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).
August 1, 2010


1) The Birth of Jesus -- A Chronology (Bill Crews)
2) Jesus: Our Hope (Gene Frost)


The Birth of Jesus -- A Chronology
by Bill Crews

John's prologue. Read John 1:1-18. Jesus is the Word that became flesh and dwelled among men. That Word was in the beginning with God and was God. All things that were made ("Jehovah's Witnesses" falsely teach that He was the first thing that was made or created) were made through Him. He came to make God known to man and to reveal the grace and truth.  

An angel appears to Zacharias. Read Luke 1:5-25. In the temple at Jerusalem an angel Gabriel appears to the priest Zacharias to inform him that his wife Elisabeth will conceive and bear a son who they are to name "John." That child will become the man who in the spirit and power of Elijah will prepare the Jewish people for the Lord.  She conceives and hides herself for five months.  

An angel appears to Mary. Read Luke 1:26-38. At Nazareth of Galilee the angel Gabriel appears to a virgin named "Mary" who was betrothed to a man named "Joseph" to inform her that she has been chosen by God to conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She is told of the great role to be played by that child and that she is to name him "Jesus." She is also told that her kinswoman Elisabeth is now in her sixth month with child.  

An angel appears to Joseph. Read Matthew 1:18-24. At Nazareth of Galilee an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph who has learned that Mary his betrothed is with child and is considering putting her away privately. Joseph is told of Mary's miraculous conception, instructed to proceed with the marriage, and told why the child is to be named "Jesus." Joseph marries Mary. (This event may have occurred after the next event listed.)

Mary visits Elisabeth. Read Luke 1:39-56. Mary leaves Nazareth and goes to the hill country Judaea to the town where Elisabeth lives.  She stays there three months and then returns to Nazareth. (The marriage of Joseph and Mary may belong here.) 

The birth of John. Read Luke 1:57-65. We are told of the birth of Elisabeth's son and of his being named "John."

The birth of Jesus. Read Luke 2:1-7. Joseph and Mary journey from Nazareth of Galilee to Bethlehem of Judaea to be enrolled in the census ordered by the emperor Augustus. There Mary gives birth to her baby (apparently in a stable because there was no room in the inn), wraps him in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger (a feeding trough). Matthew 1:25 goes with this passage.  

The visit of the Shepherds. Read Luke 2:8-20, which tells of the visit of the shepherds that very night to see the babe in a manger.  

Jesus is circumcised and named. Read Luke 2:21. Joseph and Mary apparently stay at Bethlehem, finding a house for that purpose.  When Jesus is eight days old, He is circumcised and given his name "Jesus."

Joseph, Mary and Jesus go to Jerusalem. Read Luke 2:22-24. When Jesus is forty days old, they take him to the Lord as their first-born son and to offer the required sacrifices of Mary's cleansing.  

Simeon and Anna see Jesus. Read Luke 2:25-39a. While Joseph, Mary and Jesus are there in the temple, they encounter the righteous and devout Simeon (who holds the infant in his arms) and the aged prophetess Anna.  

The visit of the wise men. Read Matthew 2:1-21. Joseph, Mary and Jesus apparently returned to Bethlehem and the house where they were residing. A few or more months pass. Then we are told of the visit of the wise men from the east (they are not identified as kings, nor is their number given). Following a star, they go first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem where they find "the young child" (not "babe" -- eight times in this section Jesus is called "the young child") in a "house" (not a stable or a manger). There follows their flight into Egypt, Herod's order to slay all male children (in and around Bethlehem) two years old and under (according to the time the wise men first saw that guiding star in the east), the death of Herod, and the return of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to Judaea.  

Joseph and Mary return to Nazareth. Read Matthew 2:22-23 and Luke 2:39b. It is then that Joseph and Mary go back to Nazareth with their son Jesus.  

Friend, the traditional "Christmas story" is a garbled version of the Biblical account which most people will never read or hear in their entire lives. Please read these passages for yourself.  

