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).
July 25, 2010


1) Success (David Patterson)
2) Rivers and Lives (Julian R. Snell)
3) If There Were No Salt (selected)
4) Selected Sentence Sermons


by David Patterson

Tremendous amounts of time, energy, and money are spent every year in an effort to achieve success.  We live in a society of successful people that has no room for failures. Likewise, there is no room for failures in heaven, yet very little effort, time, and money is spent seeking spiritual success. Many labor all their lives seeking success in their worldly occupations and never find time to follow God's formula for spiritual success. The vast majority of Christians has failed to handle aright the word of God, to grow themselves, and to teach others the way of the Lord.  

God has given us a foolproof formula insuring spiritual success if we will follow it. It is the formula God gave Joshua when he was about to take Moses' place as the leader of God's people. In Joshua 1:7-9 God gives Joshua these instructions:

"Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for Jehovah thy God is with thee whithersoeverthou goest."

Let us examine God's formula. First, God instructs Joshua to be "strong and of good courage."  No coward ever was successful at anything. Just as Joshua needed to be strong and of good courage we as Christians need to do likewise in our studying, applying, and defending the word of God. We must meet every spiritual challenge head-on if we are to overcome it. Too many Christians run from spiritual problems and thus never become spiritual successes.  Much of the apostle Paul's success can be attributed to his boldness and courage in proclaiming the word of God. In describing the armor of the Christian in Ephesians 6 Paul mentions armor for every vital part of the body except one, the back. That is because God's children are supposed to be fighting for the Master not running away from the battle. Christians are falling every day when they turn and run from the work of the Lord and are shot in the unprotected back by the fiery darts of the devil. Which way are you turned?

Second, God instructed Joshua to "observe and do according to the law" being careful "not to turn from the right hand or the left."  Have you ever noticed that the successful people in the world are those who are always doing something? They are doers not onlookers just as Joshua was a doer and led the children of Israel into the promised land. Under the new law God has commanded that we "be not hearers only but doers" in James 1. In our doing we must study much so that we neither stray to the right hand or to the left. We need more people today willing to do according to the commandments of God.  True doers are few which is why Jesus said only those who did the will of his father would be in heaven. What are you doing, or not doing for the Lord?

Third, God instructed Joshua to "meditate thereon day and night."  One must not only know the facts he must understand them and make application of them in his life. David described the righteous as one who "doth meditate day and night" on the word of the Lord. Studying must be a regular thing not just a once in a while thing as so many Christians have played like. We must meditate upon it day and night if we are to understand it so that we can do it. Meditation is more than a surface reading.  Meditation is toil and work and how few there are who meditate both day and night. How much time do you give to the study of the word of God?

Finally, God commanded Joshua to trust in the Lord. God said, "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither dismayed: for Jehovah thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." Joshua had to fully believe God was with him all the way never doubting or failing to trust. How we need this attitude today.  How many works have failed because those involved really did not trust that God was with them and for them? We are the saints of God. He is our Father and our leader and we then ought to go forth boldly assured that nothing can stand in the way of the work of our God. God said he would be with us if we would only do his will. Do we believe Him or do we doubt and become filled up with fear?  We have what no other group on earth has, GOD ON OUR SIDE, and nothing or anyone can stand in the way of God.  Trust the Lord and be a doer.  

Will we answer the challenge before us? Will we dare to be successful in the work of the Lord? We have the formula. All we need now is to follow it and have good success spiritually.

-- Via Searching the Scriptures, November 1978, Volume 19, Number 11


Rivers and Lives
by Julian R. Snell

Many of Jesus' lessons to his disciples were vividly illustrated from nature. Indeed, there are some truths forcefully portrayed about us. For example, one examining a map or looking down from an airplane at a river following its crooked, serpentine course, is invariably impressed: We accept this matter-of-factly, rarely asking or considering why the river flows as it does. I challenge you with the "Why?" in this article, because of the spiritual lesson.  

No one has ever seen a river which is entirely straight from its beginning to its end. Why are rivers crooked? A river becomes crooked by following the lines of least resistance. Even so does man! The course of life is determined by the resolve and determination with which it meets the challenges and obstacles which confront it. Whether politician, business man, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief or Christian, the straightness of the path of life reflects the dedication to the ideals and pattern accepted for it.  

God expects his people to walk in straight paths. The pattern for the course of such a life is revealed and illustrated in His Word. We are told to "make straight paths for your feet" (Heb. 12:13). "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13-14).  

That there are many things which threaten to deter such a course, none would deny. There are those things of an external nature, temptation, trials, afflictions and even persecutions, which often cause the altering of the straight course of life that it may be a little easier, at least momentarily. However, the greatest force for a straight course in life for most, if not all of us, comes from within. James says, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (Jas. 1:14). It follows that, since the threat is from within, resistance to it must originate here, in a faith-filled and dedicated heart.  

It is not beyond the power of man to walk in the way of the Lord. All at times are tempted to follow the lines of least resistance, but one does not have to. None would deny that it is easier to walk in the way of the world; it has always been so. This is the easy way, at least momentarily, and can only bring one, as with the river, to the lower level it seeks and is destined to find. As Christians are tempted to follow the lines of least resistance by absenting themselves from the assemblies, they ought to remember this vivid lesson from nature, as well as the command of God. Remember, "Not forsaking..." (Heb. 10:25-26). Failure to heed the admonition produces the same result as illustrated repeatedly by the river. Such a course can but result in a wavering and wandering life spiritually, which ultimately leads to the depth of despair.  

-- Via In Newness of Life, June 20, 2010   


If There Were No Salt

We could not live without salt. An article in This Week Magazine tells that exceptionally strong men, working in the forge rooms of an automobile factory where the temperature was so high that the men perspired abnormally, would drop to the floor and writhe in agony without apparent cause.  

After prolonged study, a Harvard Laboratory staff discovered that, although the men drank cold water freely, in the hot temperature, this did not replace the salt that they had perspired out of their systems.  

A salt tablet with each drink of water stopped the "heat cramps."  Not only do our bodies need salt, but the manufacturing world needs it. Steel, subjected to terrific strain in automobiles, is hardened by a salt water bath. The famous Carrel-Dakin antiseptic solution, which saved hundreds of thousands of lives during the World War, has as its chief ingredient chlorine, which comes from salt.  

Without salt cows stop giving milk and sicken and die. If salt disappeared from the earth, "the wheels of industry would eventually stop and it would be only a matter of months before we'd all be dead."

The scientists tell us, the supply of salt in the natural world "is practically unlimited, there being an inconceivable number of pounds in the ocean alone."

The Lord Jesus said to his disciples; "Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men" (Matt. 5:13).  

-- selected


Selected Sentence Sermons

* We may have committed the Golden Rule to MEMORY, but what we really need to do is to commit it to LIFE. 

* The Christian's life is the world's Bible.  

* It is never the right time to do the wrong thing.  

* Only those who are truly BOUND to Christ are truly FREE.  

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
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 a little less than 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.  Just walk pass the check-in counter; turn right at the hall.  The first and second doors on the left lead to where we meet.