The Gospel Observer (June 16, 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) We Must Die to Live (Doy Moyer)
2) Possible or Impossible? (Bill Crews)
3) To Whom Were They Speaking? (Carrol R. Sutton)
4) News & Notes
——————–

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We Must Die to Live
Doy Moyer

“I have to die to get better.” Have you felt that way? You feel so sick that you about wish you would go ahead and die so that you can feel better? We say that as a bit of a joke (or maybe not). Of course, at the time that we feel so badly, we do wish for about anything to happen that would improve our condition. Being sick is no fun and we will do whatever it takes to feel better. Of course, as Christians, doing “whatever it takes” still needs to be within what is moral and right. The world doesn’t always follow that path.

Spiritually, the concept of dying in order to get better is a truth to which we must conform. In order to get better, in order to be free from sin, in order to experience forgiveness and true freedom, we must die. This is an important idea in Scripture. For example, Paul put it this way:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:1-4).

Paul follows up by saying, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…,” then speaks of some of the sins that characterize the one who has not yet died to self. We put to death what is worldly, put off the sins of the flesh, and put on Christ and the new self (vv. 5-15). To be new, the old must go. We must die to live. Paul also wrote to the Romans:

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:1-4).

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11).

Again, before receiving forgiveness from God, we were considered to be dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). That death came as a result of sin (Rom 6:23). However, we must experience another kind of death. This death is a death to self and sin in order to be brought to life by God spiritually. In other words, we must die to live.

This is another way of speaking about self-denial. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)

Self-denial is a way of putting self to death in order to live for God. If we try to save our lives by refusing self-denial, we will suffer a death no one ultimately wants. If we will deny self, losing our lives for His sake, then we will be saved. It’s paradoxical, but if we can see the kinds of death involved, we can see that the point is simply this: we cannot put ourselves first over God and others and expect to receive the blessings God offers. If we want to live, we must die. If we want to be saved, we must lose our lives for His sake.

This is what Jesus did for us. He is the ultimate example of one who emptied (denied) self and died (Phil 2:6-8). Yet, He lives. The resurrection is what makes eternal life possible now, as Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

By God’s grace, we can die so that we will live. This goes beyond our spiritual death and new life here. This points to an ultimate life that comes from Christ conquering death through His resurrection. We die to live now. Then, because death has been conquered, our physical death is not something to fear because we, too, shall take part in the resurrection of life (Heb 2:14-15).

We don’t want to die; we want to live. Yet as physical death is necessary to resurrection, so also is death to self and sin necessary to the new life in Christ. By God’s grace we can experience both.

In order to get better and live, we must die. Have you?

— Via the bulletin of the Vestavia church of Christ, March 24, 2019
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eph3_4_and_others

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Possible or Impossible?
Bill Crews

Can an accountable person who so desires become just a Christian? And can a group of such people constitute a congregation (such as those we read about in the New Testament) that is nondenominational and that belongs to Christ? The religious world in general says that it is impossible; we say that it is possible. Christians in the first century were neither Catholics nor Protestants. All of the Lord’s churches were non-denominational and neither Catholic nor Protestant. Our plea is for people to lay aside human names and designations, human creeds and doctrines, human organizations and systems and become only Christians, and constitute only churches of the Lord.

Can any accountable person, as a result of his own sincere desire and effort, understand the Bible so that he can know what it teaches and so that he can see clearly what it is that God wants him to know, to believe, to do and to be? The religious world in general says that this is impossible; we say that it is both possible and necessary. We know that God is unlimited in power, wisdom and knowledge; that He is capable of giving a revelation that can be understood by men; and that He certainly wants men to understand this revelation of His will. To maintain that people cannot understand the Bible, or that they cannot  “under-stand it alike,” is more of a reflection upon God and His Book than it is upon men.

Editor’s Note [of the Roanridge Reader]: To the degree that we understand the Bible, we will understand it alike. There are not different meanings to God’s Word. It is not subject to a variety of interpretations. Either we understand it, believe it and obey it, or we do not. Read again Bill Crews’ fine article. It is brief but full of meaning.

