The Gospel Observer (February 2, 2020)

“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) “Forgiving One Another” (R.J. Evans)
2) Translating the Bible into Life (Dennis Abernathy)
3) A Faith That Works (David Maxson)
4) Acts 1:1-3 (NASB)
5) News & Notes
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Eph4_32b

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“Forgiving One Another”
R.J. Evans

Forgiveness of sins is a central theme that runs throughout the entire Bible.  In fact, this is why Jesus came to earth and shed His blood for the whole world (1 Jn. 2:2).  This is why we read of all the bloody animal sacrifices in the Old Testament—”for without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).  But it was “not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).  Thus, Jesus, the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice, offered His body on the cross “once for all” (Heb. 10:10).  His ultimate sacrifice provided forgiveness for all those who lived faithfully before His death, and also for all of us who now live after the cross, who have obeyed His gospel for the forgiveness of our sins (Heb. 9:14-18).  No one can ignore or neglect gospel obedience, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  Even after we have been baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), we still sin and need forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:8-10).  Therefore, if we continue to “walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).  And when He forgives us of our sins and lawless deeds, He assures us they are forgiven and forgotten forever—”I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12).

Just as God, through His Son, has forgiven us, we must be willing to forgive those who sin against us.  Jesus taught that if we fail to forgive others, “neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15).  Jesus went so far as to teach us that if someone sins against us “seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Lk. 17:4).

Indeed, forgiving others is often difficult.  How do we handle forgiving those who come to us in repentance?  Unfortunately, some Christians, unlike God, never forget.  They will continually dwell on it and make reference to what happened by making disparaging remarks about the offender.  Much like the old illustration: “They bury the hatchet, but leave the handle sticking out of the ground so they can go get it at any time and beat us over the head with it.”  Let us observe some practical suggestions that will help us after we have forgiven someone.

1. Pray for them (Matt. 5:44).  Ask God to help you love and pray for the offender.

2. Love and do good to the offender (Rom. 12:9).  Express love sincerely and genuinely, always seeking their welfare.

3. Don’t speak poorly of the offender (Rom. 12:14).  As the old adage goes, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

4. Release them from your punishment (Rom. 12:17-19).  Stop giving them the silent treatment and keeping them at arm’s length.

5. Don’t celebrate their failures (Prov. 24:17).  Refrain from gloating, saying “I told you so” or having a mindset of “That’s what you get.”

6. Treat them the way you want to be treated (Matt. 7:12).  When you do wrong and repent, you want grace and another chance.  Be willing to offer it to others when you get hurt.

7. Stop dwelling on the past (Isa. 43:18).  Hit the “delete” button of your heart—stop dwelling on old hurts.  Choose to replace them with focusing on good thoughts (Phil. 4:8, 13-14).

Yes, we are to forgive because God has forgiven us.  We close with this important and clear command: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

— via the Bulletin of the Southside church of Christ (Gonzales, Louisiana), January 19, 2020
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2Cor3_2-3

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Translating the Bible into Life
Dennis Abernathy

I read a story about four preachers who were discussing their favorite translations of the Bible. One preacher preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful language. The second preacher liked the American Standard Version best because it translates more literally the original Hebrew and Greek. The third preacher said that he preferred the New King James Version because of its up-to-date vocabulary. Finally, they asked the fourth preacher which translation of the Bible he liked best. He said, “I like my mother’s translation best.”

This surprised his fellow preachers, who asked if he was saying his mother translated the Bible into English. “No,” he said, “but she translated the Bible into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”

This little story reminds me of something else I read: “We are the only Bible the careless world will read. We are the sinner’s gospel, we are the scoffer’s creed. We are the Lord’s last message given in deed and word, what if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?”

People who claim to be Christians may be the only translation of the Bible some people ever see. Unfortunately, too many who claim to be Christians have very poorly translated the Bible into life. My friend, what kind of translation of the Bible are those around you seeing? Think on these things.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 17, Number 3, November 2019
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1pet3_21

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A Faith That Works
David Maxson

“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it… And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:7, 13).
The argument is made that baptism is not necessary for salvation because it is a work, and we’re not saved by works. The scriptures clearly say we are saved by faith and not by works (Eph 2:8-10; Gal 2:16; Rom 4:4-5).

So, if this is true, what are we to do with passages which say that baptism saves us (1 Pet 3:20-21; Mark 16: 16; Acts 2:38; 22:16)? Can we not take these passages at face value? Are we missing something? Is the Bible contradicting itself?

I believe the answer is simple. Baptism is not the kind of work under consideration in the passages that contrast faith and works. On the contrary, baptism is considered in scripture to be an act of faith (Gal 3:26-27; Col 2:12; Mk 16:16; Rom 1:5). So, there is no contradiction at all between scriptures that say we are saved by faith, and scriptures that say we are saved through baptism. The inspired writers did not see faith and baptism as mutually exclusive. Baptism is an expression of our faith.

Just like the children of Israel sprinkled the blood of the lamb on their doorposts by faith (Heb 11:28), so we are “buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him THROUGH FAITH IN THE POWERFUL WORKING OF GOD, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12).

Father God, help us to trust in you enough that we obey all of your commandments.