-- Via In Newness of Life, December 20, 2009


Jesus: Our Hope
by Gene Frost

Man's life in this world is pictured as a voyage on troubled and uncertain seas, during which we must face tempestuous waves and winds, hidden reefs, and treacherous currents. The storms of life take many forms and come suddenly upon us so that we can know no temporal security. Yet there is a hope provided by a loving God who is unwilling that any should perish. He gives us hope that reaches beyond this life, so that regardless of what one has to face here and now he knows that there is a safe harbor at the end of the voyage. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul; it is secured in heaven (Hebrews 6:18-20).  

Hope Defined

Hope is desire accompanied with expectation of obtaining what is desired. The expectation of the desire must have some basis. One may desire to go to heaven, but upon what basis can he expect it?  Hope is not a baseless desire. The farmer who desires a good crop in the fall can expect such only on the basis that he sows seed and cultivates the soil in which it is to grow and bear fruit (1 Cor. 9:10). Even so, one can hope to go to heaven only by the means God has provided and on the basis of doing and being what He says.  

When one's desire leads him to God, he then can have hope, i.e. he can expect the realization of his desire. He can expect it because God has promised it. It is faith that is the substance (that which stands under) of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1). Faith relates to the promise of God; hope to the thing promised. Hope follows the faith and is the result of it. Where hope is entertained without the assurance of faith, hope is mere presumption. Thus one can say that he has hope of God only upon the assurance of his faith, faith in the promise of God the conditions of which he has complied with (Rom. 10:17).  

"Things Hoped For"

The desire that resides in the breast of every man is deliverance from the corruption of the body -- sickness, pain and eventually death. This redemption of the body is the hope of the child of God (Rom. 8:19-24).  In the resurrection the corruptible will put on incorruption (1 Cor. 15:52-54).  

Our hope then lies in the resurrection. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:19).  (See Acts 23:6; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 3:3.)

With the putting off of the mortal and putting on of immortality, we shall enjoy eternal life. This is our hope (Tit. 1:2; 3:7).

Eternal life is to be enjoyed in the presence of God. This most exalted state the Bible calls "glory" (John 17:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; Col. 3:4).  The child of God has a hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2). The sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in His children (Rom. 8:18-29; 2 Cor. 4:17-18).  

Our hope, desire with an expectation supported by faith, is laid up in heaven (Col. 1:5).  This hope is an anchor for our souls -- it stabilizes our lives and gives security the world does not and cannot know.  

The Means of Hope

The one who makes possible our hope is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Without Jesus there would be no salvation from sin, hence no resurrection to eternal life in the presence of God. There would be no hope at all! He is our hope -- "the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27; 1 Tim. 1:1).  He is the way, the truth, the life, and without Him no one can go to the Father to enjoy the joys of glory (John 14:6).

We have hope in Jesus because He has made possible our deliverance from the bondage of sin and provided and shown the way from this life into heaven (1 Pet. 2:21-24).  Because of the promise we have in Him we may desire, with an expectation, to be with Him (John 14:1-2, 6).  

With respect to our alienation from God (Isa. 59:2, James 4:4), Jesus is our reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-20; Eph. 2:13-17).  As respects the wrath or penalty of law, He is our propitiation (1 John 2:2; Rom. 3:24-26).  As respects the guilt of sin, He put away sin (Heb. 9:26).  As respects to slavery, He is our ransom (1 Tim. 2:6) and our redeemer (Eph. 1:7; Rom. 6:17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). He is everything that man lacks in his need of deliverance from sin and a right relationship with God. He is our Shepherd (Heb. 13:20), our King (Acts 2:30-33), our Prophet (Acts 3:22), our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), our Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), et al. All spiritual blessings are in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3).  

Hope Lost, Hope Realized

Hope will be realized by the faithful child of God (2 Tim. 4:7-8).  Faithfulness requires loving obedience in service and manner of life. The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12).  However, if one sins willfully -- i.e. knowingly and deliberately transgresses God's word -- in rejecting His word he rejects Jesus, and in rejecting Jesus he forfeits His sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:26).  One cannot live in sin and at the same time entertain a hope in Christ.  

It is our prayer that all men will come to Jesus in loving obedience, accepting Him as Savior, Redeemer, Prophet, King, et al., and will remain faithful in Him. Then at judgment, our hope for eternal life will be realized.  

Yes, our hope is Jesus. Blessed is the name of "Jesus"!

-- Via the Gospel Anchor, Vol. 6, No. 4

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
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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.