— Via  the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 22, page 4, June 2, 2019
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psalm119_160

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To Whom Were They Speaking
Carrol R. Sutton

In Acts 16:31 when Paul and Silas said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” they were speaking to an unbeliever, the jailor at Philippi (Acts 16:12). In Acts 2:38 when Peter said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, … “ he was speaking to believers in Jerusalem” (Acts 2:36-37).

In Acts 22:16 when Ananias said: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” he was talking to a penitent believer, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4-18; 22:3-16).

In each of the above cases, each person was told what he needed to know at that particular time. To have the proper concept, we must accept the sum of God’s Word.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 9, May 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be keeping in prayer:

The back surgery for Melotine Davis last Thursday went well.  She returned home the same day and is now healing from it.

Jan Bartlett will be having a lumpectomy June 27, followed by radiation treatments a few weeks later.

Mary Martin had a stroke a couple weeks ago that she is now recuperating from.

Others to also be praying for: Shirley Davis, A.J. and Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, the family and friends of Tommy Lindsey and Kayleigh Tanner, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
——————–

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:
7 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 (June 9, 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) “Christ Will Be Magnified’ (R.J. Evans)
2) Don’t Leave Home Without It (Joe R. Price)
3) Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB)
4) News & Notes
——————–

2cor5_15

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“Christ Will Be Magnified”
R.J. Evans

“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).

The above text is taken from the letter Paul wrote to “all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).  Though Paul was being held as a prisoner in Rome at the time of the writing of this epistle, he made several expressions concerning the joy of being a child of God throughout the letter. In fact, the book of Philippians has been referred to as “the epistle of joy.”

In reviewing the words of our text, we see that Paul expressed some noble desires—that in nothing he would be ashamed and with boldness Christ would be magnified in his body whether by life or by death. If any ever questioned Paul’s dedication and faithfulness to the Lord, reading this letter, along with his other letters, should completely remove any questions or doubts. In this article, let us observe some of Paul’s desires for himself, for others, and for the Lord.

What Paul Desired Concerning Christ

He wanted to make sure that Christ was magnified in his body “whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20). He was willing to faithfully serve and glorify God, even if it meant dying for that purpose.  On one occasion, when some of his brethren pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem, Paul answered— “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).

Thus, whatever it took, Paul wanted others to learn of Christ, to recognize Him as the Savior of the world, and to come to Him in gospel obedience. He was willing to be “defamed” and viewed as “the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things” (1 Cor. 4:13). Do we have the same desire that Paul had concerning Jesus? What have we done that Christ might be magnified in the world?

What Paul Desired For Others

What he desired for others is expressed in a number of scriptures. Notice Romans 10:1: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” But not just for Israel— “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). Consider how devoted and dedicated Paul was to the work of converting others to Christ— “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (1 Cor. 9:3).

Paul had a tremendous desire for men and women to come to Christ in gospel obedience. I feel confident that he wanted to see others do well materially and physically, but above all else, he was concerned for their spiritual welfare. He expressed such a desire in his words to his brethren at Colosse in Colossians 1:9-10. How strong is our desire to see sinners obey the gospel and be saved? How strong is our desire to see Christians continue to grow in the Lord?

What Paul Desired For Himself

Most of Paul’s desires concerned his Lord and others. But there is one desire that he had for himself that stands out above all others. He had a tremendous desire to be with the Lord. Notice Philippians 1:23: “For I am hard pressed between the two having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Paul had already had a glimpse of the life beyond the grave as he described having seen “Paradise and heard inexpressible words” (2 Cor. 12:4). Since he understood so much about it, and since he was not too attached to this world, he had a burning desire to be “with Christ.” How much and how strong is our desire and longing to be with Him?

May we all learn from Paul’s desire that—“Christ will be magnified.” By so doing, may it help us realize that we have plenty of room to grow “with the increase which is from God” (Col. 2:19).

— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, September 30, 2018
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1tim4_12f

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Don’t Leave Home Without It
Joe R. Price

You remember the old American Express catch phrase at the end of their commercials: “American Express, don’t leave home without it.”  Well, this morning as I arrived at the office I realized I had left home without my Bible and the documents I intended to be working on today (and hence, the seed of this article).

There is any number of things we should not leave home without, including:

1. Faith in Christ. Each day as Christians go to school or work it is vital that their faith be solidly in place: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Faithless teachers challenge the faith of our children by teaching them such things as organic evolution and the social values (I use that word accommodatively) of humanism. Unbelieving classmates will often disagree with Biblical standards of purity and decency and tempt young Christians to compromise their faith and “have some fun.” Immoral co-workers will test your allegiance to Christ  by their vulgar language and lack of godly values. The normal tasks of the day put trials before every child of God. Faith must be maintained as we live in a faithless world. Without faith we will not please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith: “Don’t leave home without it.”

2. Responsibility and integrity. You will be exposed every day to people and situations that test your commitment to truth, honesty, and dependability. At work, the Christian should serve his employer “not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bond-servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free” (Eph. 6:6-8). Trustworthiness, dependability, and honesty: “Don’t leave home without them.”

3. Love for God and man. The attitudes, decisions and actions of every Christian are to be the result of love for God and others. “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’”.(Matt. 22:37-39). Love “does no harm to a neighbor” – even when that “neighbor” harms it (Rom. 13:10, 8-9; Matt. 5:38-45; 1 Cor. 13). We do not know God nor have His approval if we do not love others: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jno. 4:8). Love: “Don’t leave home without it.”

— Via the Elon Challenger, vol. 15, No., 11, July 2018
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Philippians 2:5-8

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (NASB).
——————–

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News & Notes

Folks to be keeping in prayer:

Danny Bartlett writes that his wife “Jan was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, breast cancer.  She has a surgeon consultation scheduled for June 12th and probably a Lumpectomy followed with radiation for about six weeks. Prognosis is good, but it is cancer. Prayers would be welcome.”

On June 4, Nancy Pickerd had a terrible fall that resulted in shattering her shoulder and socket and breaking her humerus bone in four places.  She will be having surgery for titanium replacements on June 12.

The back surgery for Melotine Davis will be this Thursday (June 13).

On May 30, Pat Joyner began cardio therapy, which she will continue 4 times a week (Monday through Thursday) for 9 weeks .

The family and friends of Tommy Lindsey and Kayleigh Tanner who both recently passed away.

Others to also be praying for: Shirley Davis, A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jon Newman, and Roger Montgomery
   ——————–

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:
7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (June 2, 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) Delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4) (Mike Johnson)
2) Must A Thing Be Prohibited (C.R. Nichol)
3) News & Notes
——————–

psa119_16

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Delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4)
Mike Johnson

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Do you delight in the Lord?  The Psalmist, thought to be David, said this is what we are to do. The word found in the original (anag) carries with it the idea of something delicate or soft that someone would take pleasure in (The Complete Word Study Dictionary). Here it involves the idea of taking pleasure and delight in God.  The verse says, “delight yourself,” so there is a choice involved and the concept of effort and commitment.

What does it mean today to take delight in something or someone?  It involves the idea of being excited (thrilled, energized) when people are doing what they really want to do or when they are with someone they really love.  What do you take great delight in today?  Many take great delight in sports.  They cannot wait for the season to start, and they eagerly anticipate the start of the big game.  When the game is over, they talk about it with others.  Truly, they delight in sports.  Others may delight in television, wealth, shopping, eating, or their computer. It is good to have various hobbies and endeavors we enjoy.  Primarily, however, as the text says, we should delight in the Lord!  For us, God produces delight, pleasure, and happiness.  If we delight in the Lord, the result should be a joyful interest in things of a spiritual nature.

Consider as an example King David. He was truly a person who delighted in the Lord for much of his life. Consider the various ways he showed this delight.

