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).
May 30, 2010
1) The Nature of God -- His Eternality (Steven J. Wallace)
2) The Culture of No Consequences (David Hartsell)
The Nature of God -- His Eternality
by Steven J. Wallace
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of
hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God'"
(Isa. 44:6, all verses are from the NKJV unless noted).
Isaiah gives us another expression to consider about our God. He is not
only Jehovah, the self-existing one, the king and redeemer of man, the
commander of an army of angels, but He is the First and the Last as
This quality suggests that God's nature is eternal, without beginning
and without end. He is before all things and will still be after all
things. "Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am
the First, I am also the Last" (Isa. 48:12). This expression is
likewise spoken of Christ in the New Testament, "And when I saw Him, I
fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to
me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last'" (Rev. 1:17 cf.
Rev. 1:8; 2:8; 22:13). Because Jehovah is the "First and the Last," we
should be fully trusting in committing our lives to Him. He survives
all people, places and things, or perhaps better stated, "Nothing
survives Him." It accords with His name, Jehovah. He changes not; He
weakens not; He ages not! He will be with us during the storm and after
the storm, but of course, He was here before there were any storms!
Likewise we read, "Who has performed and done it, calling the
generations from the beginning? 'I, the LORD, am the first; and with
the last I am He'" (Isa. 41:4). Note carefully this alternative
expression, "...and with the last I am He." He is with the last and we
might add, He is the same when He is with the last as He was with the
first. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb.
13:8). Hence, the work which Jesus accomplished in the New Testament
was known to Him before time began and was not something that He
learned while on earth (2 Tim. 1:9).
The eternality of God is seen clearly in these complimentary passages:
"Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; nor can the number of
His years be discovered" (Job 36:26).
"You, O LORD, remain forever; Your throne from generation to
generation" (Lam. 5:19).
"But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day
is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.
When we observe the nature of God, we agree with the conclusion of
Isaiah 44:6, "Besides Me there is no God." There is absolutely no God
like Jehovah! There is no God who lives forever, but more than that,
while He lives forever, He is still concerned with every passing day.
The small increments of life are not ignored by Him but can become like
a thousand years! While He is King of kings, He still takes note of the
poor suffering person who passes on to obscurity. The trouble of the
poor man Lazarus was not overlooked by His all powerful eye (Luke
16:20, 21). Even the sparrows whose wings fail to flap and flutter as
they breathe their last touches the Great One in heaven (Luke 12:6, 7).
Our God is big, yet He takes note of those things that are small. "For
who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to
see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the
LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth" (Zech.
There is no other God other than Jehovah because He is the first and
the last, "'You are My witnesses,' says the LORD, 'And My servant whom
I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I
am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me'"
(Isa. 43:10). Any god that men contrive and worship is no god at
There is no savior like Jehovah, "I, even I, am the LORD, And besides
Me there is no savior" (Isa. 43:11). When God saves, He redeems, and He
redeems because He loves. There is no God who loves like Jehovah (John
There is no God like Jehovah who is just. The created gods spoken of in
history were based more on the imagination of man than on fact and they
didn't love mankind nor were they just like Jehovah: "Tell and bring
forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared
this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the
LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior;
there is none besides Me" (Isa. 45:21). How could a god be more just
than Jehovah who defined to us what sin is, who modeled before us what
righteousness is as seen in Jesus Christ, and who provided for us the
simple but sweet plan of pardon for transgression in the death of His
own Son. Hence we join the sentiments recorded in Isaiah, "Look to Me,
and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no
other" (Isa. 45:22). We are without excuse to deny the Lord God,
especially we who live on this side of the cross, "To you it was shown,
that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other
besides Him" (Deut. 4:35). What else could the Lord have provided for
us? He has given us an inspired Bible full of evidences, principles,
examples, laws and truth. He has provided us equally the means to know
Him. He has provided us the plan to be saved and outlined for us the
way to get to heaven. Indeed as Moses said, so should we, "Therefore
know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is
God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other" (Deut.
Understanding the eternal nature of God helps us understand origins.
