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).
December 1, 2013
1) Selfishness (Irvin Himmel)
2) Heaven-Bound (Troy Nicholson)
3) News & Notes
by Irvin Himmel
To the Philippians this exhortation was written by Paul: "Look not
every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of
others" (Phil. 2:4). Here is a text which needs to be
Selfishness is excessive or exclusive concern with oneself. It
is seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or
well-being without regard for others. A selfish person
is like a ball of twine -- all wrapped up in self! Tertullian
(A.D. 160-220) said, "He who lives only to benefit himself confers
on the world a benefit when he dies."
A faithful child of God fixes his attention, not on self alone, but
on others. Look around and consider your brothers and sisters
in the Lord. They deserve to be esteemed in spite of their
shortcomings. When I seriously contemplate my fellow
Christians, each has some quality that surpasses mine. Perhaps
one is more patient than I am; another thinks more quickly; another
has a better personality; another excels me in knowing what to say
when at the bedside of a sick person; another has more courage;
another has a wider range of experience; another is a better
teacher; etc. How uncharitable and egotistical it would be of
me to fail to esteem others. Our interest must extend beyond
Signs of Selfishness
Let us give some thought to ways in which selfishness may be
demonstrated. Any of these signs should trigger alarm on our
(1) One's interests circle around himself. His foremost
concern is his own comfort, convenience, and enjoyment. The
shadow of self is cast over everything else. His language
abounds in I, my, mine, me, us, ours, and we. Nabal was this
kind of man (1 Sam. 25:1-11). When David sent some of his
young men to Nabal to try to find favor with him, this obstinate
fellow answered in a distinctly selfish tone: "Shall I then take my
bread and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers,
and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?"
(2) The guiding rule is, "What is in it for me?" This sign of
selfishness shrinks people into a mold that restricts
usefulness. It is an attitude too often exemplified. The
fellow who follows this rule thinks the church owes him
something. He thinks of classes and worship in terms of
receiving, not giving. It never occurs to him that there might
be something which he could contribute. "What is in it for
me?" Well, the opportunity to serve is what is there "for
me." Remember the parable of the Samaritan in Luke
10:30-35. The priest and the Levite passed by on the
other side, leaving the wounded man without assistance. They
saw nothing that would benefit themselves. The Samaritan lost
sight of self, turning attention to the needs of the victim.
He had compassion, bound up the man's wounds, took him to an inn,
paid the bill, arranged for future care, and promised to reimburse
the innkeeper later. When we were infants we were takers, but
by now we should have developed into givers. Selfishness
curtails devotion to duty.
(3) Lack of genuine concern for others. God teaches us to
love, and love "seeketh not her own" (1 Cor. 13:5). Failure to
show real concern for others discloses lack of love. There are
some who do not care what happens to others. The strong are
taught to bear the infirmities of the weak (Rom. 15:1). We are
to rejoice with others who rejoice, and weep with others who weep
(Rom. 12:15). The spiritual are to restore the brother
overtaken in a fault (Gal. 6:1). We dare not shut up our heart
of compassion against a brother who has need (1 Jn. 3:17). The
rich man in Luke 16 lifted up his eyes in torments. He had
shown no interest in the plight of Lazarus, a poor, diseased beggar.
(4) Shutting faithful Christians out socially. Here is another
sure sign of selfishness. Some in the church limit their
social contacts to a special circle. They never invite anyone
into their home unless he is of their own "set," their own family,
or their special group of friends. Others limit their
invitations to such as will return the favor. This does not
square with what Jesus taught in Luke 14:12-14. Some do
themselves a great disservice by shutting out the aged, the poor,
the lonely, and those with whom they have only slight acquaintance.
(5) Personal concerns outweigh service to God. It was
selfishness that prompted the Jews to put off building the Lord's
house but not their own houses (Hag. 1:2-4). Too many
Christians "seek their own." Paul brought a rather strong
indictment against certain ones in Philippians 2:21, "For all seek
their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Jesus
died for all, "that they which live should not henceforth live unto
themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again" (2 Cor.
5:15). Service to God demands that our personal interests not
Fruits of Selfishness
Having noticed some of the signs of selfishness, we now turn our
attention to some of its fruits.
(1) Selfishness makes one unreliable. A selfish person cannot
be depended on to give as prospered. Cheerful giving (2 Cor.
