The Gospel Observer (January 20, 2019)

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

1) The Heavenly Mindset (Dennis Stackhouse)
2) Enlightened Eyes (Wayne Goff)
3) “A Cappella” (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
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Mat6_20

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The Heavenly Mindset
Dennis Stackhouse

In writing the church at Colossae, Paul said this in Colossians 3:1: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”  We know the apostle is addressing baptized believers, as these people had been raised up with Christ, according to Colossians 2:12.  With that in mind, all Christian people should recognize this teaching as an encouragement to not allow worldly matters to interfere with a proper mindset, a heavenly mindset.  After all, Paul does instruct us to “keep seeking the things above.”  In other words, this is something the Christian never stops doing; it is a continual exercise, we are to keep seeking the things above as long we dwell in these earthly bodies.  This is the case because that’s where Christ is and we want to be where He is.  Our goal should be that of reaching heaven.

Colossians 3:2 continues this thought: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  If we can continually fill our minds with “the things above,” such as God and Christ in their heavenly home, the heavenly preparations being made for Christians (John 14:2-3) and our expectation to imitate God and Christ (Ephesians 5:1; I Corinthians 11:1), then our lives will be more reflective of what God wants them to be.  So it is entirely appropriate for Christian men and women to remove their focus from worldly things and concentrate their thoughts on heaven; in fact, the Scriptures strongly encourage us to do so.  Let’s consider a few more examples of this.

In Matthew 6:19-21, our Lord said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If worldly treasures have been replaced by heavenly treasures, the Christian truly is seeking the things above.  Jesus plainly said that our heart will follow after our treasure, so if that treasure is in heaven, we have our priorities in order.  Paul indicated that his desire was “to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better,” in Philippians 1:23.  Paul was undeniably focusing on the heavenly home.  In Philippians 3:14 he also said: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  If this is not a focus on heaven, I’m not sure what it is.  Then in Philippians 3:20 we learn that the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven.  Doesn’t it make sense to focus on the “country” where our citizenship is?

The apostle wrote in II Timothy 4:8: “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  Could there be any better reason to embrace the heavenly mindset?  If we really did make heaven our priority, perhaps the things of this world would not be so troublesome to us; perhaps we would eliminate a great deal of frustration and anxiousness.  Make sure that heaven is your goal.

— Via article from the La Vista church of Christ
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eph3_4-5

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Enlightened Eyes
Wayne Goff

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter one reads, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…”  (vv. 17-19). Paul prayed that the Ephesians would have enlightened eyes. My prayer for all of us is that we would have enlightened eyes, too.

Enlightened eyes see things that others do not see. In this text, God is giving us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” as the means of that enlightenment. Today God’s revelation is fulfilled and complete, so that the Holy Spirit enlightens our eyes through the knowledge of the Scriptures. Additionally, wisdom may be prayed for so that this knowledge might be used properly. God gladly gives us wisdom when we desire it and ask for it (James 1:5).

Do you desire to have your “eyes” of understanding enlightened? If you do, then you already know to read the Scriptures habitually, for therein is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Having read the Scriptures, you meditate on them day and night (Psalm 1:2). Having meditated on the Scriptures, you also learn to rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Finally, having done all of that, you make a personal application of them (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

More specifically, in our Ephesian text, Paul and God desire that your eyes may be enlightened so that you may know:

1. What is the hope of His calling. If you do not have the hope of eternal life, then you will not remain faithful throughout your lifetime. Satan is always striving to place doubt in your mind about going to heaven. God’s Word removes that doubt and strengthens that conviction as part of the enlightening of the eyes!

2.  What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Does Paul mean for us to comprehend what God gets from
His scheme of redemption? Or does Paul want us to comprehend the riches of our future glory? I have always taught that God wants us to know and appreciate what He has gotten out of the eternal plan of salvation. But we undoubtedly should strive to comprehend the greatness of our eternal reward as well! In order to do this, consider Revelation 20-21 as a starter. Meditate on the glories of heaven, and you will do more to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

3. What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. We need to be reminded constantly that God is working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our eternal security is absolute from God’s standpoint. Nothing can prevent us from being saved, except ourselves! Read Romans 8:31-39 to appreciate this concept. Read also John 10:27-28 for another example of God’s power to keep us saved. Yes, we must “hear” the Shepherd’s voice and “follow” Him. Yes, we must “trust and obey” His will! But with God’s help we can become more spiritually-minded, have a greater enlightenment of our spiritual eyes, and rest assured of the promised rest that is before us. The real question remains: “How much do you desire to have your spiritual vision enlightened?”  Enough to seek and find?

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 02, Page 02, January 13, 2019
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eph5_19

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“A Cappella”
Greg Gwin

The word “a cappella” is defined by the dictionary as: “music without instrumental accompaniment.”  It comes from a Latin word which literally means “as in the church.”  Interestingly, the etymology (origin) of this word, proves that at the beginning of the church (and for many centuries thereafter), the music in worship was singing  only, without  instrumental accompaniment.

