The Gospel Observer (May 27, 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) Jephthah’s Daughter (Jeff Hamilton)
2) News & Notes
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Judges11_30-31

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Jephthah’s Daughter
Jeff Hamilton

The story of Jephthah recorded in Judges 11:29-40 has caused difficulties for Bible students. Jephthah, by the Lord’s leading, is about to wage a major battle against the Ammonites. Before going off to battle, Jephthah makes a vow to God. The first thing that greets him from his home when he returns victorious from battle would be given as a burnt offering to God. The vow was not well thought out. Jephthah could not control who or what would first come from his door. In a sense he was letting chance determine what he would be offering. Some scholars point out that word translated “whatever” in Judges 11:31 is actually more properly translated “whoever.” [1] Hence, there is a strong indication that Jephthah was expecting to offer a person to the Lord as a burnt offering.

Herein lies the point of confusion. We know that God despises human sacrifices. The sacrifice of children to idols carried a death penalty (Leviticus 20:1-5). In Jeremiah 7:31-32 God not only said it wasn’t commanded, He said that He never thought about asking for it. “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12: 29-32).

Why would God allow Jephthah to win a battle after vowing to offer up a human being to Him? Why is Jephthah listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:32? Even if we argued that Jephthah wasn’t expecting a person to come out of his door, wasn’t it possible for an animal unsuitable for sacrifices, such as a dog, to exit his home first? How could Jephthah know that an unblemished cow, goat, or lamb would be the first to greet him?

Old Testament Sacrifices

The Mosaical Law contained a variety of offerings (Leviticus 7:37). Sin offerings were given when a person unintentionally sinned (Leviticus 4). Guilt (or trespass) offerings were given when a person sinned unintentionally and had the possibility of making restitution for his sin (Leviticus 5:1-6:7). The purpose of the grain offering is never directly stated, but it appears to be used to express thankfulness to God (Leviticus 2; 6:14-23). It was offered at first harvest and in combination with other sacrifices, perhaps to show thankfulness for forgiven sins. Peace offerings were to show fellowship between the worshiper and God (Leviticus 3). When combined with other sacrifices, the peace offering was always done last as sin must be atoned before fellowship can exist with God. Burnt offerings are related to the sin and guilt offerings (Leviticus 1). It was offered for the atonement of sin (Leviticus 1:4), but the one making the offering could chose what was being offered. All the offerings involved burning portions, but the burnt offering was given wholly to God (Deuteronomy 33:10). Only the skin of the animals offered were kept (Leviticus 7:8). Dedication offerings were given when articles of the tabernacle or temple were put into service or when a person became a priest.

The burnt offering and grain offering were to be done on a daily basis for the nation. The sin offering, guilt offering, and dedication offerings were done as needed for the individual. The burnt offering, grain offering, and peace offering were offered by individuals at appointed occasions, such as feasts, as the fulfillment of a vow, or as a freewill offering (Numbers 16:3; 29:39).

When an individual offered a burnt offering, grain offering, or peace offering he was allowed to choose to offer whatever he desired within certain guidelines. For example, money and goods were given as freewill offerings (Ezra 1:4-6; 8:28); however, money gained from prostitution could not be accepted as fulfillment of a vowed offering (Deuteronomy 23:18). Even words of praise were considered to be freewill offerings (Psalms 119:108). Obviously, items that were not sacrificial animals were not burnt, in whole or in part. Instead, they were used in God’s service. II Chronicles 31:14 speaks of a man appointed to oversee the usage of freewill offerings.

Jesus’s death upon the cross is described as a combination of offerings. His death is called a sin offering (Hebrews 9:24-10:3; 13:10-14). If you recall that offerings which were burnt were said to be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord (Leviticus 1:17; 2:2; 3:16), you can see then that the Lord’s death was also a “burnt offering” even though he was not burnt (Ephesians 5:2). This is because Jesus gave himself wholly over to God to appease God’s wrath.

In the same way, Christians are expected to be a whole (or burnt) offering to God when we dedicate our lives in the service of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Special Rules for Vowed Sacrifices

Peace offerings, grain offerings, and burnt offerings could be vowed to God. When the vow was fulfilled, the offering had to be made (Deuteronomy 23:21-23; Ecclesiastes 5:1-4). Just about anything that belonged to a person could be vowed to God: people (Leviticus 27:2-8), livestock (Leviticus 27:9-13), homes (Leviticus 27:14-15), or property (Leviticus 27:16-25) are given as examples. Most vowed offerings could be redeemed, or bought back, and most of Leviticus 27 deals with how to determine the redemption price. However, certain things could not be redeemed: sacrificial animals (Leviticus 27:9-10), firstborn clean animals because they already belong to the Lord (Leviticus 27:26), or anything that a man sets apart for destruction, whether man, animal, or property (Leviticus 27:28). Anyone whom the Lord has set apart for destruction cannot be redeemed as they are under a death sentence (Leviticus 27:29). By implication, firstborn children also could not be redeemed if they are vowed because they already belong to God (Exodus 13:2, 12-15). In addition, anything vowed once and redeemed, could not be redeemed if it was vowed a second time.

Obviously, anything vowed as a burnt offering is vowed for destruction. It cannot be redeemed. If it is a sacrificial animal, it will be offered up to God. Everything else becomes most holy and belongs to God (Leviticus 27:28). For example, property that becomes vowed for destruction, whether on purpose or by selling it before it is redeemed, becomes the property of the priests (Leviticus 27:20-21). Other things would be put into service for God.

This is how Samuel, the firstborn son of a Levite (I Chronicles 6:16, 28), came to serve the Lord (I Samuel 3:1). His mother made a vow that if she was given a child, the child would be given to the Lord (I Samuel 1:11). Though Leviticus 27 allows for vowed children to be redeemed, a firstborn child already belongs to God and hence cannot be redeemed.

