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 22, 2010


1) Remembering the Lord (David Phillips)
2) It Does Good To Do Good (Gary Henry)


Remembering the Lord
by David Phillips

Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and Savior of the world, ought to be a difficult person to forget. Yet men are very forgetful creatures. God, in His great wisdom, understands this about us and knows that we need to be constantly reminded of even the most important truths. Therefore, He has given us a most wonderful means of remembering His Only Begotten Son and the sacrifice by which He has accomplished salvation for mankind. It is good for us to consider this reminder so that we may constantly turn our thoughts to Christ and remember Him at every opportunity.  

The Lord's Supper

Jesus, during the last supper with His disciples on the night of His betrayal, instituted what we know today as the Lord's Supper. "When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.' Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, 'Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.'  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you'" (Luke 22:14-21).  

In this memorial we remember that Jesus, as God, became flesh (John 1:14) and dwelt among men in the flesh as one of us (Phil. 2:6-8). It is the offering of His body that we remember when we eat the bread, just as Jesus said, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

Along with this, we drink the fruit of the vine which Jesus said is His blood. For it was by the shedding of His blood that He established the New Covenant in which God is able to take away our sins. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." Just as important as His body is to our salvation, so is His blood. When we remember that Jesus shed His blood on the cross we remember that we who have come to Christ have had our sins sprinkled clean and washed away by His life-giving sacrifice. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22).  

Following The Pattern

The Lord instituted this supper on the eve of His betrayal. At that time he eluded to a day on which His disciples would keep this supper as a memorial to Him. "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matt. 26:29). Jesus stated that it would be observed on "that day" (a single, literal day) in the kingdom.  The question is, what day? We may conclude that since Jesus rose on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9) and that the church was established on the first day of the week, that that should be the day on which to eat the Lord's Supper.  But we have something much more conclusive. Since the Lord was looking to a specific day, we must ask, on what day did the disciples observe the Lord's Supper in fulfillment of His command? The answer comes to us in Acts 20:7, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." That is the day the Lord specified that His people remember Him through the observance of the Lord's Supper.  Not just any first day, but every first day.  

As the supper is a memorial, it is also a proclamation of His death, as Paul said, "Ye do show the Lord's death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:26, KJV). It is also meant to be a communion, as Paul also said, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). "Communion" is literally a joint participation, partnership, or fellowship. Therefore, this memorial is to be done, not on an individual basis, but in joint participation with the whole congregation. Thus Paul said, "Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another" (1 Cor. 11:33). And again, the proclamation takes place when "Ye (plural) eat this bread and drink this cup" (1 Cor. 11:26).  

Both the communion and the proclamation that take place in the observance of the Lord's supper can only be accomplished when the supper is observed collectively in the assembly of the church, the Lord's body. For one cannot commune (share) without another's participation. And when there is no communion of the Lord's body and blood, there can be no proclamation of the Lord's death (1 Cor. 11:20).  

This reminder is helpful for us because we are called to present our bodies as living sacrifices for God (Rom. 12:1). As we remember the Lord and what He accomplished through His death each first day of the week we are reminded of the sacrifices we ought to be making for our God and for our brethren, as it is written, "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14,15).  

-- Via In Newness of Life, May 9, 2010


It Does Good To Do Good
by Gary Henry

Life is filled with seemingly "impossible" situations, those where it seems that nothing we can do will make any difference for good. There may be some small step that we could take in a positive direction, but the devil is quick to discourage us: "The little things you could do wouldn't be enough to change the outcome. Why waste your effort? Wouldn't it be easier just to give up?" As always, of course, the devil is lying. To start with, when we stay focused and patiently do one little thing after another, we're often able to do what the devil said couldn't be done: change the outcome. But even if not, there happen to be plenty of other reasons for doing what's good.

Just a few days ago I was rereading a favorite book by J. R. R. Tolkien and came across a long-forgotten passage where he has one of his characters say, "There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark." I was reminded of how nourishing Tolkien's fiction was to me in my youth. The work of this Englishman is one of the great literary monuments to the truth that honor always does what it can do, and that great good comes from the "little" actions of those who, not knowing the outcome, go ahead and do whatever's right in the present moment.  

Those who know their Bibles, of course, know that this truth is biblical truth. How many examples can we think of where God called upon individuals to do something that to them would have seemed a waste of effort? When Jesus asked His apostles what they had with which they could feed the multitude, Andrew said, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" (Jn. 6:9). Before the day was done, however, Jesus had fed the five thousand and proved again that God is able to take small resources and produce astonishing results. Having read this story, how can we ever say, "Lord, what good will it do?"

The very essence of "faith" is the willingness to do whatever we know God would want us to do, whether we can see how it will "work out" or not. When Jesus instructed the apostles to launch out into the deep and let down their nets for a catch, Peter's answer was, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net" (Lk. 5:5). Whatever his misgivings may have been, Peter did what the Lord said because it was the Lord speaking! If we say we have faith, but we're not willing to act when we can't see the outcome, then it's not God's foresight that we trust, but our own. Faith takes God at His word and does whatever He says, disregarding the devil's lie that "it won't do any good." It always does good to do good -- whether we live long enough to see the good or not.

A few years ago I had to make a decision that was far more difficult than the sum total of all the others I'd had ever made. After many agonizing, indecisive months, most of which were consumed trying to foresee the "consequences" of all the alternatives before me, it finally occurred to me that consequences can't be allowed to have the final say in matters of right and wrong.  Honor simply does what one's deepest conscience determines to be right, and leaves the outcome in the hands of a wise God who can see much farther down the road than we can.  

Shortsightedness (often coupled with selfishness) is a serious hindrance to our decision-making. When we know what we should do, but we're wondering what good it'll do, we tend to define "good" in terms of very short-term benefits (often those that will accrue to us personally). But even if we knew how a decision would play out for the remainder of our days, one human lifetime is but a tiny fragment of what God deals with. Shouldn't we let Him determine what "good" consequences need to be set in motion?

Solomon wisely advised his son, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).  And it was also Solomon (it seems to me) who gave this very practical advice in Ecclesiastes: "As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good" (Eccl. 11:5,6). The fact is, we don't have to know all that God knows. It's His job to run the universe, and we can trust that He'll do it perfectly. Meanwhile, there are many productive things we can do if we'll just focus on doing our best with the present moment.  

When a child of the King is faced with any "hopeless" situation, giving up should never be an option. It is far nobler to die, if need be, fighting beneath His banner than to "save" ourselves by succumbing to evil. May God give us not only the courage to follow our conscience, but the wisdom to trust His foresight. The consequences of right conduct won't be fully known until eternity. In the meantime, the wise are those who remember: it always does good to do good.  

-- Via www.wordpoints.com

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.