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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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) 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)