. “Very few scholars hold the view that Jesus never lived. Even Rudolf Bultmann, one of the most influential critical theologians of the twentieth century and exponent of demythologizing the Scripture, said, ‘By no means are we at the mercy of those who doubt or deny that Jesus ever lived.’”12

Virtually no writers have asserted that Jesus did not exist or have attempted to cast virtually total doubts and obscurity on his life and ministry. But, such efforts are refuted by the early and eyewitness testimony presented by Paul and others, by the early date of the Gospels, by the corresponding historicity and trustworthiness of the Gospels, and by the failure of the mystery religions to explain the Christian faith.13

*****

9. Gary R. Habermas, The Verdict of History, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, p. 31.

10. Bert Thompson and Wayne Jackson, A Study Course in Christian Evidences. Apologetics Press, Inc. Montgomery, AL. 1991, p. 140.

11. Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense. Here’s Life Publishers. San Bernardino, CA., p. 197.

12. Gary R. Habermas, op. cit., 36.

13. Ibid., p. 36.

— Via the bulletin of the La Vista church of Christ
——————–

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NASB).
——————–

-2-

News & Notes

It is good to have Charles Crosby back with us today! His doctor had reported no infection and that the knee has healed. (UPDATE: This was also confirmed by the results of a fluid-test from around the knee.)

Benny Medlock’s doctor advised him not to have the procedure yet for his aneurysm, since it is still small. But they will be keeping watch on it.

Bentley O’Berry, who is only 5 or 6, was admitted to the hospital last Wednesday morning with stroke-like symptoms (paralysis of the right side). But by that afternoon, his right side was doing better, but not completely recovered. He returned home. It is now thought that it was not a stroke, but a seizure. So he will be seeing a neurologist to determine what kind.

Michael Crawford (Debra Carter Crawford’s husband) has several health issues, one being a heart that is functioning at only 30%.

Though somewhat better, the muscle-pain in Danny Bartlett’s leg is not completely gone.

Elizabeth Young Harden’s baby is due July 4.

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Misty Thornton, Hannah Laughlin, Rick Cuthbertson, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Ginger Head, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

——————–

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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (June 3, 2018)

“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” (Matt. 28:19-20).
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Contents:

1) Myth or History? (Part 1 of 3) (Forrest D. Moyer)
2) News & Notes
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matt12_40-41

-1-

Myth or History? (Part 1 of 3)
Forrest D. Moyer

The Bible is either the product of God or the product of men. Christians believe that the Bible is from the hand of God and that it is to be believed and obeyed in order to have a good life now and Heaven in eternity. There have always been those who oppose God and His way. This opposition has come in varied forms. Some have been and are opposed to the idea of God; thus, they are “atheists” (the “a” negates “theist,” a believer in God). There are those who accept the idea of God but reject His interaction with man in revelation or divine authority. These are known as “deists.” The opposition to the Bible as the revelation of God to man has been around for centuries, but it is now becoming more and more prevalent. As humanism advances, so does opposition to the Bible. Humanism and the Bible cannot co-exist. One or the other must fall.

One form of this opposition to Jesus and to the Bible comes with the charge that the Bible is made up of myths that have been foisted upon people by priestly castes in order that priests might control the masses. Our purpose in this writing is to examine the charge that the Bible is made up of myths and fables.

The Charges

First, let us look at some of the charges that are made against the Bible:

“The Gospels do not contain the history of an actual man, but only the myth of the god-man Jesus, clothed in a historical dress.”1

“The Bible is not ‘the word of God,’ but stolen from pagan sources. Its Eden, Adam and Eve were taken from the Babylonian account; its Flood or Deluge is but an epitome of some four hundred flood accounts; its Ark and Ararat have their equivalents in a score of Deluge myths; even the names of Noah’s sons are copies, so also Isaac’s sacrifice, Solomon’s judgment, and Samson’s pillar act; its Moses is fashioned after the Syrian Mises; its laws after Hammurabi’s code. Its Messiah is derived from the Egyptian Mahdi, Savior, certain verses are verbatim copies of Egyptian scriptures. Between Jesus and the Egyptian Horus, Gerald Massey found 137 similarities, and those between Christ and Krishna run into the hundreds. How then can the Bible be a revelation to the Jews?”2

Mr. Graham expresses his humanism by saying, “It’s time this scriptural tyranny was broken that we may devote our time to man instead of God, to civilizing ourselves instead of saving our souls that were never lost.”3

Another quote from him will show how rabid is his opposition to God as he advances his humanistic philosophy:

“Had Christ known the nature of Reality he would not have taught the love of God for man or its reverse. Yet the Gospels have him say: ‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment’ (Mark 12:30). It is not the first of an enlightened Christ but only of a priesthood that needed it professionally. God being but the ruthless creative power, man has no right to love it, since from it spring all his pain and suffering, his savagery and war. If he would escape from these he must not only cease pretending to love it but oppose and conquer it. Mythologically man rebelled against this one–to become human; he must now rebel against it mentally and morally to become divine.”4

