The Gospel Observer (May 12, 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) Methuselah (Frank Himmel)
2) The Bible Exposes Sin! (Wayne Goff)
3) Hebrews 4:14-16 (exhortation from Scripture)
4) “Forever” (Greg Gwin)
5) News & Notes
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Gen5_27

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Methuselah
Frank Himmel

Most folks I know want to live as long as they can. Why? The answer typically is because it gives us the opportunity to experience life to the full—to accomplish as much as possible through our work, to finish some long-term projects, to travel to exotic places, to watch our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren grow up. But have we really pondered what a full life means?

Methuselah is mostly the answer to the trivia question, Who was the oldest man? He lived an incredible 969 years. (Can you begin to fathom the changes that have occurred from the year 1049 until the present?) Apart from his record age, however, we know nothing about Methuselah. Besides the brief record of his life in Genesis 5:22-27, he is mentioned only in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1:3 and Luke 3:37.

Was Methuselah a man of faith? Did he obey God? Did he make any lasting contributions to posterity? The Bible is silent. If the Genesis genealogy can be used to establish a chronology—an admittedly uncertain approach—he evidently died the year of the flood. Was he among the wicked destroyed in it, or did he just coincidentally die of “old age” that year? Living as long as he did, he certainly had plenty of opportunities to serve God. What use of them he made we do not know.

By way of contrast, Methuselah’s father lived only about a third as long. Nevertheless, Enoch left an unmistakable mark. Jude mentions him as a prophet (Jude 14-15). And Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”

Methuselah’s grandson also left his mark. “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. . . . Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9). Surely you know the rest of his story!

When it comes to life, quantity is not nearly as important as quality. Even a short life brings glory to God if it is used in His service. Remember, Jesus lived only to about age thirty-three! A full life is fearing God and keeping His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Thank God for the time you have, and resolve to live each day for Him.

— Via Pathlights, April 8, 2018
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The Bible Exposes Sin!
Wayne Goff

The idea of “sin” has almost disappeared from our society’s vocabulary. “Mistake,” “error,” “misjudgment,” “prejudice,” “-phobia,” etc. have replaced the idea of sin. Perhaps that is why the Bible and Christianity seem so unpopular today. The Bible is the revelation of God’s solution for sin! It shows the introduction of sin into the world with the first couple, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). It contains a Divine promise in that same chapter for the future “seed of woman” to conquer Satan and sin.

Throughout several thousand years in Genesis, fifteen hundred years of the Mosaical Age (Exodus-Malachi), and two thousand years of Christianity (Matthew-Revelation), God has unfolded that plan and commanded all men everywhere to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30-31).

The book of Romans is a detailed discourse on the subject of sin and its solution. Paul wrote in Romans 1:5-6, “Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:5–6).

And again he concludes the book with these words: “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—” (Romans 16:25–26).

God displays His holiness as He justly deals with sin and graciously offers a solution: “…that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23). A holy God cannot offer an unholy solution to sin. So our holy God offered the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins — Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-25)!

The only thing left for us to do is believe and obey! But what a wondrous picture of the workings of the Divine mind in lovingly providing a solution to our sin problem while remaining perfect and holy Himself. Read the Bible, and especially the book of Romans, in this light.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 18, Page 1
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Bible 3

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Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (NASB).
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“Forever”
Greg Gwin

A highway billboard down the road advertises for a local restaurant. Along with promises of “good home cookin” and “friendly service” is the proclamation “OPEN FOREVER.” This caught our eye. It was not the typical “open 24 hours per day,” or “open seven days per week.” This was a far bolder claim. Forever, as you know, is a very long time!

While we may chuckle at, and even appreciate, the originality of the folks at that restaurant, we know – and surely they know – that nothing in this world is forever. James wrote:

“Come now, you who say ‘today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13-14, NASV).

Sadly, too many of God’s own children – who are supposed to know better – still act as though their plans, their activities, and their very lives will go on forever. These Christians become totally involved with their work, their recreation, making money, having fun, etc. In the process they woefully neglect their spiritual service to God. Can it be that they have forgotten that nothing here is forever?

Jesus told of a successful businessman who said to himself, I have “much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” He imagined that his prosperity could last  “forever.”  But God said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:16-21).

Many still need that lesson.

— Via The Beacon, April 28, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jeannette King has been diagnosed with breast cancer, which she will soon be having surgery for.

Myrna Jordan is healing from recent outpatient surgery.

Jon Newman is still in rehab, due to a recent stroke, and making improvement.

Melotine Davis is awaiting the test results that will determine surgery for her back.

Doug Pennock is still having some  trouble from his recent dental work.

Others to also be praying for: Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Bud Montero, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Penny Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Rick Cuthbertson, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and 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)

 

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The Gospel Observer (May 5, 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) Escape (Frank Himmel)
2) “Lord, Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them” (Adam Litmer)
3) An Exhortation: Ephesians 4:1-6
4) News & Notes
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heb2_3

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Escape
Frank Himmel

The English word escape comes from an old Latin compound word composed of ex-, “out of,” and cappa, “cape” or “cap.” It therefore literally means to get out of your cape; that is, to leave a pursuer holding only your cape while you get away. We use the word primarily of either breaking free from confinement or control (e.g., escaping from prison), or of successfully avoiding something dangerous or unpleasant (e.g., escaping death). The New Testament has a good bit to say about escaping in the spiritual realm.

