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).
December 6, 2009


1) Walking by Faith (Ken Green)
2) The Proper Perspective (Donnie V. Rader)
3) News & Notes


Walking By Faith
by Ken Green

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). We come to Jesus by faith (Mark 16:16), and the whole journey from conversion to glory is made by faith as we look at the things that are not seen (2 Cor.  4:18). 

Let us consider some aspects of this spiritual life which is comprised of trusting rather than seeing. 

I. Believing that Jesus lived and walked among men: We, of course, never saw Him. We did not behold the signs He performed; neither did we hear the gracious words that He spoke. Jesus said to Thomas, "...because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).  We walk by faith, not by sight.

We tend sometimes to consider this a disadvantage. Things would be much easier, we think, had we lived when God became flesh and walked among men. Surely all doubts would vanish if we could see Him and hear Him. 

Yet the stubborn fact remains that all who did see and hear Him did not believe.  He was despised and rejected by men. He came unto His own and His own did not receive Him. 

Those who will not accept the gospel account would not believe if they saw the evidence for themselves. 

II. Believing the miracles of the Bible: When we challenge the alleged miracle workers of modern times to demonstrate their powers, we are accused of being unbelieving sign-seekers. But, in fact, we are not unbelievers. We believe in God; in the Son of God; in the inspiration of the Bible; and we believe every miracle that is recorded in the Bible. We believe that the sun stood still over Gibeon; that the dumb ass spoke; that the walls of Jericho fell; that Jesus healed the sick, lame, and blind, and walked upon the sea.  We believe it all. 

What we do not believe is that such power has been given to men today. We do not have to believe this to believe God. We walk by faith, not by sight.

III. Believing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain: We are assured that this is the case (1 Cor.  15:58). "In due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:7). 

Such assurances imply that we need not expect to always see the fruit of our labor. Others may reap where we have sown. When we are at the point of crying out: "What good am I doing?!" it may well be that we have done more good than we know. We must labor by faith, not by sight.  Let us continue to preach the word; teach the Bible classes; put forth the personal efforts to save the lost, and just accept God at His word that such will not return unto Him void. 

IV. Believing in God's providential workings: God holds the world in His hands. In Him we live and move and have our being.  All things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:27). But we often do not see this. An old Puritan proverb says that God's providence, like Hebrew, can only be read backwards. 

When we travel by air, few of us could explain the physical and aerodynamic laws that enable a hunk of machinery to fly. I certainly wouldn't want to fly in anything that I had a part in building. I really don't know how the thing works. And yet I'm reasonably confident that it will take me to my destination. 

A child in a loving home certainly does not comprehend the purpose and the wisdom of much that is done for him and to him. He does not understand that denials and discipline are for his good. Yet he trusts the love, the goodness, and the wisdom of his parents.

How much more is it true that we do not fathom the providences of our God. Yet we trust Him. We walk by faith, not by sight.

V. Believing in the incorruptible inheritance: We have never been privileged to ascend on high and behold the wonders of that city whose builder and maker is God.  We have not peered into that book of life to see our name written there. Yet we believe the promise of our Lord that He will come again and that where He is we shall be also (John 14:1-3). We believe that a rest remains for the people of God.

Like Israel of old in the desert, they had not seen Canaan land. They had not beheld the beauty of Mount Zion or stood on Jordan's banks, but they believed. They walked by faith. And we also who are traveling to the promised land are walking by faith, not by sight.

The day is coming when we shall walk by sight. We believe that our Lord walked among men; but one day we shall behold Him as He is and we shall be like Him. We believe the evidences of His power, but we shall one day know from experience that power that raises the dead. We believe that our labor is not in vain; but we will one day know the results of that labor. We believe that all things work together for good; but we shall one day behold the whole picture. We believe that there shall be fullness of joy in the presence of God; but one day we shall taste that joy, and we shall walk by sight.

-- Via Searching the Scriptures, November 1992, Volume 33, Number 11


The Proper Perspective
by Donnie V. Rader

In our service to the Lord we must maintain the proper perspective. If we do not, we can easily become discouraged or we may become overly excited and euphoric when we need to be a little more cautious. 