What Happened to Jephthah’s Daughter

When Jephthah returned from a victorious battle, the first person to greet him from his house was his only child. Because she was his first child, he would not be able to redeem her. Because he vowed her for destruction as a burnt offering, she not only could not be redeemed, but she was also marked as being most holy to the Lord (Leviticus 27:28). Both Jephthah and his daughter realized that Jephthah’s vow bound his daughter to be a virgin for the rest of her life. For Jephthah that meant the end of his lineage.

His daughter rightly encouraged her father to keep his vow. She just asked for two months to bewail her virginity (Judges 11:38). Notice that she did not grieve over her short life because her life wasn’t coming to an end. When Jephthah fulfilled his vow, it is noted that she never had sexual relations with a man (Judges 11: 39). There is no mention of her losing her life because of her father’s vow, nor is there any need to make such an assumption. Only sacrificial animals could be placed on the altar. Everything else was either redeemed or placed into service for God.

What would Jephthah’s daughter do in service to God? I’m sure there were many jobs the Levite women did which Jephthah’s daughter could have joined in doing. There are two verses mentioning women who served at the door of the tabernacle (Exodus 38:8; I Samuel 2:22). From John 18:16-17 and other ancient sources it appears that women were frequently employed as doorkeepers. Some believe that women vowed to God became the source of these workers. There is also mention of the widow Anna who stayed at the temple and served the Lord with fasting and prayers (Luke 2:36-37), like those mentioned in Psalm 134.

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[1] New English Bible, Translator’s Notes: “the one coming out, who comes out from.” The text uses a masculine singular participle with prefixed article, followed by a relative pronoun and third masculine singular verb. The substantival masculine singular participle הַיּוֹצֵא; (hayyotse’, “the one coming out”) is used elsewhere of inanimate objects (such as a desert [Num 21:13] or a word [Num 32:24]) or persons (Jer 5:6; 21:9; 38:2). In each case context must determine the referent.

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson’s surgery went well, and the cancer was eliminated. He is now back home.

Benny Medlock was admitted to the hospital recently, due to an aneurysm in his artery. He also has a cyst on his kidney, a hiatal hernia, a hernia around the navel, plus a bad case of arthritis that is mainly in his back.

Tommy Lindsey is having medical appointments to determine whether he can have the liver transplant. Prayer has been asked on his behalf for strength and stomach relief.

Rhyan Thomas, who recently had seizures, is now on medication for it and is needing an EEG to determine the specific type of seizure.

Hannah Laughlin (loss of speech, along with severe headaches, body tremors, and nausea at times)

Danny Bartlett (has been having pain in his leg that also makes it difficult to walk).

Charles Crosby (healing from knee surgery)

Ginger Head will be undergoing testing for a spot on her lung.

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, 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)

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The Gospel Observer (May 20, 2018)

Contents:

1) Forgiveness (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Romans4_7

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Forgiveness
Tom Edwards

Having the ability to forgive is necessary for our own well-being and salvation. After giving His model prayer, in response to His apostle’s request to teach them how to pray, which included the need to ask God to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12), the Lord then went on to point out the need for that, by saying, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (vv. 14-15).

The need for this is also shown elsewhere in the Bible. For instance: “so as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, AND FORGIVING EACH OTHER, whoever has a complaint against anyone; JUST AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU, SO ALSO SHOULD YOU” (Col. 3:12-13, emphasis mine). And to the Ephesians, Paul wrote a similar instruction: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, FORGIVING EACH OTHER, JUST AS GOD IN CHRIST ALSO HAS FORGIVEN YOU” (Eph. 4:31-32, emphasis mine).

From what we see of God in the Bible, He wants to forgive everyone. For He “is not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). And this is because He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). This is also seen in Ezekiel 33:11, in which God declares, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).

And how can we ever forget the longing Jesus had toward saving the lost, as expressed in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!”

No wonder we also see of the Lord being so moved that he wept over the lost souls in that city. For He knew of the destruction that was coming their way and of the many who would lose their lives when Rome would have the city under siege for a couple years and bring about the death of more than a million of its inhabitants in A.D. 70. Therefore, “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ’If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation’” (Luke 19:41-44).

Jesus did not come to this world to condemn the transgressors, but to make salvation possible for all. When the “Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, ’Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?’ …Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’” (Luke 5:30-32).

God truly does want all to be saved.

The apostle Paul, for example, had not only been a persecutor of the Lord’s church, prior to his conversion, but had also consented to the death of innocent Christians. Concerning the stoning of Stephen, for instance, Saul (Paul) had not only been there to witness that (Acts 7:58), but had also been “in hearty agreement with putting him to death” (Acts 8:1). And following that, Saul then “began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women…and put them in prison” (v. 3). He was given to “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” and sought to “bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1). In one of his testimonials, following his conversion, he had said, in speaking of his previous life, “I persecuted this Way to the death” (Acts 22:4). And he did all that at that time because, as he says, “I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities” (Acts 26:9-11).

And why did I bring all that out about Saul of Tarsus who became the apostle Paul? Because of the great example we see of the Lord’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness demonstrated in the life of that one who was persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:4-5) and His people — even consenting to the death of those Christians. Yet, what did Paul declare, following his conversion, in 1 Timothy 1:15-16? “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” In the King James Version, Paul refers to himself as the “chief” of sinners for whom Jesus also came to save (1 Tim. 1:15).

So even for the many in the world today who continue to reject “the kindness of God” that “leads…to repentance” (Rom. 11:22) and, as a result, remain lost in their sins, yet it is still God’s desire to forgive and save these people. But that will not happen, until they, of their own free will, submit to His plan of salvation.

Therefore, should we not also always have that desire to forgive those who have sinned against us — and even if they do not repent, nor want our forgiveness? For we should continue, similarly to God, to have that desire to forgive them of whatever the wrong — rather than harboring any grudge against them and being embittered.

In this, we also see the benefit for us in having a forgiving heart! And if they repent and seek our forgiveness, it will be a benefit for them, too.