1.  BY DOING GOD’S WILL – David wrote in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” (Note also Psa. 16:8-9.)  It would be very difficult for a person to delight in the Lord if he were not actively involved in obeying Him.  A person in sin and rebellion often does not even feel comfortable having a conversation about God.  Sin puts a “cloud” over his relationship with God.  If we are going to delight in the Lord, we must have an earnest desire to obey Him and be willing to turn away from sin.

2.  BY MEDITATING ON THE SCRIPTURES – He wrote in Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.” How much do we think about the Scriptures? Are our thoughts about the Scriptures just confined to church services?  When we “delight in the Lord,” we will think about God’s Law often.

3.  BY BEING ABSORBED IN HIS WORD – David also wrote Psalm 119, which focuses very much on the Word of God.  In verse 16, he stated, “I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”  In verse 47, he said, “And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.” (Please also note verses 24, 35, and 77.)  Are our minds more absorbed with politics, sports, and entertainment than with God’s Word?  If people delight in the Lord, they should be, as we say today, “all about” the Scriptures.

4.  BY PRAYING – In Psalm 55:16-17 he said, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” David prayed regularly. It would seem reasonable that if we take delight in the Lord, we would pray a lot, i.e. we would want to communicate with our Creator.  In the New Testament, we are told to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17), and to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).

5.  BY ASSEMBLING – In Psalm 122:1, David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’”  In Psalm 16:11, he said, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Note also Isa. 58:13-14 where the writer called the Sabbath Day a “delight.”)  A person who delights in the Lord will assemble for worship.

  6.  BY SINGING PRAISES – In Psalm 59:16, he points out, “But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble.” Singing is a command (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16), but it is a great opportunity for worship, and we should be “delighted” to sing praises to God.

Going back to verse 4b, we see a blessing attached to delighting in the Lord.  It says if we trust in the Lord, He will give us the “desires of our heart.”  Some interpret this to mean if we trust in the Lord, He will give us anything we want such as luxuries, wealth, and power. However, this is not talking about superficial earthly desires to have more.  I Timothy 6:6 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”  I John 2:15-17 points out we are not to love the world or the things in the world. The passage in our text is consistent with the New Testament teaching on prayer. In the New Testament, we are given assurances regarding prayer (Mt. 7:7-11), but we also learn there are conditions of acceptable prayer (I Pet. 3:12, James 5:16-18). It is not saying if we delight in the Lord, He will give us any luxury we ask for.  Instead, as in the New Testament, God knows our needs, we pray to Him, and His response will be in keeping with what is best for us.

We have a tendency to get discouraged. We see moral decay with little interest in spirituality.  Perhaps the stock market is down, the economy is bad, and we see war and violence throughout the world. This bleakness can result in despair, but regardless of what is happening around us, we should always delight in the Lord.  Corrie ten Boom put it like this.

Look around, you’ll be distressed.
Look within, you’ll be depressed,
Look to the Lord, you’ll be at rest.

Thus, do not get angry and envious because of the prosperity of evil people; instead, rejoice in the Lord. Delighting in the Lord is not just something we say we do.  If we delight in Him, it will be seen by our attitude and by our lives.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 9, May 2019
——————–

Deut4_2

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Must A Thing Be Prohibited?
C.R. Nichol

Some think they are at liberty to introduce anything into God’s worship, providing God has not, in so many words, prohibited it. This is evidently a mistake. Such a plan of procedure would open the flood gates for innumerable innovations. On this principle every kind of food and drink might be brought into the Lord’s supper, and burning incense might be added to the worship. We must remember that law is inclusive and exclusive, including the things commanded and excluding all things else. This principle is too well known to need argument. Besides, in religious matters God alone has the right to guide men, and when man undertakes to add forms of service or worship not authorized by God’s law, he assumes prerogatives which belong exclusively to God. He is presuming to take the office of God; one who has proper reverence for God so regards him.

