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"
April 24, 2016
1) "In Malice Be Ye Children" (R.J. Evans)
2) Discouragement (Steven Harper)
3) News & Notes
"In Malice Be Ye Children"
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul gave the brethren at Corinth proper
instruction concerning the exercising of spiritual gifts. The main
problem was how the Corinthians had been conducting themselves with
regard to the gift of tongues. The Corinthians were being childish
in that they delighted in the gift of tongues to the extent that
proper judgment was not being used concerning the effect tongue
speaking was having on others. Like children, they failed to see all
that was involved in the inconsiderate use and display which they
had been making of this gift. Hence, Paul wrote, "Brethren, be not
children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in
understanding be men" (1 Cor. 14:20). To be like children in
understanding is to act as though the mind is still in the
undeveloped stage of childhood. So, instead of acting childish, they
were told to be "men, " that is, be mature. This suggests the idea
of "having reached the goal." It involves being fully able to use
one's powers of thought and good judgment. The Corinthians had not
been doing this with regard to spiritual gifts.
The circumstances today are different from those found in 1
Corinthians 14. We no longer have spiritual gifts, for they have
ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-13). But, the principles set forth in 1
Corinthians 14:20 still apply and must be heeded by those of us who
are Christians. We must not be childish in understanding. However,
in this article I would like for us to notice in particular the
phrase -- "in malice be ye children. " Malice is an evil disposition
with the intention of injuring others. It is among the most
destructive of all ugly attitudes. It is in this respect that it
would be creditable to Christians to be "children." In fact, Jesus
lays down this condition, "Except ye be converted, and become as
little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"
(Matt. 18:3). This suggests humility, gentleness and the innocence
of children, which, particularly is contrary to malice, envy, anger,
Those of us who seek happiness and success in serving God must
eliminate malice from our hearts. There is no place in the life of a
Christian for malice. Please notice the words of the inspired
apostle Peter: "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile,
and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings" (1 Pet. 2:1).
The apostle Paul said: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger,
and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all
malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph.
Malice is always harmful to those who harbor it, and usually
damaging to the person who becomes the object of malicious words and
deeds. Malice will destroy our personal happiness and damn our souls
to eternal punishment. "Brethren . . . in malice be ye children."
-- Via Guardian of Truth, XXXII, 13, p. 388, July 7, 1988
Some disciples have an erroneous idea that it is somehow sinful for
a follower of God to be discouraged, even for a moment. This idea is
probably a result of so much teaching and preaching on the idea that
Christians should not be discouraged, or that we have so many
blessings, we don't really have cause for discouragement. However
this might come to be accepted, the idea is taking the truth a
little further than need be, because discouragement in itself is not
sinful. There are some consequences of discouragement that may
certainly be unwelcome and not beneficial to the people of God, but
that is another issue altogether.
Discouragement, by definition, means to deprive of confidence, hope,
or spirit; to dissuade or deter; and to hamper; hinder. In spiritual
matters, discouragement cannot be a good thing, especially if one
continues in the state without addressing the cause. Someone may
discourage another because of harsh words or ungodly behavior;
others may be discouraged because they are facing hardships and
persecution; still others may simply be discouraged because they are
not at the level of spiritual maturity they desire. In each case and
in every situation, however, the problem must be addressed and the
one who is discouraged must be given a solution for the
But first, let us note that some very godly people have been
discouraged at times -- sometimes justifiably so -- but in all
cases, God had an answer. The point we should learn from this is
that if we face disappointments and discouragement, God has an
answer for us, too. He has given us an answer to every cause for
which His people may be discouraged.
Here, the one we know as a man after God's own heart, admits, "my
spirit was overwhelmed within me" (Psalm 142:3). His plea to the
Lord in this is the fact that none stand with him in his trials, and
feels abandoned. He says, "Look on my right hand and see, for there
is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares
for my soul" (Psalm 142:4). He also said, "Attend to my cry, for I
am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are
stronger than I" (Psalm 142:6). On this occasion, David was
discouraged by the lack of support from his fellow man, not unlike
the plight many Christians experience even today.
But note that David finds solace in another place: God. In that same
psalm where he speaks of his discouragement with man, he speaks the
praise of God, who had never -- and would never -- forsake
him. He cries out to God with the confident assurance, "You
are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (Psalm 142:5).