— Via The Beacon, January 13, 2019
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“Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray. 
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch” (Psalm 5:1-3, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:  Pat & A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Rick Cuthbertson, Jim Lively, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Myrna Jordan, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

The Walnut Street church of Christ will be having a gospel meeting February 6-10. Wednesday through Friday: 7 p.m.  Saturday: 10:30 a.m.  Sunday: 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Guest speaker: Ryan Hasty (of Auburn, Alabama). The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street, Jesup, GA.
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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 services9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon

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The Gospel Observer (January 13, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Habits (R.J. Evans)
2) Avoiding Bad Habits (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Eph4_22-24

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Habits
R.J. Evans

It has been said that, “habits are like comfortable beds, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” It has also been said that “habits are like cable, each day as we do something in a pattern, we intertwine one thread with another.” And, of course, as the threads are woven tightly together, a cable is formed. Using this analogy, we need to realize that on any particular day, the thread we added was probably too small to gain much of our attention. But, after many threads have been woven in, we discover that together they have become a practically unbreakable cable or rope.

So it is with habits. There are good habits and there are bad habits. Daily practices over the course of time become habits that are practically unbreakable—so be careful what you weave.

To illustrate the above, concerning a bad habit, ask someone who has developed a bad habit and has attempted to break it i.e. the person who uses profanity, drinks alcohol, or takes drugs. It is my understanding that chain smoking is one of the most difficult of all habits to break.

But on the other hand, think of developing good habits. Think of how much good and positive results that are produced from these daily practices. Here are some suggestions or examples of good habits that we need to be incorporating into our daily lives.

DAILY Bible Reading. “Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God” (Neh. 8:18).

DAILY Bible Study. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

DAILY Prayer. “Lord, I have called daily upon You; I have stretched out my hands to You” (Psa. 88:9).

DAILY Cross Bearing. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23).

DAILY Meditation. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2).

DAILY Exhortation. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:19).

DAILY Teaching. “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42).

DAILY Growth. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5) “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

Do you want to become more like Jesus? Do you want to consistently grow and become stronger in the Lord? Then consider carefully the good daily activities just mentioned, and begin a life filled with good habits.

— via church bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, September 9, 1018
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Stop Bad Habits

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Avoiding Bad Habits
by R.J. Evans

(Editor’s Note: In last week’s article we focused primarily on good habits; this week we are focusing on bad habits. rje)

Whether we are aware of it or not, our actions in life consist mostly of habits that we have developed. Both good and bad habits play a huge role in our lives. How often do we stop and think that God is interested and concerned about the habits we have formed as we live from day to day?

Have we seriously considered any habits in our lives that are displeasing and not glorifying God? If we are honest with ourselves, we must confess and admit that there may be a number of habits in our lives which are actually sins. God, through His word, has something to say about this—He identifies them for us. In this article, let us note some bad habits that all Christians need to break.

Putting other things before God. If we aren’t careful, we allow our lives to become so cluttered and busy and full of worldly activities that, before we realize it, less important things are taking God’s rightful place in our lives. Our jobs, hobbies, recreation, entertainment, times with friends all have a place, but they should never come before our time with God in prayer, Bible study, and worshiping Him with other saints. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). God assures us that we will have all we need and have a full life if we put Him first. (See also Lk. 8:14; 1 Thes. 5:17; Heb. 10:24-25)

Laziness. We do not have to read far into the book of Proverbs to see that laziness or slothfulness is a big problem (there are over a dozen passages in Proverbs that address this sin). It is so easy to become lazy and to slack off from our duties as a Christian. Some of our “duties as a Christian” such as homemaking, working diligently at our secular jobs, rearing our children, and, of course, Bible study, teaching, and worship require time and effort. The Apostle Paul tells us to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:15) and “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23). Laziness is a bad habit that must be overcome!

Poor stewardship. God has entrusted us with the responsibility of caring for our bodies, our souls, our money, our relationships, and our use of time. Are we responsible in these areas? We are not to allow bad habits of poor stewardship to hinder our lives. The Apostle Paul has instructed us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:15-16). He also tells us that “you are not your own…For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Murmuring and complaining. These are two things that can destroy our good influence for Christ, even as far as dividing a congregation. Proverbs 6 tells us that God hates “one who sows discord among brethren” (v. 6). So, be very careful about what you say to and about other Christians. Why would the world want what we have if we aren’t contented and joyful? If we are constantly complaining and grumbling, then we give the world the wrong picture of what a Christian should be. We must rid ourselves of complaining habits if we are going to be happy and have a positive influence on others. The Apostle Paul plainly said, “Do all things without murmuring and complaining” (Phil. 2:14).

The list above is just a limited number of bad habits (or sins) that we must get rid of. Cultivating good habits in these areas will help us have fuller and more meaningful lives as Christians, and also enable us to have a good influence on all those who observe our lives. Let us “put off the old man” with his bad habits and “put on the new man” with his good habits (Col. 3:9-10). By so doing, we can show all those in our world of friends and associates what it is like to live a faithful, contented, joyful life in Christ. Yes, we need to live our daily lives AVOIDING BAD HABITS.

— Via church bulletin for Southside church of Christ, September 16, 2018
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Anita Young’s recent surgery went well. She is now in the healing process.

Barbara Thompson has been having some terrible pain in her shoulder. It had even caused her arm to lock in place for a while.