— via Daily Devotions, January 19, 2020
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Acts 1:1-3

“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson who has cancer of the liver and lung.

James Medlock who recently had a tube placed in his leg to improve circulation, which it does.  He also had a heart attack a few weeks ago.

A.J. and Pat Joyner who are both healing from procedures.

Rex & Frankie Hadley have been physically weak lately — and more so than they had been.

Jan Bartlett will begin her radiation treatments tomorrow.

Let us also continue to pray for the following: John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, Ann Vandevander, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Brook & Kaydance Richardson, and Kerry Williams.
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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)
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 (January 26, 2020)

“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) Tradition and God’s Word (Doy Moyer)
2) Frequency of the Lord’s Supper (Billy Moore)
3) Mark 6:53-56 (NASB)
4) News & Notes
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matt15_1-3

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Tradition and God’s Word
Doy Moyer

Mark 7 tells one of the more well-known accounts of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees. The Pharisees and some scribes had seen Jesus’ disciples eating with “impure” or unwashed hands. The tradition of the elders was that they were to wash their hands very carefully before eating, and then when they return from the market place they would not eat unless carefully cleaning themselves. Additionally, “there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.” So these Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples not doing this: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” (v. 5)

Before considering Jesus’ answer, let’s note a few items. First, there is something good about keeping yourself clean. Washing hands before you eat is good practice; there was nothing inherently wrong here, and most of us would promote this as healthy practice. Second, tradition, in itself, is not the problem. It is simply something that is passed down to others. Tradition is unavoidable in many ways. Coupled with being clean in this context, tradition can be noteworthy and good. It is something we might all like to pass down to our children. Third, notice that the appeal of the Pharisees is the tradition. They did not ask about the disciples breaking the Law of God.

The essence of Jesus’ response is: first, He called these Pharisees hypocrites; second, He quoted Isaiah 29; third, He showed how they were placing their traditions above God’s commandments.

Isaiah 29 comes in the middle of a context in which Isaiah is rebuking God’s people for the sins of idolatry and apathy toward His covenant. The first chapter of Isaiah rebukes Israel for merely going through the motions without really desiring to please God. They were offering their sacrifices, but then they were going out and committing all kinds of evil. Ironically, Isaiah does tell the people to wash themselves and make themselves clean (Isa 1:16). However, his emphasis was not physical, but spiritual: “Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.” This was the way they were to clean themselves, and it is a far more important kind of washing than we can ever do with the hands.

In Isaiah 29, one of the phrases is this: “their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” (v. 13). That is, the extent of their respect for God was, at best, learned tradition. That tradition was not in itself the Law. They appeared to care little for the Law itself, but were concerned about keeping a tradition in place even though it was not Law.

When Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, He was noting how they were neglecting the commandments of God for the sake of their traditions. Now here they were chastising others for failing to keep a tradition while they themselves were guilty of the violation of God’s commands. The beam in their eye was much larger than any speck in the eyes of the disciples of Jesus, who were not breaking God’s Law on this occasion.

Traditions are a part of life. We really cannot do without them. To one degree or another, all that we know is passed down. Railing against tradition just because something is a tradition is rather naive. Even the commands of God are traditions handed down to us (2 Thess 2:15).

How we act about these traditions may be another matter. Again, we must distinguish between traditions that are commandments of God and traditions that are handed down otherwise. If we put man-made traditions on par with, or even over, God’s word, then we are guilty of something very insidious. This is the point made in Isaiah 29:15-16. By putting their own traditions on par with God’s commands, they were essentially saying that they were God’s equal. They were guilty of pulling God down to their level and acting as though He did not have sufficient understanding of what they needed. They were smarter than God. If we think that breaking our own human traditions is on par with breaking God’s word, then we are guilty of bringing God down to our level. That’s serious business for which we need to repent.

Jesus illustrated how they had disrespected God by showing their neglect of the command to honor father and mother. They were more concerned about washing their hands than they were about caring for their parents. Talk about upside down! Yet, if we are not careful, we can fall into the same trap. Human traditions change, but what we receive from God’s word will never change. Let us be careful to make that distinction. Even more, let us always be careful to engage in God’s will over our own.

— Via Mind Your King
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1cor11_25-26

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Frequency of the Lord’s Supper
Billy Moore

As to the frequency of eating the Lord’s Supper, many have wrestled with this question. Since Acts 20:7 is the only reference of disciples coming together to eat the Lord’s Supper, it is the only reference to which we can appeal to establish frequency. We learn “what to eat” and “what to drink” from the words of Christ when he instituted it (Matt. 26:26-28) and in Paul’s reference to it in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. The Acts 20:7 reference does, in fact, teach “how often” they came together to “break bread,” and it does so by a necessary inference, one of the three ways of teaching. I reach this conclusion based upon the following reasoning:

1. A thing that is to be observed annually must have both the month and day of the month for its observance. Example: your birthday. Or a Bible example would be Pentecost, the day following the seventh Sabbath after the Passover, which was an annual occurrence.

2. Anything that is to be done monthly must have a day of the month. Example: a house payment, or rent, due on the first day of the month.