It is obvious from these quotations that Graham “errs, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” However, humanists and atheists are not the only ones to regard the Scriptures as filled with myths. The Interpreter’s Bible commentary is considered to be one of the most scholarly works in its field. We quote:

“Obviously, the book [Genesis] begins in that misty region of tradition and transmitted myth in which imagination precedes knowledge. Few will suppose that Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden belong to factual history. Cain and Abel and Lamech and Nimrod and Methuselah and Noah–these also come down to us as legends rather than as persons identifiable in the literal history of a particular time.”5

“Not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” has led many to look upon the Biblical accounts as myths. Hermann Gunkel wrote toward the end of the last century:

“The clearest criterion of legend is that it frequently reports things which are quite incredible… Thus many things are reported in Genesis which go directly against our better knowledge: we know that there are too many species of animals for all to have been assembled in any ark; that Ararat is not the highest mountain on earth;… And however cautious the modern historian may be in declaring anything impossible, he may declare with all confidence that animals–serpents and she-asses, for instance–do not speak and never have spoken, that there is no tree whose fruit confers immortality or knowledge…”6

In Response

It is impossible to reply to all the various charges that the Biblical account contains myths in this one paper. However, I shall address some questions of significance in response.

The Biblical Claim

Let it be understood that the Biblical writers did not regard the Genesis account or the person of Jesus as mythical. The New Testament writers quote from Genesis numerous times, thus placing their stamp of approval upon what was recorded in Genesis. If the New Testament writers were inspired (and I affirm that they were), then it follows that the account given in Genesis is historically accurate. Geisler and Nix give a list of thirty-two people and events of the Old Testament which are referred to as historical by New Testament writers. Fifteen of these are from the first twelve chapters of Genesis:

* Creation of the universe (Genesis 1): John 1:3; Colossians 1:16

* Creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2): I Timothy 2:13-14

* Marriage of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2): I Timothy 2:13

* Temptation of the woman (Genesis 3): I Timothy 2:14

* Disobedience and sin of Adam (Genesis 3): Romans 5:12; I Corinthians 15:22

* Sacrifices of Abel and Cain (Genesis 4): Hebrews 11:4

* Murder of Abel by Cain (Genesis 4): I John 3:12

* Birth of Seth (Genesis 4): Luke 3:38

* Translation of Enoch (Genesis 5): Hebrews 11:5

* Marriage before the flood (Genesis 6): Luke 17:27

* The flood and destruction of man (Genesis 7): Matthew 24:39

* Preservation of Noah and his family (Genesis 8-9): II Peter 2:5

* Genealogy of Shem (Genesis 10): Luke 3:35-36

* Birth of Abraham (Genesis 11): Luke 3:34

* Call of Abraham (Genesis 12-13): Hebrews 11:8

In this sample survey, several things should be noted. Most of the controversial passages of the Old Testament are referred to, for example, the creation, fall, flood, miracles of Moses and Elijah, and Jonah in the great fish. These are not just alluded to, they are authenticated as historical events by the New Testament. If these major miraculous events are authentic, there is no difficulty in accepting the rest of the events of the Old Testament.8

(To be continued)

*****

1. Arthur Drews as quoted by Lloyd Graham, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, Carol Communications, N.Y., p. 282.

2. Lloyd Graham, Ibid., p. 5.

3. Ibid., p. 6.

4. Ibid., p. 426.

5. The Interpreter’s Bible. Abingdon Press. New York. Vol. I. 1952, p. 460.

6; Gunkel, Hermann. The Legends of Genesis: The Biblical Saga and History. Schocken Books. New York. 1964. pp 7-8. Quoted in a manuscript by Brad Bromling, Is Genesis Myth? Apologetics Press, Inc. Montgomery, AL.

7. Geisler, Norman L. and William E. Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Moody Press. Chicago. 1968, p. 85.

8. Ibid., p. 86.

— Via the bulletin of the La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Abraham Thompson Sr. (Cicely Thompson’s father) who recently passed away. He is described as having been “a very friendly, outgoing, talkative, and charismatic person who left a lasting and profound impact on his survivors” (The Blackshear Times). He was only 65.

Janie Thornton thanks all for their prayers for her 5-year-old grandson, Luke Thornton, and points out that he “did well during the surgery, but is having a rough time post op and is not out of the woods yet.”

Rick Cuthbertson’s surgery eliminated the cancer in his liver, and he is now back home.

Concerning the aneurysm in his artery, Bennie Medlock saw his doctor, but will not be receiving a procedure for it at this time. Right now, it is small. So they will be keeping a watch on it.

The muscle pain in Danny Bartlett’s leg is improving, but not completely gone.

Others to also pray for: Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Charles Crosby, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Ginger Head, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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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) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)