Our first concern must be escaping divine punishment. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). The righteous judgment of God calls for wrath against sinners—and that is all of us (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, He has provided salvation in His  Son. It is the exclusive means. “And there is salvation in no other; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:13). Therefore, being Jesus’ disciple is serious business; it calls for careful attention. “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Escaping divine punishment involves several other escapes. It begins with escaping our captivity in sin. Sinners often see themselves as free, but in reality they are held captive by the devil to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Escape from that condition requires repentance and learning the truth (v. 25). Escaping the devil’s hold on us also requires that we escape the world’s thinking and conduct. Peter emphasized the importance of escaping the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:4), the defilement of the world (2 Peter 2:20), and those who live in error (v. 18).

Satan will not leave us alone when we escape to Christ. He will still tempt us. Nevertheless, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

It is up to us to use the way of escape, and it is vital that we do so. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20).

“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).

— Via Pathlights, April 28, 2019
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john13_34c

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“Lord, Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them”
Adam Litmer

Stephen, a horrifying mess of blood, lacerations, and broken bones, falls to his knees as the stones continue to crash against his body. They’ve done their work. Even were every hand to drop its stone rather than throw it, irreparable damage has been done. Stephen is going to die.

I do not know whether the vision Stephen was granted of Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55) had continued as they cast him out of the city and began stoning him. If it had not then Stephen’s rapidly dimming sight would have been filled with the malevolent faces of his murderers. Indeed, his final statement before death may indicate this. Regardless, the statement itself demonstrates a number of important points worth consideration.

As he fell to his knees, Stephen cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Immediately after these words, Stephen died.

When one carefully considers the situation, Stephen’s final words become even more striking than they appear at first blush. The “natural person” (fleshly, sensual, selfish, proud, ungodly. See 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 6:10) typically responds to hate with hate, violence with violence, and anger with anger. Instances where the “natural person” does not respond in this way tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

To face the moment of an unjust death at the hands of hateful people with forgiveness in one’s heart is foreign to humanity generally. Even if something deep inside the “natural person” recognizes transcendence in such a heart, they have long learned to ignore pesky pricks of the conscience God installed within them.

Truly there is something transcendent in the heart displayed by Stephen. It is the result of the complete transformation God works within His people. (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 3:14- 16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) It is a transformation that must be desired and permitted, for God will not work it apart from our will. This is why we are told to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, (Colossians 3:16a) to strive for…the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, (Hebrews 12:14) and to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. (Romans 12:1)

Stephen was not the man he had been before putting on Christ. Perhaps that man was already kind and patient. Certainly, he was not so Christ-like before Christ filled his heart and mind. (Luke 23:34; 1 Peter 2:19-23) Indeed, Christ would have to fill a heart to overflowing for it to be so deeply concerned with the souls of its own executioners.

That Stephen spent the last of his strength appealing on their behalf makes this even more astounding. What type of person would do this? Certainly not the atheist with all his hopeless humanism. He hates those who cause him needless pain. Certainly not the agnostic who has refused to commit to any belief. His cherished skepticism provides only horrifying doubt at a moment like this. He despises those who have brought him to it. Certainly not the lukewarm Christian. He never took it all that seriously. If he does come to this moment (which is doubtful for why would he be willing to die for his “faith”?) his thoughts will not extend beyond his heart’s own worry. Only the heart transformed and remade in the image of Jesus Christ can think in the way Stephen thought. How glorious it is!

Peace and love fill this heart. At the moment of death, it need not plead and beg. It is confident of its salvation, (Romans 8:1; 1 John 5:13) not because it believes itself deserving or has compiled  enough works to earn it, but because its life has been one of trusting faith reliant upon God’s grace. (Romans 9:30-32a; Ephesians 2:8-10) This repentant, active life has been dedicated to God’s service and trusts Him to the end. (Titus 2:11-14; 3:8) This saint longs for all to possess what has so graciously been given to him, even those who may unjustly take his life.

May we all grow to love and trust our Lord as Stephen did. May our love for souls abound to the very end.

— Via the University Heights Messenger, Volume 11, Number 4, January 27, 2019
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Bible 3

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An Exhortation: Ephesians 4:1-6

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (NASB)
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-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Kayleigh Tanner was recently readmitted to the hospital in Atlanta, due to a low blood count.  Until that is back to a good level, she will not be able to continue with her chemo treatments.

Jon Newman is still in rehab, recovering from a recent stroke, and making improvement.

We are glad that Penny Medlock is doing better and now back home from the hospital.

Last week, we mentioned that Bud Montero has recently been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; but, so far, without the symptoms.

Doug Pennock’s recent dental work had been giving him a little trouble while healing from it.