3. That which is to be observed weekly need only have the day of the week. Example: the Sabbath day. The command was simply, “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” And since every week had a Sabbath day the people knew that it was a weekly observance. The local Lions’ Club has a sign in front of a restaurant which says: “Lions’ Club meets here, Friday at Noon.” It does not say “every Friday,” but all who read it will certainly reach that conclusion. Other clubs may meet twice a month and their sign may read: “Second and Fourth Friday at 12:00.”

If the Lord ’s Supper were not to be eaten each week, then who is to decide which “first day” of which week? Incidentally, everyone seems to understand that “upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store” (1 Corinthians 16:1,2) authorizes a weekly collection. The identical expression is used regarding the breaking of bread and it also necessarily infers a weekly observance.

— Via The Beacon, January 19, 2020
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touched hem of garment

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Mark 6:53-56

“When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured” (NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

On May 27, 2018, Rick Cuthbertson had surgery to remove cancer from his liver. It is now back. He still also continues to receive treatment for cancer in his lung.

James Medlock had a tube placed in his leg Friday in order to improve circulation to his foot, which it has. It was also detected that he had a heart attack — probably a couple weeks ago.  His first one.

A.J. Joyner also had a procedure performed last week and is now back home from that, but weak.  His wife Pat is still going through the healing process from her recent surgery and appreciates the thoughtfulness of folks who have brought food to them.

Let us also continue to pray for the following: John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, Ann Vandevander, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Melotine Davis, Jan Bartlett, Baxter Cribbs, Doyle and Joyce Rittenhouse, Brook & Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams
——————–

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)
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 (January 19, 2020)

“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) An Introduction to Israel (Irvin Himmel)
2) Matthew 4:23-24 (NASB)
3) News & Notes
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gen35_10-12
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An Introduction to Israel
Irvin Himmel

There is much misunderstanding of what the Scriptures teach about Israel. This is due largely to two factors: (1) failure to read and study the Bible carefully; and (2) listening to preachers who speculate endlessly about prophecy and the role of Israel in the fulfillment of prophecy. This essay centers on some plain points that are set forth in the Bible.

The Man Israel

Jacob, a son of Isaac and a grandson of Abraham, was given the name Israel, and its first appearance in the Bible is in this connection. It was divinely revealed to Jacob, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Gen. 32:28). Later, God again said to Jacob,   “. . . Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel” (Gen. 35:10).

The name appears to signify “prince who prevails with God” or “he who strives with God.” Strong gives its meaning as “he will rule as God”; Gesenius as “warrior of God.” Jacob continued to be identified by his old name as well as by the name Israel. Some passages use both names. For example, “And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die . . .” (Gen. 47:28-29). “And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed” (Gen. 48:2).

The Family of Israel

Jacob had twelve sons, sometimes referred to as “the twelve patriarchs” (Acts 7:8). These men and their children collectively were called Israel or the children of Israel. “And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt . . . and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly” (Gen. 47:27). “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them” (Exod. 1:7). The twelve branches of Jacob’s family were known as “the twelve tribes of Israel” (Gen. 49:28; Exod. 24:4). The names of the members of Jacob’s family who came into Egypt from Canaan are listed in Genesis 46. They are said to be the names of the “children of Israel.”

Many years later, when Moses was sent to deliver the much-enlarged family of Jacob from Egyptian bondage, God told him to say to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn . . . Let my son go” (Exod. 4:22-23).

The Nation of Israel

Jehovah brought the descendants of Jacob out of the land of Egypt and formed them into a nation. They were promised and given the land of Canaan as their inheritance. God took “a nation from the midst of another nation” (Deut. 4:34) and used it to “eat up the nations” that were his enemies (Num. 24:8). The name Israel became a synonym for God’s nation. This is the nation that was foreseen when God promised Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). David said to the Lord on one occasion, “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel?” (2 Sam. 7:23).

The nation of Israel is sometimes spoken of as the kingdom of Israel. When the people demanded a king to be like all the nations around them (1 Sam. 8), God instructed Samuel to anoint Saul to rule over them. After Saul became stubborn and rebellious, God rejected him. Samuel said to Saul, ‘The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day . . .” (1 Sam. 15:28). David was the next king. Following the death of David, “Solomon was king over all Israel” (1 Kings 4:1). At the time of the dedication of the temple, Solomon remarked, “I am risen up in the room of my father, and sit on the throne of Israel” (1 Kings 8:20). Solomon was chosen of God “to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel” (1 Chron. 28:5). “Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years” (2 Chron. 9:30).

Northern Kingdom of Israel

The nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms following the death of Solomon. Ten tribes were included in the northern kingdom, and two tribes made up the southern kingdom. The name Israel took on a narrower meaning, being the common designation for the northern kingdom as distinguished from the southern kingdom (Judah). To illustrate, 1 Kings 15:9 says, “And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.” Ahab was one of the worst kings to rule in the northern kingdom. Jezebel asked him, “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel?” (1 Kings 21:7).

The prophet Amos wrote about the “transgressions of Judah” and the “transgressions of Israel” (Amos 2:4, 6). Jeremiah charged that “backsliding Israel” played the harlot, and her “treacherous sister Judah” did likewise (Jer. 3:6-11). During the period when the name Israel was applied in a more restricted sense, it sometimes referred to people of either the northern kingdom or the southern kingdom (Ezek. 13:4; Lam. 2:1-3).

