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).
February 12, 2017
1) Biblical Depth and Beauty (Doy Moyer)
2) Find a Storm Shelter! (anonymous)
3) News & Notes
Biblical Depth and Beauty
I have been a Bible student for the greater part of my life. I have
been preaching the gospel for nearly 30 years now. I have been
teaching courses at a collegiate level for over a dozen of those
years. I don’t say any of this to brag, as none of that proves a
thing. I say it to make a confession. There are days when, during my
Bible study, I think to myself, “Where have I been? Why didn’t I see
that before? How could I have been so blind here?” In other words, I
feel like I’m just now finally waking up sometimes to the depth and
beauty of Scripture. The truth is, I’ve been feeling this way for …
well a long time. The more I study, the more I feel it.
There is a depth and beauty to Scripture that can easily be missed,
depending on how we are reading it and what our goals are when we
read. I’ll be reading along and a line from a well-known movie hits
“You’re not thinking fourth-dimensionally!” Yeah, I have a real
problem with that.
We might have a tendency to read the Bible in some strict linear
fashion. We read from Genesis to Revelation and tell the story, and
this is necessary. Yet how often do we read while failing to make
connections between passages and concepts? We may see a flat-line
story without seeing the layers of connections of ideas that are
interwoven throughout. The Bible is not just a linear story. It is
an interwoven tapestry filled with layers and webs of beautiful
patterns. If a written text can be said to be 3-D, Scripture is
that! We need to put our glasses on so we can see its depth leaping
off the pages. It’s there if we’ll see it.
Scripture is filled with relationships of concepts. Types and
antitypes, shadows and substance, are staples of understanding the
importance of connections. For example, “For Christ our passover has
been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7) is a beautiful statement of pattern and
connection. The book of Hebrews is filled with it and cannot be
understood without seeing this. The book of Revelation’s connections
back to the Old Testament are grand and exploding with meaning. The
way that the New Testament quotes the Old Testament adds a depth
that we might easily miss (e.g., “Out of Egypt I have called My
Son,” Matt 2:15); it is certainly a challenging study. Over and
over, we find fulfillment of both prophecy and concept. The biblical
story is told many ways and through many images, from the Garden, to
the Exodus, the Temple, the holy city of Jerusalem and more, finding
masterful fulfillment in Christ. There is a great joy of discovery
when we see these connections and begin understanding the depth at
which these connections are made. This is one reason why Bible study
should never become cold, lifeless, or boring. If we are bored with
Bible study, we haven’t turned our minds on yet.
I believe that the beauty and depth of Scripture is part of God’s
inspiration. Failing to see some of this depth is part of the
reason, I am convinced, that people end up rejecting Scripture.
People might take passages, read them flatly, and conclude some kind
of contradiction or problem, when, in reality, they are missing the
depth of what the passages are teaching because they draw hasty
conclusions without putting much thought into it.
For example, many times I see a critic of Scripture, in somewhat of
a mocking tone, try to discount the Bible by making some flippant
remark how ridiculous it is to follow the Bible when it contains
commands about not mixing fabrics together. If they know where the
reference is, they seldom know anything about the context of the
passage, the covenants, or the greater issues involved. They see a
flat-line order that sounds silly on the surface, and they run with
“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds
of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed,
nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together”
Reading it flatly, and without further consideration, one can think
how senseless this sounds. If we even read Leviticus, how often
would we skim over a passage like this and just think, “That’s
weird, but, oh well, that’s part of the Law”? We must think deeper.
One of the points that is easily missed is that God was teaching an
overall culture of holiness and pure-minded devotion. One of the
ways that He got people to think about that was through physical and
visible reminders, even in their daily, mundane activities. Through
engaging in actions that forced their minds toward the ideas of
cleanness, holiness, not mixing with the unholy, pagan people of the
land, they would be more inclined to remember how important it was
to remain faithful always. Not mixing materials was a daily
reminder, even in the way they constructed and wore their clothes,
to stay pure, unmixed with sin, and faithful to God. It would be
like our putting Bible sticky notes on mirrors and refrigerators as
reminders that no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are
to be holy and pure. Being a child of God encompasses all areas of
life, including how business is conducted, how work is done, and how
we do our mundane activities. There may even be more, but the point
is that a passage like this, flatly read, is boring and silly. Seen
in its greater context and message, it is brilliantly reminding
God’s people how overarching holiness was to be in their lives. It
wasn’t so much about the fabric as much as it was about the lesson
derived from the process and the action. I even find it intriguing
that this comes on the heels of the second-greatest commandment.
