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).
January 5, 2014
1) The Cure for Troubled Hearts (Larry R. Devore)
2) "We Know -- We Know" (Julian R. Snell)
3) Religion: The New "Dirty" Word (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
The Cure for Troubled Hearts
by Larry R. Devore
In John 14:1 we find these words of Christ: "Let not your heart be
troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me" (NASB).
These words suggest to us that Jesus is the cure for troubled
hearts. Regardless of the heaviness of the burden that you
bear, God's own Son will lift you up, heal your troubled heart, ease
your burdens as no one else can. Shortly before in John 13:21
the scripture says, "When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled
in spirit, and testified and said, verily, verily, I say unto you,
that one of you shall betray me." Jesus knew by experience the
anguish of a troubled spirit, as on this occasion He had
foreknowledge of the fact that one should betray Him, and also, that
despite Peter's vow of faithfulness even unto death, Jesus knew
Peter's efforts were doomed to failure (Jn. 13: 38). Jesus,
then, could say with authority and sympathetic understanding, "Let
not your heart be troubled." Peter and the other disciples
needed to hear these words in John 14:1-6, and we today need the
comfort of these words.
It is wonderful what Jesus can do with a broken heart when we give
Him all the pieces. Jesus can meet and fulfill our every
spiritual need. What do you need, my friend? Do you need
salvation? Jesus is the answer. In fact, He is the only
answer (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). By obedience to His gospel, He
will wash away your sins and make you whole and clean: Jn. 15:3;
Mark 16:16; Jn. 20:31; Luke 24:45-47.
Do you need peace for a sin-guilty conscience? Jesus will give
you peace (John 14:27). Not the peace of sleep or a
drug-induced peace, but true spiritual peace.
Do you need comfort because death has separated you from someone you
love? Jesus can heal your broken heart. He who is "the
resurrection and the life" gives us assurance that "though were he
dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). As Jesus conquered
death, so shall they who "die in the Lord" also conquer death.
Jesus will take care of your every spiritual need if you will let
Him and will conform your life to His will. Our partaking of
the spiritual blessings Jesus provides (Eph. 1:3) depends upon our
doing His will (Matt. 7:21).
Don't expect Jesus to fulfill your every whim and fancy for material
things that you may covet. Jesus did not and does not promise
to give you a new car because your neighbor has one and you are down
in the mouth about it. That is not what is under consideration
in this article. (But you know that.)
So many people are searching today for the peace and joy and
fulfillment of life, and yet they never find it because they look in
the wrong places. Some search for peace (or at least escape)
in the cup of wine, or in the hypodermic needle, or in the
accumulation of material possessions, or in occultism, or what have
you. But the answer lies in none of these.
I suggest to you that true peace only comes through serving God and
His Son, by being a member of His Son's body, the church for which
He died (Acts 20:28). God cannot be served acceptably in
secular society or in a religious institution of human origin.
Jesus points out to us that there is only ONE WAY to heaven, and
only one acceptable manner of worship (IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH) (John
My friend, Jesus can meet and fulfill your every spiritual
need. He can heal your troubled heart; give you a new life in
Him (2 Cor. 5:17), and give you a spiritual peace that the world
knows nothing of, nor can it offer anything like it. Will you
let Him help you? "Let us therefore come boldly unto the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in
time of need" (Heb. 4:16).
-- Via The Gospel Guardian, July 29, 1971
CERTAINTIES OF OUR SALVATION
"We Know -- We Know"
by Julian R. Snell
Confusion and doubt in so many areas of life seem to lend, at least
with some, even to the relationship in Christ. With what, for me,
is, increasing frequency I am hearing members of the church speak
with uncertainty about their faith, whether saved or not, faithful
or not, and the like. A great deal of writing has been done on
the grace of God and some are still perplexed and with them the
bottom line is, "Can we be certain of God's grace?" Careful
study of the First Epistle of John reveals a positive note which
seems especially timely.
The basic theme and purpose of the First Epistle of John is
expressed within, "These things have I written unto you that believe
on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal
life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 Jn.
5:13). In face of the heresy afflicting churches of Asia Minor
near the close of the first century this statement has special
Gnosticism, a combination of religion and philosophy, projected the
idea that only spirit is good and that flesh and material things are
all together evil. The Gnostic believed one must free himself
from the material and be occupied solely with the spirit. His
means of solving the problem was in the exaltation of superior
knowledge, or human wisdom. "Gnosis" is the Greek term meaning
"to know." The Gnostics thought they knew all the mysteries of
the universe and having solved these, freedom was theirs. This
concept of superior knowledge occupied the place of faith and
actually outmoded faith. To the superior mind thus enmeshed in
this fallacy the great question was not "What must I do to be saved?
but "What is the origin of evil?" and "How are we to restore the
primitive order?" Having by superior wisdom resolved this,
they saw themselves as dwelling on a totally spiritual plane in this
material realm. John summarizes the basic thrust of the
epistle toward correcting the uncertainty and doubt generated by
these errors. The details undergirding this are challenging.