Also for our prayers: Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Rick Cuthbertson, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and 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 (April 28, 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) What Is Relevant? (Robert F. Turner)
2) Understanding Expediency (Chuck Bartlett)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Matt24_35

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What Is Relevant?
Robert F. Turner

When the Pharisees continued to doubt the divinity of Christ despite obvious proof, the man who had been blind said, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!” (Jn. 9:30).

Somehow these words came to mind recently when I was told that the church, baptism, Lord’s Supper, etc., were no longer “relevant.” And what is “relevant”? “Just be a follower of Christ, worship and obey Him.”

Why herein is a marvelous thing!! The church one reads about in the New Testament consists of those who follow the Lord. The “called out” “set apart” people (1 Peter 2:9) who have been separated from the world by virtue of this very distinction — that they are followers of Christ. And how did they become followers of Him? They obeyed the call of His gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14, Acts 2:37-41). These are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, “for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).

When someone answers, “I mean, just practice the sermon on the mount,” I simply turn and read some of that sermon (Matthew 5-7) and find out immediately that the excuse-maker doesn’t like that any better than he likes baptism, or other things Christ asks His followers to practice.

“Worship and obey Christ” are very empty words in the mouth of one who really means, “worship your self, and obey your own inclinations.” How can one obey Christ without giving heed to the things Christ commands? This means we have an external authority — something outside our own feelings on a given subject. We must turn to the words of Christ, the revelation of His will, and become subject thereto.

What “worship” is this that consists of things that tickle MY ears, and please MY feelings? The Lord says to partake of the bread and fruit of the vine “in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-f.) So — we ignore the memorial He requested, and set about establishing some sort of “Easter” festival — “because we love Him so much, and wish to worship Him.” To worship — whom??

The Pharisees could not see the truth because they did not want to see anything contrary to their selfish hypocritical ways. Following some pointed remarks by our Lord on this subject, they asked, “Are we blind also?” (John 9:40-41) And Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.”

It is an ultra-conservative modernist(?) who makes “follow Christ” relevant today, meaning only to reduce Christ’s teachings to what he thinks important. His more modern brothers have long since dropped the idea of divine authority, and proclaim “God is Dead!”

(Brother Marshall Keeble once said, “That’s strange; I was just talking to Him this morning, and He wasn’t even sick!”)

Better give attention to His word that will judge us. THAT’S RELEVANT!

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 16, Page 3, April 21, 2019
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Understanding Expediency
Chuck Bartlett

Let me start by saying that this is a Biblical lesson. The concept of expediency is taught in God’s word and it is vital that we understand what it means. We shall first start with the apostle Paul speaking on this when he wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful to me, but all things edify not” (I Cor. 10:23). The word expedient means to be helpful; however, not all things are helpful.

The easiest way to understand what is considered expedient would be the place of worship. Local churches are required to assemble on the first day of the week to worship God (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25, etc.). The scriptures reveal that brethren set up a time and place for them to fulfill the Lord’s desire (I Cor. 11:17-18). Knowing that it is expedient for the brethren to rent or purchase a place to assemble, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Would it really be in the best interest of a local church consisting of two families to go out and build a million dollar facility? The answer is obvious – no, this would not be helpful. Having a place to meet is expedient, but there are times wisdom dictates that something that is lawful, in and of itself (finding a place to meet) can be the wrong thing to do.

The same thing can be said for a congregation that wants to evangelize. It’s an expedient to use TV as a tool to share the gospel. But if a local church cannot afford to fund such an effort, it would be unwise to engage in it.  This is why the Lord Jesus stated clearly the need for His followers to use “righteous” judgment (Jn. 7:21-24).

Keep in mind that expediency is not some sort of loophole for the local church to do whatever they want with church funds. Staying with the discussion of the church building: it’s one thing to rent or buy, it’s another matter altogether for a church to rent or buy a meeting place to use it for social events. It’s the lack of discernment that has opened the door for religious groups to use the building for a daycare, Boy Scout meeting place, providing chicken dinners and celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Folks, these do not fall under the area of expediency. They fall under the realm of being unscriptural.

The best way to clear this up is by looking at two passages of scripture. First, in I Corinthians 11:22, after rebuking the brethren for turning the Lord’s Supper into some sort of meal, Paul said, “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”  Now, before we examine this, let’s now note a text in Romans 16, where Paul speaking about Priscilla and Aquila, mentioned, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (vr. 5).

Now, can brethren have social events in their own homes? Of course they can. I don’t know where the brethren were meeting when they were rebuked by Paul for turning the Lord’s Supper into a feast. Could they have been meeting in someone’s home? Possibly. Even so, does that mean the apostle could not have said what he did in I Corinthians 11? Not at all. Brethren could just as easily turn the Lord’s Supper into a feast even if meeting in someone’s home. The fact is, the church comes together to worship God His way (Jn. 4:24). When brethren have finished their worship, the brother and sister can now go back to the regular use of the home and even be hospitable (Rom. 12:13).

When brethren own a church building, it was bought with the purpose for which it is to be used. The local church doesn’t use its funds to build a kitchen or gymnasium onto the meeting place. Why not? It’s because it isn’t expedient. It doesn’t aid in worshipping God. In other words, it is not a help, it’s a hindrance. You don’t mix the two. Those who don’t understand expediency fail to see the error in using their church building for whatever use they see fit. This doesn’t respect the word of God.