Restored Israel

When a remnant of the Jews returned from exile to their homeland in the days of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, they had no king. Although commonly known as Jews, the name Israel was still used to designate the people collectively. The people who rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and kept the Passover are described as “the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity” (Ezra 6:21). When Ezra prayed and made confession on behalf of the people, there assembled unto him “out of Israel” a very great congregation (Ezra 10:1). Nehemiah 12:47 tells of some things done by “all Israel” in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah.

In the restoration period of their history, their land was popularly called Judah or Judea, and the people were known as Jews; nevertheless, they were still children or descendants of Israel. At the time of the birth of Jesus, Palestine still was called “the land of Israel” (Matt. 2:20-21).

Spiritual Israel

The New Testament applies the name Israel to the heirs of the spiritual promise made to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ. Paul reasoned, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children. . . . They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom. 9:6-8). The children of the flesh are the physical descendants of Abraham; the children of the promise are the people who believe and obey Christ. Fleshly Israel, for the most part, rejected the promised Messiah. The true children of God are Abraham’s spiritual offspring.

Blood descent means nothing today, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart” (Rom. 2:28-29). The promise to Abraham reaches to Christ and spiritual heirs. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The faithful in Christ are the true Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).

Some of the restoration prophecies of the Old Testament look beyond the return of a remnant to their homeland. They point to a more complete spiritual restoration through Christ and the gospel. Examples of such are found in Amos 9:11-15; Zech. 9:9-17; and Jer. 31:27-34. To skip over the historical fulfillment of the prophecies relating to the restoration of physical Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and to ignore the ultimate and more complete fulfillment of prophecies pertaining to the restoration of a spiritual remnant through the gospel of Christ, projecting all such prophecies to an imagined future grand, glamorous, and glorious kingdom of Israel on earth, ruled by Christ from David’s throne in Jerusalem, is a gross error. It is wrong to treat fulfilled prophecies as if unfulfilled. Care must be exercised to distinguish between physical Israel and spiritual Israel.

— Via Truth Magazine Vol. XLV: 8  p6  April 19, 2001
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Matthew 4:23-24

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them” (Matthew 4:23-24, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner is now back home, following her surgery procedure and then about 10 days at the rehab hospital for physical therapy.

On May 27, 2018, Rick Cuthbertson had surgery to remove cancer from his liver.  It is now back.  He has also been continuing to receive chemo treatments for lung cancer.

Let us also continue to pray for the following: John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, Ann Vandevander, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Melotine Davis, Jan Bartlett, Baxter Cribbs, Doyle and Joyce Davis, Brook & Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation</big>

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)
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 (January 12, 2020)

“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) Proclaim His Excellence (Colby Junkin)
2) Right Attitudes for Faithfulness (Warren Berkley)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Eph3_20-21

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Proclaim His Excellence
Colby Junkin

The greatest blessing ever bestowed upon mankind was salvation from the dreadful sickness of sin. It was sin that drove man away from the precious and intimate relationship that they had with God (Genesis 3:6-8). It was sin that took the greatest characters of the Bible and humiliated them for their weaknesses (2 Samuel 12:13; 16:5-14). It was sin, man’s complete abandonment of God’s will, that led entire nations into utter ruin and captivity (2 Kings 17:7-19; 21:10-15). It was sin and its selfish pride that motivated the Pharisees to hate a lowly Nazarene (John 11:57; Philippians 2:7). It was sin that placed the Son of God upon the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was sin that I have committed that caused my Jesus to die.

When we think about these things and the consequences of our sins, we should be motivated to better worship, praise, and honor of our King. The forgiveness that we obtain through God’s grace and the blood of Christ should move us to greater service and devotion to God. Our entire lives should be surrounded with constant reminders of the blessings that God has freely bestowed. We should be eternally thankful to our Creator.

In the second chapter of first Peter, Peter opened with similar ideas (2:1-3). If we have tasted the kindness of the Lord and understood the richness of His Word, then we should be stimulated to put off the life of this world by putting on Jesus Christ. Our lives on earth are temporary and but a vapor, but those who do the will of the Father will live forever (James 4:14; 1 John 2:17). Our weaknesses and sins that once controlled our hearts and minds should be repented of and driven completely out of our lives. We should not only raise our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but we ourselves should be trained by the glories revealed in the Bible.

Peter continued to strengthen his readers by compelling them to see the greater glories revealed in the church of our Lord. Peter instructed the Christians to remember that they “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:4). These tasks, as spiritual priests, take us from the realm of this earth and exalt us to a greater and higher plane. Paul spoke of this place in the book of Ephesians and called it “the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). It is as if our entire lives are elevated from the physical pressures of this life, and we are given the opportunity to see heaven in the distance as we press onward to making our goal. We must learn to imitate the faith and heart of Abraham who confessed to be a stranger and pilgrim on this earth and by faith searched for the better country above (Hebrews 11:13-16).

