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 14, 2013


1) God's Demonstrations (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes


God's Demonstrations
by Tom Edwards

What are some of the things that God has demonstrated to the world about Himself?  Let us consider a few.  


How immense our universe is!  And to think that not even the slightest trace of it existed prior to God bringing it into being.  Its very existence indicates the power, divinity, and eternal nature of God, as Paul makes mention in Romans 1:19,20: "because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

Man today has estimated that the universe is filled with 100 to 200 billion galaxies (and even as many as 500 billion by some).  But could not even that largest number still be greatly under-estimated?  For, after all, it was only back in the 1940's, through the help of Hubble's telescope, that man came to find out that the universe is made up of more than merely our own Milky Way Galaxy!  And with an estimated 200 to 400 billion stars in just our galaxy alone (which spans about 100,000 light-years in diameter), how many stars would be throughout the universe?  God, of course, knows the answer to that.  For not only did He create them, but He also named each one, as the Psalmist declares: "He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them" (Psa. 147:4).  What a long list of names that would be!  If written in volumes of books, would the world be able to contain them all?

When we look up into the heavens on a clear night to gaze upon the distant stars, it is an awesome sight.  To the believer, his heart gives thanks to God for this manifestation of some of His greatness.  And I say "some" because the power that God has revealed to the world probably doesn't even come close to all the power He possesses and all the things He can do; but even what He has demonstrated has been wondrous and even mind-boggling.  For just think of the grand scale of our universe, which was certainly no "little project" from our perspective.  The sun, for example, has a diameter of about 864,327 miles -- and it is one of the smaller stars.  Yet, if it were hollow, about 1.3 million earths could fit into it (if they were ground up to eliminate gaps).  And when it comes to much larger stars, NML Cygni is not just twice the size of the sun, nor 100 times, nor even 500 times; but an estimated 1,650 times greater in diameter -- thus making this star about 1.4 billion miles wide and having a volume of 1.5E+27 cubic miles.  If NML Cygni were hollow, it would be able to contain about 4.49 billion suns or 5.82 quadrillion earths!  Imagine making even a scale model that would display this colossal star along with the earth.  For whatever size you would use to represent the earth, the sphere representing NML Cygni would require a diameter 179,924 times larger to make the scale ratio accurate.  So if the earth would be represented with a sphere 1 inch in diameter, the star's representation would have to be about 2.84 miles wide!   You, therefore, probably wouldn't want to attempt making a model of this for a school project, if you were concerned with scale accuracy. 

The heavens do convey a message to us.  The psalmist writes, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world..." (Psa. 19:1-4).

Man sometimes takes on "big" projects, but they don't even come close to that which God can do.  In Job 38:31-33, from the whirlwind, God rhetorically asked, "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?"


God spoke the creation into existence.  He merely had to command something to be -- and it was so (Gen. 1).  Though begun miraculously, the creation is also seen continuing in a natural order, with each kind bearing more of their own kind of living things, whether plants, fish, birds, insects, animals, or humans, etc.  You'll never see ants producing cows, or cows producing turtles, nor is there any evidence today or in the fossil records of intermediate stages of development between two different kinds of creatures, as the general theory of evolution assumes and teaches.  These links are not just missing -- rather, they never existed to begin with.  You descended from a long line of humans; and the first humans were made by God.  

In addition to the power of God seen in creation, the Lord has also made His power known through miracles that others had witnessed during various periods of history.  Such is the case when God sent Moses before Pharaoh, with regard to the liberation of the children of Israel.  Exodus 9:13-16 states: "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, "Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.  For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.  But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.'"'"

Because of Pharaoh's rebellious nature and hardened heart toward the Lord, God brought 10 plagues (miraculously) on Egypt.  And each of those miracles was a demonstration of God's power that not only "testified" of God's reality, but also of His superiority over all -- and of which the Lord wanted the world to know.  

The miracles could "speak" for themselves.  For example, in answer to the imprisoned John the Baptist, who questioned the Lord as to whether He was the "Expected One," Jesus responded by saying, "...'Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM'" (Matt. 11:4,5).  Yes, God has also manifested His power to the world through His miracles -- and so that we would believe in Him (cf. Jn. 20:30,31).  