Others to remember in prayer: Pat and A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Jim Lively, Mary Vandevander, Doyle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, Michelle Rittenhouse, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (January 6, 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) Four Tactics of the Devil (R.J. Evans)
2) God is Unchangeable (Carrol R. Sutton)
3) News & Notes
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Jude1_21

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Four Tactics of the Devil
R.J. Evans

The devil is our adversary or enemy.  Observe how he is described by the Apostle Peter: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).  In this short article, let’s notice four “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11) the devil will seek to bring into our lives if we are not duly vigilant:

1.  DISCOURAGEMENT.  You have been serving God so diligently, yet there are still so many trials and difficulties in your life.  The devil would love to see you throw up your hands and say, “I give up!”  You have been trying to faithfully serve the Lord, but it seems that you are all alone at times.  The devil would love to see you start asking “Where is God now?”

The great prophet Elijah experienced discouragement when he was fleeing for his life from wicked Jezebel.  He asked God to take his life (1 Kgs. 19:4); he felt that he was the only faithful servant on earth–“I alone am left, and they seek to take my life” (1 Kgs. 19:10).  The Lord told him to go to work on some jobs He had for him (1 Kgs. 19:11-17).  Furthermore, he was not alone.  God had “reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kgs. 19:18).  Thus, the faithful Christian must remember that there are setbacks in life, but they are temporary and common to all of God’s faithful servants.

2.  DISCONTENTMENT.  The devil wants us to look at our neighbors, our co-workers, those who do not fear God and think, “Oh look how much better they are doing than I am.”  This is exactly what happened to Asaph, the chief musician in the temple.  He stated: “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psa. 73:2-3).  He further became envious and very discontented when he considered their wealth, strength, pride, and arrogance.  He felt that way, as he stated, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end” (Psa. 73:17).

Discontentment can lead to discouragement, and keep us from moving forward.  Let us all seek to develop the attitude of the Apostle Paul: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content….Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (1 Tim. 6:8; Phil. 4:11).  Jesus came that we might be joyful—”These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:11; see also Phil. 4:4).

3.  DOUBT.  The devil is a murderer and a liar from the beginning (Jn. 8:44).  He would love to have us to start questioning God.  He wants us to say, “Did the Lord really say or mean that?”  He did that with the first couple, Adam and Eve.

The Lord instructs that if we lack wisdom, to ask for it, and He will provide it for us (Jas. 1:5).  However, we must keep in mind what James has told us regarding this matter: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (Jas. 1:6-7).  Doubt is truly an indicator of a lack of faith.  When Peter started walking on the water toward Jesus, he saw the boisterous wind, became afraid and began to sink.  Jesus then stretched out His hand, caught him and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).

4.  DISREGARD FOR HIS WORD.  The devil would love for us to think we can do it our way and not according to what God has commanded.  Moses made this mistake in the wilderness.  God told him to speak to the rock in front of the grumbling Israelites, but he angrily struck the rock twice, totally disregarding God’s word (Num. 20:7-11).  This one act of disobedience kept Moses out of the land of promise—”Because you did not believe Me to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Num. 20:13).

The devil leads man away from God’s word by false teachers.  The Apostle Paul warned: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13-14; see also 11:1-4).

May we ever seek to do exactly as God has commanded in His word.  “Now by this we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments….For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome….Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (1 Jn. 2:3; 5:3; 2 Jn. 9).

Have you noticed these four tactics against you and your family?  Jesus has won the victory over the devil and death (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:57).  Therefore, we need to follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21-25).  Let us not be deceived and led astray by the devices of the devil.  We close with these words of encouragement: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life….Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 21, 24-25).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, December 30, 2018
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Heb1_8

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God Is Unchangeable
Carrol R. Sutton

Daily we witness changes around us in both the plant and animal kingdoms. We also witness weather changes, which in turn produce changes in temperatures. As these changes take place, it becomes necessary for us to make changes in our eating, sleeping, working and playing habits as well as in our dress. Changes in styles and fashions and models are occurring frequently. It is interesting to note that most people are fickle. Certainly, men should change from sin to righteousness, but very often men change from right to wrong; from truth to error. Changes are often produced by gossip, lies, and false doctrines.

In Malachi 3:6, we read: “For I am the Lord, I change not. . . .” Although man is subject to change, we are assured that God Is unchangeable. This does not mean that God’s will for man is the same today that it was under the Mosaic age. In fact, we learn from Hebrews 7:12 that the priesthood was changed, and “there is made also of necessity a change of the law.” We are now under the New Testament. (See 1 Cor. 9:21; Heb. 9:16-17; 10:9-10; Jno. 12:48).

God is unchangeable in Character. He cannot be tempted with evil. He is holy. The Psalmist said: “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.”

— Via The Elon Challenger, December 2018, Volume 16, Number 4
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News & Notes

There will be a gospel meeting at the Walnut Street church of Christ February 6th-10th.  Services for Wednesday through Friday will be at 7 p.m.   There will also be a Saturday morning service at  10:30, and the Sunday morning services are at 9 and 10.  Ryan Hasty of Auburn, Alabama, will be the guest  speaker.  The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street, Jesup, Georgia.

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner had her surgery that involved replacing her heart valve.  All went well.  She is now back home, healing and undergoing  therapy.

Larry Welch, who recently had surgery for cancer, has passed away.  We extend our condolences to all his family and friends.

Michelle Rittenhouse, who had become septic and was hospitalized with a fever of 105,  had to have surgery on her appendix.

