The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20)
November 22, 2009
1) Seeing As Jehovah Sees (Monte Hampton)
2) The Reality of Hell (Gene Taylor)
3) Thought for the Day (Ogden's Biblical Resources)
4) News & Notes
Seeing as Jehovah Sees
by Monte Hampton
"But Jehovah said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the
height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth
not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but
Jehovah looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:6,7). So spoke the Lord
concerning the man whom he would anoint to replace Saul as king of
Israel. God had directed His prophet to Bethlehem and the household of
Jesse. When Samuel met with Jesse's family, he was most impressed with
Eliab, Jesse's eldest son. Looking upon him, Samuel concluded, ". .
.surely, Jehovah's anointed is before him."
Samuel was a great man of God. He served as Jehovah's chief messenger
at an immensely important juncture in the history of God's chosen
nation. He not only saw Israel reject God's system of "judges" in favor
of a King, but he also personally served as her final judge and, by
anointing Israel's first King, functioned as a sort of bridge between
the two periods. Samuel anointed Saul, a man of exceptional physical
credentials. He was a "mighty man of valor," about whom Samuel wrote,
"from his shoulder and upward he was higher than any of the people" (1
Samuel 9:2). Certainly, then, human wisdom pointed Samuel to Eliab --
the eldest brother and one of favorable "countenance" and "stature" (v.
7). Judging by ostensible, earthly criteria, Eliab appeared the most
But Jehovah looks beyond the merely apparent. Saul was the right choice
for his day, not essentially because of his physical credentials, but
because God had selected him. Unlike man who "looketh on the outward
appearance," the Lord "looketh on the heart." And he now saw
something in young David that was unapparent from the human
perspective. God sees differently than man sees.
From Mount Sinai to Mount Zion, man has
demonstrated his unholy proclivity toward the "outward appearance."
Precisely while Moses was receiving God's law, Aaron and the people
were fashioning a golden calf -- a tangible object to which they could
worship (Exodus 32). Little has changed since their day. It is not the
Gospel but the "outward appearance" of a grandiose building that
enamors so many today. The stained glass and towering spires are the
"countenance" and "height of stature" through which God saw and passed,
which Samuel was unable to see. Others take the "safety in numbers"
approach and affiliate with the church boasting the greatest
membership. According to Jesus, the "narrow gate," not the wide, leads
to life (Matthew 7:13,14). Regardless of its appeal, religion of human
origin is "vain" and "shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:8-13).
But the tendency to emphasize the "outward" also exists with the Lord's
church. Many content themselves with giving the proper form of worship
without giving the true substance of worship. It is certainly necessary
to follow the New Testament pattern of assembling for mutual
exhortation (Hebrews 10:24-25), partaking of the Lord's Supper and
discussing the Lord's will (Acts 20:7), praying (Acts 4:24ff),
contributing financially to divinely authorized collective actions (1
Corinthians 16:1ff). These are not "magic acts" which appease some
capricious god. They are divinely sanctioned methods of demonstrating
our complete devotion to Jehovah. We must completely give Him ourselves
-- as "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1,2) -- before our outward "acts
of worship" avail anything. Jehovah "looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel
Samuel, of course, saw as Jehovah did, most of the time. We should seek
to do the same. We must remember that, contrary to popular wisdom, "the
things that are seen are temporal; but the things which are not are
eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). Now, then, as finite temporally oriented
creatures, can we possibly see into the realm of eternity? The answer
lies exclusively in the word of God and a resolute belief in the
promises of God -- "faith is the conviction of things unseen" (Hebrews
11:1). By assimilating the revelation of the Eternal Father, we can
look beyond the "outward appearance" and see as Jehovah sees.
-- Via Gospel Power, Anderson, Alabama, 12/8/96
The Reality of Hell
by Gene Taylor
In Matthew 25:31-46 the Bible teaches that at the final judgment while
the righteous will enter heaven to enjoy everlasting life, the wicked
will go into eternal punishment. The thought of everlasting suffering
is repulsive to many. No doubt this aversion lies at the bottom of much
of the indifference to what the Bible teaches about hell.
Hell, despite the denials of many, is real. Sin demands it. Sin is a
violation of the law of God (1 John 3:4). If there were no punishment
for sin, then there could be no law; for law without penalty is null
and void. If there is no law, there would be no sin. That would make
the death of Jesus useless because if there is no sin there is no
responsibility to save anyone from it.
The reality of life after death also demands the reality of hell. Jesus
taught, in Matthew 22:23-33, that there was life after physical death.
In the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, two
distinct destinies are presented: comfort for the righteous, but
punishment for the wicked -- depending on whether or not one serves God
while living on earth.
Hell was not originally prepared for man. It was prepared for Satan and
his angels (Matt. 25:41). Jude 6 states that fallen angels are placed
in chains awaiting judgment. Yet, when men and women join the devil in
his work and live in servitude to him, they must suffer the same fate
that will befall him.
Hell Is Not Contrary To The Nature of God
Many people find it difficult to accept the reality of hell because
they cannot understand or believe that a loving, merciful and forgiving
God could create such a place and then place people in it eternally. If
no punishment were given for violation of His law, then God would not
be just. Being a just God, He will reward the righteous and punish the
wicked. Hell is to punish the wicked.
What Hell Is Like
- Hell is eternal. It is described that way in Matthew 25:46. In
Romans 16:26 God is said to be eternal. The Holy Spirit, in Hebrews
9:14, is also described as eternal. The same Greek word is used in all
three passages. The word means "eternal, everlasting, without end,
never to cease." Hell and the punishment meted out there will
last as long as God -- forever.
- Hell is a place of darkness. Jude 13 speaks of "the blackness of
darkness" to which false teachers will be confined forever. God is
light (1 John 1:5) and the Father of lights (Jas. 1:17). Hell is
described as darkness because it is the place farthest removed from God.
- Hell is a place of fire. Matthew 13:42 speaks of it as a
furnace of fire. Matthew 25:41 calls it an everlasting fire. Mark
9:44-45 says the fire is never quenched. Revelation 21:8 refers to it as
the lake of fire. There will be no relief from its fires because
Revelation 14:11 says the smoke from the fires of torment ascends
forever and ever.
Who Will Go There
- There is no rest there. Revelation 14:11 says the wicked
will have no rest from their torment day or night. Hell is a place where
there is no hope. The punishment is everlasting (Matt. 25:46) with no
chance of pardon or parole.
As already noted, Satan and his angels will be there (Matt.
25:41). Revelation 21:8 says the "cowardly, unbelieving, abominable,
murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars" will
be there. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says that those who do not know God and
those who will not obey the gospel of Christ will be punished with
everlasting destruction. In short, all sinners who choose to remain in
their sin will be found in hell.
Why People Will Go There
People will not be in hell because God wants them to be there. He
desires that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:1-4). They will not be there
because God cannot save them. God is all-powerful and the gospel, His
power to save (Rom. 1:16), can save to the uttermost. God sent His Son
into the world so that all might have salvation (John 3:16) and He has
extended His invitation to all who would come to Him (Matt. 11:28-30).
If a person ends up in hell, he is lost by his own free choice. He has
no one to blame but himself. Many see no need to be interested in
spiritual things and are indifferent to the pleas of the gospel. Others
refuse to obey the gospel or submit to the will of God. Some refuse to
believe. Others just love sin more than righteousness. Some, though
once obedient, become unfaithful in service. Many put off obeying until
it is too late.
Hell is real. The suffering of it is waiting for the sinful. You can
escape the torments found there by giving obedience to Christ now. He
will wash away the guilt of your sins and grant you hope of a life of
eternal bliss in His presence.
-- Via The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia, November 8,
Thought for the Day
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished or
not: if you're alive, it isn't.
Nothing works like work when it comes to getting the Lord's work done.
The only preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today.
-- Via Ogden's Biblical Resources
News & Notes
Beginning with the bulletin for November 15, 2009, at the Gospel
Observer website (http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go), I began using
HTML for the format. To my surprise, it is actually somewhat
smaller (about 12k to 14k total size) than the plain ANSI text
versions I was previously using, since I am no longer setting the
margins and locking them in (which used blank space). Now,
instead, the reader can grab and drag the edge of his or her browser to
whatever width preferred; and in some browsers, pressing "CTRL +" or
CTRL -" will change the font size larger or smaller,
respectively. This will allow you to view the bulletin in a wide
variety of formats. This will probably also be true with your
NOTE: If you cannot grab and drag the edge of your browser or
email program, try clicking first in the little box beside the red box
with the X in it at the top right corner.
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;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12. At the end of
the exit ramp, turn north. Go about a stone's throw to Rushing
Road. (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas
stations; with each on each corner.) Turn left on Rushing Road,
and go less then 0.3 of a mile. Hampton Inn will be on the
right. We assemble in its meeting room, which is very close to
the reception counter.