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"
August 16, 2015
1) When "Best" Goes Beyond Our Understanding! (Tom Edwards)
2) Truth's Consequences (Bill Hall)
3) News & Notes
When "Best" Goes Beyond Our Understanding!
by Tom Edwards
While praying recently, it occurred to me that, due to limited
ability, the term "best," when referring to God and His ways, does
not fully describe or convey to us just how much greater God's
wisdom, His virtues, and His ways actually are. "For as the heavens
are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And
My thoughts than your thoughts," says the Lord (Isa. 55:9).
Often I have prayed for God's will to be done, not only on earth as
it is in heaven, but also everywhere else as well -- in whatever the
realm, whether physical or spiritual. For His will is, and
always will be, the "best." But, with our limited
understanding, does that word adequately indicate just how much
greater God's ways are?
Though using the term "best" would be true in comparing what God
does and who He is to that of humanity, yet that of God would be far
greater than our comprehension of "best." For our everyday
usage of "best" does not usually imply perfection. For
instance, if you had three apples that were going bad, but at
different stages of decay, one would be the worst, two would be
better than that, and one of those would be the best of all.
But, in this case, even the best would still have a little
rottenness to it and probably not be one you would want to eat.
So God and His ways are not just "best" in any comparisons made with
that of us; but, rather, a "best" to the greatest of all degrees and
without even the slightest room nor need for
God Himself is so much greater than us that it actually goes beyond
comparison. The psalmist realized this: "Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders which you have done, And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You..." (Psa. 40:5). Job also
acknowledged this superiority of God by saying, "Who does great
things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number" (Job
9:10). And, going along with this, Paul also, in his doxology,
speaks of God as being One "...who is able to do far more abundantly
than all we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20).
God's work of creation, in bringing about a vast universe with all
that is in it, is certainly a manifestation of some of His
greatness. As Jeremiah declares in prayer, "Ah Lord GOD!
Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power
and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You"
(Jer. 32:17). And God begins His response to Jeremiah by
saying, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything
too difficult for Me?" (v. 27). After speaking of that which
would be impossible for man, Jesus goes on to show that it would not
be that way for God, "for all things are possible" with Him (Mark
10:27). And would we not think that anyone who could simply
speak a universe into existence (cf. Gen. 1), and to create that out
of nothing (cf. Heb. 11:3), would definitely not have any difficulty
in bringing into reality whatever else He would so desire? For
the universe was not formed by pre-existing matter; but that which
was not was simply commanded to be. Notice, if you would, all
the repetitive phrases in the account of creation that precedes and
shows how the various things that God had created came about: "Then
God said" (Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24, and 26). In this first
verse, for example, "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there
was light." How marvelous! Imagine if you could make a
reality out of any beautiful thing you could think up by just
commanding it to be! But even if you had that ability, would
you not still rather let God be the one to bless you with whatever
He would so desire for all eternity? As Jesus told His
apostles, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe
also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it
were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for
you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and
receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (Jn.
14:1-3). Isn't it wonderful that it is Jesus who will prepare
that place -- and not just something the apostles would have to do
for themselves? For as we saw, God is a God who "...is able to
do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think..." (Eph.
3:20). I find great comfort in that and in allowing the Lord to do
whatever He desires for me.
And though we haven't seen that spiritual realm of heaven where God
dwells, we have seen some of the physical heavens that He has made
and which attests to His reality and greatness (cf. Rom.
1:19,20). As David declares, "The heavens are telling of the
glory of God; and their expanse is expressing the work of His hands"
(Psa. 19:1). Paul speaks of God's power as being a "surpassing
greatness" (Eph. 1:19), and how that is clearly seen in the
creation. For who can even come close to doing what the Lord
has done -- and at such a grand, astronomical scale? The
rhetorical question, "...For who in the skies is comparable to the
LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD...?" (Psa.
89:5-8), must be answered in the negative of "no one." For
whether we are talking about angels or men, how inferior we are to
the Almighty God. For if God's greatness would be represented
with infinity, then ours would be likened to nothing more than a
grain of sand in comparison. And can we not, therefore, also
say that to be able to fully comprehend the totality of God's
greatness would be as impossible to us as to imagine all of
infinity? For that is something that we just cannot possibly
do. It goes beyond our mental ability.
The Lord says to His people, "To whom would you liken Me And make Me
equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?" (Isa. 46:5).
Jeremiah's declaration can accurately be used to answer this.
For he states, "There is none like you, O LORD: You are great, and
great is Your name in might" (Jer. 10:6).
In this statement, it appears that Jeremiah did not include, in his
consideration, Jesus Christ, nor the Holy Spirit -- for they are
exactly like God the Father when it comes to the essence of Deity
and are the other two persons of the eternal Godhead who were also
involved in the great work of creation (cf. Gen. 1:1 -- "God" is
from "Elohim," the plural form for God; Gen. 1:26, "...'Let Us make
man in Our image, according to Our likeness...'"; cf. Jn. 1:1-3,14;
Psa. 104:30; Matt. 28:19; Matt. 3:16,17; 2 Cor. 13:14).