– via The Beacon, April 21, 2019
——————–

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News & Notes

Folks to be keeping in prayer:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Tommy Lindsey (Tory McCarthy’s grandfather) who passed away yesterday at 5:30 p.m.

Our sympathies also go out to the family of 3-year-old Kayleigh Tanner, and all the bereaved.  Since April 7, she had been in the children’s hospital in Atlanta, battling cancer, and of which she already had previous surgeries for.  But on last Thursday, her spirit left her little body; and we can be assured that she is now in a much better place! For Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me…for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14, ESV).

The spinal surgery for three-year-old Waylon Murray went well.  He will soon begin physical therapy to see if the operation will now allow him to walk.

Melotine Davis’ back surgery is less than 2 weeks away —  June 13.

Bud Montero recently had an MRI, but probably won’t hear of the result until his next appointment in July, unless something shows up of a serious nature.

Others to also be praying for: Shirley Davis, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Rick Cuthbertson, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
——————–

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:
7 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 26, 2019)

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

Contents:

1) The Time Given Us (John R. Gibson)
2) Your Wreckage Can Be Repaired (Gary Henry)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Esther before Ahasuerus 2

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The Time Given Us
John R. Gibson

In his epic novel depicting a great struggle between good and evil, J.R. R. Tolkien narrates the following conversation about the evil threat of Sauron.

‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’ Lord of the Rings, p. 50

Do we not often find ourselves like Frodo in wishing we lived in a different time, under different circumstances? Those who struggled to support their families during the Great Depression surely longed for the “good old days” of economic prosperity. With our current economic situation, how many young people are wishing they could have entered the work force at a different time? It can be depressing to think about the cultural and moral decline that has taken place in this country over the last fifty years or so. Despite the clear teachings of Scripture, fornication, adultery, divorce, and illegitimacy are everywhere (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Matthew 19:3-9). Like the Gentile world of the first century many Americans have refused to retain God in their knowledge, thus paving the way for the grossest forms of immorality to become accepted (Romans 1:20-32).

Technologically there has never been a better time to live, but there are so many things around us that we wish had not happened in our time. One can hardly leave the house without being bombarded with sensual dress, coarse language, and a general lack of respect for what was once known as common decency. Even among the most devoutly religious today, the truth of God that can set one free from the bondage of sin (John 8:32; 17:17) has been replaced with a subjective standard that encourages people to “serve God” by doing whatever seems appropriate to them. For many, religion is a product of the human mind (cf. 1 Kings 12:26-33) to be enjoyed on Sundays with little real impact on morals, business ethics, politics, family life, etc.

We could go on and on and include such things as the ever present threat of terrorism, but hopefully the point has been established. Now, what are we to do when we honestly assess the time we live in and the situations we face? Are we to sit and lament, wishing it were a different time and circumstance or realize that we cannot control when we live, but only how we live?

I imagine Elijah would have preferred to live in the days of David rather than the evil time of Ahab, but in the days of Ahab and Jezebel he was a mighty force for good. No devout Jew could have wanted to spend his adult life serving a foreign oppressor, but that was the time and circumstance in which Daniel found himself. Daniel may have wished it was different, but that didn’t stop him from faithfully serving God.

It had to have been difficult for Timothy to read the warnings of Paul that departures from the faith were inevitable (1 Timothy 4:1-3), perilous times were coming (2 Timothy 3:1-5), and the time was nearing when many would lose interest in sound preaching (2 Timothy 4:3, 4). We cannot know how Timothy felt about the times he would face, but we do know what Paul urged him to do and that was serve God and preach His word in the time that was given him.

The saints at Smyrna lived in a time of poverty and tribulation and had to live with the threats of imprisonment and death, but the words of Jesus were not, “Lament that you live in such a time.” Instead, the Lord exhorted and promised, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

No doubt there are certain times that are more difficult economically, culturally, politically, morally, and religiously, but we need to accept the fact that the time in which we find ourselves is the time in which we must live and serve our God.

