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).
January 3, 2010
1) Victory Through Christ (Connie W. Adams)
2) Giving God Our Best (Joel Fannin)
Victory Through Christ
by Connie W. Adams
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord
Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57).
I like to win. Defeat is agonizing. All that talk about good
sportsmanship is nice, but I'd still rather win! I don't want my team
to just barely win, either. I want them to win overwhelmingly. In time
of war, the prospect of victory inspires the battle weary soldier and
the sacrificing citizen at home. The price is high. But the prospect of
victory is sweet.
Our text speaks of victory of far greater importance than the mundane
affairs just mentioned. This victory is over the grave and is achieved
in the resurrection. And it is the thought of that victory which
enables us to be "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of
the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the
Lord" (v. 58). The means by which victory is accomplished is
"through our Lord Jesus Christ." We cannot do it on our own. This was
the confidence which inspired Paul and he expressed it often. "If God
be for us, who can be against us?" "Nay, in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Rom. 8:31,37).
"Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we
ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20).
"I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me" (Phil.
4:13). But, over what shall we have victory?
Victory Over Sin
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). But
that is not the end of the story. We can have victory over the guilt of
sin. Our age has psychoanalyzed sin out of existence. Why, we are not
guilty, of all things, we are just disadvantaged! It's the fault of our
parents, or the environment, or else we will blame it on the
government. Victory over sin begins with a recognition that we have
sinned and that we are guilty before God. We will not be free from the
guilt of sin by divesting ourselves of our "religious hang- ups" or
abandoning our principles, but by respecting the law of God and
amending our ways accordingly.
The law of Moses with its sacrifices could not take away sin (Heb.
10:4). We have been redeemed through the precious blood of Christ (1
Pet. 1:18-20). That was the price paid to free us from sin. We
realize the benefits of his shed blood in obedience to the
gospel. "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18).
Victory Over Life's Trials
Through our Lord, we shall have victory over sorrow. Job was right when
he said "Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble"
(Job 14:1). Paul wrote of our God "Who comforteth us in all our
tribulation" (2 Cor. 1:4) and in the next verse spoke of "our
consolation" which abounds by Christ. Sorrow bows us down, but it is a
great teacher enabling us to rise up with even greater strength to
serve the Lord victoriously.
We shall have victory over difficulties. Life is full of hills to
climb, some appearing to be steeper than we can manage. Paul learned
from his thorn in the flesh that when he was weak, then was he strong.
Man's extremity is God's opportunity. The Psalmist said "And call upon
me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt
glorify me" (Psa. 50:15). Our strength is small but our God has
unlimited power coupled with unfailing love and we can win.
We shall have victory over fear. There are fears on every hand. Will
some dreaded disease overtake me? Will I be the victim of crime?
Will the banks all fail? Will I lose my job? Will I lose my children to
the Devil? What about the earthquake? What about the war? When will it
be over? We have to be careful about fears. They become evidences of
little faith in God. Paul said "comfort the fainthearted" (1 Thes.
5:14). John warned that the "fearful" will be lost (Rev. 21:8). So, it
is imperative that we gain the victory over fear. It helps to remember
several basic things. God is on his throne. The eyes of the Lord are
over the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers (1 Pet.
3:12). The kingdoms of earth pass away, one by one, but the kingdom of
heaven remains (Heb. 12: 28; Dan. 2:44). Even if we should lose
our lives to disease, crime, war, there is an eternal reward for the
faithful. It does not all end at the cemetery. We are saved by hope
(Rom. 8:24). "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (Psa. 23:4).
We shall have victory over the world. "And this is the victory that
overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 Jno. 5:4). Jesus said "Be of
good cheer: I have overcome the world" (Jno. 16:33). How did he do it?
He grappled with the powers of evil and won by relying upon the word of
God. "It is written" he told Satan. There is our help. "Thy word
have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psa.
119:11). We can win this battle but not by neglecting Bible study in
our private lives and not by neglecting opportunities to study and
learn when Christians assemble. The more we saturate our minds with the
word of God, the less appealing will be the offerings of this world.
We shall have victory over death. That is where we started. Through the
ages men have asked Job's question: "If a man die, shall he live
again?" (Job. 14:14). Our victory will be realized in the resurrection
of the dead. Oh, I know that some sneer at such a thought. If a
plastic surgeon can remake a face disfigured in an accident, cannot the
One who made the surgeon and gave him life and breath, reshape broken
and decayed bodies into a heavenly form? The body may be burned or torn
beyond recognition, or disappear into the depths of the sea, or be
blown into countless fragments: but please know this: The Almighty who
made them in the first place, is able to gather them from the ends of
the earth, and reform them into immortal and incorruptible beauty
beyond comparison. So then, the casket at the cemetery is not the sign
of defeat; it is merely the threshold of victory. "Death is
swallowed up in victory." All of that leads to Paul's challenge in 1
Cor. 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,
and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place"
(2 Cor. 2:14). Indeed, we are going to win!
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, March 1991, Volume 33, Number 3
Giving God Our Best
by Joel Fannin
If we stop long enough to think about it, we will realize that we live
in an age of pleasures that seem to make life come close to effortless.
We have cars, cellular phones, ATMs, plastic checks, television sets,
computers, the Internet (information easier to access), you name it!
However, in such an age, we as Christians cannot afford to become
effortless in our service to God. We must always be giving our best to
the Lord. We have good examples of people in the Old Testament who gave
their best to God. Following are some other good examples of those who
did just that!
Most of us know the story of Cain and Abel. "Abel, on his part also
brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions" (Gen.
4:4). We can read on in the same chapter and see that God had regard
for Abel because of the very fact that he decided in his own heart that
he would bring his best before the Lord while Cain failed to do so.
We can also marvel at Caleb's trust in the Lord when he asked Joshua
for the land of Hebron as an inheritance saying, "I am still as strong
today as I was in the day Moses sent me ..." (Josh. 14:11). Caleb gave
his best to God; all that he could offer. It sometimes seems to be that
some think the older they get, the less active they can get. The simple
answer seems to be to just pass it off to those who are younger.
However, Caleb's zeal for pleasing the Lord did not diminish with the
passing of time.
Josiah the 16th king of Judah is also another great example! After
discovering a lost book of the law in the temple during its
restoration, it was read before him by Shaphan the scribe. Up until
this time, Josiah did what he could to please the Lord. The 22nd
chapter of 2 Kings, verse two describes him as follows: "He did right
in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David,
nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left." After hearing God's
word, Josiah knew what he had to do. He went on an aggressive campaign
to "clean up" Judah of all the idolatrous influence. Most of chapter 23
is devoted to his efforts. In doing this, Josiah also strived to give
God his best.
In our worship, and in our lives as well, we cannot afford to get lazy
or passive. There are so many distractions, whether it be at school, at
work, or at home, that we forget to take time out for the Lord. This
includes His word, prayer, and meditation. As a goal for each and every
day, let's determine within ourselves, no matter what our age, to
refresh out hearts in Christ, thus always being ready to give God our
- Via Putting the Brethren in Remembrance, May 1998
"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the
people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering
the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for
he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing
the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen"
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;
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.