The Gospel Observer (September 16, 2018)

Contents:

1) Jesus Emptied Himself: A Basic Approach (Doy Moyer)
2) How Does the Spirit “Bear Witness?” (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
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Phil2_5-7

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Jesus Emptied Himself: A Basic Approach
Doy Moyer

That Jesus “emptied himself” is not a debatable issue (Phil. 2:6-7). Of what he emptied himself, or exactly what that phrase means, has been an ancient debate. What I have to offer here may not solve any controversies, but I hope it will give some food for thought.

1. Any position which effectively destroys the deity of Jesus is wrong. This is the effect of the position that teaches Jesus gave up his divine attributes and characteristics. Those who teach this need to explain how Jesus could remain God while giving up the nature of God. The nature of something is the attributes and characteristics that make it what it is. If Jesus did not have the nature of God, he was not God (see Gal. 4:8).

2. The text does not say that Jesus emptied himself “of” anything. When we add “of” to the phrase, and then start enumerating upon what all he supposedly gave up to come to earth, we are not being faithful to the text. We are reading into the text what it does not say. As opposed to being “full of” himself (a modern idiom), he “emptied himself.” He did not empty himself “of” a bunch of things.

3. To insist that “emptied himself” should be taken literally to mean that Jesus had to dump something out of himself before he could take something else on is a misuse of the text. The text says, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant.” That is self-explanatory. His taking on servanthood was a self-emptying act.

4. A good comparison can be made with Isaiah 53, a text describing the suffering Servant. Note in verse 12 the phrase, “He poured out himself to death.” Does that not have a striking resemblance to “emptied himself,” and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:7-8)? As the suffering Servant, he emptied himself, poured himself out even to death.

5. The context of Philippians 2 itself shows what it means by the phrase “emptied himself.” Paul’s point of the text is to urge the brethren to be of the same mind, to be united and intent on one purpose (v. 2). To accomplish this, he instructs: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (vv. 3-4). These are the instructions, but how does one do this? “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (v. 5). To reach the point of selflessness, one must look to Jesus. Why? Because he is the perfect example of these instructions. Though he himself is God, while on earth he did not grasp after his godhood by trying to exercise his own independent will apart from the Father (“did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”). Rather, he “emptied himself,” which is the perfect phrase to describe the attitude of verses 3-4.

So what does it mean that Jesus “emptied himself”? Jesus Christ, in his role of the Servant, did nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but in lowliness of mind he regarded others as more important than himself. He looked out for the personal interests of others. How did he do this? Ultimately, by dying on the cross.

So, Paul’s point is that, as Jesus emptied himself, so must we all empty ourselves. It is simply another way of saying that we need to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), for this is what Jesus did when he fulfilled his mission for a lost world. He set himself aside so that everything he did was selfless. Mark says it this way: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). These passages say the same thing.

6. The idea that Jesus emptied himself of attributes and characteristics is completely foreign to Paul’s argument. He points to Jesus as our example of self-humiliation. If Jesus emptied out of himself a bunch of attributes, then how can we follow this example? We can’t divest ourselves of our human nature any more than he could divest his divine nature. The line of reasoning that Paul uses to say that we should be selfless becomes meaningless through such an interpretation. It is an attitude that he is teaching.

7. Very simply, then, the text tells us that we should empty ourselves. We should deny ourselves, doing nothing out of selfishness. We do this by taking the attitude of Jesus, the supreme example of self-denial. He emptied himself. As a servant, he completely submitted to the Father and poured out himself unto death. Afterwards, he was exalted. If we, too, will humble ourselves in like manner, God promises that we will be exalted (Jas. 4:10).

— Via The Auburn Beacon, June 4, 2017, Volume 8, Issue 38
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Eph6_17b

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How Does the Spirit “Bear Witness?”
Greg Gwin

Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The big question is, of course, how does He do this?

There are many that would suggest that the Spirit “bears witness” by means of some better-felt-than-told experience. Usually we are given an account of some episode that left the person with an overwhelming emotional feeling. Because of this experience the person claims salvation and is certain that it was the work of the Spirit that caused it all to happen.

There are some problems with this approach. First, as we study cases of conversion in the New Testament, we find not a single case of an individual who was saved through such an experience. In cases where individuals actually had supernatural “experiences,” they still had to hear the Word and obey its commands. (Saul – Acts 9; Cornelius – Acts 10; the Jailer – Acts 16, etc.)

Also, we are puzzled by the fact that various individuals who claim to have experienced this confirmation of the Spirit have differing views on fundamental doctrinal issues. We wonder how that could be if they are truly receiving some action directly from the Holy Spirit. Do you see the problem?

So, how does the Spirit “bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God?” How can we have this confidence and confirmation of the Spirit?

The Holy Spirit through inspiration produced the written word of God. When we compare our lives with that perfect revelation, we are able to see if we have done those things that are commanded in order to be a child of God. Have you believed (Heb. 11:6), repented of sins (Lk. 13:3), confessed faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and been baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)? Do you continue to faithfully serve the Lord (Rev. 2:10)? If so, the Spirit “bears witness” through the Scriptures that you are a child of God.

– Via The Beacon, September 11, 2018
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News & Notes

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Rick Hadley (Anita Young’s brother) who passed away September 13.  Let us remember all his family and friends in prayer.

Let us also include in our prayers the loved ones of Bob Pennock (Marie Pennock’s brother-in-law) who had also recently passed away.

Let us pray that a cure will be found for Jim Lively who has been having health difficulties, such as collagenous colitis, since his open heart surgery back in July 2016.

Let us also be remembering our shut-ins: Shirley Davis and Mary Vandevander.

Also for prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Mary Aldrich, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, and Michelle Rittenhouse.