If we live in the days of an Ahab, then let’s resolve to be an Elijah. We don’t have to agree with every government policy to be an influential Daniel. It is easy to get discouraged about America’s general lack of interest in spiritual things, but when faced with a similar challenge Paul exhorted Timothy to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). That people do not realize their need for the gospel does not change the fact that they need it. As with the saints of Smyrna, we may see hard times economically and we may face oppression from the forces of evil, but the Lord holds out the same promise to us as He did to them. If we are faithful in this time in which we live, the crown of life will be ours.

Rather than say with Frodo, “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” why not say with Mordecai, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

— Via The Auburn Beacon, November 11, 2012
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Your Wreckage Can Be Repaired
Gary Henry

“…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:15,16).

UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, SAUL OF TARSUS BECAME A RADICALLY DIFFERENT MAN. The change was not superficial or temporary; it was deep and lasting. And later, writing now as Paul the apostle, he could offer himself as an example to prove just how sinful a person can be and still be saved by the gospel: “I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” If the prosecutor’s charge is that a truly wicked person can never change, Paul is “Exhibit A” to the contrary. He is a courage-giving example to anyone who has ever worried that they might be a hopeless case or a lost cause.

Most people, if they’re honest, know what it’s like to struggle with deeply ingrained character flaws. As we struggle to remove these flaws, we become frustrated. In time, we may come to doubt that real change is even possible. Sometimes we start thinking that way because we’ve been influenced by a determinism which says that at birth we are already “determined” — i.e., whatever we are, that’s what we’ll always be. At other times, we may be plagued with a victim mentality. We see ourselves as the victims of circumstances and influences that are more than we can handle.

My suspicion, however, is that most of the time our problem is just plain discouragement. The devil fights against us with a war of attrition; he keeps coming back, coming back, and coming back, trying to wear us down. After a while, our cause looks like it’s lost.

But the great hope of the gospel is that, while life lasts, none of us is a lost cause. Our defeats need not be final. Our failures need not be fatal. Real change for the better is always possible.

Whoever you are, my friend, believe this: your wreckage can be repaired. If God can turn a fire-breathing, murderous Pharisee into the great apostle of grace, he can surely help you get pointed in the right direction. Your fate is not fixed, and you’re not just a victim. You are a living person capable of great growth.

“When you feel that all is lost, sometimes the greatest gain is ready to be yours” (Thomas à Kempis).

— Via WordPoints, March 14, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be keeping in prayer:

Tommy Lindsey (Tory McCarthy’s grandfather) was sent home a couple weeks ago, where he is now receiving Hospice Care.

Waylon Murray (a 3-year old) will be having surgery on his spine this Tuesday for cerebral palsy.  They will be clipping inactive nerves in hopes of helping him walk. He also cannot talk.

Melotine Davis’ back surgery is less than 3 weeks away —  June 13.

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

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:
7 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 sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (May 19, 2019)

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

Contents:

1) The Letter to the Ephesians (Brad Toy)
2) Carnal or Spiritual? (Wayne Goff)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Eph1_3

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The Letter to the Ephesians
Brad Toy

The letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus is truly an amazing letter. It speaks of unity, eternal matters, things that are now revealed that had been hidden for thousands of years, ways of marriage, and even spiritual warfare. And this letter is unique in that Paul does not address any problems or errors that are occurring there. The message is simply one that speaks of profound theological truths and then how to apply those truths to our everyday Christian living (our walk). With all this letter has to offer, consider just one part of this brilliant text.

Paul erupts with this praise statement, “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3). He then goes on to note at least 15 areas where the Christian is blessed because of being in Christ! Fifteen areas! Here are the list and note these incalculable gifts the child of God has by being “in Christ” (1:4-14):

–just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

–having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

–to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved,

–In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

–having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

–that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, in Him.

–In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

–In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

This letter is amazing, awe-inspiring and at the same time extremely humbling. Why would God bestow such rich gifts to such unworthy people? Let us be thankful, grateful and praise Him, as Paul did, and live each day in honor of such incredible blessings.