Doyle Rittenhouse was glad to hear that his melanoma was not bad enough to have it removed when recently seeing his doctor.  He was told that he would  not have to come back for three months — unless the melanoma turns worse.

Rick Cuthbertson has now been through four chemo treatments and is doing better with it than he had in the past.

Others to remember in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Shirley Davis,  James Medlock, A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse, Mary Vandevander, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Kala Williams, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John St oval, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (December 30, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Bible Lands: Philippi (Mike Hardin)
2) Challenges for the New Year (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–

philippi_basilica

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Bible Lands: Philippi
Mike Hardin

The city of Philippi was in the first district of Macedonia, and the immediate destination of Paul and Silas upon reaching Macedonia. In Philippi, Paul and Silas successfully preached the gospel. They met and converted Lydia, “a seller of purple goods”; cast out an evil spirit; were scourged, jailed, and miraculously saved; converted the jailer and his household; and established the Lord’s church in this city.

Philippi received its name from its founder, Philip of Macedonia. In Acts 16:12, Luke refers to it as the leading city of Macedon, and also mentions its status as a Roman Colony. This status was a distinction in which the citizens of such a city took a great deal of pride, and this attitude is indicated by the complaint against Paul and his associates for seeking to introduce customs and  practices contrary to the Roman pattern (Acts 16:21-26).  Philippi was the place where Marcus Antonius and  Octavius defeated Brutus and Cassius (42 B.C.), which defeat overthrew the Roman Oligarchy and Augustus (Octavius) became Emperor. This battle in large measure determined the fate of the Roman Republic, which became the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers settled in Philippi under the orders from Anthony and set aside the territory of Philippi as a Roman colony. The position of Philippi was that of an outpost or fortress whose principal business was to ward off barbarian hordes and to preserve the Roman peace on the edges of the empire. The military atmosphere may have kept away Jewish settlers, thus preventing the establishment of a synagogue.

Geographically, Philippi was an inland town situated about ten miles north of the Aegean seaport of  Neapolis (modern Kavalla), from which it was separated by a continuous range of low lying hills.  Philippi’s maritime interests, entering at Neapolis, were safeguarded by the construction of a Roman highway, a spur of the great Via Egnatia.

The Roman Empire gave civilization two major contributions, peace and a great road system. The Roman-built Via Egnatia was a great military highway. The strategic and commercially viable Via Egnatia ran along the north of Macedonia, connecting Dyrrhachium on the Adriatic Sea with Thessalonica near the Aegean Sea. This was the prime route between Italy and Asia Minor. The Via Egnatia is the most famous road in the Roman Empire, the main artery in southern Italy, and was constructed by the end of the second century B.C. The total length of the Via Egnatia was 535 Roman miles (493 English miles). Thessalonica and Philippi were the principal cities of Macedonia having access to the Via Egnatia. The road was paved and 15 feet across. On a road such as the Via Egnatia a person could travel about 25 Roman miles (1,614.6 yards) per day, depending upon whether he was walking or riding.  The Via Egnatia was a great highway through which all the traders from east and west had to pass. Not only did the Via Egnatia make possible the economic boom that occurred in Paul’s day, but it played an important role in disseminating the gospel throughout Europe.

The Apostle Paul no doubt traveled the Via Egnatia between the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Illyricum. Philippi for Paul was a strategic center for evangelizing Europe. It was well watered, in the midst of a very fertile territory, and close to it were some very rich gold mines.

The church at Philippi was established by Paul on his second Missionary journey, about  A.D. 52. At Troas “a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there was a man of Macedonia standing and beseeching him, and saying, come over into Macedonia and help us; and when he had seen the vision straightway we sought to go further into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:6-10).

They sailed from Troas, and evidently, with a favorable wind, crossed the Aegean Sea in two days to Neapolis, a journey that would ordinarily have taken five days. From Neapolis they went up to Philippi. These circumstances: the vision at Troas, a ship being immediately available, and a favorable wind on his journey indicate that God was guiding Paul to the city of Philippi.

In Philippi, Paul and Silas “went outside the gate to the riverside, where they supposed there was a place of prayer.” One of the women, who heard them speak, was Lydia, “a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.” Lydia was from Thyatira in Asia Minor. Lydia and her household were baptized into Jesus Christ (Acts 16:12-15). The conversion of Lydia represented the establishment of the first church in Europe. One of the possible sites for the baptism of Lydia is the River Krenides near Philippi.

Paul and Silas were cast into prison in Philippi and converted the jailor and his household (Acts 16:16-34). Paul had a great love and appreciation for the children of God at Philippi.

— Via Truth Magazine, January 2007, Volume LI, Number 1, pp. 27-28
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gal6_9b

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Challenges for the New Year
Greg Gwin

The beginning of a new year provides an excellent opportunity for us to pause, ponder, plan, and prepare for the future. We hope that the New Year will especially cause us all to think about our spiritual service to God and how we can improve in the fulfillment of our duties to Him. Let us challenge you in these specific areas:

–  Spend  more  time  in  prayer.  Don’t  allow  the  day  to begin  or  end  without  spending  time  in prayer  to  God.  Throughout  the  day,  stop  and  petition  Him  for  help  and  strength.  And,  by  all means,  don’t  just  wait  for  a  crisis  to  develop  before  you  think  to  pray. “Pray  without  ceasing”  (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

– Study your Bible more consistently. Use one of the available daily Bible reading schedules, or come up with  your own  plan to read on a regular basis. Don’t just rush through a few verses. Instead, really study the text to learn its meaning. Before you end a reading session, think about how you can make application of what you’ve read in a real and practical way. “Give attendance to reading . . .” (1 Timothy 4:13).