Not only did God demonstrate His miraculous power, but also His unsurpassed love for humanity.  Paul writes of this love in Romans 5:6-8.  He says: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Knowing that God is all powerful is awesome, but knowing that He loves us -- and with an eternal love that is more than we can fully know at this time -- brings warmth to our hearts to mix with that awe.  For God is not merely one to be amazed by, but also one with whom we can have a most intimate (and vitally important) relationship.  And it is God's love for us that also shows us the love we are to have for one another, as the apostle John declares: "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 Jn. 4:9-11).  Did God show His love to the world by sending Jesus?  Well, what year is it?  A.D. 2013, which means 2,013 years "since Christ was born."  A.D., being the abbreviation for "anno Domini," which means, "in the year of the Lord; since Christ was born" (Random House Webster's College Dictionary).

Out of His love for His Father and humanity, Jesus was willing to come to this world and endure a torturous death to atone for our sins (Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:9).  He had earlier told His apostles, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13) -- and Jesus also died for His enemies!

How thankful we can be that God manifested His love to the world -- and still does!


Something else to be thankful for, which God has demonstrated, is His great patience!  Paul points to himself as an example of the Lord's long-suffering.  The apostle declares, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life" (1 Tim. 1:15,16).  

So God's patience should certainly not be taken for granted.  In Romans 2:4, Paul writes, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"

This is especially seen during the days of Noah: "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water" (1 Pet. 3:18-20).

The world had become so wicked in Noah's day that God was going to destroy it with a flood.  But He gave them ample warning and plenty of time.  For Noah had been a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5); and while he worked many years on the ark, the Lord's patience was still be extended to the world.  Genesis 6:3 states, "Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.'"  Peter also speaks of this patience in 2 Peter 3:9 and shows the reason for it: "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."  Going along with this, verse 15 instructs, "and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation...."


God is the embodiment of perfect righteousness.  Because of that, He could not overlook sin.  So He had do deal with it in a way that would not violate His righteousness.  Therefore, He provided for us an atonement.  

Paul declares, "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:21-26).  

Not only did God demonstrate righteousness in His actions and dealings with mankind, but also through the commands He has given.  For as the psalmist declares (and found it something to praise the Lord in song about), "Let my tongue sing of Thy word, For all Thy commandments are righteousness" (Psa. 119:172).  Righteousness, in this sense, is also seen in Romans 10:1-4, concerning those Jews who would have known that God is a righteous God, but did not know, believe, or accept His righteous plan of salvation, as revealed in the gospel.  For Paul says of them, "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."  Rather than looking to the gospel for their salvation, these Jews were looking elsewhere.  Many of them of that day were Judaizers who sought salvation through the Law of Moses.  But Jesus had eliminated that Law by His death on the cross (cf. Eph. 2:13-16; Col. 2:14) and established a new covenant (the gospel) to supersede it (cf. Heb. 10:7-10).  

We can be thankful that God has made these demonstrations to the world.  And how much more so will the redeemed be able to see of the Lord's wondrous power and abilities in heaven itself!  For we are now limited as to what we can know and experience of the Lord; but what grand, glorious, and blissful manifestations of God's power, greatness, and ingenuity will be enjoyed in the eternal realm of heaven!  Let us, therefore, make sure to give ourselves over to the Lord now, through our faith and obedience to His word, and maintain that relationship, so that we will not miss out on the blessings that the Lord desires to eternally bestow on all His children!   


News & Notes

One of our recent visitors, Harris Waterman, has had a continual pain in his side that becomes even worse at times.  Let those of us who are Christians be praying for him.    

Also, Virginia Fontenot has been back in the hospital for about a week.  Her surgery for an intestinal resection went well, but an irregularly heartbeat (due to the chemo treatments) caused her to have to remain a few days longer than initially thought.  Her heart has now improved, and she might be able to return home later today.  Her daughter has been staying with her around the clock -- even having her food brought to the hospital room, so she won't have to leave her mother's side.  It will be a few weeks before Virginia can resume her chemo treatments. 

Let us also be remembering those who have been continually mentioned in the previous recent bulletins.

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).

Park Forest

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
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