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 17, 2016
1) "He Who Wins Souls Is Wise" (R.J. Evans)
2) The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mike Johnson)
3) News & Notes
"He Who Wins Souls Is Wise"
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls
is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).
Every faithful Christian seeks to win souls because he is
wise. Without doubt, winning souls is one of the greatest
works on earth. Surely, no true disciple of the Lord can
ignore the urgent need to seek the salvation of precious lost
souls. Our God is in the soul saving business (Jn. 3:16; Matt.
28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16). While on earth, Jesus stated, "for
the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost" (Lk.
19:10). Thus, every Christian should, likewise, be in the soul
saving business. No work in this life is more "Christ-like"
than teaching the soul saving "gospel of Christ, for it is the power
of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and
also for the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
In this short article, let's observe some important reasons why we
ought to be soul winners.
1. The value of the soul. The Bible clearly sets forth
the value of the soul. In the beginning, God created the soul
of man in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27). Jesus said, "For what
is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own
soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
2. The brevity and uncertainty of life. It has been
estimated that every time the clock ticks, thirteen people die
somewhere in the world. James said, "For what is your
life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and
then vanishes away" (Jas. 4:14).
3. The certainty of death and the judgment. There is an
appointment that all must keep. "And as it is appointed for
all men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).
4. The horror of hell. In the word of God, hell is
described as a place of "outer darkness" (Matt. 25:30); "weeping and
gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 25:30); "everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord and from the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2
Thes. 1:9); "lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15); and a "lake which burns
with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
5. The beauties of heaven. The human, finite mind
cannot conceive or fully comprehend all of the eternal beauties of
heaven. But to get some idea as to how it will be, please read
Revelation 21, where it tells us that there will be no more death,
sorrow, tears, crying, or pain in heaven. Read about the "throne set
in heaven" in Revelation 4 & 5. Oh, what a place!
6. Our own salvation depends upon it. Consider
carefully the words of Ezekiel: "When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked
man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the
wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but
his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you
warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his
way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul"
(Ezek. 33:8-9). The Apostle Paul was able to tell the Ephesian
elders: "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of
the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you
the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27).
In view of all the above, this should surely cause us to appreciate
the words of Proverbs 11:30 -- "HE WHO WINS SOULS IS WISE." We
sometimes sing, "I want to be a soul winner for Jesus
everyday," but do we really mean and practice what we
sing? We close with the words of another song: "If the name of
the Savior is precious to you, If His care has been constant and
tender and true. If the light of His presence has brightened
you way...O will you not tell it today?"
-- via article for the church bulletin at the Southside church of
Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, July 10, 2016
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Matthew 13:31-32 is one of the accounts where "The Parable of the
Mustard Seed" is found, and it tells us about the growth of the
kingdom. The passage says:
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of
heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and
sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when
it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a
tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches
In verse 32, the mustard seed is said to be the least of all
seeds. Those familiar with the mustard seed today are well
aware of its small size. However, the mustard seed is not the
smallest seed known as there are several kinds of seed which are
smaller. It was, however, the smallest seed which would
normally be planted in the fields by the Jews. It seems Jesus
used the expression (the least of all seeds) in that sense.
Also, the phrase "small as a grain of mustard seed" was a proverbial
expression among the Jews. It meant something very
small. Jesus used the expression again in Matthew 17:20 when
He said, ". . . If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye
shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place and it
shall be removed . . . ."
Verse 32 points out that the seed grew into a tree, and it was so
large the birds came and lodged in the branches of it. Most of
us are unfamiliar with mustard plants which grow this large.
However, it seems that in the Palestine area these plants could grow
much larger than what we are accustomed to. The International
Standard Bible Encyclopedia points out, "Several varieties of
mustard have notably small seed, and under favorable
conditions grow in a few months into tall herbs 10 to 12 feet."
Barnes, in his commentary on Matthew, quotes from an individual who
said, "I have seen this plant on the rich plain of Akkar as tall as
the horse and his rider."
The seed started out very small and produced a large plant. The
kingdom, or church, is compared to this as it started out with small
numbers and grew to a large size.
In Acts 2, we read of the beginning of the church and its growth.
Here Peter preached to people who had actually been involved in the
crucifixion of Jesus. He told them they needed to repent and be
baptized for the remission of their sins (2:38). Many realized
their error and obeyed. Acts 2:41 says, "Then they that gladly
received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added
unto them about three thousand souls." The early Christians
faced much persecution, but this did not stop the growth of the
Lord's church. Acts 4:4 shows that it continued to grow as it
says, "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the
number of the men was about five thousand." Only the number of
men is recorded. Clearly, however, there were many women who also
obeyed the gospel which would have added to this number. We
can further see the growth of the church from Acts 5:14 which points
out that believers were the more added to the Lord. Acts
6:7 shows the continued growth of the early church as it says,
". . . and the number of the disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient
to the faith." After Stephen's death, the disciples went
everywhere preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). The scattering of
the church from Jerusalem, because of further persecution, only
helped spread the Word even more. Finally, in Paul's letter to
the Colossians, he pointed out that the gospel ". . . was preached
to every creature which is under heaven. . . ." The church
clearly grew a lot.
It would be very difficult to say exactly how many people became
Christians in the first century. It is obvious, however, the
growth was tremendous as Christ indicated it would be in this
parable. The growth has continued even until today. Like
the mustard seed, the church started out very small but grew to
-- Via The Elon Challenger, Volume XIII, Number 11, July 2016
News & Notes
We extend our sympathies to all the family and friends of Michael
W. Crawford of Waycross, Georgia, who passed away July 17 at
the age of just 53. Let those of us who are Christians be
remembering in prayer all his loved ones.
Let us also be praying for the following:
Jim Lively will be having a heart catheterization Friday
Doyle Rittenhouse spent several hours in ER Saturday, due to
pain in his hips, which he described as being like a toothache that
won't quit -- all the way to his toes. His left hip is the
worse and with also numbness in that leg. He has been
diagnosed with bursitis in the left hip and arthritis in both and
will again be seeing his regular doctor Monday, as well as an
Joyce Rittenhouse has been having tests on her liver and will
be having another blood test in 3 weeks, which will also determine
whether there will be a need for a liver biopsy.
Michelle Rittenhouse will be receiving botox injections
July 22 to eliminate severe migraines, which she has frequently been
having, along with other adverse reactions, from a new medicine.
Shirley Davis' foot surgery for the 25th was canceled, and
she is now waiting to hear when it will be rescheduled.
Friday, she saw her local doctor, but is still waiting to see the
specialist about her back trouble. She would like us to pray
that all of this will be speeded up. For the pain began last
November when she fell, but has gotten worse over the last 3 or 4
months. It is difficult for her to wear shoes, and picking up even
5-pound objects can lead to more pain.
Melotine Davis is also waiting to see her doctor about the
continual pain she has been having in her neck, shoulder, and
arm. She had an appointment on the 21st and will have
another on the 25th.
Having completed her chemo, Carole Drain also had scans done
Friday to determine the results of her treatments and will be
finding that out July 27.
Let us also continue to remember in prayer James "Buddy" Gornto
(healing from heart-valve replacement), Easton Cox (just one
more chemo treatment to go), Kelli Fleeman (receiving
treatments for lymphoma), Brianna Mackey (having therapy, due
to being born somewhat prematurely), James Medlock (for his
health), Mary Vandevander (who is housebound). and Sue
Wooten (nursing home).
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) 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, living for the Lord; 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)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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