Getting a proper perspective means that we take an honest look at the way things really are and not just see what we want to see. The proper perspective comes when we see the larger picture. We sometimes become weary and disgusted because we are only focusing on part of the picture. Taking a bigger view may give reason to be encouraged and even quite optimistic. 

At times our optimism and enthusiasm overshadows our sense of being realistic. I believe it was Luther Blackmon that told about the man who thought he had a good pair of shoes. All they needed were half-soles, heels and uppers. Besides, the strings were real good.  We cannot afford to ignore real problems. Neither can we allow a few problems to blind us to the good that is present. 

At one time Elijah had lost the proper perspective. He thought there was no one but himself wanting to do what was right. He said, "I alone am left." God had to help him get the proper perspective by telling him that there were yet 7,000 that had not bowed their knees to Baal (1 Kings 19:10,14,18). 

There are three things we need to see to get the proper perspective. 

The Progress We Have Made

We need to look back and see where we were and how far we have come. Have we made any progress? Are things better now than they were? Or, are we going in the wrong direction? Remember, that progress is in many instances, slow (Heb. 5:11-12). 

Individual Christians need to stop and consider the progress they have made. Do you know the Bible better now than you did a few years ago? Are you stronger and more mature (Heb. 6: 1)? Are you able to endure and overcome things that you could not in the past?

Churches have to do the same. While things may not be as we would like them to be in the congregation, the question is "Are we making progress?" Are we moving (even though slowly) in the right direction? Are we more united, stronger and striving to do things according to the Bible? Are we trying to deal with problems rather than ignore them? Don't forget that progress will not always be labeled "progress" by some.

What Are We Doing Now?

The proper perspective involves seeing what we are presently doing. Are we striving to do what the Lord says do? Can our concepts, teaching and practices be justified by the Bible (2 Cor. 4:13)? Is there a stronger sense of unity than in times past (1 Cor. 1:10)? Are we growing in knowledge, in maturity and in number? Are we moving in the right direction rather than in the wrong direction?

We can easily get discouraged when we listen to those who are discontent. If we focus our attention there, it will give us a limited picture of the church. We can begin to think that most of the people care little about doing what is right. It is somewhat like three or four old frogs in a pond -- they can make enough noise that it sounds like a hundred. What we need to do is take a look at how many are wanting to follow the Bible and try their best to live by it (Phil. 1:27). Those people don't make as much "noise," but must be taken into account to get the proper perspective.

Our Potential And Goals

To get the right view we must see how bright or gloomy the future is. Is there reason for some optimism as we contemplate the coming days?

What is our potential as individuals? What are you capable of doing? What kind of growth can you experience? What can you become? It is sad to see those who waste their time and throw away their potential (Heb. 5:11-12). 

What is our potential as a church? What will the church of tomorrow be? Will the homes and the families that comprise the church be good solid homes or will the lack of Christianity in the home destroy the church?  What is the potential for future teachers, song leaders and even elders? Does the future look better and brighter than the past?

What goals do we have or should we have? Individually, we must set our sights on being the kind of individuals that the Bible describes (1 Cor. 15:58). When we do, we have also set our sights on heaven (Col. 3:13). 

As a local church, we must set our goal to become like the local church that God approves (Rev. 2-3). That means we must deal with the things that God does not approve of -- even though such processes are unpleasant (Rev. 2, 3; 1 Cor. 5 and 2 Thess. 3). We must strive to be active and carry the gospel to others (1 Tim. 3:15). We must work toward becoming scripturally organized (Acts 14:23). Churches that are content with the status quo and just "keeping house" (though sometimes they really don't do that) just don't have much of a goal to do what is pleasing to God.

Getting the proper perspective always helps. At times it will paint a dark picture. But in most cases it will give us some reason for encouragement.

-- Via Searching the Scriptures, November 1992, Volume 33, Number 11


News & Notes

To those who are Christians, please continue to remember my mother, Marian Edwards, in your prayers.  She is in a nursing home and has also been receiving hospice care for about the last five weeks.

Let us also be praying for Eloise Craver, one of our elderly members, who recently fell and broke her hip.  She had surgery on it, and all went well.  Because of all the exercise that sister Craver has kept up with for many years, she was told that she should heal about twice as fast. 

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.