We are glad to now have Gary and Barbara Thompson with us!
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

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The Gospel Observer (September 9, 2011)

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

1) Divine Authority and Human Relations (Connie W. Adams)
2) News & Notes
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relationships

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Divine Authority and Human Relations
Connie W. Adams

When Satan tempted Jesus to make stones into bread, Jesus responded by saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). This was a reference to the incident recorded in Deuteronomy 8 when God gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness. He gave specific instructions as to how much to gather for a day’s supply. Any more than that would breed worms and stink and they could not use it. They were to look beyond the actual manna to the source of their very existence. God was their provider and they were answerable to him. So it is in all human relations. The God who made the world and who made us has the right to command, to direct, and to enforce obedience. He also has the right to enact punishment upon the disobedient.

Order in the Family

Concerning the family Jesus said, “Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage was created by God, even as he created the universe and set in motion the laws by which it is ordered. As God made man and determined the bounds of his habitation, even so God made marriage and set in motion the laws by which it functions. Notice that “at the beginning” he made them male and female. That denies evolution, even the theistic brand. Both male and female were distinctly formed by God and that was done “at the beginning.”

Notice further that in marriage male and female become one. There is a perfect and intimate union of mind, soul, and body. They function not as adversaries, or competitors, but with one heart and soul. This union is a divine creation and it is just as damaging to disregard that as it is to reject God’s authority in the natural creation. For man to “put asunder” what “God hath joined together” is to invite great harm upon this relationship. The balance of moral behavior is poised upon the permanence and stability of God’s divine order for the family. To “put asunder” what God has joined together is to tear down the basic unit of all orderly human society. No wonder such violation of divine authority results in broken hearts, devastated children, rebellious behavior, hatred, and every evil work. Malice, bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred, lying, cheating, stealing, and murder often follow in the wake of man’s presumption in tearing apart what God joined together.

There is something else here worthy of note and that is that marriage is more than a social or civil ceremony. While the customs and laws of man require certain things which validate a marriage in any given culture (and devout people ought to respect such things), it is God who creates the bond. Only divinely expressed authority can sever that. Death severs this bond (Rom. 7:1-3). In the context of the passage we are considering (Matt. 19), Jesus taught that fornication grants the injured party the right to put away the guilty (v. 9). But while we debate the exception, let it not be forgotten that there is a rule here. It is simply that God created marriage. He establishes the bond and man is not to put it asunder. Any violation of what he taught about it flaunts divine authority. That cannot be done without a price to pay.

Order in the Civil Government

The same divine power that created the universe, made man in his image, designed the family and fashioned the laws by which each of these is ordered, designed civil government for the good of mankind. “Let every soul be subject to the higher power, for there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:1). Without specifying any one form of civil rule over another, God still ordained “the powers that be.” By divine authority they function. Peter clearly stated the design of civil government. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (1 Pet. 2:13-14).

It is the duty of civil rulers to “punish the evil doers.” Lawbreakers, the rebellious, those who do not respect the rule of law, are not to be tolerated. They are to be punished. In every dispensation this principle is revealed. In Genesis 9:6 God said, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” It is this same principle revealed in the law of Moses which contained over 30 instances in which capital punishment was to be inflicted. Ezra spelled out the demand for punishment upon the law-breakers, showing the punishment suited to the seriousness of the crime. “And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment” (Ezra 7:26). Note that whatever punishment was to be administered to suit the nature of the crime, it was to be done “speedily” (KJV, NKJV). The New American Standard Version reads “strictly.” There was to be no dalliance. The offender was not to “get off.” The punishment was exact, determined beforehand according to the offense and it was to be executed with speed. Solomon added that failure to carry out sentence against an evil work “speedily” would cause the hearts of men to be set on evil (Eccl. 8:11). Is strict punishment a deterrent to crime? The Lord thought so and revealed it through inspired men. The whole debate on this issue now springs from a lack of respect for the divine authority of the Almighty.

In the New Testament, Paul said the civil ruler is “the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:4). The civil ruler has a “sword,” a weapon of force. Who gave it to him? By what right does he use it? “He is the minister of God, a revenger, to execute wrath on him that doeth evil.” Civil law exercised without prompt and certain punishment for those who violate that law, opens the door to anarchy. When policemen are stripped of power, when the system is rigged in favor of the criminal and his “rights” transcend those of his victims, then justice is perverted and an escalation in crime is inevitable. When cases are decided without regard to the evidence and verdicts are based on emotion in spite of clear evidence, then the rule of law has suffered a serious blow.

Peter said the rulers are also to “praise those who do well.” The rights and safety of those who are submissive to law must be secured by rulers. The greatest asset which law enforcement has is the presence of God-fearing, law-abiding citizens who are not only concerned with their “rights” but the “rights” of others as well. People who pay their debts, go to work on time, work hard, and observe the laws (whether the speed limit, the requirement for hunting or fishing licenses), rear decent and honorable children, and who practice the Golden Rule are benefactors to the powers that be. They ought to be encouraged in right doing. Any time laws are slanted to punish people for doing right, then God’s will is not done. When married people are taxed at a higher rate than those who simply “live together” then evil is encouraged and those who do well are disadvantaged. Instead of mocking and working to punish those who live by the law, not just out of fear of punishment, but because they believe this to be the will of God, civil rulers ought to protect and praise those who do well, as Peter said. Something surely is out of whack in these times! What is the real problem? It is disrespect for God who authorized civil government.

— Via Navarre Messenger, May 21, 2017
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Bob Pennock (Marie Pennock’s brother-in-law) who recently passed away.

Melotine Davis had not been feeling well.

Jim Lively has continued to have health difficulties since his surgery back in July 2016.

Let us also be remembering our shut-ins: Shirley Davis and Mary Vandevander.