While others may have abandoned him in his time of need, David knew
that God would always be with him -- a promise made to God's people
even today (Hebrews 13:5). If you are ever discouraged because it
seems like your closest friends have abandoned you in times of
trouble, just remember this promise God has given and reclaim your
hope. There is no reason to remain discouraged!
Psalm 32, 38
On another occasion, David again felt discouragement, but it was of
his own doing. Here, he writes, "When I kept silent, my bones grew
old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your
hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of
summer" (Psalm 32:3,4). And, "I am troubled, I am bowed down
greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of
inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and
severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord,
all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You.
My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes,
it also has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof
from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off" (Psalm 38:7-11).
This time, the cause for David's discouragement and sorrow was his
own sin! He recognized that, guilty, he stood under the heavy weight
of God's hand [guilt for his sin] and he also recognized that others
saw his sin, too, and were ashamed to be near him.
But, again, David also recognized there was a way out of this
condition. In these same psalms, he recognized, "Blessed is he whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1). And
because he knew this, he could say, "I acknowledged my sin to You,
and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, 'I will confess my
transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin"
(Psalm 32:5). He could also say, "For in You, O Lord, I hope; You
will hear, O Lord my God" (Psalm 38:15). Even in such a discouraging
situation -- where you know you have sinned against God and even
others know you have sinned against God -- there was hope in the
knowledge God answered his request and the confidence he could be
As children of God today [disciples of Jesus Christ], we have that
same confidence! John tells the one who is already a Christian, "If
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us" (I John 1:8). But he doesn't stop there with words that
might be a source of discouragement to all; he goes on to say, "If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). In Christ,
we have the promise that, should we sin and should we repent and
confess those sins, we will be forgiven and cleansed from all
unrighteousness! Again, there is no reason to remain discouraged!
Elijah (I Kings 19)
At this time in Elijah's life, things were very bleak for a man of
God. Ahab was king of Israel and Jezebel was his wicked queen. Ahab
was said to have done "more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to
anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him" (I Kings
16:33). [Not a small accomplishment!] He followed after false gods,
built a temple for them in Samaria and erected an idol in that
temple. Apparently, they were very closely tied to the false
prophets of these false gods, for they ate at the table of Jezebel
(I Kings 18:19). If that wasn't enough, Jezebel had massacred the
prophets of God (I Kings 18:4) and those who escaped were hiding in
But Elijah met those false prophets on Mt. Carmel and the Lord
delivered a decisive victory over them (I Kings 18:20-40). Yet for
all this, Jezebel still sought the life of Elijah and, immediately
following this great victory for the Lord, Elijah fled into the
wilderness (I Kings 19:1-4). It was here that Elijah stopped long
enough to think about his situation and began to get discouraged. He
even prayed that his life might be taken because he had seen and
But while there in the wilderness, God came to him and asked why he
was there. Elijah answered, "I alone am left; and they seek to take
my life" (I Kings 19:10). When God came to him again in the still,
small voice and again asked why he was there, Elijah gave the same
dejected answer: "I alone am left; and they seek to take my life" (I
But God had an answer for that, too! He revealed to Elijah, "Yet I
have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not
bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (I Kings
19:18). And today, many Christians feel this sense of
discouragement, thinking they are "alone" in a world of ungodliness;
but, once again, God has an answer. Just remember there are many
today who have not "bowed the knee" to worldliness and who are
faithfully serving God where they are.
Whatever situation we may face -- even if it seems like we have lost
all hope -- there is no reason to remain discouraged. Remember God
is near, and in His Word we may find hope again.
-- Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be praying for the following:
After having been admitted to the hospital last Saturday, due to low
blood pressure, Bennie Medlock was released Sunday
evening. He saw his primary doctor last Wednesday and will
soon also be having a sleep study, as well as see a neurologist.
James Medlock will also be having a sleep study May 1, which
is also to determine additional tests he will need.
The diagnosis for Arthur Robertson has revealed that he had
a small stroke. Though he was able to get upright the day
after his leg surgery, he was not able to do so as well when having
to stand for therapy on April 22. On a good note, however, the
doctors see no permanent damage.
Wayne Peters has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In
testing for that, he had to temporarily discontinue his heart
medicine -- and ended up having a heart attack, from which he is now
recovering. The doctors are now determining how to best treat
Carol Drain will be having another chemo treatment April 29,
and 16-month-old Easton Cox continues to receive chemo each
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
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;
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.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM
& 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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