And how often should we be willing to forgive the same person? It appears that Peter initially thought that seven times would be enough. But the Lord told him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). This, of course, is not to be taken literally, as if 490 times to forgive someone is the limit. Rather, it figuratively expresses the need to always be able to forgive a person regardless of how many times that individual has sinned. And if we have trouble in that, we, who are Christians, should try thinking of how many times God has forgiven us. For forgiveness is something we are to ask of Him every day (Matt. 6:12).

Though we are to be a forgiving people, we actually do not have the power to blot sins out of the lives of others. So though we could forgive someone who had stolen from us, that person will still need God’s forgiveness so He will no longer hold that sin against that person.

The scribes and Pharisees were right in their reasoning that only God alone can forgive of sins (Mark 2:7); but they were wrong in not recognizing that Jesus was also Deity and, therefore, had the right and the ability to blot out iniquity in one’s life.

In the very passage where these took issue with Jesus over this matter, the Lord proved the power He had to forgive by healing a paralytic.

This took place in Capernaum, where four men had carried the invalid to the home in which Jesus was. But because of the crowd, the carriers had to make an opening in the roof to lower the paralytic on a pallet to the Lord. Jesus “seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ’Son, your sins are forgiven’” (Mark 2:5), which led to the scribes and Pharisees finding fault in that statement. Jesus then told them, “…’Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this’” (Mark 2:8-12, emphasis mine).

Of all the blessings of life, whether they be physical or spiritual, having the forgiveness of sins is one I find at the top of the list! What could be more needful in our lives than that? Having God’s forgiveness is more important than even the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe!

“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (Rom. 4:7-8).

(All Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Hannah Laughlin has been experiencing loss of speech, severe headaches, body tremors, and nausea at times.

Rick Cuthbertson’s surgery, due to cancer of the liver, is to be the 21st of this month.

Tommy Lindsey has been seeing doctors recently, due to several health issues concerning his liver, enlarged spleen, and platelets being destroyed by what might be an auto immune disorder. He is now being treated with new medication, saw a surgeon regarding a liver transplant, and will be undergoing some more tests.

Rhyan Thomas had a brain tumor removed several years ago. Recently, however, he began having seizures, for which he will soon be undergoing testing.

Pat Joyner has been sick with a sore throat and coughing, and her husband A.J. recently had an endoscopy to see if he has an ulcer.

Danny Bartlett has been having pain in his leg muscle that also makes it difficult to walk.

Charles Crosby is healing from his recent knee surgery.

I (Tom Edwards) will soon be having hernia surgery and had some lab work done last week in preparing.

Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Misty & Jason 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)

The Gospel Observer (May 13, 2018)

Contents:

1) Seeing the Road Ahead (Alan Jones)
2) News & Notes
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desert road

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Seeing the Road Ahead
Alan Jones

A few years ago I was traveling south on I-69 in northern Indiana when I encountered a traffic slowdown. Soon I found out why we had slowed to a crawl. There was a horrible accident on the northbound side.

Everyone was slowing down to look. The accident involved two semis. One was turned on its side with all of the glass gone from the tractor. The nose of the other tractor was shoved in like an accordion.

Immediately I prayed for the welfare of the drivers and the comfort of their families. Their lives had been suddenly and unexpectedly changed. As the drivers left the terminal for the highway, they did not know what awaited them on the road ahead. The backup caused by the accident was five miles long and was still growing. Motorists caught in it had a certain timetable in mind to get to work or to get home from work, to get to a vacation destination or to return home. But, they, too, did not know what awaited them on the road ahead. Their timetable went out the window. They were making good time when suddenly and unexpectedly they were forced to stop and wait, and wait, and wait.

Man can’t see the future. Solomon wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow. For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov 27:1). A humble person will plan accordingly. James admonished, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we will 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 time and vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).

Yes, far be it from us to boast of what we’re going to do in the future when we can’t foresee a traffic tie up on the interstate or even on the bypass as we try to get to the mall or to Walmart and back home again…

Trusting in God Who Sees the Road Ahead

Our future is subject to the will of the Lord who sees the future before it happens. God proved to Israel that He is God because He knows the future. He predicted their coming destruction by a ruler from the north (Assyria) so that when it happened they would say, “He is right!” (Isa 10:5-6; 41:25-26). God even foretold what would happen after He had used Assyria and Babylon to judge His people. He would bring His sheep home by His shepherd Cyrus, calling this king of Persia by name before He was ever born (Isa 44:27-45:3). History verifies that all of these things happened as predicted by God through His prophets and hundreds of other fulfilled predictions could be added to them to confirm that there is a God who sees the road ahead.

Commenting on the Lord’s infinite knowledge, David wrote, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all” (Ps 139:4). He marveled that God could see the end of his life from his beginning in the womb, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Ps 139:16).

When we, as David, meditate on God’s far-reaching thoughts, we will value them — “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Ps 139:17). We will trust His thoughts above our own. As the wise man Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).

If we trust God, we will not worry about the future. If God looks ahead and provides for the birds who do not store up for the future, He will feed us. If God clothes the lilies of the field without their toiling or spinning, He will clothe us. Instead of being of little faith and anxious, we will turn every care into a prayer, with the confidence that He who looks ahead will provide for tomorrow. Knowing that God will take care of us on the unseen road ahead, we experience a peace that surpasses all comprehension (Mt 6:25-34; Phil 4:6-7).

If our confidence is in the One who holds the future in His Hands, we will realize that, if we love Him, God will use even the tragedy and suffering that may lie ahead on the road to accomplish His purpose in us — to help us to be conformed in our character to the image of His Son and to get us home to glory in heaven (Rom 8:28-30). We need not live in fear and dread of unseen sorrows, trusting that God will discipline us for our own good, so that we may share His holiness (Heb 12:10).