Also for prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Mary Aldrich, Richard Kristianson, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, and Michelle Rittenhouse.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (September 2, 2018)

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

1) Predestination (Kelly Ellis)
2) Jesus Washed Feet, Should We? (J.F. Dancer)
3) Who Is Your Father? (Wayne Goff)
4) Does God Tempt Man? (Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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2Pe3_9b

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Predestination
Kelly Ellis

The Calvinistic concept of the predestination of men — apart from their will and choice — issues from the false assumption that men are “born in sin” having inherited the original sin of Adam; and, “being wholly inclined to evil,” with no good in them, such a condition required an “unconditional election” on the part of God. This election limited the atonement of Christ to the “elect,” who are saved by the “irresistible grace of God,” and will therefore, never be able to forfeit their right to eternal life. On the other hand, all who are not of the “elect” are completely shut off from the grace of God that He has extended to all men through Christ, and are eternally consigned to damnation and separation from God in the world to come. This doctrine stands opposed to New Testament teaching on at least 5 points:

1. It makes God a respecter of persons in that He has predestinated some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation: this is contrary to the very nature of God (Romans 2:11; Deuteronomy 32:4).

2. It makes God responsible for the loss of souls in hell; but the New Testament teaches that He is not “willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). He “would have all men to be saved” (I Timothy 2:4).

3. It destroys man’s power of choice. If my destiny is already sealed, there is nothing I can do to change it; I have no choice open to me, and my will cannot be exercised in any way whatever. However, the Bible says, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15), and the “Spirit and the bride say, Come … and whosoever WILL, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).  Jesus said, “If any man WILL” (John 7:17).

4. It nullifies the commission of Christ (Mark 16:15-16). If one’s eternal destiny has already been determined by the Father, why preach to him?

5. The whole system makes man an irresponsible being. If man is born in sin, if he is a sinner by birth, he is not responsible for those transgressions. But man does not inherit sin — he commits it (Ezekiel 18:1-24). This passage also teaches that man does not inherit righteousness; he does it.

— via Eastside church of Christ, December 31, 2017
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Jesus Washed Feet, Should We?
J.F. Dancer

In John 13, after Jesus had instituted the Lord’s Supper, we find that he washed his disciples’ feet (vs. 4-16). Many times the question arises, “Since Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, should we not wash one another’s feet?” Some in the denominational world have used this as justification to have a “foot washing service” as a part of the worship to God.

Washing feet is also mentioned in Luke 7 where a woman washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Then it is mentioned in 1 Timothy 5 as one of the deeds that would characterize some widows.

The usual mode of travel in Jesus’ day was walking. The roads and pathways were usually dusty. One of the signs of hospitality in that time was to wash (or, have a servant to wash) the feet of a guest when they arrived in your house. This seems to be the thought in Luke 7 and seems to be given as a symbol of hospitality in 1 Timothy 5. It is certain that the lesson Jesus taught in John 13 was that of humility and service.

Saints still need to be humble in the sight of God (James 4:10) and in this humility be willing to do anything they can to relieve the distress of another — including washing their body (not just feet). We should show hospitality to those who visit us, but washing another’s feet is not necessarily the only way to manifest this. And, we all (not just widows) should be active in doing good deeds.

To go through a ceremony of washing another’s feet when they don’t need washing is NOT a show of humility nor godliness. So far as I can see it is NOT something to be done in worship to God.

Let us leave it as the Bible does — a symbol of hospitality and good works. Let us manifest hospitality in other ways and do all good works expected by God — but let us not fall into a ritual of washing feet in applying the Scripture improperly.

– Via The Beacon (from the Collegevue church of Christ), June 27, 2017
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Who Is Your Father?
Wayne Goff

I would suppose that it goes without saying that most, if not all, of us know who our earthly father is. But who is your spiritual Father?

If you’re reading this article, then you would probably say that God is your spiritual Father. That’s the right answer, but how do you know for sure? The Jewish enemies of Jesus claimed that Jehovah was their Father, but Jesus denied it and said that the Devil was their father! What a difference that is! So let’s suggest a few proofs that tell us who is really your father:

If God is your Father, then you trust Him with all your heart. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). While Jesus was on earth in a position of subservience, He learned to put His trust in the Father (Hebrews 2:13). We must do the same.

If God is your Father, then you believe what He says.  Jesus said, “He who is of God hears God’s words…” (Jn. 8:47). It is not enough to say that God is our Father, we must demonstrate it by that in which we believe.

If God is your Father, then you delight in His company. “Therefore submit to God. … Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you doubleminded” (James 4:7a, 8). God’s house of worship is your delight: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1).

If God is your Father, then you strive to be like Him. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).

There are other proofs of sonship, but these are sufficient to give you something by which to examine yourselves. Who IS your father?

— Via articles of the Roanridge church of Christ, June 17, 2018
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Does God Tempt Man?
Tom Edwards

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone” (James 1:13, NASB).

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham…” (Gen. 22:1, KJV).

The above verses might sound to be contradicting each other, but not when we understand how the word “tempt” is being used.

Though we probably think of the word to primarily involve the tempting of someone to do evil, it also has an obsolete meaning, according to Webster, of “to try or test.” In that sense, we can easily think of God who did not tempt Abraham to do wrong, but was testing him to see if he would do right.

Many modern Bible translations render the Hebrew word for “tempt” as “tested” (or another form of that word) in Genesis 22:1. For the particular Hebrew word for it (H5254) is primarily defined as “to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test” (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions).
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News & Notes

People to continue remembering in prayer:

Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) has now been in the hospital about 3.5 weeks, due to a bursting of the bowels.  She is recovering, but slowly.  Her transference to a rehabit clinic September 5 lasted only one day before she had to return to the hospital.

Seeing a chiropractor does bring some relief to Baxter Cribbs for maybe 1 to 3 days.  He has been suffering pain in his back for the last couple months because of a nerve on a spinal disc.