— Via bulletin articles of the River Ridge church of Christ, January 26, 2019
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-3-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jon Newman has been in rehab the last couple weeks, due to a stroke, and is making much improvement.

Bud Montero has recently been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL); but, so far, he has none of its symptoms.

Doug Pennock recently had some major dental work done that he is healing from and having to temporarily adjust his diet for.

Rick Cuthbertson is now being treated for blood clots and is also continuing with his weekly chemo.

Melotine Davis often suffers from much pain and is now preparing for back surgery.

Others to also be praying for: Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Penny Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and 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 (April 21, 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) Last Things First (Dan Shipley)
2) All Things Are Yours (Gene Taylor)
3) News & Notes
——————–

 

2pet1_13-15

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Last Things First
Dan Shipley

The scene is Shechem. The occasion is Joshua’s farewell address just prior to his death. All the tribes of Israel are assembled to hear the aged Joshua, now 110, as he begins recounting God’s dealings with their great nation. Showing that God has continually been with and helping them, he concludes, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…” (Joshua 24:16).

The scene is Jerusalem. David is nigh unto death as he gives this last charge to his son Solomon: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:2–3)

The scene is a Roman prison. Paul is writing his last epistle. In giving his final charge to Timothy, he reminds the young evangelist not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8); to hold the pattern of sound words (1:13); to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3); to give diligence to present himself approved unto God (2:15) and to persevere with urgency in preaching the word (4:2) with the assurance that a crown of righteousness awaits all the faithful (4:8).

Such are the words with which these great men of God conclude the final chapter of their earthly existence. The last words of any dying man are generally regarded as having special significance, but the words of these men ought to be especially so regarded — not so much because of being last words necessarily, but because of who they were and what they said with these words.

Joshua, David and Paul were men who had given most of their lives in consecrated service to the Lord. God had used their tongues and talents extensively to serve His purposes among men. Through experience and revelation they accumulated such wisdom as experienced by few mortals. Joshua, for instance, knew how the lack of faith could prevent one’s entering into God’s rest. David understood about temptation and sin, and Paul himself had made the transition from “chief of sinners” to ambassador for Christ. As few others could, they perceived how the will of God complements the greatest needs of man — so their last words deserve an attentive hearing.

And what do we hear? Though different in expression and separated by hundreds of years, we hear messages that are strikingly similar. All emphatically recommend to others the same course they have now finished. All emphasize serving the Lord. Essentially, they are saying to all who shall come after them, “Live for the Lord!” or, as another wise man put it, “fear God and keep His commandments.” After all, that’s what living is all about. Theirs is a lesson we must learn! Apart from truly reverencing God and walking in His ways, man can have no meaningful existence here nor hope of life in the hereafter. As those destined to go the way of all the earth, may the last words of these godly men find first priority in our lives.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 51, Page 2, April 14, 2019
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1cor3_21

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“All Things Are Yours”
by Gene Taylor

“Therefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (I Cor. 3:21-23). Do you ever sit and think about all the wonderful blessings you have as a Christian? Do you stop to remember all the blessings and other good things God has sent your way?

Most of us spend too many waking hours thinking about the problems we have, bills we must pay and  day-to-day frustrations. We focus on what we lack instead of what we have. We not only dwell on our own imperfections but also on the imperfections of others.

It may be that much of the preaching we hear, mine included, is responsible for such negative thinking. It is natural for a preacher to direct his comments against those things which need to be improved. If we are not careful, though, our total emphasis can become negative. Such is regrettable. We should be thinking of the good that is about us — the encouraging achievements of the past, the great blessing of the present and the great potential of the future. It is a marvelous thing to be a Christian! The above text jumps out at us with this fact. It is an optimistic passage that when read should send you on your way with a song in your heart and a prayer of thanksgiving on your lips. Consider what it teaches about the blessings of a Christian.

Paul, Apollos, Cephas

Why would Paul say that he and these two other men were theirs? The Corinthians had begun to call themselves after the man who had baptized them (1:11-12). To wear a man’s name meant to belong to that man. But they did not belong to their teachers. They belonged to Christ. Their teachers, preachers and leaders belonged to them.

We do not belong to preachers and elders. They belong to us. Their place is to serve and they have been provided for our spiritual good. They are ours!

World, Life, Death

The world is ours. Sometimes it seems the world is passing us by without paying the slightest bit of attention. Consider the teaching of Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Who possesses the good life? The worldly revelers? Christians are the only ones who know what life is about (Eccl. 12:13; 2:1–11). Our present life, and its fullness, is a gift from God (John 10:10).

In one way, death belongs to all because “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27). But it belongs to the Christian in the sense that he does not have to fear it (I Cor. 15:55; Psa. 23:4). To the Christian, death is not a loss but a gain (Phil. 1:21-23). It is a way in which the faithful are blessed (Rev. 14:13).

Things Present, Things to Come

As to things present, consider Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” God’s child is always in His tender care (Matt. 6:25–34).