Peter would ultimately conclude his thoughts with giving Old Testament descriptions to the New Testament Christian. Every individual Christian has been called to be a part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (2:9a). A Christian has been called by the gospel to live a life pleasing to God (2 Thessalonians 2:14; Ephesians 5:10). A calling that went forth from Jerusalem and can now be found in every part of the earth. This calling is not limited to nationality, race, sex, or culture, but rather it is open to all who will listen and obey. As Peter continued to say, “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (2:10). Is there any greater blessing extended to mankind?

Finally, it is when we understand all of these great blessings that our hearts cannot contain our joy, but rather in praise we “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9b). We pour out our hearts in praise and exaltation to our Lord. As Peter said, “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1:8). Our lives have completely evolved from living day-to-day and being filled with selfish desires, to living for eternity and giving all praise to our God. Is your life given to proclaiming the excellencies of God, or are you still living in the darkness of sin?

— Via articles from the River Bend church of Christ, May 12, 2019
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Right Attitudes for Faithfulness
Warren Berkley

It is clear to every Bible student, you cannot be faithful to the Lord if your attitude is not in keeping with the teachings of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:17). Attitude has to do with the content of your mind, your disposition and the control you exercise over your emotions.

The simple truth is, the New Testament is loaded with teaching, examples, prohibitions and warnings about attitude. This spiritually healthy instruction should be the basis of our discipline over our mind. Your attitude toward God is basic. All other phases of attitude are rooted in your attitude toward God. We must hold Him in the highest esteem, revere Him, worship Him and obey Him with wholehearted love and trust (Eccl. 5:1,2; Matt. 22:37; Rom. 12:1,2; Prov. 1:7).

Once your attitude toward God begins to weaken, all other phases of attitude will likely deteriorate. Let us be aware of this and constantly monitor our attitude toward God, seeking to enrich our relationship with Him. Your attitude toward Christ is a component of your attitude toward God. If God is your father, you will love His Son (Jno. 8:42). If you love God and want to obey Him, you will have a favorable and grateful acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. You will regard Him as the perfect expression of Deity and humanity, the spotless Son of God who died in order for you to be free from sin and enjoy eternal life. Likewise, you will read and study about His attitude with the highest esteem, seeking to imitate Him in all your behavior.

Your attitude toward others develops out of your reverence for Deity. If you believe in God and follow His Son, your behavior toward others will be based on that. You will seek to do all God has said about how to treat people. You will study and follow the compassion of Christ, as well as His boldness in seeking to save the lost. His relationship to others becomes your pattern (see 1 Pet. 2:18-25).

Your attitude toward other members of God’s family will be suitable, in keeping with all that is written about such relationships. Peter teaches God’s people to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22), and John taught extensively that “we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

Our attitude must endeavor to follow the pattern of unselfish humility demonstrated by our Lord (Phil. 2:1-5). Your attitude toward sin will be fitting. To remain right with God, it is necessary to maintain an abhorrence of sin (Rom. 12:9). If you court the favor of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). It is essential to arm yourself with “the same mind” or attitude Jesus had against sin and error (1 Pet. 4:10).

Your attitude toward life should be realistic and godly, not bitter and angry. If you murmur and complain about your life, and this becomes your habitual attitude – you cannot be what you should be! And when you get to this low state, you need to stop and recognize that the devil has seduced and maneuvered you into this state of constant anger and resentment. While you remain in this mood you cannot develop the love described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, and you cannot grow and taste the kindness of the Lord (1 Pet. 2:1-3).

In the “beatitudes” (Matt. 5:3-12), the Lord addresses every phase or direction of attitude: Your attitude toward God (poor in spirit & hungering and thirsting after righteousness), your attitude toward yourself (meek), your attitude toward others (merciful), your attitude toward those who oppose you (vss. 10-13), and your attitude toward sin (mourn and purity in heart). Growth and faithfulness depends upon the constant development of these qualities.

— Via The Beacon, January 5, 2020
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner is feeling and sounding better. Tomorrow she will be transferred to the Rehab hospital near the airport.

Baxter Cribbs is healing from the hernia surgery he had last week and doing well.  On the 24th, he will be seeing his surgeon for a follow-up.

Myrna Jordan and Melotine Davis have not been feeling well lately.

Doyle Rittenhouse’s back is somewhat better, but he now has the virus that his wife Joyce still has.  She also has a bad cough along with her bronchitis.  They have been seeing the doctors and will do so again this Wednesday.

Let us also continue to pray for the following: John Bladen, Kelly Stoneheart, Ann Vandevander, the Medlock family, Jim Lively, Jan Bartlett, Rick Cuthbertson, Brook & Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
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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)
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 (January 5, 2020)

“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) Written Revelation (Irvin Himmel)
2) Start the New Year with Daily Bible Reading!
3) News & Notes
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Psalm19_7-8

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Written Revelation
Irvin Himmel

God revealed Himself to man in the age of the patriarchs. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not left without a disclosure of the divine will. However, there was no written revelation in those days. With the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai, God began the utilization of writing to make known and preserve His revelation. The Ten Commandments were given on tables of stone, “written with the finger of God” (Ex. 31:18; 34:1). Moses wrote the words of the law in a book (Deut. 31:24). He wrote “all the words of the Lord” (Ex. 24:4). He wrote Israel’s journeys “by the commandment of the Lord” (Num. 33:2).

