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).
September 15, 2013


1) The Gospel Must Be Taught (H.E. Phillips)
2) Well-Doing (Jerry Fite)
3) Identifying With A Local Church (selected)
4) News & Notes


The Gospel Must Be Taught
by H.E. Phillips

Christianity is a religion of the heart, and as such it must be taught before it can be practiced.  Some religions survive better when their principles are not taught than when they are known, but this is not so with Christianity.  

God commands that His word be taught. Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John 6:44,45).  It is only by teaching that men can come to God for salvation.  Preaching is one method of teaching, and Paul said it pleased God by this preaching to save them that believe (I Cor. 1:21).  He also said that men cannot call upon God unless they have heard the preaching of His word (Rom. 10:13-15).  

Christ required his disciples to preach. "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils [demons, NASB], and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1,2).  

Later he selected seventy also, and sent them out two and two with the good news of the coming kingdom (Luke 10:1-9).  In a parable Christ gave a principle of urgency with which his disciples were to "go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Lk. 14:23).  Jesus commissioned his apostles: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:18-20).  "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15).  They began this practice on Pentecost, and following that day they were "daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42).  The early Christians followed this example and when the church was so violently persecuted in Jerusalem that they were scattered: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word" (Acts 8:4).  

The apostles taught the early Christians to teach. Paul instructed Timothy to teach the disciples to teach. "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). The reason given for teaching is that others may hear and have faith.  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).  One can have faith only by being taught the word of God, and his faith can be strengthened only by teaching the same.  

Paul and Barnabas assembled with the church in Antioch for a whole year and "taught much people" (Acts 11:26).  Not only did Paul and Barnabas do the teaching, others in Antioch also taught.  "Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also" (Acts 15:35).  Those things taught by the apostles laid upon others the responsibility to teach the word of God.  

Christianity will not survive without teaching; teaching the right thing -- the word of God.  In Ephesians 4 Paul explains why different workers, including teachers, were placed in the church: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11,12).  We are taught to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).  No one can grow unless he is taught, hence the teaching process continues in order for the Christian to continue to grow, regardless of age.  We are what we have been taught to be.  Our children will be just what we teach them to be.  We have basic needs that depend upon teaching.  The dual nature of man requires mental and spiritual developing as well as physical.  "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16).  "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).  "As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2).  

Christianity must be taught to adults and children alike if we are to "walk by faith."  We cannot expect improvement in the moral and spiritual standards of this age until the living word of God is taught to every creature.  This is God's plan to save.  "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).  

May I urge those who read this to diligently study the word of God to prepare yourself to teach others that both you and those taught may be saved.  

-- Preacher Of The Word, July 28, 1996


by Jerry Fite

Paul writes, "and let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).  Not many have died the moment they were raised up from the waters of baptism.  Most of us arise to live the life of the Christian.  We are honored to live for Christ for years.  But time can be a difficult component for us.  It is one thing to do what is right for an hour, but to continue in well-doing year after year is a challenge.  Paul exhorts Christians to continue in well-doing and not grow weary. The spiritual harvest of eternal life awaits those who consistently day after day engage themselves in well-doing.  What does well-doing involve?

Since Paul relates such activity to reaping, we examine the immediate context regarding sowing to see one aspect of well doing.  Sowing to the spirit, as we are led by the Holy Spirit, thus producing the fruit of the Spirit is well-doing (Galatians 6:8, 5:16, 22-23).  Over time, we might become lax in studying and applying the Spirit revealed Word.  We might tire from always having to manifest love, joy, peace and meekness.  We might grow weary in continual kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. During our time on earth we must continue to make sure these spiritual qualities flourish as our spirit sows in the Spirit's field.

Serving others is well-doing.  Paul exhorts the Christian to use the freedom enjoyed in Christ to not selfishly serve the flesh, but "one another" (Galatians 5:13).  He encourages the Christian to manifest the Spirit's fruit of "gentleness" in "restoring" those who are suddenly overtaken in sin (Galatians 6:1-4).  Those who teach us the word are not to be overlooked either.  We should share our physical means or "communicate" with those who share with us the spiritual truths of God's word (Galatians 6:6).  As we have opportunity, we are to "do good" or meet the current need of all men, but especially those who are faithful Christians (Galatians 6:10).  Over time we might become weary in always being aware of the needs of others, and grow tired in expending our energy and physical blessings to help others.  But this is the life of the servant.  Grow not weary in such well-doing.  Not compromising with error is well-doing. Paul led by example and did not give in to false teaching, "no not for an hour" (Galatians 2:5).  He withstood his fellow apostle face to face, pointing out Peter's hypocrisy in "not walking according to the truth of the Gospel" (Galatians 2:14).  He did this not to promote himself, but to make sure "the truth of the Gospel might remain" before all (Galatians 2:5).

You may be courageous and take a stand for revealed truth momentarily.  You may have many follow your example and stand with you for truth.  But you may be tempted to grow weary when few stand to preserve truth.  You may even want to give up, especially when those who compromise hurl disparaging remarks against you.  Standing for truth is sowing to the Spirit.  We must not become weary in such well-doing. Reaping eternal life is at stake!  Are you continuing in well-doing?

-- via Glad Tidings


Identifying With A Local Church

Many members of the church move into a community and never formally identify themselves with any congregation.  Some are drifters, visiting here and there, but never becoming a part of the church where they attend.  They just consider themselves members wherever they go.  They would not do this in their work.  It becomes necessary for them to actually enter the establishment where they work.  They do not do this with their children in school.  They go immediately and formally enroll them.  In fact, we do not treat anything so lightly as we often do the church.  There are a number of good reasons why we should identify ourselves when we move to a new location:

1. Every Christian should be a member of a local church.  It is scriptural, and therefore, bears God's approval (Rom. 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 16:3; Acts 9:26-28).  

2. It makes it possible for the "shepherds of the flock" to tend the sheep (1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28).  

3. It acquaints Christians with one another and is a good environment for spiritual living.  

4. It opens opportunities for service in His vineyard as members become active in the church (Matt. 25:14-30; Mark 13:34).  

5. It encourages others (Heb. 10:24).  

The elders are charged with the spiritual well-being of members.  They cannot be responsible for caring for you if you have not placed yourself under their oversight.  It is important for you to identify yourself with a local congregation.  If you have not taken that step, then please give it serious consideration.

-- selected


News & Notes

Let those of us who are of the family of God be praying for Michelle Fleeman who is now suffering from the side effects of medicine.  

And let us also continue to remember the following in prayer, who each have health problems: Bill Barfield, Virginia Fontenot, Jean Calloway, Shirley Young, Peggy Lefort, Cheryl Crews, and Terry and Pam MacDonald.  

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).

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