In the matter of things to come, we have a splendid future if we center our lives on Christ. The future blessings which will be given to faithful Christians are incredible (Rom. 8:18-19; I Pet. 1:3-9).

You Are Christ’s, And Christ Is God’s

The future belongs to us only because we belong to Christ. It is because we have embraced those truths which He came to teach that we can have such confidence in our future. Without Christ, and we have nothing to anticipate but despair.

The future belongs to Christ and His disciples because He is God’s. When we belong to Him, our future is as secure as His (Rom. 8:17).

— via the Centerville Road church of Christ in Tallahassee, Florida
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in  Christ (Ephesians 1:3, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Shirley Davis was in the hospital in Douglas last Thursday to Friday, due to an ulcer on her heel for three weeks.  They also eliminated blood clots that were in her leg.  Her new knee is doing fine, but the other is becoming worse.

Rick Cuthbertson is now being treated for blood clots and is also continuing with his weekly chemo.

Penny Medlock had been moved to a hospital in Atlanta, due to her condition.

Others to also be praying for: family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich; Pat and A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex and 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).
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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)

The Gospel Observer (April 14, 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) Matthew’s “Good News” of Jesus Christ (Luther W. Martin)
2) The Father of the Prodigal Son (an excerpt from Luke 15:20-24)
3) Audio Sermons by Gene Taylor
4) News & Notes
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Matthew’s “Good News” of Jesus Christ
Luther W. Martin

The first book of the New Testament, was written by Matthew, a resident of Capernaum. At this time, the Roman government had established a custom-house at Capernaum, and Matthew, a publican, had been appointed as a resident deputy (portitor), a collector of taxes, for the Romans. Portitors were not popular among their own people; they seemed to have “sold out” to their conquerors by collecting taxes for Rome from their own kinsmen, the Jews. Alexander the Great through his military conquests several centuries before Christ, had spread the Greek language throughout the Mediterranean World. Now, Rome had conquered the “civilized” world, and had forced Roman laws (civil and military), as well as politics, throughout its territories. And, although the koine Greek, was the language of politics, commerce, and even religion; it would be several centuries before the Latin Language would begin its ascendency.

Matthew Wrote To Convince The Jews About Christ

It is not known whether Matthew’s biography of Christ was the first to be written, or not. Some scholars have thought that it preceded Mark and Luke. In any event, Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s biographies of Christ are called “synoptic gospels,” because they generally cover the same sequence of events in the life of Christ, while John’s biography of Christ approaches the subject from a different perspective.

As a tax collector under Herod Antipas, Matthew possessed a fluent ability in Aramaic or Hebrew Languages, as well as the commonly spoken koine Greek. Like most of the Jewish people, Matthew eagerly awaited the coming Messiah and King; and anticipated the establishment of a kingdom, that would be military, and political; and would possess such strength, that it would conquer all of its neighbors.

The Book of Matthew serves as a vital connection between the Old and New Covenants. Beginning with the very first verse, it is designed to interest the Jews: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” because the Jews had long heard and read from the Old Testament prophets, how their King would be a descendant of King David … harking back to the “glory days” of Israel and Judah, in their expectations!

The Gospel according to Matthew, would also provide a relationship between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ; and this would prove to be particularly applicable to the Jews. Mark’s biography of Christ, would be written in a style and manner to appeal to the Romans, and Luke’s biography would be directed toward the Greeks. This would leave John’s “spiritual” biography, with its different approach from the other three biographies, to bring to completion, the Heaven-inspired record, described as: “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31).

Matthew’s Record Has Some Peculiarities

One unusual aspect of Matthew’s biography of Christ, will be listed: although there are some others.

Of the four biographical books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, only Matthew uses the expression “Kingdom of Heaven” and it is used in thirty-one verses! Neither Mark, Luke nor John make use of the expression “Kingdom of Heaven!”

Matthew does use “Kingdom of God” five times; but the term “Kingdom of Heaven” emphasizes a connotation that had a special appeal to the Jews . . . for whom Matthew’s biography, was especially written!

Ever since the prophet Daniel had written: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44); the Jewish people had been looking for, and longing for, the prophetic kingdom! In fact, the very last question asked by the Apostles of Jesus, just before he ascended into heaven, was: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

The expressions “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” are synonymous, they refer to the same thing; but specify some different aspects and characteristics concerning this “kingdom” that would also be designated as the Lord’s ekklesia, the called-out assembly, community, or church (called out of the world; called away from carnality and worldliness).

May I suggest that by using the term “Heaven” to the Jews, who were so all-wrapped-up in their thoughts of an earthly, political kingdom, that inspiration was stressing the heavenly or spiritual make-up of this kingdom! Jesus said: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) So, it appears that the “Kingdom of Heaven” was used in contrast to earthly kingdoms.

A kingdom, possesses several attributes: (a) A king, as its ruler and law-giver — Christ! (b) The subjects; citizens who are obedient to the King — Christ! (c) The statutes or laws, as issued by the King — Gospel of Christ, contained in the New Testament! (d) The territory (scope) of this kingdom; the minds of men! “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or, ‘See there!’ For, indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21), rather than a geographical realm.