Richard Kristianson (Marie Pennock’s youngest brother) has been dealing with pancreatic cancer for about 5 years, having tried various treatments.  Lately, he has been having a little more difficulty with it.

After going to the ER three times, following  hernia surgery (Aug. 9), and developing a new problem (Aug. 25-29) that kept me rather sleep-deprived for 5 days and 4 nights, I (Tom Edwards) finally started feeling better again and was able to have a good night’s rest on the night of the 29th and 30th., though I’m still having to use a catheter.  UPDATE: On September 10, I learned that I also have a urinary track infection which I am now on medication for.  I’m hoping and praying that eliminating the infection will also eliminate the need for the catheter.  My next appointment with the urologist will be September 19, and I will found out, after that, if I can do without it.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (paralysis of all but one arm), Rick Hadley (congestive heart failure), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), the friends and family of Minnie Lanier (Bennie’s sister who recently passed away), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock (still sore from a recent fall), Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, Misty 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)
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 (August 26, 2018)

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

1) Living with Guilt (Dan Gatlin)
2) News & Notes
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psa32_1

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Living With Guilt
Dan Gatlin

Do different sins carry different consequences? Well, that depends on how we look at it. From a spiritual perspective the answer is no. The Bible tells us that all sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). Though man distinguishes between “big sins” and “little sins,” the New Testament does not. James writes, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (2:10-11). James is not saying that the murderer is also guilty of adultery, rather, that one stands before God as either forgiven or condemned. In our courts, if someone is convicted of stealing he cannot successfully argue, “I should be set free because I have never murdered, committed arson, or assaulted anyone.” We stand before the judge as either innocent or a violator of the law. Violating even one law, though we keep the rest, makes us guilty.

From the standpoint of church discipline all sin should carry the same consequence. It matters not whether a Christian is guilty of gossip, forsaking the assembly, fornication, or teaching false doctrine, if they refuse to repent (1 Jn. 5:16-17), discipline should follow (2 Thess. 3:6-15).

But the simple fact is that different sins can vary widely in their earthly consequences. One who repents of a “little white lie” (if there is such a thing) may immediately regain his reputation. But the young woman who repents of fornication may find herself with a child to raise. Both may be forgiven, but the consequence of the latter endures while the former is more easily forgotten.

The alcoholic/drug addict may destroy every important relationship he has. Family, friends, and neighbors, may all abandon him, yet if he “comes to himself” (Lk. 15:17) he can find forgiveness with God. His other relationships may never be repaired. The adulterer may find himself divorced and in a position where he can never remarry (as far as God’s law is concerned), but he also can obtain God’s forgiveness. Loneliness as a “single” may be the price he has to pay to be acceptable to God and to gain eternal life.

Living with the consequences of sins like these serve as a daily reminder of those sins. While God and man may forgive us, forgiving ourselves may be much more difficult. David wrote, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me” (Ps. 51:3). While God forgave him (2 Sam. 12:13), his guilty conscience continued to plague him. How can we deal with the guilt associated with the consequences of such sins? God’s word provides the answer.

1. Devote Yourself Completely To God. Being “double-minded” (James. 1:8) is how most Christians become entangled in sin in the first place. We cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Jesus warned, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24). Those who try to live a double life will eventually find themselves in a situation where they have to make a choice between living as the world and living righteously.

Consider the words of Paul in Gal. 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul’s life was not his own, it was entirely dedicated to Christ. The statement, “I have been crucified with Christ,” is explained in Gal. 5:24, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” One does not have to be an apostle or preacher for these statements to apply to them. All must set aside their desires and do those things that are pleasing to God. The degree of our devotion to God is expressed by Paul, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17). “Whatever you do in word or deed” is all encompassing, everything we say and do must comply with His word. God expects us to serve Him every day. We must pray (1 Thess. 5:17), study (Acts 17:11), and meditate (Phil. 4:8; Ps. 1:1-2) each day. Without taking such “drastic” action, we leave ourselves open to Satan’s attacks. Overcoming Satan’s snares takes preparation, discipline, and work.

2. Make Corrections Where You Can. Part of repentance includes restitution. We can’t rob a bank on Friday, be converted on Sunday, and decide to keep the money on Monday. Zacchaeus told Jesus, “if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Lk. 19:8). While we can’t always make restitution for our sins, we can express sorrow for our sins and show by our life that we have changed. This is what John and Paul meant by the phrase, “fruits of repentance” (Matt. 8:3; Acts 26:20). If we make changes in our spiritual lives, others can’t help but see it (1 Pet. 4:3-5; Eph. 2:1-10).

3. Recognize That God Forgives You. Even if we don’t feel forgiven, we can know that we are. Of course, such knowledge comes only after we have repented, and only by trusting in God’s promise to forgive. Unfortunately, our emotions don’t always fall in line with our intellect. The apostle John wrote, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 Jn. 3:20-21). (John is not saying that we can continue in sin and God will overlook it. Why would the apostle who emphasized obedience to the commandments [Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 2:3-4, 3:22, 5:2-3; 2 Jn. 6] deny that obedience here?) We may know that God has forgiven our sins and that we are walking by His commandments, but somehow the feelings of guilt may remain. This is part of what John meant by saying, “if our heart condemns us.” In such cases, God is greater than our hearts. If the guilt subsides so that “our heart does not condemn us,” then we are blessed with “confidence toward God.”

While David felt the guilt of his sin (Ps. 51:3), he also recognized the blessedness of God’s forgiveness. Psalm 51 expresses David’s sorrow over his adultery and murder. In contrast, Psalm 32 expresses his joy over the forgiveness of those sins: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit” (vs. 1-2). The apostle Paul never forgot the fact that he was a persecutor of the church (1 Tim. 1:13). He referred to himself as “the least of the apostles” (1 Cor. 15:9) and “the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8). Yet, even with such guilt he could say, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).

