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).
March 31, 2013
1) A Merry Heart (R.J. Evans)
2) 1 Timothy 4:13-16 (Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
A Merry Heart
by R.J. Evans
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries
the bones" (Prov. 17:22).
A merry heart, as used in our text, is a rejoicing heart. Such
a heart will do a person good. A Christian with a merry heart
will also be a tremendous blessing to others.
This does not mean that we can escape the heartaches, pains, and
sorrows of this life. In fact, when the Lord told Ananias to
go to Saul of Tarsus to tell him what to do to be saved (Acts 22:16)
and tell him that his primary work would be as "a chosen
vessel...before the Gentiles," notice what the Lord further
emphasized: "For I must show him how many things he must suffer for
My name's sake" (Acts 9:15-16). After Paul's conversion, he
often spoke of his sufferings for Christ (2 Cor. 11:22-33; Phil.
2:27; 1 Thes. 3:7).
If the joy of our heart is great enough, sorrow will not destroy
us. In the midst of all of Paul's sufferings, he stated, "as
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Cor. 6:10). Again, Paul
said, "I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in
all our tribulation" (2 Cor. 7:4).
Being of a merry, joyful heart will do us much good. For one
thing, it can change our countenance -- "A merry heart makes a
cheerful countenance" (Prov. 15:13). In other words, we don't
have to walk around with a sad frown on our face all the time, as so
many do. We have enough joy of the Lord on the inside that it
shows up on our face on the outside.
Our text seems to be saying that a merry heart will make us
healthier -- it is "like a medicine." Medical science will
agree. Having a good, positive attitude will help us cope and
heal better when we are sick. My oncologist has told me that he has
observed over the years that a person's attitude has a lot to do
with how they respond to treatments. Having a good, joyful
relationship with the Lord will improve our lives mentally,
emotionally and spiritually. When we live righteously and
"Fear the Lord and depart from evil, It will be health to your flesh
and strength to your bones" (Prov. 3:7-8). Thus... "the joy of
the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10).
The Apostle John wrote an inspired letter to Christians "that your
joy may be full" (1 Jn. 1:4). As Christians anticipate their
upcoming reward of heaven in the midst of various trials, the
Apostle Peter said, "yet believing, you rejoice with joy
inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8). There are so
many other blessings that produce joy in our hearts -- such as
forgiveness of sins (Acts 8:39; 16:33-34), answered prayer (Jn.
16:24), Bible study (Jer. 15:16), a good word from a friend (Prov.
12:15), and a host of other blessings.
One thing is for certain, the Lord wants our joy to be full --
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you,
and that your joy may be full" (Jn. 15:11). And when our joy
is full, it will do us good "like medicine."
Have you been taking your daily dosage of medicine?
-- Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales,
1 Timothy 4:13-16
by Tom Edwards
In 1 Timothy 4:13, Paul gives the following instruction: "Until I
come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to
exhortation and teaching."
This, therefore, is one of the purposes for the local congregation
-- so that God's word can be publicly declared and individuals can
be exhorted and taught. Of course, each Christian is
also to study the Scriptures at other times, as well, when not
assembled with all the brethren.
As we think on the term "exhortation," it can be said that all
exhortation would be teaching -- but not all teaching is
exhortation. For to exhort, first of all, means "to urge,
advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently." And,
secondly, "to give urgent advice, recommendations, or warnings"
(Random House Webster's College Dictionary).
The KJV translates "teaching" as "doctrine"; and though some people
try to make a distinction between the two, they are both
synonymous. The English word "doctrine" is defined secondly as
"a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject..."
In view of those who think we should eliminate doctrine and "just
love Jesus," notice in this passage that "teaching" or "doctrine" is
not to be discarded. Rather, we are to give our "attention" to
The Jews were very familiar with the public reading of
Scripture. For that was a primary function of the
synagogues. Notice, for instance, Luke 4:16-20: "And He came
to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He
entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened
the book, and found the place where it was written, 'THE
SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE
GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE
CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO
ARE DOWNTRODDEN, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.'
And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat
down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon
Him." Also Acts 13:14,15: "But going on from Perga, they
arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into
the synagogue and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the
Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, 'Brethren, if
you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.'"
Luke records: "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city
those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every
Sabbath" (Acts 15:21).
The Bible also shows of the public reading of the New Testament in 1
Thessalonians 5:27, where Paul declares toward the close of the
epistle, "I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all
the brethren." Similarly, the Colossians were given this
following instruction: "When this letter is read among you,
have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your
part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea" (Col. 4:16).