Christ also proclaimed: “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (Jn. 18:36). Thus, Christ left no question as to the nature of his kingdom! It was spiritual or heavenly! This, I believe, is why Matthew exclusively used the expression “Kingdom of Heaven” in writing to these earthly-kingdom-anticipating Jews!

Matthew’s biography of Christ’s life, was specifically for instructing the Jews of the first century, A.D. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, the destruction of Jerusalem was predicted and described. This event took place in 70 A.D., when the Roman Legions over-ran Palestine.

— Via the Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 3, pp. 84-85, February 2, 1989
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Prodigal_Son

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The Father of the Prodigal Son

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20-24, NASB).
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audio_waves

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Audio Sermons by Gene Taylor

We were glad to have Gene Taylor preach for us last week, during our gospel meeting.  He did an excellent job with each of his lessons.   And all of his audio sermons, except one, can be accessed at the following website:

https://thomastedwards.wordpress.com/gospel-meetings/

Though there is no audio recording for the first one, there is a PowerPoint presentation of it (with its 67 slides) that has also been made available at the website above.  Once there, just click on the sermon of your choosing (below the flyer-picture).  They are as follows:

1) “An Unchanging Standard in a Changing World”
2) “A Kingdom Not of This World”
3) “Condemning the World”
4) “By This, All Men Will Know You Are My Disciples”
5) “Three Ways of Life”
6) “Living Life to the Fullest.”

Feel free to share these with anyone!
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News & Notes

It was reported that though John Stoval was finally able to have cancer surgery, yet it appears that some had metastasized to his brain.

Rick Cuthbertson, who had surgery almost a year ago, due to cancer in his liver, now has a blood clot in his leg being tended to.

Penny Medlock had recently been hospitalized here in Waycross, due to some problems she was having; but had to later be transferred to a hospital in Atlanta.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) who recently passed away; Pat and A.J. Joyner; Jim Lively; James Medlock; Deborah Medlock; Shirley Davis; Mary Vandevander; Michelle Rittenhouse; Kayleigh Tanner; Amris Bedford; Danny Hutcheson; Roger Montgomery; Rex and Frankie Hadley; and Tommy Lin

The Hoboken church of Christ will be having their Spring Gospel Meeting April 19-21. The theme will be on “Spreading the Gospel” with speakers Kerry Keenan and Chuck Bartlett. The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia.

The Lessons & Times will be:

Friday 7:30 p.m.: Motivations for Spreading the Gospel

Saturday 7:30 p.m.: Congregational Evangelism

Sunday:
9:30 a.m.: Tools to Spread the Gospel
10:30 a.m.: To God Be the Glory
5 p.m.: Overcoming Obstacles for Evangelism

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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 (April 7, 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).
——————–

1) A Portrait of the Early Church (David McClister)
2) News & Notes
——————–

phil1_27

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A Portrait of the Early Church
David McClister

The New Testament is our pattern for living. Its pages reveal the will of God concerning personal godliness, church organization, our relationship with non-Christians, and a host of other subjects. The New Testament shows us, through various figures and numerous examples, how God wants us to live and work as His children.

If I may be allowed to use the imagery of a photograph album, the book of Acts preserves for us a series of snapshots of how the Christian life was lived in the first century A. D. It is the New Testament pattern in the form of historical, literary pictures. As one goes from chapter to chapter in Acts, he sees picture after picture of life in the early church. An interesting picture appears in Acts 4:23-35. In this portrait of the early church we can see several remarkable things which we ought to have in the church today. The portrait of Acts 4:23-35 shows the early Christians in a difficult situation: Peter and John had just been released by Jewish officials, having been threatened not to preach Christ publicly. Yet because of the marvelous features apparent in this portrait, the early church stood firm.

Prayerful

These Christians knew about the power of prayer and used it! When the world threatened them, they did not disband. They did not waste their precious time worrying about the threat of persecution (Phil. 4: 6), nor did they place their trust in their own plans, programs, or strength. Instead they gathered together to pray. They knew that God cared for their state and was receptive to their pleas, and thus they placed the matter squarely in His hands. Even if they themselves could do nothing to stop the threats of their enemies, they knew that God could and would care for His own.

Their prayer, recorded in Acts 4:24-30, is a gem. First of all, these Christians asked for strength to do God’s work (v. 29). How many times do we find ourselves asking God to do our work for us! But these Christians were not so lazy. They wanted to do God’s work, and they prayed for the necessary strength. Sure, the work was difficult, and they knew it. That is why they did not try to do it on their own. The early Christians knew that they could be effective only if they relied on the strength which God supplied, not on themselves. We would all be benefited immeasurably if we would stop asking for worldly things, which only drains our strength and hinders growth (Jas. 4: 3), and start praying as the early Christians prayed.

Secondly, the early Christians realized in their prayer that all things, including their present distress, were in accordance with God’s plan (vv. 24-28). They, like their Lord, had resigned themselves to accept God’s will and working, and put their own desires aside. How great a lesson this is for us today! Too many times the Lord’s work is hindered because of our petty jealousies and conflicting worldly desires. We ought to review what commitment to Christ really means.

