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).
June 16, 2013
1) Give Thanks! (Daniel L. Holloway)
2) Careless Surmisings (Larry Ray Hafley)
3) How Some Viewed Jesus (Jerry Curry)
4) News & Notes
by Daniel L. Holloway
These days, we hear much about our country's economic woes.
And we do not have to look far to find that society is beset with
plenty of other problems. Of course, each individual has his
own personal difficulties as well. To make sure that we feel
sufficiently miserable, we are often given to counting our many
troubles. If this is our attitude, there is a lesson which we
are in need of from God's word.
From Ephesians 5:20, we learn that we are to give "thanks always for
all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the
Father." However, I fear that, too often, we take our
blessings for granted. We may even feel that we have earned
them, that they are ours solely because of our own efforts. We
must guard against such an attitude. The truth is that "every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from
the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). Although we may labor to
get something, it is still from God in that He makes it possible to
obtain it. As Paul and Barnabas told the people of Lystra,
"...he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons
filling our hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17). Paul
said of the church in Corinth, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but
God gave the increase" (1 Cor. 3:6).
Not only does God provide us with material blessings, but our very
existence is dependent upon Him. Paul declared to the
Athenians, "...in him we live, and move, and have our being..."
(Acts 17:28). Rather than feeling that God has cheated us if
we do not receive something that we want, we should be thankful for
what we have. "Come now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we
will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get
gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is
your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little
time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If
the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that" (Jas.
Also, we ought to be thankful for the spiritual blessings which God
offers. From Ephesians 1:3, we learn that God blesses with all
spiritual blessings in Christ. We do not earn these blessings
either. Paul explains, "...for by grace have ye been saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not of works, that no man should glory" (Eph. 2:8,9).
However, there is a significant difference between the way in which
God bestows material blessings and the way in which He bestows
spiritual blessings. We may receive material blessings whether
we want them or not and without meeting any conditions for
them. As Christ said, "...he maketh his sun to rise on the
evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust"
(Matt. 5:45). But spiritual blessings are not poured out on us
whether we want them or not. They must be accepted.
After preaching to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas
told them that they were putting the word of God from them and
judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life (Acts 13:46).
This shows that we can reject the spiritual blessings that are in
Christ. On the other hand, Jesus said, "If a man love me, he
will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him" (Jn. 14:23). We should
be thankful that He has given us the terms which must be followed to
receive His spiritual blessings: we must believe on Him (Jn. 8:24),
repent of our sins (Lk. 13:3,5), confess our faith (Matt. 10:32),
and be baptized (Mk. 16:16).
As Paul wrote, we ought to be "rooted and builded up" in Christ,
"established" in the faith, "abounding in thanksgiving" (Col.
2:7). But how can we be thankful for the spiritual blessings
if we have not accepted them? The spiritual things are much
more important than the material things which we prize so
highly. That which is material shall pass away with time, but
that which is spiritual will never fail (Matt. 6:19,20; 2 Cor.
4:16-18; Matt. 16:26). We ought to be thankful for our
material blessings because they truly are blessings. We ought
to be thankful for our lives. And we ought to obey our God
that we might receive the spiritual blessings, and be thankful!
-- Via Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 3, p. 77, February 2, 1984
by Larry Ray Hafley
Teachers of the word of God must be careful not to inject personal
evaluations or judgments as fact. In the smallest matters one
must be meticulous.
Lately, I have heard several loose statements. One preacher of
some ability said that the little maid who waited on Naaman's wife
had been "stolen away in the middle of the night from her
home." Says who?
Another said that if Jesus had not made the water into wine that the
young bride and groom would have been greatly embarrassed. How
old were they? No passage tells us, therefore, no one can
properly pronounce them young.
How often have you said, or heard it said, that Jesus' presence at
the wedding feast indicated his approval of marriage? (Jno.
2:1-11). Well, it sounds good, but it is not so. His
teaching shows his acceptance of marriage. With but little
reflection it will be obvious that the "presence -- acceptance"
argument will not hold up, so why use it?
At nearly every wedding, the one performing the ceremony will say
something like this: "God took a rib from man, not his feet that he
should trample her, nor from his head that he should dictatorially
rule over her, but from his side, close to his heart, that he should
love and cherish her." Sounds sweet, does it not? But
who can say that is why God took the rib from the side of man?
To be frank about it, ribs are not found in the feet or head.
Maybe the reason the Lord took the rib from the side of Adam is
because that is where ribs are found!
These are trivial matters you say? Disregard for God's word in
seemingly insignificant areas is the cancer cell that breeds
disrespect. Let every Christian be thoroughly true to the Book
in thought, in word, in deed. Avoid careless surmising.