Do you trust God? Is it seen in your respect for God’s Word? Is it seen in your peace concerning both blessings and trials yet unseen? Do you trust in God who sees the road ahead or in yourself — you who cannot even anticipate an accident or traffic jam?…

What God Tells Us Is on the Road Ahead

When I passed by the exit following the end of the traffic jam and saw cars and trucks streaming along at 70 m.p.h., I thought, “I sure wish I could warn them of the five mile backup ahead so they could exit and try to find an alternate route.” There was nothing I could do but let the unsuspecting travelers run right into the delay, but I can warn you about the things God tells us as on the road ahead. But, I must tell you also, there is no escaping them. There is no alternate route.

Death is on the road ahead of you. God says, “It is appointed for men to die once” (Heb 9:27). This is an appointment we must all keep (unless we are alive at the coming of Jesus — 1 Thess 4:15). Jesus told the story of a rich farmer who made big plans with no thought of this appointment. The farmer had more harvest than he knew what to do with. He planned to tear down his barns and build bigger ones and then sit back and enjoy life for many years to come. But, he didn’t have many years left to live. In fact, God required his soul that night (Lk 12:16-20). Are you living like your life on earth will be forever or are you looking down the road?

Judgment is on the road ahead of you. God continues His sentence, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” John described a vision he saw of this day, “And, I saw the dead, the great and the small standing before the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Rev 20:12). God will pronounce sentence on you based on how you lived compared to His Word and whether or not your name is in the book of life, His record of those who have a relationship with Him.

Heaven or hell is on the road ahead of you. At the Judgment, Jesus will hand out to you either the sentence of eternal life or eternal punishment (Mt 25:46). The eternal punishment is hell, the torment of the eternal fire that God has prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41; Mk 9:43-48). Eternal life is never-ending fellowship with God and His Son in heaven, being honored as His children. God will wipe away all the tears of earth life and its sorrows will never be experienced again (Rom 8:19; Rev 21:1-4).

Death and judgment you cannot change, but your eternal destination you will choose. You will choose either to receive the wages of your sins (Rom 6:23) or you will choose to have Jesus pay for them with His blood so that your name can be added to the book of life. Believe in Jesus and confess Him as your Lord (Rom 10:9-10) and repent of your sins and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Continue in the book of life by walking in the light as God is in the light, confessing your sins so that the blood of Jesus will make you pure (1 Jn 1:5-10). Remember, no one will arrive at heaven by accident and you must get there by the road less traveled (Mt 7:13-14).

Is heaven or hell at the end of the road you are traveling?…

— Via The Auburn Beacon
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“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH” (Ephesians 6:1-3, NASB).
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-2-

News & Notes

The doctors are still seeking to find the reason for Hannah Laughlin’s loss of speech, along with the severe headaches, body tremors, and nausea that she has at times.

Rick Cuthbertson’s surgery, due to cancer of the liver, is to be the 21st of this month.

Tommy Lindsey (Tori McCarthy’s grandfather) has been seeing doctors recently, due to several health issues, such as chlorosis of the liver, an enlarged spleen, and his platelets being destroyed by what might be an auto immune disorder. He will be undergoing more tests, is now being treated with new medication, and is to see a surgeon May 15 regarding a liver transplant.

Several years ago, Rhyan Thomas (Tori’s sister’s son) had a brain tumor removed. Recently, however, he began having seizures, for which he will soon be undergoing testing.

Belinda Medlock is now back home where she will continue with her physical therapy in recovering from her stroke.

Shirley Davis was recently on antibiotics for cellulitis. Due to the swelling in her legs, she is not yet able to have the knee surgery. She spends most of her time in her scooter and can be on her feet for only a few minutes.

Danny Bartlett has been having some pain in his legs recently, which required a chiropractor’s help for some relief, but had not totally eliminated it. It has also made it difficult for him to even walk.

Charles Crosby is healing from his recent knee surgery.

Pat Joyner is not feeling well and is experiencing a sore throat and coughing.

I (Tom Edwards) saw my primary physician again, but this time for his advice, recommendation, and getting scheduled for hernia surgery as soon as possible. And, in preparation of that, I also had some lab work done.

Others to also include in our prayers: Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, 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) (New Time)
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 (May 6, 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) Satire Versus Sarcasm (R.J. Evans)
2) Everyone Counts (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–

1kings18_27d

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Satire Versus Sarcasm
R.J. Evans

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored” (1 Cor. 4:10).

Satire can be a very effective method of teaching when dealing with the errors and shortcomings of others. The main purpose of the satirist is to mock the faults of others in a witty, ironic way so that they might benefit from it. Satire can be found in every type of literature throughout all the ages. There are instances when satire is used in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments (1 Kgs. 18:27; 1 Cor. 4:7-10).

In defining satire, the word “sarcasm” appears. Certainly, in one sense, a satire is simply the use of sarcasm. But, there can also be a difference in the usages of the two. Sarcasm often involves a cutting, hostile, or contemptuous remark; the use of caustic or ironic language. We might consider the use of sarcasm as it has to do with the one who continually replies to another with a biting or cutting remark. When this is the case, the person who is being sarcastic is not really trying to help others—he is simply putting them down in an effort to further inflate his own ego. Usually, the results are that the person who is cut down by the sarcastic remark becomes hostile by what has been said to him, as well as becoming indignant toward the person who is being sarcastic. Nothing beneficial is accomplished by this! Proverbs 15:1 comes to mind – “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

We may use satire when it is motivated by an attitude of love and helpfulness, and be very effective. But we must guard against using sarcasm in a hurtful, rude, obnoxious manner. The latter should not characterize the child of God. We are to have hearts that are filled with compassion towards others. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Pet. 3:8).

We must have a disposition of kindness toward one another (Eph. 4:32), with love being the reigning principle in our lives (1 Cor. 13). The next time we make some sarcastic remark to another, we should ask ourselves, Did I say that in love with the intention of helping that person, or was I trying to get in a “little dig,” or was I just trying to be “cute”? “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

The Apostle Paul tells Christians to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). May we all seek to use words that are fitly spoken. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov. 25:11).

— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, LA, November 13, 2017
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eph4_15-16

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Everyone Counts!
Greg Gwin

Our country accomplished some incredible things during the hard trials of World War II. The feats of brave men and women who faced the enemy on the battlefields inspires us. But there is also amazing historical data that documents the amount of war materials and supplies that were produced in relatively short periods of time right here on the home front. With limited resources that sometimes required rationing, and without the advantages of the technology we now enjoy, the nation’s “war machine” turned out essential equipment at a staggering pace. How was this done?

The key to this effort was a campaign to convince every single worker of his or her importance to the ultimate goal of defeating the enemy and winning the war. The leaders of our country successfully persuaded everyone to work hard, make sacrifices and contribute what they could to this end. The results were amazing. Against huge odds, the victory was won.

We are in another sort of a war. There are no tanks, planes, bombs or missiles. We do not need workers preparing bullets or medical supplies. There’s no need for rationing of gasoline or other necessary products. Instead, we are in a spiritual war (2 Cor. 10:3,4). We battle against a very real and powerful enemy (1 Peter 5:8).

To win this war, we definitely need every Christian fully engaged. Everyone counts! We cannot afford to have some of our vital workers slacking off in their duties. We must all “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). Diligent effort, significant sacrifice, and determined commitment to the cause are essential. Every Christian serves in a critical capacity (Eph. 4:15,16).

Some might suggest that the odds against us are overwhelming. But in truth, with God on our side, the enemy is doomed! As Elisha told his fearful servant: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

— Via the bulletin of the Collegevue church of Christ, Columbia, Tennessee, January 14, 2018
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-3-

News & Notes

I’m happy to say that Charles Crosby’s pathology report on Friday showed all infection gone! And a doctor also told Kathy that things went well for Charles’ surgery!

Let us also continue to remember in prayer Belinda Medlock (Bennie Medlock’s sister-in-law) who recently had a stroke and will be receiving a pacemaker, due to her heart working at only 35%.

Let us also continue praying for Rick Cuthbertson (Jim & Martha Lively’s son-in-law) who was recently diagnosed with cancer in his liver. He will be having surgery May 21.

I (Tom Edwards) appreciate everyone’s prayer for my recent colonoscopy. I’m glad to say that there was no cancer, nor any polyps. Next up on the list for me will be hernia surgery, which I want to have soon.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, 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) (New Time)
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 (April 29, 2018)

Contents:

1) Look Again (R.J. Evans)
2) He “Disrespected” Me (Greg Gwin)
3) How Happy Are You? (Tom Wheeler)
4) News & Notes
——————–

2cor5_7c

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Look Again
R.J. Evans

Some time ago I read an interesting story. I can’t guarantee its veracity, but it certainly makes a good point. It took place one spring before the Civil War. A young man, in search of a job, came to a prosperous Ohio farmer’s place. The farmer knew nothing about the boy except that his name was Jim, but he gave him a job. Jim spent the spring and summer cutting stove wood, bringing in the cows, and making himself generally useful. He ate in the kitchen, but slept in the hayloft.

Before the summer was over, Jim had fallen in love with the farmer’s daughter. The young man asked to marry his daughter, but the farmer refused to let him marry her — telling him bluntly that he had no money, no name, and very poor prospects. So Jim sadly put his belongings in his old carpet bag and disappeared, never to show up again.

Many years later, the farmer was tearing down his old barn in order to build a new one. On one of the rafters above the hayloft, he discovered that Jim had carved his full name into the wood — James A. Garfield. At that time “Jim” was the President of the United States!

What a shock that must have been to the farmer! His daughter could have been the First Lady of the United States. We all have, at times, made mistaken judgments about another person. We think a certain person won’t amount to anything, he will never make a contribution to society, or he will never live a productive life. But with regard to some, as the years pass, the person matures, he is educated and trained, and applying his skills, he becomes successful.

This is certainly true when it has to do with a sinner and the power of the gospel of Christ. The Apostle Paul said it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:16-17). Jesus taught that we must be born again (Jn. 3:3-5). When a penitent believer is baptized, that puts him “in Christ, he is a new creation.” This is clearly taught in Galatians 3:26-27: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The gospel has the power to transform us from being an ugly filthy sinner, into a beautiful forgiven child of God who has been conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 1:16; 8:29; 12:2).

Who could have foreseen that the Apostle Peter would become the bold proclaimer of the gospel of Christ after his denial of the Lord? Who would have thought that Saul of Tarsus would be such a devoted servant and apostle after spending the first part of his life persecuting Christians? Who could have predicted that John would become known as “the Apostle of love” after he and his brother were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder”? Remember, it was he, and his brother James, who wanted the Lord to command fire to come down and destroy a Samaritan village (Mk. 3:17; Lk. 9:54).

Yes, there are times when we need to look again — take a second look. John Billings, the 19th century American humorist, once said: “I have lived in this world just long enough to look carefully the second time, into things I am the most certain of the first time.”
************************************

“JIM” IN TODAY’S ARTICLE

James A. Garfield was a member of the Lord’s church. He obeyed the gospel on March 4, 1850. He preached the gospel up until he became president. He was shot 3 months into his presidency and died 3 months later in 1881 at age 49. Another interesting story is told about him. The first week after his inauguration as President of the United States, a member of his cabinet insisted on an urgent meeting at 10:00 Sunday morning to handle a threatened national crisis. Garfield refused to attend because he had a more important appointment. The cabinet member demanded to know what it was. The president replied, “I will be as frank as you are. My engagement is with the Lord to meet Him in His house at His table at 10:00 tomorrow, and I shall be there.” You can read more about him online. Google: James A. Garfield, Church of Christ.