The Book of Moses

The writings of Moses have been copied, translated, and read through the centuries. Nehemiah lived about a thousand years after Moses. In the time of Nehemiah, “the book of Moses” was read in the ears of the people (Neh. 3:1). More than four hundred years later, the book of Moses was still being used. Jesus asked the Sadducees if they had not read certain things “in the book of Moses” (Mk. 12:26). On another occasion, Jesus said to some of the unbelieving Jews, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47). After the Law of Moses was fulfilled and therefore no longer in force, some continued to read the writings of Moses and were trying to follow the Old Law. Several years after the establishment of the church, the apostles acknowledged in Acts 15:21, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” Today we have the writings of Moses in the first five books of the Old Testament.

The Writing Prophets

God used many other servants to write His words during the Mosaic age. Samuel the prophet told the people the manner of the kingdom and “wrote it in a book” (1 Sam. 10:25). Isaiah was charged, “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever” (Isa. 30:8). Jehovah said to Jeremiah, “Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book” (Jer. 30:2). Habakkuk was told, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that he may run that readeth it” (Hab. 2:2). Jesus Christ respected the Old Testament writings. He said to the disciples following His resurrection, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Lk. 24:44). The apostles honored the Old Testament writings. For example, Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

Apostolic Writings

God used the New Testament writers to reveal the Messiahship of Jesus, the plan of redemption, and the blessings of the kingdom. John said, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30, 31). John wrote to produce saving faith in the hearts of honest readers. Through the study of the apostolic writings we learn our duties to God. Paul said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). New Testament writings give assurance to the faithful in Christ Jesus. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4).

These sacred writings can be understood. Paul told the Ephesians that he wrote, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:3,4). He said to the church at Corinth, “For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end” (2 Cor. 1:13, New American Standard Bible). The Lord told John on the island of Patmos, “What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia” (Rev. 1:11). “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (Rev. 1:19). John did write those things, and he warned that we are not to add to, nor to take from, “the words of the book” (Rev. 22:18, 19).

Advantages

Written revelation has distinct advantages over oral communication. That which is put in written form is conducive to preservation. Written words can be read, studied, re-read, copied, translated, and analyzed with ease. No communication is more important than that which comes from God. Wisely, God has made known through the Scriptures all that we need for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). We thank God that He has unveiled His will in a manner that will stand the test of time, and a form that makes it readily accessible.

— Via Truth Magazine XIX: 32, p. 498, June 19, 1975
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Start the New Year with Daily Bible Reading!

A good way to start the new year is with daily Bible reading!  And various schedules are made available on the Internet, which can help you to also keep track of your progress.

Pick out the schedule of your choosing: Read from Genesis through Revelation, or from the Old and the New Testaments each day, or read through the Bible chronologically, or how about reading from four different books of the Bible daily with the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan?  This is the one I have chosen for 2020, and here is a sample of the readings:

January 1: Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Ezra 1, and Acts 1
January 2: Genesis 2, Matthew 2, Ezra 2, and Acts 2
January 3: Genesis 3, Matthew 3, Ezra 3, and Acts 3
January 4: Genesis 4, Matthew 4, Ezra 4, and Acts 4

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32, NASB).

— Tom
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner will be having major surgery tomorrow in our local hospital and will remain there 2 to 5 days recuperating.  She would appreciate our prayers.

Ann Vandevander (Melotine Davis’ sister-in-law) had a bad fall a few weeks ago that involved severely hitting her head and requiring 18 days in ICU.

Joyce Rittenhouse has been ill since last Monday, and her husband Doyle is having trouble with his back again.

Jim Lively had another fall last week. He broke no bones, but had badly scraped his arm.

It has been good to have Jan Bartlett back with us.  She will be returning to Alabama this afternoon and will soon begin radiation treatments there.

Let us also be remembering in prayer John Bladen (who had a heart attack December 20), Kelly Stoneheart (who had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery), Bennie Medlock (who has been having much pain due to loss of cartilage in his knee), and Shirley Davis (who has been having trouble with an arthritic knee and back pain).

Also: Melotine Davis, Bud Monterro, the Medlocks, Rick Cuthbertson, Brook and Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
——————–

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)
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 (December 29, 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 Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Wayne Goff)
2) Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44)
3) A Hairy Reminder (Roger Shouse)
4) News & Notes
——————-

Jerusalem ad 70c

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The Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
Wayne Goff

The following is an excerpt from the book, The Historical Atlas of Judaism, by Dr. Ian Barnes, regarding the destruction of Jerusalem by General Vespasian and his son, Titus, in 70 A.D.  Jesus predicted this destruction in Matthew 24:1-35. See verses 1-2, 14-22 below.

“As Vespasian was traveling to Caesarea to plan the siege of Jerusalem, Nero’s suicide was announced, so he delayed operations until the political situation in Rome became clear. In the summer of CE* 69, the armies of the Eastern Empire declared Vespasian emperor.

