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 29, 2013


1) Refuse Not Him That Speaketh (Connie W. Adams)
2) We Believe, And, Therefore, Speak (Bill Hall)
3) News & Notes


Refuse Not Him That Speaketh
by Connie W. Adams

The book of Hebrews introduces us to God's spokesman for the last days.  "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2).  A contrast is drawn between "time past" and "these last days."  A further contrast is seen in that he "spake unto the fathers by the prophets" while he speaks "unto us by his Son."

The thought that "God...hath...spoken" is sublime.  What if God had not spoken?  The natural world testifies to his "eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20) but it gives us no light as to the character of God, nor a single word as to our relationship to him.  Had God not spoken in understandable terms to man we would know nothing of our origin, purpose or destiny.  Life would be nothing more than a vain striving after the wind.  But, from the beginning of human history, God has revealed himself to man in rational terms.  To the patriarchs of old he spoke directly.  At other times he spoke in a dream or from a burning bush.  When the Jewish nation was formed, God raised up prophets to be his spokesmen to "the fathers."  Moses was a prophet in a special sense.  "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days" (Acts 3:24).  The prophets through whom God addressed the nation of the Jews foretold the days in which God would speak "by his Son."  "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John" (Mt. 11:13).  These were valiant servants of God who often lifted up their hands to a rebellious and gainsaying people.  

The "last days" describes the time period stretching from the day of Pentecost when the church was established and terminating in the second coming of Christ.  Once that period began, all men must look to Jesus Christ and his revelation in order to know the mind of God and to be at peace with him.  

The Better Spokesman

God's spokesman for these last days outshines every human spokesman God ever sent. Moses was a most faithful and able servant. But he was a servant in his house whereas Christ was a "son over his own house" (Heb. 3:5-6). Time would fail to describe the greatness of Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos and all the rest.  They were worthy as "God's servants, the prophets."  Yet none of them could be described as "heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:2-3).  What honor the Father has shown the human family in sending such a spokesman!

But wait!  This spokesman rises in rank above every angelic messenger God ever sent. Angelic messengers were sent to warn Lot. We read of Michael the archangel and of Gabriel.  The law was given "by the disposition of angels" (Acts 7:53) and was "ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator" (Gal. 3:19).  This was "the word spoken by angels" under which every sin was punished (Heb. 2:2).  But we have a far better spokesman than any angel, regardless of his rank.  "Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:4).  God never said "Thou art my Son" to any angel (v. 5) but he said that of the Son.  This he did both at the baptism of Jesus and the transfiguration scene (Mt. 3:17; 17:5).  Furthermore, at the advent of the Son into the world, "he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him" (v. 6).  Never did the Father say to an angel, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever" but he said that of the Son (v. 8; Psa. 45:6, 7).  No angel was credited with laying the foundation of the earth nor making the heavens with his hands.  Yet, all of that was said of the Son (vv. 10-12).  No angel was ever invited to "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (v. 13).  This honor was only accorded the Son of God, our spokesman in these last days.  

The Confirmed Word

God does all things well.  Not only has he honored man by sending, in the form of man, such an exalted spokesman, but God has confirmed the word of that messenger in such a way that no doubt can reasonably exist as to the source of his word.  This word of salvation which at the first was spoken by the Lord "was confirmed unto us by them that heard him: God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will" (Heb. 2:3-4).  Here we are introduced to the province of miracles, not only in the ministry of Jesus but especially in the work of his apostles.  They were promised such confirming power in Mark 16:17-20.  Confirmation of the message belonged to the original declaration of it.  Not only did Jesus speak God's truth to man, he selected and trained the apostles and said "as thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world" (John 17:18).  They were sent out with credentials (miraculous signs and wonders) to confirm their testimony.  Paul said "We have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16).  To reject the ambassadors of God's Son is to reject the Son himself.  To reject him is to reject the Father who sent him.  

The Inescapable Word

Under God's revelation to the fathers by the prophets (the word spoken by angels) "every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward."  The inevitable question for those who live "in these last days" in which God speaks to us by such a superior spokesman, is this: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" (Heb. 2:3)?  The answer is that there shall be no escape.  The very fact that God has spoken to us obligates us to respond to what he said.  This is the word which shall judge us in the last day (Jno. 12:48).  

It is for this reason that "we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb. 2:1).  It is to this very point which the writer of Hebrews brings us with his sober directive: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh" (Heb. 12:25).  The warning continues: "For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven... Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:25-29).  To refuse the word of God's Son is to forfeit eternal life.  To hearken to his word is to live now and forever.  No wonder the Son of God concluded the sermon on the mount by saying, "Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Mt. 7:24).  Indeed, "It shall come to pass, that every soul, which shall not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23).  The choice is clear: it is either "give the more earnest heed" and enjoy "so great salvation" or else it is "refuse" and perish.  Let none of us be deceived as to our option in the matter, nor as to the eternal consequences.  

-- Via Searching the Scriptures, January  1978, Volume XIX, Number 1


We Believe, And, Therefore, Speak
by Bill Hall

The preaching of the apostles proceeded from hearts full of conviction. They had observed the miracles of Jesus; they had heard His teaching; three of them had been with Him in the mount, and had heard those words spoken from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him"; they had seen His composure as He was arrested in the garden; they had carefully examined evidences of His resurrection, and had talked with Him, eaten with Him, felt of Him; they had watched as He ascended until a cloud received Him out of their sight.  They believed!  And so full were they of faith that their faith overflowed in words.  They could not hold back that message which burned in their hearts.  

They preached it everywhere: in the synagogues and in the temple; in the streets and from house to house; in governor's mansions and in prisons; in market places and from Mars Hill; on ships and in chariots; in upper rooms and on riverbanks.

They preached it to the rich and to the poor; to worshipers of God and to worshipers of idols; to the humble and to the proud; to the lowly and to the mighty; to the educated and to the uneducated; to the good and to the bad; to the moral and to the immoral.  

They preached it to drunkards, to adulterers, to homosexuals, to idolaters, to sorcerers, to kings, to governmental officials, to army officers, to jailers, to ship captains, to beggars.  They preached it, and preached it, and preached it!

Because they preached it, they were imprisoned, beaten, scourged, mocked, ridiculed, threatened; they were victims of lies, deceit, conspiracy, uproars, mob violence, shipwreck, ambush; they lived in poverty, often hungering, and with "no certain dwelling place"; but nothing could stop them from preaching as long as they had breath.  They believed, and their faith forced them to preach regardless of the consequences.  They believed, and, therefore, spoke (II Corinthians 4:13).  

What did they preach?  They preached that message revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, God's divine message (I Corinthians 2:6-13).  They had no time for politics; nor was their faith centered upon such things. The message that burned in their hearts was a message concerning the Christ and salvation through Him.  They believed in Christ, in the efficacy of His blood, and in the power of His gospel.  They believed, and, therefore, spoke that message, and that message only.  

Faith!  In that one word may lie the most important element of effective evangelism.  When we come to believe as did those apostles; when we become so full of faith that we can hardly restrain ourselves; when the message of salvation burns within us as it did in them, we will be teaching others and we will be doing so effectively.  Until then, our words may contain an unmistakable emptiness that will render them powerless in changing the hearts of men.  

-- Via The Bulletin for the Church of Christ in New Georgia, June 30, 2013 


News & Notes

For all of the following who have health problems, let those of us who are Christians be praying for them: Bill Barfield, Virginia Fontenot, Jean Calloway, Shirley Young, 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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