— via bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, January 28, 2018
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Matt5_38

-2-

He “Disrespected” Me
Greg Gwin

It’s common to hear the young folks speak of someone “dissing” another person. That is a shortened slang word for “disrespecting,” which means to treat with contempt or rudeness. Sadly, this happens far too often. In fact, it happened to me just the other day. The offender was a man in a position of governmental authority. I was a simple law-abiding citizen. In a verbal exchange, he was rude and mean-spirited. He “dissed” me!

Later, I was thinking about this episode, and considering what I could have said or done. I imagined quick and cutting replies I could have made. This man needed to be taught a thing or two. “Put him in his place,” I thought. Or, perhaps I should have gotten his name and notified his superiors concerning his inappropriate behavior. Let his bosses deal with this arrogant fella. After all, if he is to be out in the public, he needs to know how to relate to others in the right way. I was angry — downright mad — and there was surely some way to “get even” with this haughty, obnoxious individual.

But then, it occurred to me that it didn’t really matter. So what if he was rude? It didn’t harm me in any significant way. The only damage was to my pride, and that isn’t important at all. In fact, the only thing my pride does is get me in trouble. He “dissed” me, but I’m no worse for the episode.

Our Lord taught us that when our pride is assaulted we ought to “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile” (Matthew 5:38-42). The only reason this is hard is because we are tempted to “think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think” (Romans 12:3).

We are not implying that such “disrespect” is OK, or that it is excusable. Neither are we saying that God won’t hold men accountable for such things. But, the lesson for us is that we learn to live with it in a way that will not harm our relationship with the Father or our influence on others. In the final analysis, that’s really all that matters.

— Via the bulletin of the Collegevue church of Christ, March 18, 2018
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Psa35_9

-3-

How Happy Are You?
Tom Wheeler

“Rejoice in the lord always: and again I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).

Look at all of the blessings that Christians have. The material blessings are available for everyone and they are without number. We live in a country that is well blessed with material things, freedom, beauty of all kinds — and how long could the list be! Even the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the ground that we walk upon are blessings from God. In addition to these things Christians have the forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God and fellow Christians, and the hope of an eternity in the presence of God. God has written to us about the assurance of His love, the blessedness of His hope, and the wonders of salvation. We can, by adhering to His word, bask in the sunshine of His love.

When we look around us and observe fellow Christians, what do we see and hear? There is murmuring and complaining. There is worry about mundane things and things that we cannot do anything about, and we complain about everything in sight.

We must learn to exercise our minds, and learn to separate the good from the evil. God says “rejoice” and we need to be learning how.

— via bulletin for the Collegevue church of Christ, December 10, 2017
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Belinda Medlock (Bennie Medlock’s sister-in-law) recently had a stroke, and her heart is functioning at only 35%. She will be given a pacemaker. Let us be keeping her in prayer.

We are glad that Charles Crosby will be having his knee surgery this Friday (May 4). Let us pray that all will go well.

Let us also continue praying for Rick Cuthbertson (Jim & Martha Lively’s son-in-law) who was recently diagnosed with cancer in his liver.

I (Tom Edwards) solicit your prayer as a precautionary measure for myself. This Tuesday (May 1) I’ll be having my first colonoscopy, simply because it is recommended for the average-risk patient when 50 (and sooner, due to other circumstances, such as having a parent or sibling who had colon cancer at 60 or younger). Your prayer will be appreciated. Thank you.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, Jon Curto, 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) (New Time)
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 (April 22, 2018)

Contents:

1) The Better Covenant (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Heb8_6

-1-

The Better Covenant
Tom Edwards

Last week, we considered some things about the Law of Moses and concluded with the better covenant Jesus has made possible by His atoning death at Calvary.

One of the things we noted was that the Old Covenant was not without fault (Heb. 8:7); and that fault was that the Law of Moses could not blot out sin, which is also the reason in the same verse for why a second covenant was necessary — “for the Law made nothing perfect” (Heb. 7:19).

To see the contrast, notice how James refers to that second covenant (the gospel): “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (Jms. 1:25, emphasis mine).

So we have a covenant with God today that is perfect!

Consider also Roman 8:3-4: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

Another reason why we have a better covenant today is because it also contains “better promises” (Heb. 8:6).

The writer then goes on to speak of that in verses 10-12: “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”

It was by the death of Christ that the atonement for sin was made and the New Covenant was inaugurated. And that atonement was not just for those from that time onward, but also for those through the prior ages as well.

For after showing that God sent Jesus into this world at the right appointed time, Paul then goes on to tell of one of the purposes for that: “so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:5). Here the focus is on those who were under the Old Covenant, as the Hebrew writer also makes mention of: “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15, emphasis mine).

It is said of those who were forgiven during Old Testament times that their sins were “rolled forward” each year on that day of atonement. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near” (Heb. 10:1). “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (vv. 3-4).

So it appears those sins were “rolled forward,” in a manner of speaking, to the cross of Christ by which they truly could be blotted out. For are we to think that those living prior to His death could be forgiven without the need of the Lord’s atonement? We know that people could be forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God by their faith during Old Testament Times, but was that not because of what God knew His Son would accomplish at Calvary? Even the great people of faith — like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, and any other — still had need of the atonement Jesus made for every sinner throughout all time.

In Hebrews 8:6, we also saw that the “better covenant…has been enacted on better promises.” In this, we see a close connection between a covenant and a promise. For a covenant is “an agreement…between two or more persons to do or not do something specified” (Webster). So would not that also be a promise? Webster also gives for the 3rd definition of covenant: “the conditional promises made to humanity by God, as revealed in the Scripture” (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary).

Many of God’s promises during the Mosaical Age pertained to blessings of a physical nature. Deuteronomy 28, for example, begins with specific blessings in the first 14 verses for those who are faithful to Him. In being that way, they would have their offspring multiplied, have an increase in flocks, have plenty of food from abundant crops, have protection from the enemy, and have no lack of rain. The next 54 verses then specify various curses that God would bring on them if they would not obey.