It was a while before the canon of the New Testament was completed,
and then entire copies of it made into books. How fortunate we
are to have such ample access to numerous copies of the Bible.
Paul then exhorts Timothy to "Do not neglect the spiritual gift
within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance
with the laying on of hands by the presbytery" (1 Tim. 4:14).
Though the elders appear to be involved in this, we know that they
did not have the power to bestow on Timothy the Holy Spirit; but,
apparently, Paul was also there at that time in order to do
this. For consider 2 Timothy 1:6, in which Paul tells Timothy,
"For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which
is in you through the laying on of my hands." It might be,
however, that these elders had spoken on Timothy's behalf, through
prophecy, to Paul. For notice what he says in 1 Timothy 1:18:
"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with
the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you
fight the good fight." Still another thought is that through
the prophecy of these elders, Timothy was instructed in the way of
truth -- and that is the spiritual gift that he is to not neglect;
but, rather, apply it and teach it to others. And the laying
on of the elders' hands was a way of their expressing their
endorsement or approval toward Timothy being sent out to use his
gifts in proclaiming the good news, which would be similar to the
way Paul and Barnabas were sent out on Paul's first missionary
journey: "And while they were ministering to the Lord and
fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.' Then, when they had
fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away"
(Acts 13:2,3). So the laying on of hands, in this sense, was a
way of setting these men apart for this specific service, and
desiring God's blessing to be upon them.
Paul then tells Timothy to "Take pains with these things; be
absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all" (1
Tim. 3:15). The beginning of this is translated as "Meditate
upon these things" in the KJV. Thayer shows the Greek word for
"meditate" or "take pains" ("meletao") to mean "to care for, attend
to carefully, practice." He also shows that it is the word
that was "used of the Greeks of the meditative pondering and the
practice of orators and rhetoricians." So this indicates much
serious thought they would be giving to this, which can also be seen
in the same verse that instructs Timothy to "be absorbed in them,"
or as the NKJV renders it, "give yourself entirely to them."
By Timothy's doing so, it would lead to his further progress in the
Lord -- and a progress that would be manifest.
The chapter then closes, in 1 Timothy 4:16, with Paul exhorting
Timothy to "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure
salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." The
KJV words this as, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;
continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself,
and them that hear thee."
Again, as we think of the need for doctrine -- in contrast to those
who want to disregard it -- notice how important Paul shows it to be
in this passage: Taking heed to one's self and the doctrine will
result in salvation.
This verse has been summed up with the old cliche, "practice what
you preach." Timothy was to put and keep in practice the things
which he taught. For to be a hearer and not a doer would leave
a person without the benefits of Christ's atonement, as James shows:
"Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of
wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to
save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not
merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a
hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his
natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone
away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty,
and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an
effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does" (Jms.
1:21-25). Notice that the blessing comes not to the man who
merely hears, but to the man who acts in accordance to what he has
heard. Isn't this what Jesus also taught in Luke
6:46-48? "And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do
what I say? Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and
acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man
building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock;
and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and
could not shake it, because it had been well built." And by
Timothy's putting God's word into practice, it would then help him
in his ministry when it came to being a better influence and
converting others to Christ.
Something else we learn from this passage is the need to
persevere. For while on earth, the goal of heaven is that for
which we must always be striving. In Colossians 1:23, for
instance, Paul expresses the need for the Christian to "...continue
in the faith firmly established and stedfast, and not moved away
from the hope of the gospel...." This is also why the Hebrew
writer admonished the brethren to persevere in the faith: "For you
have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God,
you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE
WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY
RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL
HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink
back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving
of the soul" (Heb. 10:36-39). And this is also why Paul was so
diligent to "...press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call of God in Christ Jesus," as he states in Philippians 3:14, and
continued this "pressing on" to the end of his life. As he
writes in 2 Timothy 4:7, his last epistle and shortly before his
death: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I
have kept the faith." That is what each one of us must also
continue to do (cf. Rev. 2:10). So may it be so!
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following
people in prayer:
* Peggy Lefort has not been feeling well for the last couple
weeks. She has had to be on different kinds of antibiotics,
which were also giving her some trouble.
* Let us also be remembering in prayer:
who has been diagnosed with bilateral renal artery stenosis and
will be undergoing some more tests; Tom Smitherman (Lee's
father) who has been diagnosed with an aggressive prostate
cancer; Bill Barfield (Linda Blevins' uncle)
whose health is very poor; Pam MacDonald who has major back
trouble; Cheryl Crews who has some chronic ailments; Shirley
Young who suffers from fibromyalgia; and Jean Calloway
who has health problems.
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) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
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.
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can
be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
(Gospel Observer website)