– Attend every Bible study and worship in this New Year. This, of course, is your duty — but it is also a privilege. BE HERE! Make this a high priority. Why would you not want to be present to worship God and study His Word?  “Not  forsaking  the assembling  of  ourselves  together  .  .  .” (Hebrews 10:25).

– Teach the lost. We all have friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members who are lost in sin.  They NEED us to share the gospel with  them.  Make  a  firm commitment  to  reach  at  least one of them with the “good news” this  year. If each Christian  would  bring just one person to the Lord each year, we could soon convert the whole world. Let’s do it! “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . .  (Matthew 28:19).

– Live a pure, godly life. Nothing else matters if we are not living faithfully for the Lord. Think about this, and let it be manifested  in how  you  talk,  where  you  go,  who  you associate  with, how you  dress,  etc.  Others  are  looking  to  you,  and  evaluating  Christianity  on  the  basis  of  what  they see of it in you. “Ye are the light of the world . . . let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

In a very real sense, having a “Happy New Year” depends on how well you fulfill your spiritual duties to God. Think!

– Via The Beacon, December 30, 2018
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Larry Welch who recently passed away.

Pat Joyner’s surgery went well.  She is now back home and recuperating.

Others to also remember in prayer: James Medlock, A.J. Joyner, Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Rick Cuthbertson, Mary Vandevander, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John Stoval, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday:
2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

 

The Gospel Observer (December 23, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Coming of Jesus (Doy Moyer)
2) It’s Always Needed (Shane Williams)
3) The Tongue (Anonymous)
4) News & Notes
——————–

1john2_28

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The Coming of Jesus
Doy Moyer

It’s not bad that people think about Jesus in December. We wish that people would think about Jesus the whole year around, but we will take what we can get when it comes to opportunities. Regardless of conceptions, misconceptions, information, misinformation, and other ideas, as Jesus’ name is uttered, Christians need to stand up and hold fast the word of life (Phil 2:16).

One of the terms associated with the December time-frame is “advent.” It’s not a bad term either. In fact, we sing about it when preparing for the Lord’s Supper: “with the last advent we unite, until He comes.” “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus and means “arrival” (used in the Latin Vulgate). It corresponds to the Greek parousia, which, in our English versions is often translated as “coming.” Other terms (e.g., erchomai) may also be translated as “come.” The idea of the “advent” or “coming” of Jesus is biblical, whatever else may be associated with it outside the scriptural context. Because it is a biblical idea, we need not shy away from it. In fact, we need to be teaching the truth about it, particularly while people are thinking about it.

The “coming” of Jesus can be spoken of in different ways. For example, there was a “coming of the Son of Man” upon Jerusalem in judgment (Matt 24:27, 29). When God brought judgment upon a city or a nation, it was a time of visitation or coming from God. Jesus warned the church at Ephesus that if they did not repent, “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev 2:5). He also promised the church at Pergamum that if they did not repent, He would come to them soon and make war “with the sword of my mouth” (Rev 2:16). This is not how we want Jesus coming to us in time.

For our purposes, let’s simplify the concept of the coming of Jesus Christ and think about it in three more primary ways:

1. He Came in the Flesh. The birth of Jesus into this world is a coming of our Lord in order to accomplish salvation. His name would be “Jesus,” for He would save the people from their sins, and “Immanuel,” for God is with us (Matt 1:21-23). When Jesus was brought to the temple after His birth, Simeon had been waiting. The Holy Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had seen “the Lord’s Christ.” When he took Jesus up in his arms, he praised God “for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30). Jesus, God manifested in the flesh, has come into the world for salvation (John 1:14). As Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68-69). This looked past John to Jesus Himself, for whom John would be the forerunner.

2. He Abides with us Now. When we enter into that redeemed relationship with God, there is a sense in which He visits or comes to us. We, of course, are to “come to him” also (1 Pet 2:4-5). James promises, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (Jas 4:8). The term used here has that sense of coming, approaching, or being at hand. God draws near to us, abides with us and in us, as we trust in Him. This is God’s presence among us. “Abide in Me, and I in you,” Jesus told His disciples (John 15:4). We have God’s promise that He will never leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5). So must we not forsake Him.

3. He’s Coming Again. Scripture tells us, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb 9:27-28). Jesus is coming again. After the resurrection and at the ascension, angels promised the disciples, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). This is the time of the final resurrection in which all will hear His voice and come forth, “those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). This visitation will be for all, good and bad, and for final judgment (2 Cor 5:10). Such a day has been appointed and proof given through the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:30-31).

Jesus came in the flesh; He will come again. In the meantime He is with us, abiding with us and drawing near as we draw near to Him. Let us ever be mindful of the presence of our Lord in our lives. “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

— via blog.moyerpress.com,  December 19, 2018
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bible 2

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It’s Always Needed
Shane Williams

I heard a story of a man in the mid 1950’s entering school to study engineering. A professor told the entering freshmen class to buy the best slide rule they could afford. The reason: “You will be dependent on it all your ‘professional’  life.”  Well,  of course, it wasn’t too long before the slide rule was replaced by the calculator.