4. Take Responsibility And Accept The Consequences. When God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, Adam took the cowards way out: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12). He blamed Eve and then God when he knowingly chose to sin (1 Tim. 2:14). God has never accepted excuses, and He certainly will not on the day of judgment.

Again, we turn to David as an example. His statement to Nathan was simple, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). The consequence was: “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house”  (2 Sam. 12:10). In years to follow David witnessed the rape of Tamar by Amnon, the murder of Amnon by Absalom, the overthrow of his throne by Absalom, and finally the death of Absalom. No doubt David remembered the words of this prophecy as “the sword” ravaged his family.

5. Use Guilty Feelings Positively. Today men go to great lengths to avoid feeling guilty. Doctors dispense drugs, Psychiatrists and Psychologists try to convince people that their sin is simply an “alternate lifestyle.” But avoiding guilt when we are guilty causes our conscience to become calloused (Eph. 4:17-19). In reality, a tender conscience is a blessing. Consider the good things guilt can do in our lives. First, it should motivate us to live humbly toward God and those we may have sinned against. Humility is the foundational attitude that makes our relationship with God acceptable. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:8-10).

Second, guilt can keep us from further sin by reminding us of the pain we’ve caused God, others, and ourselves. Men are inclined to think of the “passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25) rather than the pain and suffering that later results. By focusing on the consequences of sin, and not its pleasures, we can avoid the trap that is awaiting us.

Third, guilt can remind us of the fate that awaits those who don’t make their lives right with God. “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:21-23). Part of the torment of hell will be remembering the missed opportunities of this life (Lk. 16:25). Let us always make the most of those opportunities while there is still hope.

— Via The Auburn Beacon, August 16, 2015, Volume 6, Issue 41
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Editor’s Note: I would think the part in the above article that says, “Doctors dispense drugs” (to eliminate their patient’s guilty feelings) and “Psychiatrists and Psychologists try to convince people that their sin is simply an ‘alternate lifestyle'” are meant as generalizations, rather than that which would be true of all.
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) has been in the hospital for two and a half weeks, due to her bowels having burst.  She is recovering, but slowly. (UPDATE: After spending more time in the hospital, she was transferred to a rehab clinic September 5, but had to return to the hospital after just one day.)

Baxter Cribbs has been suffering with some continual pain in his back for the last couple months because of a nerve on a spinal disc.  Sometimes it is a little better than others, but never totally gone.

Let us continue to remember the friends and family of Minnie Lanier (Bennie Medlock’s sister) who passed away recently

Richard Kristianson (Marie Pennock’s youngest brother) has been dealing with pancreatic cancer for about 5 years, having tried various treatments.  Lately, he has been having a little more difficulty with it.

Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr.
(Anita Young’s brother) has been in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

I (Tom Edwards) have now been to the ER three times following my inguinal hernia surgery on August 9, due to the severe pain brought on by fluid retention that has required a catheter — even up to now. (UPDATE: On August 5, I had the third catheter removed by my urologist, but had to have another reinstalled later that same day.  I’ll see him again on the 19th for its removal and to find out if I can do without it.  I also heard from the hospital Monday that tests at the ER on August 24 show that I have a urinary track infection, which I am now taking medication for, and hoping that eliminating the infection will also eliminate my need for the catheter.)

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (paralysis of all but one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock (hurt herself from a fall), Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, 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).
——————–

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 (August 19, 2018)

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

1) Jesus: Intolerant, Confrontational, and Exclusionary (Dan Gatlin)
2) News & Notes
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Rom11_22c

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Jesus: Intolerant, Confrontational, and Exclusionary
Dan Gatlin

The typical denominational view of both Father and Son is that “God is love,” and only love. What is so easily forgotten is His severity (Romans 11:22) and wrath (II Thessalonians 1:3-10). Jesus is depicted as quiet, soft-spoken, harmless, almost a wimp (nothing could be further from the truth). The consequence of this one-sided view of Jesus is that while many believe in Him, they no longer fear Him. Yet, Jesus taught that we are to fear Him, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). This tolerant, inclusive, non-condemning Jesus will accept just about any scheme that man will devise or any form of worship so long as it is offered in sincerity. But Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23). Clearly, the ideas that many have about deity are contradicted by the scriptures.

Sadly, this political correctness has crept into the thinking of many Christians, including some who occupy pulpits and are entrusted with the leadership of congregations. For many the motivation is clear, a “cleaned up” Jesus who preaches a “cleaned up” gospel is less offensive and will attract more people. But man’s desire for God to be different than what He actually is does not make it so.

Truths That All Bible Believers Recognize

God is love. This is clearly stated in I John 4: 8, 16. His love for man caused Him to send His Son to die on the cross as a sin sacrifice (John 3:16), while man was an enemy (Romans 5:6-10). Truly, this degree of love is incomprehensible. But the forgotten side is that “the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). These are not conflicting ideas, the two sides make a whole.

God wants all men to be saved. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:3-4). While God offers salvation to all mankind (Titus 2:11) the majority will reject His offer, and God will destroy them (Matthew 10:28; II Thessalonians 1:9).

God is no respecter of persons. The promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) extends to all the nations of the earth. That promise is fulfilled in Christ (Galatians 3:16). Though Christ and His disciples preached primarily to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6), God’s plan after Jesus ascended was that the gospel be preached to all men (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 10 & 11; Ephesians 2:11-16). While salvation is extended to all without partiality, only those in the Lord’s church have accepted the offer (Acts 20:28). All others are lost.