In the New Testament, though God promises to meet the physical needs of His children, yet the focus is on the spiritual — and even above the physical necessities of life. For instance, Jesus says, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:31-33).

Though Jesus came into this world and lived and died under the Old Covenant, we very much think of Him in connection with the New Covenant because it was by His death that He did away with that Old Covenant and established the New, which has now been in existence for about 1,985 years. And He is spoken of as “having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:4). Surely, we think of angels as being holy and without even the slightest trace of sin — but Christ is esteemed far above any of them: “For to which of the angels did He ever say, ’YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? And again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM’” (vv. 4-6). Angels were created — but Jesus is the Creator!

As we have seen, the Lord being “made for a little while lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9) does not mean He became inferior in rank. For Christ was still Deity and supreme to them. But this verse is speaking of that inferior body (compared to that of the angels) that Jesus took upon Himself. And the same verse also tells why: “that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

Hebrews 7:19 also goes on to bring out another “better” something that we have in the New Covenant — and it is a “better hope”: “(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

What if we lived in 515 B.C. and were still awaiting the coming of the Messiah? Do you think our faith would be a little more challenged? In 2 Peter 3:4, Peter speaks of even those in these last days who would mockingly say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” But for us today, we can look back and see that He came the first time as promised — and, therefore, also know with full assurance that He will come again, for us to meet in the air! (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Hebrews 6:18-20 also shows why we have a better hope: “in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

This hope helps us to set our eyes on heaven with eager expectation, to stabilize us in our relationship with God, and to take us through the veil (figuratively speaking) and into the presence of God.

Today we need not go through a human intermediary as many of God’s people did in Old Testament times. Now we who are Christians, as spiritual priests, can go directly to God through Jesus Christ.

What a great hope we have! As children of God, we can glory in the song that tells us, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…” And what a great title for it — “The Solid Rock.”

When Moses and Elijah were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, God the Father said of His Son, “listen to Him” (Matt. 17:5). It is implied in this verse that Jesus, who made the New Covenant possible, is superior to these two men and to the Law and the Prophets. And just as God the Father had told Peter, James, and John to listen to Jesus, we must each also do that today! For there is salvation in no other! (cf. Acts 4:10-12; Jn. 14:6.)

Thanks be to the Lord for this better covenant that He has made for us!

(All Scripture from the NASB.)
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Barbara Raydeena Swain (Myrna Jordan’s sister-in-law) who passed away April 11. She had been living in Moody, Alabama. Let us pray that God will bring comfort to all her loved ones.

Our sympathies also go out to all the family and friends of Carlton Truman Cornish, of Chaplin, Kentucky, who passed away April 19 at just 48 years of age. Let us be remembering all his loved ones in prayer that the Lord will help them through this time of grief.

Rick Cuthbertson (Jim & Martha Lively’s son-in-law) was in for a routine annual checkup recently, feeling fine; but the blood work showed high numbers, and cancer was found in his liver. They will be doing a biopsy this Friday to determine how best to treat it.  Let us pray that all will go well for him.

Jon Curto, a facebook friend I went to school with many years ago, was in a serious car accident January 20, 2017. He was in a coma for almost a week, had a traumatic brain injury, along with various other injuries. Through therapy, he had to learn to swallow, eat, speak, stand, and walk again — and is still having some trouble with standing, walking, dizziness, and speaking. He is now trying a new treatment that his doctor said had helped many others — Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). He will need about 15 to 20 treatments (at $250 each). He can use our prayers. If you would also like to donate toward his treatments, a “Go Fund Me” has been set up for him at the following website: https://www.gofundme.com/jon-curto039s-healthcare-assistance

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: family and friends of Cedell Fletcher, And also Charles Crosby, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, 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) (New Time)
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 (April 15, 2018)

Contents:

1) Genealogies (Derek Long)
2) The Law of Moses (Tom Edwards)
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Matthew1_2

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Genealogies
Derek Long

As we read the Bible, we encounter lists of genealogies of various individuals or groups of individuals.  Oftentimes these lists contain many names we are unfamiliar with and are difficult for us to pronounce.  Why are these lists of genealogies recorded for us in the Bible?  Why are they important?

​When Paul writes to Timothy and Titus, he speaks about the attitude they should have toward certain genealogies.  In 1 Timothy 1:4 we read, “nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”  In Titus 3:9, Titus was commanded, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.”  Do these verses teach us we should ignore the genealogies we find recorded in scripture and treat them as unimportant?  Obviously Paul is not speaking of what is recorded for us in the lists of genealogies throughout the Bible.  Paul plainly taught, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness …” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  All scripture, including the lists of genealogies, is profitable to be taught and studied.  Therefore, Paul must have been talking either about uninspired genealogies or elaborations of the genealogies we find in the Bible.  Such genealogies are not a part of God’s revealed truth and are to be avoided.

Why are the lists of genealogies recorded in the Bible important?  Below are some of the thoughts I have on why these lists are helpful and recorded for us:

• The genealogies allow us to see the events in the Bible are historical events.  The genealogies show we are not dealing with fables or legends.  The Bible contains records of real people who lived in real history.

• The genealogies allow us to see where certain nations came from.  The book of Obadiah is essentially a book pronouncing judgment upon the nation of Edom for their treatment of the nation of Israel.  The book speaks of Edom’s “violence against your brother Jacob” (Obadiah 10).  If we know Jacob and Esau were brothers and Israel descended from Jacob and Edom descended from Esau, we can understand what Obadiah 10 is talking about.  Many other examples like this could be produced with regards to other nations throughout scripture.