We’ve seen those same sorts of things in fairly recent years: 8  tracks, cassette tapes (almost), & even VHS tapes!

Things that today we consider essential may quickly become obsolete. Tomorrow they may be discarded as antiques that cannot provide the help we need.

At least one thing from the past, however, will always be needed and never become obsolete. It is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. No matter how much technological change and progress takes place, the Book will remain the one sure means for getting the right answers to the complicated questions: our origin, our purpose, our needs, and our final destination.

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever.”

I  Peter  1:23, “For  you  have been  born again  not  of seed  which  is  perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”

Make sure you keep your Bible around and use it! You’ll always need it.

— Via articles of the Collegevue church of Christ, December 16, 2018
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gossip

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The Tongue

“I’ve gossiped about my neighbor,” said the woman to her minister. “One day I saw her stagger across the yard, so I told a few friends that she had been drunk. Now I find that her staggering was caused by a leg injury. How can I undo this gossip I started?”

The minister excused himself for a moment, returned with a pillow, and asked the woman to follow him to a side porch. He took a knife, cut a hole in the pillow, and emptied the feathers over the railing. A small breeze soon scattered tiny feathers all about the yard, among shrubs, flowers, even up in the trees. A few feathers floated across the street heading for unknown destinations. The minister turned to the woman and said, “Will you go out now and gather every one of the feathers?”

The woman looked stunned, and said, “Why, that would be impossible.” “Exactly,” replied, the minister sorrowfully, “and so it is with your gossip.”

— Anonymous, via The Elon Challenger, November 2018, Volume 16, Number 3
——————–

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Anita Young’s recent surgery went well, and she is now in the healing process.

Doyle Rittenhouse will be having a procedure January 14 to remove a melanoma.

Pat Joyner has been re-scheduled to have a heart valve replacement January 15.

Larry Welch has not been doing well, following his recent cancer surgery.

Rick Cuthbertson had a CAT scan recently that showed several nodules in his lungs. A PET scan confirmed they are malignant, but still in an infant state.  He has now begun chemo treatments and went through the first 2 without any adverse reactions.

John Stobal was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

James Medlock had become unresponsive Saturday (for the longest time yet) and was taken to the hospital. X-rays and a CT scan were done.

Myrna Jordan has not been feeling well lately.

Shirley Davis’s surgery went well last Friday. The infection on her knee was taken care of, and she is now back home.

Others to remember in prayer: A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse, Mary Vandevander,  Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (December 16, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) “Lest You Become Weary and Discouraged in Your Souls” (R.J. Evans)
2) The Conversion of the Ethiopian (Mike Johnson)
3) News & Notes
——————–

heb12_1-2

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“..Lest You Become Weary and Discouraged in Your Souls”
R.J. Evans

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged”  (Heb. 12:3).

The devil uses various cunning and deceptive means to lure a child of God back into sin.  One of the strongest and most pervasive is discouragement, to which many Christians succumb.  The Apostle Paul said, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).

Trying to cope with the present, while worrying about the future causes people to become discouraged.  Someone once said, “God gives us strength to bear our present burdens, but He never calculates for us to carry over yesterday’s grief and borrow on tomorrow’s worry.”  We must, with God’s help, bear today’s burdens, and let tomorrow take care of itself.  Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34).

Allowing others to “get us down” can also be a cause of discouragement.  For example, we invite someone to worship services, and with their assurance that they will definitely be there, we excitedly await their coming.  But suppose they don’t show up.  What do we do?  While that is disappointing, we should not allow it to get us to the point of deciding not to ever invite anyone else to services.  Disinterest on the part of some is disheartening and sad, but there are others who are just as lost and would love to hear and obey the gospel.  We must keep on working until we find those who are desirous of truth and spiritual matters.  Yes, men often let us down, but may we ever be mindful of the Lord’s promise: “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5).

Sometimes we become discouraged by the small number of Christians who make up the local church where we worship.  But rest assured, if we are worshiping God “in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24), the Lord will be with us when we meet— “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).

Sometimes when our sins are rebuked by the preacher or the elders, we get discouraged (as well as offended) and become unfaithful.  However, we should appreciate their efforts and their interest in our salvation.  Preachers have been given the charge to “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).  Concerning the elders, Christians are told to “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).

It is true, we all may succumb to discouragement at times.  No doubt, Satan uses discouragement to lure Christians back into his domain.  But we must resist the devil (Jas. 4:7).  We must therefore resist becoming discouraged.  We have too much for which to be thankful here in this life, as well as the glorious hope and promise of everlasting life in heaven.  The Apostle Paul admonished, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).  Consider further the inspired words of the Hebrew writer “looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:15).  Again, let us look and labor diligently…“lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls”  (Heb. 12:3).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, October 7, 2018
——————–

acts8_36

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The Conversion of the Ethiopian
Mike Johnson

The conversion case of the eunuch from Ethiopia is one of the more familiar conversion cases in the Bible.  We know the facts are accurate because they come from the inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16-17).