The Side Of Jesus That Is Often Ignored

Jesus Was Intolerant Of Sin And Those Who Promoted It. Much of His time on earth was spent exposing and condemning the sins of the Jewish leadership. He warned His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). Initially the disciples didn’t understand His words. But after Jesus explained, “they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:12). His language in Matthew 23 is among the strongest in all the Bible. He referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as “hypocrites,” “serpents,” “brood of vipers.” He described them as “full of extortion and self-indulgence,” “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” He said that they, “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.” He was intolerant of those who rejected Him after seeing His miracles, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:21-22). Jesus was intolerant of those who set aside God’s law to follow human tradition (Matt. 15:3-9). He did not tolerate “false christs” and “false prophets” (Matthew 24:24). He told the Sadducees that they were “mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).

Jesus’ disciples followed His example of intolerance. The early church did not tolerate the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, they were struck dead (Acts 5:1-11). When the Judaizing teachers came to Antioch, “Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them” (Acts 15:2). When these same false teachers tried to compel circumcision Paul “did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Galatians 2:5). Paul wrote, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). The New Testament occasionally exposed false teachers by name and the error they tried to teach (II Timothy 2:16-18).

The language of the early preachers was similar to that of Jesus in Matthew 23. Stephen called the Jews he was addressing “stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears” and “betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52). The apostle Paul said of Elymas, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10). He referred to the false teachers who would come into the church at Ephesus as “savage wolves” (Acts 20:29). James called some of his readers “adulterers and adulteresses,” “sinners” and “double-minded” (James 4:1-10). Truth should never be given equal weight with error, and the faithful Christian will never tolerate that which opposed to truth.

Jesus Was Confrontational Toward Those Who Knew The Truth But Rejected It. Jesus intentionally provoked the religious leaders of His day. Often the controversy was related to the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17). In Luke 14:1-6 we read, “Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, ‘Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?’ And they could not answer Him regarding these things.”

Jesus also confronted people with the fact that He was deity. After healing a man on the Sabbath we read, “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God”  (John 5:16-18). On another occasion we read, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:58-59).

Preachers in the early church were just as confrontational. After being arrested and released the apostles went right back into the temple preaching the truth (Acts 5:29) contrary to what they had been commanded. To describe Stephen’s sermon (Acts 7) as non-confrontational is to not have a clear grip on reality. When Peter separated himself from Gentile Christians Paul wrote, “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision” (Galatians 2:11-12).

Jesus Excluded Many By His Teaching. It is not that Jesus wants to exclude anyone from salvation. As already stated His offer of forgiveness is extended to all men. But He will exclude those who reject His teachings. Yes, even those who claim to be His disciples. “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:60-66). Jesus recognized that His words were offensive. His follow up comments offended them further. He knew that many of His disciples would no longer follow Him, so why did He say what He did? To exclude those who would not accept His difficult teachings.

Jesus Advocated A Culture Of Obedience

Listen to His words: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28).

— Via La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Minnie Lanier (Bennie Medlock’s sister) who recently passed away.  Five of her children had preceded her in death.

Richard Kristianson (Marie Pennock’s youngest brother) has been dealing with pancreatic cancer for about 5 years, having tried various treatments.  Lately, he has been having a little more difficulty with it.

Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) has been in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

I (Tom Edwards) saw my urologist September 5.  The catheter was removed, but had to be reinstalled later that day.  The doctor told me that the fluid retention problem is not due to the hernia surgery (August 9), but that it is prostate related.  So I am to double the amount of Tamsulosin (“FlowMax”) per day, and then try again in 2 weeks to have the catheter removed to see if I no longer need it.

Baxter Cribbs has been dealing with back pain for the last few weeks, due to a nerve that is being pinched by a disc in his spine; but is now doing better.

Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett’s mother) had been in the hospital for a few weeks, due to her bowels having burst; but was transferred to a rehab unit September 5. She continues to recover, but slowly.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (had a massive brain bleed and is paralyzed, except for one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), Doyle Rittenhouse (healing from surgery of cancer removal), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock (hurt herself from a fall), Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty 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)
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 (August 12, 2018)

Contents:

1) What is a Parable? (Bill Crews)
2) Is All Evil Sin? (Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
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matt13_35

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What is a Parable?
Bill Crews

While this is a study of subject matter found in the New Testament, it is worthy of note that the word  “parable” can be found in English translations of the Old Testament. In both the King James Version and the American Standard Version it appears some eighteen times, all from the same word (MASHAL), which word is also rendered “by-word” (1), “like” (1) and “proverb” (19 times). In the New King James Version and the New American Standard Version the word “parable” appears far fewer times (just 4 or 5). The translators preferred “oracle” or “discourse” instead. MASHAL is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse).” In Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies it is defined as “a comparison, similitude, parable; a sentiment, maxim; a proverb, by-word, satire.”

We also find some Old Testament passages that have to do with the parables of Christ in the New Testament. Psalm 78:2 (attributed to Asaph) says, “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” In Matthew 13:34-35 this passage is referred to as a prophecy which Jesus fulfilled by speaking in parables. It reads: “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.’” Isaiah 6:9-10 apparently has a dual application — to the Israelites in Isaiah’s day and to the Jews who heard the parables of Jesus. See Matthew 13:14-15 where this Isaiah passage is quoted and which appears between the parable of the sower (vv. 1-9) and the explanation of that parable (vv. 18-23).

The word “parable” in the New Testament, except for John 10:6 (PAROIMIA in the original, meaning an “adage” or “dark saying,” rendered “parable” only in the KJV and the ASV), is always from the Greek word PARABOLE, a word which the translators chose, not to translate, but to transliterate (transpose the Greek letters into English letters) and anglicize (give it an English-sounding ending). You already knew that this is how they came up with “baptize” and “baptism” rather than translating the Greek words for “im-merse” and “immersion.” The word “parable” appears sixteen times in Matthew, twelve times in Mark, seventeen times in Luke, and once in John in some translations (as noted previously). We will be examining some of the parables spoken by Jesus in the first three books of the New Testament. In some instances they are specifically referred to as parables; in others they are not, even though it is obvious that they are.