• The genealogies allow us to see important things regarding various tribes of Israel. There are several lists of genealogies showing who was part of which tribe of Israel and how many people were a part of each tribe.  The initial censuses of Israel were conducted as a way of determining how many men twenty years old and above were in each tribe of Israel (Numbers 1:2-3; 26:2-4).  The second census would serve the purpose of verifying God’s promise for all the preceding generation to pass away was carried out (Numbers 26:63-65) and also served as a basis to determine how much land each tribe would receive (Numbers 33:54).  There are also several lists of people from the tribe of Levi and priests.  These genealogies were important to verify those who served as priests were from the proper tribe.  Those who could not verify their genealogy after returning from captivity were excluded from serving as priests (Ezra 2:62; Nehemiah 7:64).

• The genealogies allow us to see God keeping His promises with certain individuals. God promised through Abraham’s seed all nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).  Therefore, keeping up with the descendants of Abraham allows us to see this promise being fulfilled.  God promised David would never lack a man to sit upon His throne (2 Samuel 7:11-14).  If we have a list of David’s descendants, we are able to see the fulfillment of this promise.  God promises to leave no descendants of certain individuals alive in scripture.  If we know who their descendants are, we can tell how these promises are fulfilled at times.

• The genealogies serve as a record of the individuals through whom the Christ came into the world.  Perhaps some of the most important genealogies recorded in the Bible have to deal with the people through whom Jesus was born.  The New Testament begins with a listing of Jesus’ genealogy going back to Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17) and Luke records Jesus’ genealogy going back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38).  We can see Jesus fulfills God’s promises to Abraham, Judah, and David by examining these genealogical lists.

Other purposes for the genealogies may exist but these are just some I thought of.  I hope this helps us as we attempt to study these oft-neglected portions of inspired Scripture.

— Via Understanding the Bible, January 20, 2018
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eph2_14-15

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The Law of Moses
Tom Edwards

What do we know about the Law of Moses?

A. It was given to reveal what sin is (Rom. 3:19-22; 7:7).

B. It served as a tutor to lead men to Christ (Gal. 3:24-25).

C. It was given exclusively to the Jews — and not to the world at large (Exo. 31:12-17).

D. It was abolished by the sacrifice of Christ (Col. 2:14; Eph. 2:13-16).

E. To go back to the Old Law today would be to fall from grace and cut oneself off from Christ (Gal. 5:4).

F.  Though some today make a distinction between the law of Moses and the Law of God during the Old Testament times, saying one is a “ceremonial law and done away with in Christ while the other remains for our time,” this is not what the Bible shows.  For example, Nehemiah 8:1, 8 use the phrases “law of God” and “law of Moses” interchangeably to refer to the same thing.

This, of course, is not to say that God no longer sees lying, stealing, adultery, murder, etc., as sins in our time; but that is because the Lord will always see these iniquities as sinful; and are, therefore, seen as prohibitions in the New Testament for our Gospel Age as well, though not all of them with the same severe earthly penalties for violating, as in the Old Testament times.  In 1 Corinthians 5, for example, the one guilty of incest (with his father’s wife) was disfellowshiped rather than put to death; and that led to his coming to his senses, repenting, and being restored, as indicated in 2 Corinthians 2:6-11.

G.  And, lastly, Hebrews 8:7 indicates that the Law of Moses had fault.  But that “fault,” however, does not mean there were mistakes in the Law of Moses; but, rather, that it could not provide forgiveness of sins.  For, as the Hebrew writer declares in Heb. 10:4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

So though everything in the Law of Moses was true, the fault was in its inability to provide an atonement that could blot out sin.  And the fact that its Laws were correct can also be inferred from what Jesus states in Matthew 5:18, that “…Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (KJV). The “jot” and the “tittle” have been described as the dot on the letter “i” and the horizontal line on the “t” — just small parts of letters.  The NASB translates this passage as, “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”  So the implication is that the Law was without error in being all that God wanted it to be, but it just did not have the ability to atone for sin.

Going along with that, you might recall Galatians 2:21, in which Paul points out that “if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

And by that death, Jesus not only did away with the Old Covenant, but also established the New and Better Covenant, as the Hebrew writer points out:  “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second” (Heb. 8:6-7).

Hebrews 9 speaks more of this: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (vv. 11-12).  “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant…” (v. 15).  And that this required His death is also seen in the next verse: “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it” (v. 16); and that is what Jesus was willing to undergo for us — and, thus, made it possible that sins can be blotted out.

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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-3-

News & Notes

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Cedell Fletcher (Jim Lively’s brother-in-law) who passed away peacefully last Thursday.  His obituary referred to him as “one of those rare individuals that felt blessed by everyone he met, and everyone fortunate enough to have known him felt blessed in return. He was a man of integrity and strength of character, who loved and was devoted to his wife and family” (The Gainesville Sun).  Let us be remembering all his loved ones in prayer.

Easton Cox has had a fever for the last several days, though it has come down some. He has also had a couple Rocephin shots (for bacterial infections) and will be starting on another antibiotic today.

Rex Hadley was in the hospital last week for what he initially thought might be a kidney stone, but the pain turned out to be disc related.

Charles Crosby will be seeing his doctor April 24, to find  out if he is now ready to have his new knee put back in.  Due to infection, it was removed February 2.  He then underwent several weeks of receiving antibiotics intravenously, twice a day.  We are hoping and praying for a good report for him, that the infection will be gone so he can have the needed surgery, and that his knee will no longer cause him trouble.

Jon Curto, a facebook friend I went to school with many years ago, was in a serious car accident January 20, 2017, which he is still recovering from.  It initially had him in a coma for almost a week.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury, along with various other injuries, and had to undergo therapy to be able to swallow, eat, speak, stand, and walk again; and is still having some difficulty with standing, walking, dizziness, and speaking.  He had been a professional photography with his own business; but for now is not able to drive nor work, due to his brain injury.  So he is without income and without medical insurance. He is trying a new treatment that his doctor said has helped many others — Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), which he will need about 15 to 20 treatments of (at $250 a treatment).  He can use our prayers.  If you would like to also donate toward his treatments, there has been a Go Fund Me set up for him at the following website: https://www.gofundme.com/jon-curto039s-healthcare-assistance

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, 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) (New Time)
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)