Acts 8 is where the conversion is recorded.  The account takes a natural division.  First, verses 26-29 tell us about the bringing together of the preacher and the sinner.  Next, verses 30-35 reveal Philip “preaching Jesus” to the Ethiopian, and then verses 36-39 tell of the response of the eunuch.  Consider some important lessons to be learned from the conversion case.

We see the importance of the individual. Philip, according to Acts 8:5-25, had been preaching in the area of Samaria.  This was a populated area and was a place where Philip had much success.  Yet, an angel of God spoke to Philip and told him to go to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza.  There he met the eunuch and preached to him.  Thus, Philip was sent from a populated area to preach to one person.  This shows us that God views each individual as important.  He wants salvation for everyone (II Pet. 3:9).

A religious man needed to be saved.   The eunuch was a religious man.  He had been to Jerusalem to worship God (v. 27).  Nevertheless, he still needed to hear the truth and obey Christ so that he might be saved.  Such was also the case with Cornelius who was a God-fearing man (Acts 10:2, 22) but was an unsaved man (Acts 11:14).  It takes more than being a religious person to be saved.

Preaching Jesus meant preaching baptism.  Verse 35 says that Philip “…preached unto him Jesus.”  After hearing “Jesus preached,” they came to a certain water, and the eunuch said, “See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”  This helps us to see that preaching Jesus involves preaching baptism.  The Bible tells us that baptism is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38).  Many claim to “preach Jesus,” and yet they hardly ever mention the subject of baptism.

The proper mode of baptism is seen.  The Bible teaches that baptism is a  burial” (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12).  The word translated baptism means  “immersion.”  The case of the eunuch (Acts 8) is in perfect accord with the rest of the Bible’s teaching that baptism is a burial or immersion.  They came “unto a certain water” (v. 36), they “went down both into the water” (v. 38), and they “came up out of the water” (v. 39).  The language is quite clear if immersion is being described.  However, it is difficult to understand if sprinkling or pouring water is under consideration.  Sprinkling or pouring water on a person’s head is not baptism at all.  The Bible teaches that baptism is immersion or burial.

He confessed Christ.  The eunuch was not required to confess and memorize various articles of faith or to pledge allegiance to a denomination before his baptism.  No, he simply confessed Christ (Rom. 10:10).  Many are guilty of adding conditions before baptism that the Lord does not require.

He was baptized immediately.  The eunuch did not have to wait for the church to vote on him before his baptism.  He did not have to wait for others to decide to be baptized so that they could have a big baptizing day.  He did not have to tell his experience.  He simply responded to God’s Word and became a Christian.  He was baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:27).  Have you ever read in the Bible where one had to be “voted on” before he could be baptized?

The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch serves as a pattern for us today.  Each individual is important to God and worthy of our teaching.  Our teaching must center on Christ and baptism cannot be ignored in salvation.  Most important, we must follow God’s will explicitly and not take it upon ourselves to change His will for our convenience.

— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 4, December 2018
——————–

-3-

News & Notes

Shirley Davis is feeling better.  Though the hurt on the side of her leg since the surgery became more of a pain yesterday, she sounds in good spirits and has been thankful for the food brought to her by some of the brethren and for their visits with her.

We are glad that Melotine Davis’ gall bladder surgery went well.

Joyce Rittenhouse is now almost 90% healed of her Bell’s palsy as she continues to improve, but is still having vision trouble with  one of her eyes.

Others to remember in prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Judy Daugherty, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rick Cuthbertson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday:
2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 
7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (December 9, 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).
——————–

Contents:

1) Not Worth the Worry (Harold Hancock)
2) “Everything Happens for a Reason” (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Matt6_33b

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Not Worth the Worry
Harold Hancock

My two-year-old daughter loves The Lion King, especially the song “Hakuna Matata,” which means “no worries.” Even though that song was at one time very popular, we still live in what is called the “Age of Anxiety.” Apparently, the problem of worry is not unique to our generation or Jesus never would have devoted a large section to this issue in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:25-34). And in the Parable of the Sower, He identified “the worries of the world” (Mk. 4:19) as thorns that choke out the life of the Word of God.

That’s where we get our word worry. It comes from an Old English term that means “to strangle.” The Greek word paints a picture of a mind torn in two directions, one that is divided and distracted. It seems logical that Jesus would address His concerns for worry after saying that “no man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). If you’re occupied with worrying, how can you be working for the Master? Before we are too quick to sympathize with Jesus’ audience, notice that the things we worry about are completely different than what they were worrying about. “Do not worry, then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” These people were anxious about whether they would be able to put food on their tables or clothes on their backs. In other words, what they worried about make our concerns pale into insignificance. And if Jesus had to get on them for worrying about the necessities of life, what do you think He would say to us about the things that distract, and divide our minds?

I offer these suggestions as to why worry is, in fact, not worth the worry:

Worry Sets Our Minds on the World, Not on the Kingdom

That’s why so much attention is given to the subject in Scripture.  Jesus introduces this topic in a section on materialism — serving God vs. serving mammon. This makes an easy transition to talk about worry, because the devil doesn’t care whether your heart is carried away by riches or by anxiety, just so long as it is carried away from God. When Martha was upset about Mary’s listening to Jesus instead of helping her serve, Jesus told her, “you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary” (Lk. 10:38-42). Worry distracts us from the one thing we ought to be doing. In all the opinions that seem to be available in life, there are actually only two. Which will you choose?

“Do not be anxious…but seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:25,33,34). If you want assurance of provision, you don’t seek things, you seek God. And upon securing your relationship with Him, making spiritual sustenance your priority, He will provide the daily bread. Upon making the decision to improve that area of your life, to make the righteousness of God your own, improvement in every area of life is the inevitable result. Don’t get that backwards.

Worry Demonstrates a Lack of Faith in God

Worrying about food, drink, and clothing are things that the “Gentiles eagerly seek” (Matt. 6:32). Jesus calls them “men of little faith,” because they were acting like the Lord didn’t know or care that they were hungry, thirsty, and in need of clothes. They were in covenant relationship with God but were demonstrating less faith than those who didn’t know Him at all.

Consider the sparrows, five of which were sold for two cents. “And yet not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk. 12:6). If the smallest and humblest of God’s creatures are given such rich provision, what then, for the pinnacle of His creation, for those who have been made in His image and have become His children through the blood of His Son? And what about the lilies of the field, generally used for kindling? If the God of heaven has tended to the flowers whose life is but a breath and a sigh, will He not clothe with righteousness those whose destiny is eternal life? Surely a God who has given Jesus to satisfy our spiritual needs has sought out ways to provide for our physical ones as well. If He can solve our most basic problem, salvation from sin, we ought to trust Him with any other difficulty that comes our way.

Worry is Worthless

Having worried and worried and worried about something, what good does it accomplish? What does it change? It is a useless endeavor. “Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life” (Matt. 6:27)? In fact, worry doesn’t lengthen life, it tends to shorten it. Not just in the sense of “worrying yourself sick.” But all too often, life is what happens while we’re worrying that something else will happen. Our time here is short enough as it is, a “vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (Jas. 4:14). How much more is that vapor abbreviated when what little time we do have is wasted away with fretful, anxious care?

These passages on worry do not promote idleness, a spirit that says we can just sit back in the recliner and let God take care of everything for us. Other scriptures tell us that we must “labor, performing with our hands that which is good” (Eph. 4:28) and that we ought to provide for our own and for our household (1 Tim. 5:8). We need to do what we can. But we do so with the understanding that “God will take care of what we cannot” (Paul Earnhart).

Worrying about tomorrow gives no respect for the troubles of today. And even those really aren’t worth the worry.

— Via Articles from the Timberland Drive church of Christ, Lufkin, Texas
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“Everything Happens for a Reason”
Greg Gwin

We often hear people use the expression: “Everything happens for a reason.” This saying is the modern, New Age version of the old religious saying: “It’s God’s will.” Is this true? Is there a reason for everything? Does God’s will regulate all things?

First, some things happen because the Lord has placed certain ‘natural’ laws in place that cannot be violated without predictable results. For example: a man broke his leg. Why? What was the reason? He stepped off of a ladder and the ‘law of gravity’ prevailed. In this sense, we can understand and acknowledge that this ‘happened for a reason,’ though we doubt that this is what the New Age crowd means when they use that expression.

But, we must essentially protest the claim that God has totally predestined our lives, or that His ‘will’ controls every aspect of our existence. The Scriptures make it clear that God gives man choice. Joshua’s famous statement makes this abundantly clear: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). We know that the invitation for salvation is open to all, but each one must decide: “The Spirit and the bride say, Come . . . and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). So, obviously, God has not predestined everything, else these statements about our freedom to choose would be senseless.

Further, we know that some things do, in fact, happen as a consequence of the choices God allows us to make. Good choices typically bring good outcomes, and bad choices produce bad ones. Many are suffering the ill effects of things they chose to do or not do, while others are enjoying the benefits of wise selections. Moses advised the Israelites: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). To put it simply, choices have consequences. And while this is a definite rule of God, the specifics are determined by us and our free will, not His.

Finally, we must note that there is not always a clear, one-to-one corollary to be seen in every event in our lives. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. Why? Frequently we can ‘see’ it, but often we can not answer, other than to lay it to the reality of living in this present world with its physical suffering and death. We may not be able to explain them, but we can use even the ‘bad things’ to provoke us to do what is right and just – as we seek for a world where such will never happen again (2 Peter 3:13).

— Via The Beacon, February 23, 2014
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News & Notes

Shirley Davis was back in the hospital for about a week, due to a surface infection on her knee replacement, and returned home last Friday evening.  Her doctor told her that it was not as serious as he initially thought it might be.

Pat Joyner had an allergic reaction to the dye used in her tests, on December 3rd & 6th, for her upcoming aortic valve replacement, which has led to a rash, stomach cramps, and other physical discomfort.  Her heart surgery is scheduled for January 8.

We are glad to hear that the open heart surgery for 16-year old Ben Lingenfelter went well.

Let us continue to remember in prayer the loved ones of Billy Lowe (Barbara Kirkland’s father) who passed away November 27.

Also for prayer: Bryan and Hannah Greer’s two premature infants, Everleigh and Hazel; and with sympathy for the loss of Amelia Kaye, the smallest of the triplets, who passed away soon after birth.

Others to remember in prayer: Joyce Rittenhouse, A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Melotine Davis, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Judy Daugherty, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rick Cuthbertson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
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