What is a “Parable”?

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words (Vol. III, p. 158) says, “PARABOLE — literally denotes a placing beside (akin to paraballo, to throw or lay beside, to compare). It signifies a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison. It is generally of a somewhat lengthy utterance or narrative drawn from nature or human circumstances, the object of which is to set forth a spiritual lesson … sometimes it is used of a short saying or proverb.” Vine’s also warns of two dangers: “that of ignoring the important features, and that of trying to make all the details mean something.”
Generally, a parable was designed to teach one central truth, and was called for by the circumstances present and the attitude of the listeners for whom it was intended. J. H. Thayer’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T., p. 479, says of PARABOLE: “1. a placing of one thing by the side of another, juxtaposition, as of ships in battle … 2. metaphorically, a comparing, comparison of one thing with another, likeness, similitude … specifically, a narrative, fictitious but agreeable to the laws and usages of human life, by which either the duties of men or things of God, particularly the nature and history of God’s kingdom are figuratively portrayed … 3. a pithy and instructive saying, involving some likeness or comparison and having perceptive or admonitory force; an aphorism, a maxim…”

A parable, unlike a fable (which attributes human characteristics and actions to animals, plants and inanimate things) is a story or statement involving people and things and actions that were true to life and familiar to those who were listening. Its purpose was to bring out, illustrate and emphasize a spiritual lesson or lessons. At times Jesus explained the meaning. At times He did so when asked by His disciples. But usually He simply told the parable, allowing the listeners to ponder the meaning. A common and abbreviated way of putting it: “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” A definition not quite broad enough.

All of the New Testament parables were spoken by Jesus and appear in Matthew, Mark and Luke. There are none in John, Acts or the epistles (although the latter do contain rhetorical allegories and similes). The Revelation is filled with metaphorical language (signs and symbols), but contains no parables. Mark contains only one parable (the Seed Growing in Secret, 4:26) not found in Matthew or Luke; the others, the Sower, the Mustard Seed and the Wicked Husbandmen, are also in Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke contain two in common, the Leaven (Matt. 13:33 and Lk. 13:20-21) and the Lost Sheep (Matt. 18:12ff and Lk. 15:3ff; not necessarily spoken on the same occasion). Ten parables are peculiar to Matthew: the Tares, the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price, the Draw Net, the Unmerciful Servant, the Laborers in the Vineyard, the Two Sons, the Marriage of the King’s Son, the Ten Virgins and the Talents. Seventeen parables are peculiar to Luke: the Two Debtors, the Good Samaritan, the Friend at Midnight, the Rich Fool, the Watchful Servants, the Barren Fig Tree, the Chief Seats, the Great Supper, the Rash Builder, the Rash King, the Lost Coin, the Lost Son(s), the Unrighteous Steward, the Unprofitable Servant, the Unrighteous Judge, the Pharisee and the Publican and the Pounds.

The parables of Christ are striking and designed to make a deep impression, thus making it easier to remember the lessons they were designed to teach. They are drawn from such categories as building or construction, farming, tending animals, cooking and housekeeping, finding treasures, fishing, stewardship, weddings, marriage and other feasts, masters and slaves, employers and employees, worshiping God in prayer, persistence in prayer, inheritances, relation of the old covenant to the new and other matters. The lessons they teach have to do with individual responsibilities, duties toward others, the mercy of God, forgiving and being forgiven, the concern of God for the lost, the worth of citizenship in the Lord’s kingdom, the results of preaching the gospel, the nature of the Lord’s kingdom and being prepared for the coming judgment. Many are introduced with the words: “the kingdom of heaven (or God) is like …”  The kingdom would be open to Gentiles as well as Jews. As the end of His ministry drew near and the time for His crucifixion came closer, the parables became more pointed in their depiction of the unbelieving Jewish leaders.

In the next article we will consider the Lord’s reasons for teaching in parables and some things that will aid in understanding their lessons

— Via Roanridge Reader, August 5, 2018, Volume 33, Issue 31, pages 2-3
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Is All Evil Sin?
Tom Edwards

All sin is evil, but not all evil is sin. Sometimes “evil” (in the Bible) is referring to “distress, misery, injury, calamity” (part of Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions for “evil” H7451). For example, God said, “…I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam…” (1 Kings 14:10, NASB). The LORD also speaks of bringing “calamity on Jerusalem and Judah” (2 Kings 21:12, NASB). The King James Version uses the word “evil” (instead of “calamity”) in these passages. And the fact that it was the Lord Himself who brought about this “evil” indicates that it could not have been something sinful. For the Lord has never sinned, nor ever will.
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-3-

News & Notes

Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

Jim Lively has been diagnosed with collagenous colitis, which only about 42 people out of 100,000 have, and recently began trying some new medication for it.

Rick Cuthbertson began his chemo treatments on Wednesday, but had an adverse reaction toward it.

Doyle Rittenhouse is to be careful while he heals from recent surgeries that involved the removal of two malignant spots.

I (Tom Edwards) had to go into ER, April 12 for about 5 hours, beginning around 7:40 p.m., due to fluid retention that required a catheter, following the recent hernia surgery.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (had a massive brain bleed and is paralyzed, except for one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Danny Bartlett (leg muscle problem), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty 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)
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 (August 5, 2018)

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

1) The Sovereignty of God (Gene Frost)
2) News & Notes
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psa103_19
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The Sovereignty of God
Gene Frost

Sovereignty is the state of being sovereign, which is to be “above or superior to all others; chief; greatest; supreme.” We illustrate:

In all the realm, the king was sovereign. There was no one holding  greater rank, with greater authority, or greater power. He willed that on a certain day, from the rising of the sun until the setting of the same, all who came before him and pledged their allegiance personally would receive a special blessing from the king himself. The time was sufficient to allow every subject to appear, and none would be turned away. The day came and many made their appearance and pledged their allegiance. However, the disgruntled and rebellious refused to humble themselves before the king. True to his promise, the king graciously bestowed great favor upon the humble, a reward far exceeding what any had imagined.