9:7) flows from a generous heart. Jesus Christ was rich, yet
for our sakes became poor. His example (2 Cor. 8:9) teaches us
to give unselfishly. A selfish person is unwilling to deny
himself as Jesus commanded (Matt. 16:24,25). A selfish person
does not devote much time and attention to the Lord's work.
Paul knew that he could depend on Timothy because of Timothy's care
for others (Phil. 2:19,20).
(2) Selfishness produces ruin and disgrace. Lot made a selfish
choice that bore bitter fruit when he pitched his tent toward
Sodom. He was a righteous man but was influenced by the beauty
and fertility of the plain of Jordan (Gen. 13:9-13). The
prodigal son squandered his living on himself and came to poverty
and shame (Lk. 15:11-19).
(3) Selfishness robs God. The Jews in Malachi's day acted
selfishly by offering blind, sickly, lame animals in sacrifice to
Jehovah. They withheld the tithes and offerings which belonged
to the Lord (Mal. 1:8; 3:8). Just as they robbed God, many
today rob him of worship, time, the use of their energies, and their
(4) Selfishness deprives one of joy. In the parable about the
two sons, the elder brother was selfish. Unlike the younger
brother, he did not waste his substance in riotous living, but he
was sullen, sulky, unforgiving, and angry due to a self-centered
attitude (Lk. 15:25-32). He shut himself out from a joyous
celebration. Joy is a part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.
5:22). Some never know the joy that comes through Christ
"living in us" (Gal. 2:20). They are trapped in a state of
(5) Selfishness leads to other sins. Ananias and Sapphira lied
in an attempt to cover their selfish greed (Acts 5:1-11).
Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord because he was thinking only
of himself. Diotrephes used malicious words and became a
church dictator due to selfishness (3 Jn. 9,10). Broken homes
result from selfishness. People often abuse others, verbally
and physically, due to their own selfishness.
Knowing the signs of selfishness, let us endeavor to overcome
it. Knowing the fruits of selfishness, let us guard against
it. No one is Christ-like unless he is unselfish.
The Son of man "came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt.
20:28). Our Master gave himself in service and in sacrifice
for us. May his love conquer so that we can sing from the
heart, "Higher than the highest heavens, Deeper than the deepest
sea, Lord, thy love at last has conquered, None of self, and all of
-- Via Guardian of Truth XXXV: 11, pp. 334- 335, June 6, 1991
by Troy Nicholson
"An overwhelming majority of Americans continue to believe there is
life after death and that heaven and hell exist, according to a new
study. What's more, most think they are heaven-bound."
So begins a recent article in the Nashville Tennessean.
What is heaven? Where is it that so many people believe they
are bound? "46% described it as a 'state of eternal existence
in God's presence,' and... 30% said heaven is 'an actual place of
rest and reward where souls go after death.'" The
understanding that most people have of heaven seems to be fairly
much in line with what the Bible tells us is true. What a
great place it will be!
How do we get there? What must we do to be heaven-bound?
The poll says that "born-again Christians... believe entry into
heaven is solely based on confession of sins and faith in Jesus
Christ." While the Bible speaks of being born again (John
3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:23), it also speaks of more that must be done than
confession and faith. For us to "walk in newness of life"
(undergo a new birth), we must also be "buried with Him through
baptism" (Romans 6:4); and Scripture makes it clear that baptism is
immersion in water (Acts 8:36-39). But this does not mean that
our ticket has been punched and is irrevocable. We also must
"be faithful until death" to receive "the crown of life" (Revelation
Are you heaven-bound? Are you on the path that leads to
eternal rest with God? Many who think they are heaven-bound are in
for a rude awakening. Many who confess the Lord's name will be
told to depart from Him because they have not done the Father's will
(Matthew 7:21-23). But those who are faithful will hear the
Lord say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you" (Matt. 25:34). That's what I want to hear!
-- via The Beacon, October 22, 2013
News & Notes
Let us who are Christians continue to remember the following in
Kaysel Hill (the granddaughter of Sandy Harris Hill) was born
about 4 weeks ago with a thyroid abnormality that will require
life-long medication, according to her doctor. And though the
family is thankful for this remedy, let us pray that, if it be God's
will, Kaysel's thyroid will begin functioning as it should, so that
she will no longer need to be on a prescription drug.
Let us also be praying for Jean Calloway, Virginia
Fontenot (who has stage 4 cancer), 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) 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)