“Confronted by new rebel leader, Simon bar-Giora, Vespasian completed his conquest of Judaea, controlling Acrabeta, Bethel, and Ephraim, together with Hebron in the south. Only Jerusalem, Macherus, Herodium, and Masada remained defiant. Civil war raged in Jerusalem. A hill in the south-west of the city was held by aristocratic patriots while the Zealots under John of Giscala held the eastern city and most of the Temple Mount. The aristocrats asked Simon bar-Giora for help. He killed those amongst them who mentioned surrender. In Spring, CE 70, Titus marched on Jerusalem, pitched camp, and attacked the north wall, one of three defense lines. The Jews attacked the siege towers but battering-rams were finally put in place, despite the defenders using catapults they had captured from Cestius years earlier. On 25 May, the first wall was breached. Roman soldiers entered and took Bezetha, north of the Temple Mount. Five days later, the second wall was breached, but the legionaries were repelled. The second wall was breached again, leaving the walls enclosing the Temple and the upper and lower parts of the city. The city was isolated by the Romans sealing off Jerusalem from the rest of the world. Sometimes as many as 500 were crucified daily by the Romans for trying to escape the city. The inhabitants died of starvation, with the dead stacked in houses and thousands thrown over the walls into the surrounding ravines. The Fortress of Antonia was breached by battering rams on 24 July. The Temple gates were set alight and soon the Temple was burned to ashes. The rebels made a final stand in Herod’s palace but all were killed. Jerusalem was razed to the ground. Simon bar-Giora and John of Giscala were captives marching in Titus’ triumphal procession in Rome in CE 71. Bar Biora was thrown to his death from the Tarpeian Rock.”

* “CE” means common era,” a term often used by those who do not wish to acknowledge the term “A.D.” which comes from the Latin anno domini which means “In the year of our Lord.”

“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’…

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” ~ Matthew 24:1–2, 14–22

Jesus’ description in Matthew 24 of the Destruction of Jerusalem is consistently misapplied to a future “tribulation” period imagined by those who profess to believe in a future, earthly reign of Jesus on the earth for a thousand years. But note Matt. 24:34.

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 51, Page 3, December 22, 2019
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“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew  24:34, NASB).

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Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation’” (Luke 19:41-44, NASB).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34, NKJV).
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matthew10_29-31

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A Hairy Reminder
Roger Shouse

A person between the ages of 20-30 has about 615 hair follicles per square centimeter. A person 50 years of age has around 485 hair follicles per square centimeter. Typically, most people have somewhere between 100,000-150,000 hairs on their head. By the way, the average hair loss for an individual is 50-100 hairs per day. As a result, there is no way you can tell accurately how many hairs you have (in fact, unless you are going bald, most of us don’t really care). But God knows.

Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). This passage reveals three interesting truths.

First, God knows more about us than we know about us. That is a humbling thought. When we sometimes feel like no one understands us or grasps our situation, we forget that God does. God knows your personality. God knows your strengths. God knows what motivates you. God knows when you stumble. God knows what you like and don’t like. God knows the real you. Therefore, when God declares something worthwhile, He knows what He is talking about. When God warns about danger, He knows what He is talking about. When God tells us that we should do something, we need to do it, because He knows us better than we know ourselves.

God is a God of detail. How insignificant are hairs and sparrows to us. Yet God is aware of them. He is a God of details. The motives, attitudes and heart behind our actions are as important to Him as the actions themselves. It does little good to give, if you have left out the detail of being a cheerful giver. Singing fails if we neglect thankfulness in our heart. Let us be a people of details, as God is.

God cares about you. This is why Jesus referred to sparrows and hair. We are of value to Him. Christ was not sent to save the whales, the environment, or the endangered species, but mankind. Man has value! Stress and worry often make us wonder if God cares. These two simple illustrations remind us that He does.

– Via The Beacon, November 17, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to continue to remember in our prayers:

John Bladen (A.J. & Pat Joyner’s nephew) who had a heart attack December 20.

Kelly Stoneheart, Keith’s wife, who recently had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.

Shirley Davis  now has just another week of rehabilitation treatments which are given in her home twice a week.  Her arthritis in her knee and back have been giving her trouble.

Ronnie Davis who had a recent fall.

Many of the Bartlett family had come down with sicknesses while spending the holiday in Tampa with numerous family members.

Bennie Medlock, who has been in much pain due to loss of cartilage and bone rubbing against bone in his knee.

A.J. & Pat Joyner are not doing well and would like our prayers.

Also for our prayers: Melotine Davis, Bud Montero, the Medlocks, Joyce Rittenhouse, Jim Lively, Rick Cuthbertson, Brook and Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
——————–

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)
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 (December 22, 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) Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption (Harry Ozment)
2) 1John 3:1-3 (NASB)
3) “Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak” (R.J. Evans)
4) News & Notes
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rom8_15

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Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption
Harry Ozment

In Romans 8:14-17, the apostle Paul had some words to say about spiritual adoption into the family of God: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” The apostle shows us two things about spiritual adoption: (1) the manner of adoption, and (2) the results and blessings of adoption.