Our universe consists of three primary dimensions of time, space and
matter which are each further divided or measured into three (time =
past, present, future; space = height, depth, width; matter = liquid,
solid, gas). That these things exist cannot be denied; yet, it should
be equally forceful that the cause of these three things should be
greater than these. Hence the signature of God is seen in nature and
conveys clearly that He is greater than anything in nature. In
relationship to matter, God is spirit (John 4:24). In relationship to
space, God is omnipresent (Jer. 23:24). Finally, in a relationship to
time, God is eternal, hence, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is [present, sjw] and who
was [past, sjw] and who is to come [future, sjw], the Almighty'" (Rev.
1:8). The great universe project, is an effect of a Great God; it cries
out "Almighty Cause" who is spirit, omnipresent and eternal. Only
Jehovah suits this call. "For since the creation of the world His
invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things
that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are
without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).
The subject of God is in fact a grand subject to think about. His work,
affection and interaction with man is a most edifying contemplation. In
fact, there are no greater thoughts written down to meditate on than
those penned by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great
is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified
in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on
in the world, Received up in glory."
-- Via Truth Magazine, April 23, 2010
The Culture of No Consequences
by David Hartsell
In the beginning, the Lord blessed man with a paradise garden to keep,
trim, and enjoy. Only one prohibition was mentioned. Adam and Eve were
not to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:17).
If they ate, they would lose their place in the garden and forfeit
their right to the "tree of life." They would lose their lives and
their special relationship with the Lord. This was the consequence.
Sadly, they ate of the prohibited tree and paid the consequences.
Have you noticed the singular lack of consequences in almost every
system of American culture? God's plan of behavior management for
children (the rod of discipline Pro. 22:15) has been set aside by
parents and schools. Athletes, stars and politicians are seen to break
laws with impunity. Bad manners and rudeness are tolerated if one
is popular or famous. Coaches throw chairs, athletes sling
helmets, and parents attack other parents, all clear violations of team
rules and rules of appropriate behavior. Yet, rarely are those
actions held to account. Proverbs 19:19 tells us the truth:
"A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will
have to do it again." Priests and teachers have abused children
without penalty. Presidents lie, congressmen take money,
Human beings require structure and discipline. Fortunately for us, our
Creator planned for our growth and happiness by holding us
accountable. God is honest with us: sin brings death. The
Word clarifies His expectations and holds us accountable. God is
predictable, consistent, and fair. And aren't we thankful for
that! The beauty queen and best player have the same consequence
and reward as the rest of us. Moses, God's chosen leader, was held
accountable for disobedience (Number 20). Samson, a judge chosen
by God, maintained supernatural strength as long as he followed God's
directions. However, God allowed Samson to suffer the
consequences of foolish behavior: the Philistines cut his hair, blinded
and imprisoned him. Ultimately Samson gained victory over himself and
over his enemies; God did not abandon Samson but answered his prayer.
Obedience begins with the fear of consequences. God's people cannot
thrive if they accept the culture of no consequences. Churches grow
numerically but not spiritually. Many are suffering from the lack of
discipline among their members. Fornication, bar-hopping, gossip, and
bitterness find their way into churches. Behavior that is plainly
un-Christian is ignored while the "positive" is accentuated. By
overlooking sin, the consequences of sin are not seen or felt. Paul
rebuked the Corinthian church for this (1 Cor. 5:1-5). They accepted an
adulterer as a faithful brother. Paul told them to deliver him to Satan
-- to let him know where he was spiritually. They were not even to eat
with him. How cruel! No! This is God's way of shocking the sinner into
seeing the consequence of his sin.
Not all consequences are bad. In fact, the disciplining of the
Corinthian adulterer caused him to repent and return to Christ. Paul
urged the brethren to reaffirm their love to him (2 Cor. 2:3- 9). The
renewal of Christian fellowship was crucial in helping this brother
remain faithful. It remains the same today. We can not live without
consequences. Some believe, because God does not punish sin
immediately, He will not punish it at all. "Because the sentence
against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of
the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Ecc. 8:11). This is a
serious mistake. In this life we might evade many bad consequences.
However, in judgment all will be made right. Everyone will stand before
God to be judged based on the things we have done on earth (2
Cor. 5:10). Don't buy into the idea of a culture with no consequences,
for there is no such place in existence.
-- Via The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia, May 9, 2010
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
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/audioser.html (audio sermons)
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.