-- Via Truth Magazine XIV: 16, pp. 10-11, February 26, 1970
How Some Viewed Jesus
by Jerry Curry
"Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the
multitude one prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a
notable prisoner, called Barabbas. When therefore they were
gathered together, Pilate said unto them, whom will ye that I
release unto you? Barabbas or Jesus who is called
Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him
up. And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife
sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous
man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of
him" (Matthew 27:15-19).
We recognize the above record of the trial of Jesus before
Pilate. Pilate's wife had a dream (perhaps a nightmare), and
concluded that, in her view, Jesus was a righteous man. Let's
reflect on those who encountered Jesus as He walked on earth and
take note of how they viewed Jesus.
"Pilate saith unto them, what then shall I do unto Jesus who is
called Christ? They all say, let him be crucified. And
he said, why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out
exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified. So when Pilate saw
that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he
took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am
innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye to it" (Matt.
27:22-24). It is interesting to note in Matthew's account of
the trial that Pilate also viewed Jesus as a righteous man.
Unfortunately, he also viewed Him as a political risk and
liability. Luke's account (Luke 23:24-25) records, "...And he
released him that for insurrection and murder had been cast into
prison, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their
"The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council,
and said, what do we? For this man doeth many signs. If
we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans
will come and take away both our place and our nation. ... So from
that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death."
The above excerpts taken from John 11:47- 53 indicate that the
Jewish leaders saw Jesus as a threat to their position and control.
As Jesus spoke with the woman at the well (John 4) about the living
water and her five past husbands, she says in verse 19, "Sir, I
perceive that thou art a prophet." She later goes into the
city and tells others about her conversation with Jesus.
"Come; see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: can this
be the Christ?" May each of us share the open mindedness of
this woman as we study and allow God to speak to us.
Following is the account in Matthew 27:50-53 of the occurrences
immediately after the death of Jesus. "And Jesus cried again
with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil
of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the
earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; and the tombs were opened;
and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they
entered into the holy city and appeared unto many." A Roman
centurion and others standing by reacted to the above with fear and
acclaimed, "Truly this was the Son of God." Jesus says in John
20:31-32 that the records of His life were written that we might
believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
As Jesus came up from the water following his baptism by John
(Matthew 3:17), God speaks from heaven and says, "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased." Clearly this is the most important
view of Jesus! When asked by Jesus in Matthew 16:13-16 who
Peter thought He was, Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God."
The question to each of us this morning is, how do I view
Jesus? My view of Jesus will dictate my response just as it
did with those mentioned above. I either can reject Him, or
accept Him as the Christ, the Son of God.
- Via The Bulletin of the church of Christ at New Georgia, March 11,
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following
people in prayer:
Virginia Fontenot recently had a colonoscopy that
revealed almost a complete obstruction, due to a tumor, which will
require surgery for an intestinal resection and the foregoing (at
least for several weeks) of the new, additional chemo drug that they
had previously wanted her to begin Monday.
Linda Blevins found out recently that her kidneys were
working only 75% back in January, but now they are working at only
50%. She has been diagnosed with bilateral renal artery
stenosis and has hydronephrosis, along with a kidney stone.
She will be having some more tests.
Penny Foley (Jackson Moon's great aunt) had surgery June 21
to remove a tumor in her leg.
Ellen Gordy recently had a heart attack that required several
days in the hospital and two stents.
Jean Calloway is now back home recuperating from a cardiac
arrest on May 8 and continues receiving therapy and treatments.
Jennifer Crews is back in the hospital. She has been
dealing with mental disorders for many years.
Janice Webb (Anthony's mother) is healing from the removal of
her thyroid, due to a malignant tumor.
Cindy Crews is now healing from her second surgery for breast
Ashley Robertson Walters' recent bout with a kidney stone has
not been troubling her lately, but there is an uncertainty as to
whether it is no longer with her.
Pam MacDonald is still healing from major back surgery that
required adding 16 pieces of metal to her spinal
Bill Barfield (Virginia Fontenot's brother) is now off a
ventilator, though they will keep the CPAP on him for continuous
airway pressure. He has been in a few different hospitals
continuously since March 2012.
Robert Howton will soon be having surgery, due to bladder
stones that he has had for about a year.
Joshua Young has been under the weather for several days
(though he was able to be with us last Sunday and Tuesday, but not
totally over it). It is very rare for him to be ill.
* Let us also be remembering the following
in prayer: Tom
Smitherman (Lee's father) who has been diagnosed with an
aggressive prostate cancer; Cheryl Crews who has
some chronic ailments; and Shirley Young who suffers
continually from fibromyalgia.
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)