(1) Paul tells us how a person is adopted into God’s family when he says in v. 14, “led by the Spirit of God.” Before one can be a member of God’s family, he must first follow the Holy Spirit. Now, what does this involve? Does this involve a personal indwelling of the Spirit? Does this involve a mysterious, indescribable feeling? No, not at all. The Holy Spirit operates upon the heart of an individual solely through the word of God. This is true because the gospel is the product of the inspiration, revelation, and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. What the gospel does, the Holy Spirit does (and vice versa) because the gospel came from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, then, leads us by means of the gospel, for the gospel does indeed lead us: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my way” (Psa. 119:105). If one is ever to be a child of God, he must follow (i.e., obey) the word of God. When a couple wishes to adopt a child, there are laws of the state in which they live that must be met and obeyed. If these laws are not obeyed, the couple will never be able to adopt a child. The same is true of spiritual adoption. One who is not willing to obey the gospel will not gain and does not deserve entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

(2) Paul then lists three blessings of adoption into the family of God:

(a) Deliverance from fear (v. 15). This is one of the great blessings of being a Christian. The inspired writer said in Heb. 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Sin, which was the cause of fear, can be taken away by means of the atoning blood shed by Jesus in his death. Death, which was the object of fear, was taken away by the resurrection of Jesus because it gave us hope of our resurrection and the hope of living with God.

(b) Assurance that we are children of God (v. 16). It must be terrible to go through life without knowing  where you will spend eternity, without knowing whether God is pleased with your life or whether you are in God’s family. For the Christian, however, this is not a problem. When one obeys the gospel, the Holy Spirit through the word assures that person that he is a child of God. This is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” of which Peter spoke in Acts 2:38. This is the “times of refreshing” of which Peter spoke in Acts 3:19. This is being “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” of which Paul spoke in Eph. 1:13. These descriptions show how glorious this blessing is.

(c) Heirs of promises (v. 17). When one is a child of God, he can look to an inheritance from the promises that God has made to His family. These promises are great and precious. The value of this blessing is seen in Peter ‘s words: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:4).

— via Searching the Scriptures, January 1970, Volume XI, Number 1
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1 John 3:1-3

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (NASB).
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John10-27-28

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“Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak”
R.J. Evans

It should be obvious to us all that we learn more by listening than by speaking.  Listening means we are willing to hear what is being said.  The willingness to be a good listener or hearer is set forth in James 1:19:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  But so many of us are tempted to talk more than we are willing to listen.  One way to be a good friend and be helpful to others is to let them talk and merely listen without interrupting.  But this involves patience and not allowing our own egotism to take over.

The Book of Proverbs provides wise instructions concerning hearing and listening.  In fact, Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) states: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”  We are also told by the wise man that “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (Prov. 18:12).

In our relationship with God, we must be willing to obey Him in order to please Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).  The writer of Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, stated: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9).  However, we must be willing to hear or listen, before we can obey what He commands us. Jesus gave a parable about building a house. The wise man, who built his house on the rock, is the one who “hears these sayings of Mine and does them” (Matt. 7:24). Whereas, the foolish man who built his house on the sand, failed to obey what he had heard from the Lord and his “house fell…And great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27).

Sadly, there are some who are willing to listen and hear, but stop when they don’t like what they are hearing.  This keeps them from ever obeying and pleasing God.  There are a number of biblical examples of this type of hearer that can be cited.  The Jews heard Stephen up until the point where he told them they were “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears… betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52).  After being told this, they “cried with a loud voice, stopped their ears… and stoned him” (Acts 7:57-60).  The Apostle Paul addressed the Jerusalem mob in Acts 22.  But when he told them of how the Lord sent him to the “Gentiles,” notice carefully how they reacted–“And they listened to him until this word, and then raised their `voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth for he is not fit to live!'” (Acts 22: 22).  The Athenians listened to Paul in Acts 17.  But “when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter'” (Acts 7:32).

What about us?  Are we good listeners?  In our normal conversations with others, do we love to hear the sound of our own voice and can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so we can jump in and have our say?  If so, we need to avoid this practice.

But most important of all, are we good listeners and hearers of God’s word so that we can know and do His will?  Are we like the Bereans who received the word “with all readiness” (Acts 17:11)?  Are we willing to listen to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)?  Hopefully, the answer to these two questions is YES.  May we all seek to be like Cornelius and his household.  Their main objective was to hear the word of God  so they could obey it and be saved.  We close with the words of Cornelius to the Apostle Peter: “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come.  Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us” (Acts 10:33, NIV).

— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana, November 24, 2019
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

John Bladen had a heart attack Friday and can use our prayers.

Kelly Stoneheart’s husband Keith writes: “We are home and Kelly is recovering. As of today she is in a great deal of pain and discomfort but we know that will get better. In the meantime we are keeping her comfortable as we can.”

Shirley Davis is sounding much better, but it is still rough for her at times — especially with the arthritis in her knee and back.  Following her stroke, they are still coming twice a week for in-home rehabilitation therapy, which she will complete in two more weeks.

We are glad to have Jan Bartlett back with us today.  She started feeling better last week, having recently completed her chemo treatments.

Bennie Medlock, who has been in much pain due to loss of cartilage and bone rubbing against bone in his knee, will be seeing his orthopedist tomorrow.

A.J. & Pat Joyner are not doing well and would like our prayers.

Also for our prayers: Melotine Davis, Bud Montero, the Medlocks, Joyce Rittenhouse, Jim Lively, Rick Cuthbertson, Brook and Kaydance Richardson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Kerry Williams.
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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)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
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