Question: Did the king surrender his sovereignty by stipulating conditions in order to receive his blessings? Did he cease being supreme in the kingdom when his subjects sought his favor and obeyed his orders? Did he lose control of his power by fulfilling his promise? Was the bestowal of blessings still within his power or had he thereby lost control? Did he still have power over who were blessed when the number was determined by the choice his subjects made? Did the action of his subjects, in making a choice to submit or refuse, in any wise diminish his authority and power? Who could rightly deny that the sovereign king was still sovereign king after he blessed his subjects?

I wouldn’t suppose anyone would have a problem with this scenario. Why is it then, when it comes to the sovereignty of God, Calvinists tell us that He cannot offer blessings to the obedient without losing that sovereignty? When God sets forth conditions for man’s salvation, allowing man the freedom to either humbly obey or obstinately refuse, He is in complete control of whom He will bless and whom He will refuse. His role and authority remain supreme. Whatever man does is without effect upon God’s will; God is the ultimate determiner, who acts according as He has promised. There is a body of the saved, those who meet His requirements, and a body of the lost, who live and die in sin alienated from Him. The body of the saved consists of those who receive salvation which He offers “in Christ.” Those in Christ, who remain faithful in Christ, constitute His elect (Ezekiel 18:26; Hebrews 6:4-6; I Corinthians 15:1-2). They are predestined to everlasting life. Predestined, not as individuals without regard to character, but as those “in Christ,” who love His appearing (II Timothy 4:8). Whether one is among the saved or not depends upon his response to the grace of God, which is extended to all men (Titus 2:11-12; I John 2:2). Therefore man has the free will to choose (Joshua 24:15). In either case, God is sovereign, fully in control.

Calvinists’ Spin

Calvinists put a spin on the word “sovereign” that assumes that He had to pre-program and predetermine everything — every thought, every action, every event, to the minutest detail. Of course, their theological assumption is not inherent in the word. They use their contrived definition to formulate doctrines, doctrines not set forth in Scripture and will not stand the test of investigation standing alone. By using “sovereignty” (their definition), they beg the question. This is a fact they recognize. For example, they cannot reconcile their “sovereignty” with “human responsibility.” How reasonable and just is it for God to hold man responsible for what he thinks and does when God Himself supposedly pre-programmed him to be as he is? Here is what Calvinists admit:

“The one thing that man cannot do is reconcile the responsibility of man and the sovereignty of God.”

“Both of these are equally true – they are both in the Bible – and we have no trouble in our minds when we consider them separately, but, we cannot (in our minds) put them together.”

Of errors to be avoided, we are told: “probably the most common error is to try to reconcile God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.”

“They are both in the Bible – both true – but humanly we cannot reconcile them with each other.”

Can you imagine that God gave us a revelation of His will which defies our reason, that logically is contradictory! Au contraire! There is no conflict between God’s sovereignty, when properly defined and as His supremacy is used in Scripture, and man’s responsibility before God. It is Calvinist theology that is contradictory, that defies reason.

Fixed, Unchangeable Intents

One mistake Calvinists make about the sovereignty of God is to assume that every decree of God is absolute and unchangeable, that there are no contingencies with God. Man has no choice that affects God’s actions. In contrast, observe the following:

“At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;  if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it” (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

God may plan to destroy a wicked nation, but if it turns to  God He will relent. Either course is within His power and authority. His spoken will and intention is not absolute and unchangeable. It is contingent upon man’s behavior. Thus God “relents or changes his dealings with men according to his sovereign purposes” [Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. II, p. 571]. See also Ezekiel 3:17-21 and I Samuel 23:11-13.

Consider the following passages where God decreed, but changed it.

God told Hezekiah to set his house in order because he would not live; he would die. Hezekiah prayed to God. In response God said, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (II Kings 20:1-6).

God’s decree was not fixed, and as the situation changed, God’s will changed. You see, it is as God says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”  (James 5:16). See also Jonah 3:4,10.

Contingency is seen in many passages:

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

Whoever wills (determines, chooses) to respond to God’s invitation may, or he may choose not. God will respond accordingly. The Calvinist says, “No, man’s will is not involved. When the Spirit and bride say, ‘come,’ only those whom God has elected will come, not of their own will but as predetermined; they are pre-programmed to come.”

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man” (Matthew 7:24).

The Calvinist responds, “No, he that does as the Lord orders is not ‘wise’… he is pre-programmed. He does what he must. In fact, one may be dull, but if God has elected him he will do as programmed to do. On the other hand, a non-elected wise man may turn away in spite of his wisdom simply because it is God’s pleasure that he be eternally lost.”

In writing this article, the only difficulty in refuting the Calvinist’s theological bluster was in selecting passages from a wealth of Scripture which expose its fallacy.

Our God is Sovereign

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalms 103:19).

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (I Timothy 6:15-16).

— via Articles for the La Vista church of Christ
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-2-

News & Notes

Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the hospital with congestive heart failure.

Jim Lively has been diagnosed with Collagenous colitis, which only about 42 people out of 100,000 have, and recently began trying some new medication for it.

Rick Cuthbertson began his chemo treatments on Wednesday, but had an adverse reaction toward it.

Doyle Rittenhouse is to be careful while he heals from recent surgeries that involved the removal of two malignant spots.

Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (had a massive brain bleed and is paralyzed, except for one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Shirley Davis (pain in legs and shoulder),  Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty 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)
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)