God heard their prayer and answered it. Although we may not expect miraculous answers to prayer (of the kind in Acts 4:31) today, we may still expect an answer to our prayer. Just as God indicated His support of these early Christians, so will He be on our side if we will resolve to do God’s will regardless of what the world says and ask for God’s help in doing it.

United

The early church was united. One of the most common features among all the portraits of early church life in Acts is the unity of the believers. That such an emphasis on unity should be apparent is no accident. God wants us to know that a church which is pleasing to Him is not ridden with strife and factions, but rather is united in peace (Eph. 4:3).

The portrait in Acts 4:23-35 gives great place to unity. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (v. 32). Their unity was not superficial, but real. It was grounded in their hearts and souls and was manifest in their attitudes toward each other. The determination and sentiment among them was one. And it is this very thing which accounts in a great measure for the immense strength of the early church. Rome fell to pieces in the first century but the church stood solid. Herein lay God’s message on growth, effectiveness, and progress: it begins with unity in spirit. But where there is selfishness there is no flowering of the Lord’s work.

Evangelistic

The early Christians knew that their primary work was to preach the gospel to the lost. Thus Acts 4:33 records, “And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” This preaching the gospel with great power was due in part to the unity of the church, but its real cause lay in the grace of God. Grace is favor. God favored and approved of the work these Christians were doing in spreading the gospel, and He blessed them in doing it. Brethren, God will bless us in the same way if we will just get engaged in that same work.

Because the early church was evangelistic, it grew. Notice that it grew, not swelled. There is a difference. Churches swell in size when there is a shifting of members to different locations, but growth only comes when there are new additions to God’s family. But more specifically, the early church grew because of the essence of its evangelism: the resurrection of Christ. The first century Christians did not push human creeds or try to accommodate current social tastes. They simply laid emphasis upon Christ’s resurrection, knowing that this is the cornerstone of Christianity and the very basis of Christian living (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:24).

Characterized By Love and Devotion Among Its Members

Acts 4:34f is one of the most remarkable features of this portrait of the early church. When was the last time you saw or heard of a Christian selling his house to help another Christian financially? I am not denying that this ever happens today, but you must agree that it occurs only rarely. I know that our society is extremely affluent compared to the setting of the New Testament, and that saints in such a condition of need as in Acts 4:34f are usually not seen as a result. But what Acts 4:34f shows is a lack of worldliness in a willingness to help one another. The Christians of the first century freely gave up their possessions for the cause of Christ, and this was the effect of their great love and devotion to each other in the Lord. Such love is described in 1 Cor. 13, and its results are seen here. Eph. 4:16 describes these Christians perfectly.

Of course these Christians were devoted to Christ more than anything else, but their devotion to Christ caused them to love each other in a sacrificial way. They did not mind sacrificing possessions and pleasure for the benefit of brethren.  And so must our attitude be today. The apostle John asked the timeless question, “But whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth” (1 Jn. 3: 17f).

Conclusion

In Acts 4:23-35 we see the church as God would have it. But the Lord’s church in any locale can only be this way with the “working in due measure of each several part” (Eph. 4: 16). If the local church is to be pleasing to God, it will take each member working with this goal in mind. Let us all resolve to copy the portrait of Acts 4.

— Via Searching the Scriptures, Volume XXVI, Number 1, January 1985
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mary Ellen Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) who passed away last Thursday, April 4. Let us also be remembering her loved ones in prayer.

James Medlock was able to return home Tuesday, but a cough had him back to the doctors.  His strength is now returning, but he is still not entirely over all his symptoms.

Others to also be praying for: the friends and family of Veleria Synder who recently passed away;  Pat Joyner who had been in the hospital a couple week ago because of congestive heart failure and trouble in breathing; Jim Lively, A.J. Joyner; Deborah Medlock; Shirley Davis; Mary Vandevander;  Michelle Rittenhouse; John Stoval; Kayleigh Tanner, Amris Bedford, Everleigh and Hazel Greer; Danny Hutcheson; Roger Montgomery; Rex & Frankie Hadley; and Tommy Lin

We are glad to have Gene Taylor to preach for us a gospel meeting that begins today and goes through Wednesday (April 7-10). Our Sunday services will be at their regular times: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 5 p.m. But we will be meeting Weeknights at 7:30.

The following sermons will be presented (and in the order shown):

1) “An Unchanging Standard in a Changing World”
2) “A Kingdom Not of This World”
3) “Condemning the World”
4) “By This, All Men Will Know You Are My Disciples”
5) “Three Ways of Life”
6) “Living Life to the Fullest.”
——————–

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 (March 31, 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) Isaiah 2:1-5 (2): The Nature Of The Church (Russell Dunaway)
——————–

Isa2_3

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Isaiah 2:1-5 (2): The Nature Of The Church
Russell Dunaway

In our last article, we observed that the prophet Isaiah foretold the establishment of the church, and that his prophecy was fulfilled on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. But Isaiah said some other things about the church of the Lord that I hope we can see in this article. Isaiah prophesied concerning the nature of the church as well as the establishment of the church. Isaiah said, “It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills.” I understand, and hope you understand, that Isaiah was not saying that the church would be established in some literal mountain top or on some literal hill top. Isaiah is using a figurative language to show that the church was to be exalted in its nature, that the church was to occupy an exalted position in the heart of man. The church of the Lord is the only institution known to man which is completely spiritual in its nature.