— Via the Fort Logan church of Christ, Stanford, Kentucky, December 14, 2017
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Carnal or Spiritual?
Wayne Goff

The apostle Paul stresses in Romans 8 that those who are “in Christ Jesus” should “not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (v. 1). Every Christian would give lip service to the concept, but perhaps a little self-reflection would be worthwhile for all of us!

“The Things Of The Flesh”

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh…” (Rom. 8:5). Robertson L. Whiteside had this to say on the subject:

“To mind the things of the flesh is to give our time and attention to the things of this life. To do so is to leave God and our eternal welfare out of consideration. We need to be careful, for it is easy for us in our struggles to make a living to forget God and look only to our material interests…” [Commentary on Romans, pp. 171-172].

You see from his comment that one can mind “the things of the flesh” to the neglect of his spiritual well-being, and that constitutes a “carnal person”! I’m afraid that we too often think of someone who is committing those terrible sins of fornication, adultery, drug addiction, etc. as being the carnal ones. In fact, a person who seems to be very good in the eyes of the world, and sometimes in our eyes, could be very carnal!

Remember the parable of a certain rich man in Luke 12:16-21? He was rich, a successful farmer, with a bountiful crop, who wisely(?) chose to store his additional crops in bigger barns and then take his ease and eat, drink and be merry. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Jesus did and said as much. God took his life that very night and his “soul would be required” of him — then whose will those things be? Jesus’ warning to us: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21)! This is the “carnal man” of Romans 8! He is not a bad person in the eyes of the world, but he is spiritually destitute while he takes care of the things of this life only. Americans should take note of this because it is our besetting sin.

“The Things Of The Spirit”

“…But those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). Whiteside went on to say this:

“…To mind the things of the spirit is to look to the  the things that fit the spirit for acceptable service to God in this life and that will prepare it for the joys of the next life.”

So those who live according to the spirit mind the things that pertain to the Spirit’s instructions in  God’s Word, 1 Corinthians 2:9-12. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians that no man knows the things of God except the Spirit of God, Who was given to the apostles for the revelation of the mind of God!

Those who “live according to the Spirit” read, study, understand, and follow these things! Paul even warned in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The “natural man” of this passage is the same as the “carnal” (worldly) man of Romans 8!

“Spiritually-Discerned”?

Yes, “spiritually-discerned” means a disciple of Christ has taken the time to develop a taste and ability to understand God’s Word. He begins as a babe in Christ who drinks spiritual “milk” (1 Pet. 2:2). As he matures, he eats the meatier things of the Word (Heb. 5:12-14). The Christian who thinks he is “spiritual” should ask himself exactly how much he studies, understands and practices God’s Word? I’m afraid there are too many malnourished believers who have not even considered whether or not they are “spiritual” according to Romans 8. Let this brief article be an “eye-opener” for you.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 19, Page 2, May 12, 2019
——————–

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News & Notes

Folks to be keeping in prayer:

Due to not sleeping well, Shirley Davis underwent a sleep-study last Tuesday which revealed sleep apnea that she is now using a device for and is attributing that with her recent hoarseness. She was also in the ER on May 5th, due to her first time with UTI.  Also, a second skin graft was done on the heel of her right foot, which should heal in about 2 weeks.  The medication she is on leaves her feeling weak. Her doctor wants her to keep weight off her right leg (with its bad knee), so she uses a walker.

Bud Montero’s checkup last week showed that he still is without any of the symptoms of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Melotine Davis is scheduled for back surgery on June 13.

Due to the amount and its effect, Rick Cuthbertson will be taking a break from his chemo for a while.

Others to also be praying for: Pat & 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,  Tommy Lin, Jon Newman, and Jeannette King.
——————–

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:
7 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 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).
——————–

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
——————–

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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rom5_8b

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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).
——————–

psa39_5

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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)

 

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
——————–

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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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
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday
services:9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon)