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 qualified.

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 16:7).

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
Who Will Go There

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, 2009


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 email program. 

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. 2:20-22).

201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726
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.