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"
July 3, 2016
1) Don't Allow Anyone to Steal Your Heart! (R.J. Evans)
2) How to Defeat Temptation (Kent Heaton)
3) News & Notes
Don't Allow Anyone to Steal Your Heart!
There were a number of sad and tragic events in the life of King
David. A series of events began with his sin with
Bathsheba. His adultery with her led to deceit, and
ultimately, the murder of her husband, Uriah. After David had
Uriah killed and had taken this man's wife, God told him: "Now
therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house....Behold, I
will raise up adversity against you from your own house" (2 Sam.
12:10-11). Soon his troubles and heartaches began. His
infant son with Bathsheba died; his son Amnon raped his daughter,
Tamar; his son, Absalom, murdered Amnon (2 Sam. 12-13).
Surely, one of the most heart-breaking developments in the life of
David was when his son, Absalom, turned and rebelled against him. He
committed treason against his own father -- "Absalom stole the
hearts of the men of Israel" (2 Sam. 15:6). When having to go
to battle against his son, David instructed his commanders to "Deal
gently for my sake with the young man Absalom" (2 Sam. 18:5).
As the battle raged, David was asking, "Is the young man Absalom
safe?" (2 Sam. 18:29,32). When word came to David that his son
had been killed, he cried out, "O my son Absalom -- my son, my son
Absalom -- if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son,
my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33). This has to be one of the
saddest scenes that we read about in the Bible.
But let's go back to the beginning when Absalom started stealing the
hearts of the people. He very cunningly became trusted and
more popular than David. He worked hard at it; he looked for
troubled people; he reached out to them; he took a personal interest
in them; he sympathized with them; he never personally attacked his
father directly, he just promised to do better (2 Sam.
This reminds me of what has been happening among God's people today,
especially to some of the young. Over the past few years, I
have learned of congregations being affected by this type of
thing. A young preacher (not always a preacher) comes in with
false ideas, endears himself to the group, especially college
students and young married couples, influences them and takes them
away with his false teachings. Just recently, a friend called
and told me of something similar to the aforementioned scenario that
happened where he worships. A young preacher came in and
preached the truth for about three years, all the while developing a
close relationship with the young people. Then he started
teaching error, split the church, and took about 40-50 with him -- a
dangerous trend that has been developing. We have great young
people faithfully serving the Lord today, but some are being led
astray. Yes, there are problems that often exist, but some
have reacted by going to the extreme with bitterness toward those
who are sincerely seeking to hold fast to the ancient landmarks of
faith -- the "old paths" of truth.
Here are several examples of erroneous teachings that some are
promoting in different parts of the country that have come to my
attention over the past few years. (1) A person is
saved or "born again" before baptism -- that baptism is not
essential to salvation. They are using typical, Calvinistic,
denominational arguments that teach salvation by "faith only."
(2) Approved apostolic examples are not binding in establishing
Bible authority for what is allowed or not allowed in the service of
the Lord. They are saying that books such as Acts are to be
viewed simply as a narrative, not as an example for us to follow
today. (3) Social drinking is justified and accepted.
(4) Distorted views are held on worship -- particularly the Lord's
Supper. Sadly, there are brethren who are being influenced and
led astray by these false teachings.
In principle, the actions of those who are teaching some of the
above errors just cited are much like Absalom who "stole the hearts
of the men of Israel." Thus, we all need to be alert to this
potential problem. We must be careful not to become bitter and
unhappy, allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to false teachers
and some of the dangerous trends that are occurring. Much of
what has been mentioned feeds off bitterness and dissatisfaction
toward the truth and God's people. Brethren are being led
astray! The Apostle Paul said, "Watch, stand fast in the
faith" (1 Cor. 16:13). The Apostle John said, "Beloved, do not
believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 Jn.
4:1). Our hearts belong to God! We are to love, serve,
and obey Him with all our hearts. Brethren, especially those
of you who are young, don't allow anyone to steal your heart!
-- Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales,
Louisiana, March 6, 2016
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon
and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take
thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?" (Psalm
How to Defeat Temptation
Whenever we think of something as a temptation we consider it as
evil. The original Latin could suggest something good or bad, but
the evil sense has taken a predominate role in its definition. The
idea of temptation is rooted in the challenge of character. Trials
rightly faced are harmless, but wrongly met become temptations to
evil. Overcoming temptations is the focus of a daily walk in a world
given over to the indulgence of temptations.
James exhorts us to "count it all joy when you fall into different
kinds of temptations" or "trials" (James 1:2). Barnes said, "Regard
it as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you
happiness. You are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a
calamity, but as a fit subject of felicitation (act of
congratulating)." Paul reminds us that nothing will be put upon us
that we cannot overcome with the power of the Lord. "No temptation
has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who
will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with
the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be
able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). Our prayers are to be laced
with exhortations of faithfulness. Jesus taught His disciples to
pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil"
No matter our best efforts we stumble and give in to temptations.
Often we succumb to temptations because we fail to know the way of
defeating temptation. Jesus offers the answer to defeating
temptation in the garden of Gethsemane as He exhorts the disciples:
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. Truly the spirit is
willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38). The two-part answer to
temptation is to be watchful and to be praying. The only way we can
stand against temptation is to stand on the pillars of watch and
Jesus did not say look and pray; He said watch and pray. The word
"watch" carries with it the idea of vigilance and being alert. Often
we see temptation and invite it in. Being watchful is being careful
of what we are allowing to happen in our lives. Many things in life
we cannot control, but allowing that thing to remain and become a
temptation is when sin happens. In defining sin, James said that
temptation comes about when "each one is tempted by his lusts, being
drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it
brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth
death" (James 1:14-15).
Being watchful about temptation is to remove those things that would
bring about temptation. We are to pray for the Lord not to lead us
into temptation (Matthew 6:13) but we do not need to go running into
it either. To the discerning mind, sin is easily defined by watching
out for it and being aware of the dangers of giving in to
temptation. As Barney Fife would say, "Nip it in the bud." Good
The second pillar of strength to overcome temptation is vital:
prayer. Watching for temptation helps us identify sin, but prayer
helps us defeat sin. Prayer is powerful (James 5:13-18). Prayer made
the sun stand still (Joshua 10:12-14); the dead rise (II Kings 4:32-
37); the rain stop for three years and six months (James 5:17). The
knee bent in prayer will keep the feet from running to evil. A
humble heart of prayer will melt the fiery desire of temptation. In
our text, Jesus is in the garden before His death, earnestly praying
to His Father for strength. The cross was the greatest temptation
Jesus faced. He had the power to destroy all those who sought to
kill Him, but He chose to give His life a ransom. He overcame
temptation through prayer.
The Lord will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to
resist -- provided we are watching and praying. "Pray without
ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17) is an admonition to help us overcome
temptation "without ceasing." Constant vigilance and watchful care
for those things that will tempt us with harm and the continued
spirit of prayer will defeat temptation. "Be careful for nothing;
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which
passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through
Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
-- Via article from the La Vista church of Christ
News & Notes
After having tests in Savannah Friday, Melotine Davis will
also be seeing two more doctors in Waycross soon. The increase
in her medicine to reduce inflammation helped her to have a better
Shirley Davis has been having some terrible back pain, which
also causes nausea. She has to be very careful when moving
around and will be seeing a specialist. Also, on July 25, she
will be having surgery to put a pin in her toe that has been giving
her trouble for about 7 months.
James "Buddy" Gornto is doing well, following his recent
heart-valve replacement. He returned home from the hospital
The higher dose of chemo is difficult for Easton Cox for
about 5 days following the treatment. He now has just one
treatment to go.
Carole Drain had her last chemo treatment Friday, with the
worst of it usually being a few days to follow.
Kelli Fleeman has now begun her chemo treatments for lymphoma
with 5 more to go. She had been back in the hospital for 16
days, primarily for back pain, but is now back home.
Sue Wooten, who lives in a nursing home, recently had gall
bladder surgery that she is now healing from.
Let those of us who are Christians also continue to remember in
prayer: Brianna Mackey, James Medlock, Marie Pennock, and Mary
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, living for the Lord;
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 (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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