Not only is God's greatness beyond all we can fully fathom, but also
that beautiful place called "heaven," where He forever dwells, is
described as being "far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:17).
And isn't it wonderful to know that this same God is "...not
wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet.
3:9) and "...to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1
Tim. 2:4). To be able to enjoy forevermore that which goes
beyond all we can even now conceive, certainly can make the trials
of life -- and whatever sacrifice that needs to be made along the
way -- very much worthwhile as we strive for that heavenly home (cf.
2 Cor. 4:16-18).
Jesus paved that road by His own blood, in a manner of speaking; but
we have the responsibility in turning to God's roadmap, the Gospel,
to see where we pick it up at, how to stay on it and to avoid those
wrong turns that we are not to make. For that great
destination is still up ahead. We must all, therefore, hear
the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe in the deity of Jesus (Jn. 8:24),
repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10;
Acts 8:36-38), and be baptized in water for the remission of sins
(Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
3:21), which is all necessary to be forgiven and become a Christian;
and then to continue in the faith as we press on for that glorious
goal of heaven (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 10:36-39; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). And
heaven is not just the best, but also a "best" that goes way beyond
human comprehension to the utmost degree of blissfulness in a
supreme state of perfection!
by Bill Hall
The consequences of truth are sometimes bitter. Many a man has lost
his job, or home, or friends, or life because of his stand for
truth. Many a preacher has been ousted from the pulpit, having
neither house nor salary, because he preached the truth. Many a
person has had his name slandered and maligned because of truth.
With all such people, love for truth is greater than love for
comfort, security, or even life itself.
Unfortunate indeed is the man who looks ahead to evaluate the
consequences of a position before evaluating the position itself.
Such a man will rarely come to a knowledge of truth. His thoughts
concerning "What will my wife think?" Or "Where will I preach?" Or
"Won't I be condemning my good mother to hell?" Or "How will I
explain my change to good ole Brother Jones?" or "How will I support
my family?" or "Everybody will think I'm crazy," may well blind his
mind to whatever evidence is at hand. The man who really
demonstrates a love for truth is the man who studies every subject
objectively and then lets the consequences -- whether they be good
or bad -- take care of themselves.
Unfortunate too is the man who complains and grieves over the
consequences of truth, for truth must bring joy to the heart,
whatever may be its consequences. Self-pity may lead one to "sell
the truth" and to profane this precious commodity. If pity is to be
felt, it must be felt for that person who has never suffered the
consequences of truth, for such a man has obviously loved the
praises of men more than the praises of God.
No men ever felt the consequences of truth to a greater degree than
did the apostles, but they faced all such consequences "rejoicing
that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts
5:41). Worthy! There's the key! The man who lets a fear of
consequences dictate his position on every question never suffers,
for he is not worthy to suffer. Pity him! But the person who stands
for truth regardless of the consequences shall suffer, for he is
worthy to suffer. Rejoice with him!
What a difference between the man who is "heaven" oriented and that
one who is "this world" oriented!
-- Via The Beacon, August 16, 2011
News & News
May we who are Christians be mindful in prayer of the following:
We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Betty
Warnock who passed away August 17. For 52 years, she had
been the wife of Weldon E. Warnock who had been a gospel preacher in
the church of Christ for more than 55 years in several states and
preceded her in death in October 2009. She is also the mother
of Julie Adams of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Jewell Wilson has now been several days in the Hospice
Dexter Roberts was diagnosed with cancer back in March
2014. It appeared that he had been improving, but then took a
turn for the worse a few weeks ago. The cancer had been in his
throat, but now has also gotten into his lymph nodes, lungs,
stomach, and back. Recently, he had radiation treatment on his
Shirley Davis will be having a catheterization August 20 to
eliminate some blockages in her leg.
In June, Don Hill had been experiencing reoccurring
headaches that kept getting worse. It was soon discovered that
he had a brain tumor which he then received surgery for, went
through it well, and is now undergoing radiation treatments.
From additional cat scans, it was also discovered that he has two
inoperable tumors on his lung, which will be treated with chemo and
Michelle Rittenhouse had an adverse reaction to the dye that
was used in her recent heart catheterization. She was treated
for it and improved after two or three days. The pain in her
chest is also gone, but she is still having PVCs every day.
Let us also be praying for the following:
Rex Hadley (bypass blockage and possible stone), Steve
Vesta (critically ill), Eleanor Roberts (Alzheimers'),
Henry Roberts (pain in back and feet), Brittany Crosby
Royals (recovering well from surgery for broken hip), Pat
Joyner (breast cancer), Judy Daugherty (slowly
recovering from a fall to the head which caused a pea-size
tumor), Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten
(shut-ins), Dolly Moody (fractured bone), Benny Medlock
(mild stroke), Sunny Nichols (Parkinson Disease), Jean
Beach (gastrointestinal problems), Raylee Metts and Lexi
Crawford (cancer), Betty Miles (stroke), Buddy
Gornto, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey
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;
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. 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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)