In Luke 17, when the Pharisees questioned Jesus concerning the coming of His kingdom, Jesus answered them saying, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall ye say, Lo here! or Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus is simply saying that the kingdom of God, the church, is not a material kingdom built with man’s hands, but that it was to be a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of God can only exist in the lives of those who have had the seed of the kingdom, the word of God (Lk. 8:11), sown in their hearts. The kingdom of God is within. It dwells in the heart, the love, and the affections of its members. We are obligated to God to give the church the exalted position in our hearts that He gave the church in the Word of God.

In Matthew 13:44-47, Jesus taught that the kingdom of God ought to be the most important thing in our lives. He compared it to a merchant seeking after goodly pearls who, when he had found that one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and purchased that pearl for himself. Again, Jesus said that the church was like a treasure hid in a field which, when a man hath found it, he sells all that he has, in order to purchase that field. The church ought to be more important to us than all the material things in the world combined. It is to be exalted in our lives to the position that God gave it in the Bible.

God exalted the church. We ought to keep it that way. Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). If you do not love the church, I can tell you the reason why. It is because you have not placed your treasure there. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The church must be exalted!

Isaiah continued his prophecy saying, “. . . all nations shall flow unto it.” The church is universal in its nature. The Law of Moses was for the Jew and Jew alone. But the gospel of Christ was universal — “all nations shall flow unto it.” Under the law of Moses, the Gentile was separated from God and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But God’s eternal purpose for the church was to include the Gentile as well as the Jew. What God has provided for the Jew under the gospel of Christ, He has provided for the Gentile. Many people think that God has something for the Jew when this life is over that He does not have for the Gentile. Such is not the case. In Ephesians 3:6 Paul said, “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” What God has provided for the Jew, He has also provided for the Gentile. Everything past, present, and future is available to the Jew and to the Gentile alike. In Christ, the Gentile is a fellow heir of the promise God made to Abraham in the past. He is a fellow member of the body of Christ in the present. He is a fellow partaker of the promise of eternal life in the future. The Gentile will receive the same reward as the Jew. Therefore, Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Church is responsible for carrying the gospel into every nook and cranny of the earth. Any man in any comer of the globe is subject to the same terms of the gospel as you and I. It is our responsibility, as members of the church, to carry that gospel into all the world. Are we doing that? We read in Colossians 1:23 that in Paul’s day, the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven. They had no radios or televisions. They had no printing presses or newspapers. They had no cars or planes. But they did the work God gave them. And we shall stand and give account unto God if we fail in the meeting of our responsibility.

Isaiah continued his prophecy saying, “Many people shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He shall teach us of His ways . . . . ” The church was to be a taught or instructed church. No man can become a member of the church of the Lord except he first is taught the will of the Lord. Under the law of Moses, a man was born into a covenant relationship with God by his physical birth. Then, he was taught to “know the Lord” (Heb. 8:9-11). Under the New Covenant, the gospel, a man is first taught to “know the Lord,” and then by the “new birth” he is able to enter into a covenant relationship with God (John 6:44,45). It was through the teaching of the apostles on Pentecost that the church was established. No man can become a child of God today except he first is taught the will of God.

Isaiah continues, “. . . and we will walk in his paths.” The church is an obedient church. It is not enough to be taught the will of God. Man must obey the will of God to become a child of God. On the day of Pentecost, after the apostles had taught those Jews, the Jews rendered obedience to the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:37-41). Learning God’s will was not enough. God’s will had to be obeyed (Matt. 7:21-27; Jas. 1:19-22). The church is made up of an obedient membership.

Isaiah continued his prophecy: “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into prunning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” The church is peaceful in nature. Before the death of Christ, the law of Moses stood as a wall of separation between the Jew and the Gentile. But Jesus died in order to make peace between the nations. Paul declared in Ephesians 2:13-16:

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Jesus fulfilled the law of Moses in His death, and took it out of the way by nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:13). In place of that law, Christ established a new man, the church, in which both Jew and Gentile could be reconciled to God and live forever at peace with God. In Romans 5:1 Paul said, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” A man does only one thing when he obeys the gospel of Christ; he makes peace with God. When a man obeys the gospel of Christ, he is no longer an enemy of God, but makes peace with God. No man can live at peace with God outside the church. It is only in the church that the peace of God which passeth all understanding can be made available unto man. In Romans 14:17 Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” There can be no peace without happiness. There can be no happiness without righteousness. When the righteousness of God fills the lives of men and women, they will be happy, and when happy, they will live at peace with God and with their fellow man. The church is presented in nature.

— Via Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 6, pp. 169-170, March 15, 1984
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“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
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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)