Of course, there are cautions. We don’t want to overdo it. I’m not
saying that one has to be some super intellect to study and
understand. Nor am I arguing that we should try to see phantom
connections or start allegorizing everything. Not at all. Scripture
makes the connections, shows the contexts, and leads us to draw the
conclusions. Our task is to see them, not to invent things for the
sake of novelty.
Bible study is to be a careful undertaking, not a hasty effort that
requires little thought or sound exegesis. Such hasty efforts lead
not only to poor understanding and bad interpretation, they can lead
to rejection of Scripture altogether. Flat-line Bible reading
contributes to flat-line spirituality. If people are bored with
Scripture, they’ll be bored with their “religion.”
Let’s open our eyes and see the beauty and the depth of God’s word,
and prepare to be amazed!
— Via Mind Your Faith, December 23, 2014
Find a Storm Shelter!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Into each life some rain must
Rain may fall gently at times; however, it also falls furiously in
times of storm. In our lives, there are many types of storms --
physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, etc. -- and they all vary
in size and intensity. Storms are the common lot of all. Where can
we turn when the storms of life rage?
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I
will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and
the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on
that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But
everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will
be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain
descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that
house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Into every life, sooner or later, the rains descend, the floods
come, and the winds blow and beat. For one man the “house” of his
life falls in ruins, while for another it stands secure. The
difference lies, not in the intensity of the storm, but in the power
to withstand its fury. The power to withstand the storms of life
depends upon the foundation of one’s life.
In Jesus’ teaching, the house of the wise man withstood the storm
because his house was built upon the rock. And who is the wise man?
The wise man is one who hears the words of Jesus and does them (v.
24). Jesus assures us that no matter what storms may arise,
obedience to Him is the only sure foundation on which to build our
lives – lives that will withstand the test of time AND the Judgment
One begins building upon the Rock through faith (Hebrews 11:6),
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), and immersion into Christ for the
remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, one must continue to build his
“house” -- his life -- on the Rock by continuing to hear and to obey
the words of Jesus and His inspired apostles.
In the words of the beloved hymn, “There Stands a Rock”:
“Some build their hopes on the ever-drifting sand,
Some on their fame or their treasure or their land;
Mine’s on the Rock that forever shall stand,
Jesus, the Rock of Ages.”
— Via Bulletin Fodder
News & Notes
For those who can pray, let us be remembering the following
in our prayers:
Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Makenli
Christine Martin who passed away just one week prior to her
5th birthday. She is the daughter of Hunter and Vanessa
Martin, and what a remarkable little girl she had been! Her
obituary says that “She came into this world under strained
conditions, involving a very high-risk pregnancy. But, she did not
let that slow her down at all. Makenli walked early, talked early,
and began singing at the same time. She had perfect pitch and an
incredible memory. Makenli could quote nearly the entire Disney
movie Frozen at two years of age, songs and script. … Bible Class
was one of her favorite times of the week. She loved talking about
God and had lots of questions about Him. Now, she has all the
answers. She contracted a rare strain of E. coli and fought
valiantly against it until God rescued her and took her to be with
him, surrounded by her loving family.”
Malakai Martin (Makenli’s brother), who is now sick, can
also use the prayers of the saints.
We also extend our condolences to the family and friends of Earnest
Lee Medlock (James’ brother of Albany, Georgia) who passed
away recently at the age of 82. He had been the father of 11
Jim Lively had a spot about the size of a half dollar removed
Thursday from the side of his face and is now waiting on the
Melontine Davis has been sick with the flu.
Doyle Rittenhouse is having trouble with his back. It
has been a reoccurring problem for him over the years.
R.J. Evans recently had a CT scan that detected something on
the right side of his throat and beneath where his removed tonsil
had been. Both his doctor and oncologist have advised him to
have a biopsy to determine whether there is a malignancy and the
best method of treatment. R.J. writes, "Your continued prayers
Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Lexi
Crawford, Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Mary Vandevander, Kelli
Fleeman, Charles Crosby, Tanya Terrones, Brianna Mackey, James
“Buddy” Gornto, Billy Lowe, Randall and Linda Hickox, and
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
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; Acts 8:36-38).
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, 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)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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