The repeated use of the expression "we know" in this epistle
encourages confidence and certainty. Our conclusion is that
there is a certainty attending our relationship to the Lord which
does not lend itself to doubt. Faith and the hope it produces
is not uncertain and doubtful in any respect. However, these
initial observations are not to be seen as a slighting of conditions
or in any way overriding those conditions. Quite to the
contrary, it is the meeting of the conditions that gives the
assurance and confidence.
"And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his
commandments" (1 Jn. 2:3). This is a clear cut statement of
criteria whereby we may know if we are God's children. The
word "keep" is present subjunctive, thus conveys the meaning "keep
on keeping." The sense of the statement at this point clearly
impresses an attitude of submission that produces the fruit of
obedience. To conclude a one time obedience would be
ridiculous. It is continuity that is here impressed.
Those thus described "know" God. Mere acquaintance with his
nature does not satisfy the point. Rather an intimacy akin to
Father-children involving His spirit and character which sees a
taking on and a reflection of them. The "know" of the
Gnostic is in contrast with the knowledge of faith, the latter based
upon believing and obeying the commandments of God. Which
commandments are we to obey? A frivolous question when we
recognize that the commandments of God are as one: "For whosoever
shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become
guilty of all" (Jas. 2:10). Similar to breaking a pitcher by a
small puncture hole, it no longer serves its purpose. One
commandment broken nullifies the purpose of God and identifies the
violator as reverencing his own will over and above the will of God
even in making choice of the commandment he breaks. The
negative consideration of verse 4 furnishes a conclusion on the
foregoing premise: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." By such
the nature and character of the true father, the devil, is
demonstrated. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father it is your will to do" (Jn. 8:44).
"Hereby we know that we are in him" (1 Jn. 2:5) further identifies
with the keeping of His word. "In him verily hath the love of
God been perfected" makes us aware that our standing as complete and
mature revolves around obedience as such gives expression to our
love of God. "For this is the love of God, that we keep his
commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 Jn. 5:
3). Obedience has ever been the acid test of love, and only in
those who are passing the test is there the intimacy of relationship
which embraces all the blessings flowing from God. Truly, the
kind of fruit produced as result of our love for God indexes our
union with Him. One's life is the reflection of the pattern by
which it is shaped and molded. For the second time, we take
note of the certainty and confidence repeatedly expressed by this
Apostle as he makes us aware of the certainty of our salvation.
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, August 1985, Volume XXVI, Number 8
Religion: The New Dirty Word
A bumper sticker recently viewed said: "I'm not religious, I just
love the Lord." What in the world does that mean!?!
This strange expression probably is a reaction against the
hypocritical conduct of lots of so-called Christians and many of
their pretentious leaders. You don't have to be terribly
perceptive to realize that there are a lot of folks out there in the
religious world who "say and do not" (Matthew 23:3). These are
the sort who received Jesus' strongest condemnations. He
called them "hypocrites," "blind guides," and "whited sepulchres
which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead
men's bones" (Matthew 23:15,16,27).
But shall we delegate the word "religious" to the realm of dirty
words simply because there are those who act this way?
Absolutely not! James 1:27 speaks of "pure religion and
undefiled before God." The verse goes on to describe this type
religion: "to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Now, think about the bumper sticker again -- "I'm not religious, I
just love the Lord." Taken literally, this means that the car
owner which displays this logo does not "visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction," and does not "keep himself unspotted
from the world." Gets a little crazy doesn't it? The
dictionary says that to be religious is to be "pious, devout,
godly," and thus it is impossible to truly "love the Lord" without
being "religious"! Think!
-- Greg Gwin, via The Beacon, December 10, 2013
News & Notes
accommodations for Clara Jean Calloway's funeral service
on January 7 turned out to be more than expected. I
appreciate, too, the fine job that Erin Percell did in
leading the singing; and the good prayer that Ken Robertson
led at the close of the service. They both helped to make it
even better and to bring more comfort to all the family and
friends. Let those of us who are Christians also continue to
remember Jean's loved ones in prayer.
I heard some good news from Linda Blevins recently, concerning her
mother (Virginia Fontenot) who for the last several months
has been treated for stage 4 cancer. Linda reported that her
mother had reversal surgery January 7 for a previous colostomy. So
she is no longer in need of that. And even better still is
that when they examined her abdominal cavity (which includes the
stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, small intestine,
kidneys, large intestine, and adrenal glands), there was no trace
of cancer -- and even though there had been some there
before! Linda attributes this to the chemo treatments and to
God answering prayer. In 3 or 4 weeks, Virginia will begin
an oral medicine intead of infusion with a needle. It will
probably be a few weeks, as she is recovering, before she can be
out and about. Let us also continue to remember her in our
Let us also be praying for Doris Crews. On December 26, she slipped on the
ice -- right in front of her chiropractor's office -- and
broke her hip, which required putting in two pins.
Let us also continue to offer prayers for 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)