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).
July 23, 2017
1) God's Grief (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
Last week, we considered how special we are to God. That though we
are so unworthy and have nothing in ourselves, apart from Christ, to
be deserving of eternal life, yet God has treated us as having
tremendous value by sending His Son Jesus to suffer and die that we
might be saved. We noted that God regards His people as being “much
more valuable...than the birds!,” as being “a treasured possession”
(Deut. 26:18), as being “a people for God's own possession” (1 Pet.
2:9), as being “precious” (“valuable,” James Strong) in God's sight
(Isa. 43:1), and as being “the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8), which
Webster defines as “someone or something very precious or dear to
Something else that also indicates God's affection toward us is in
knowing that He can be grieved by our sin and ungodliness. We are
first made aware of that in Genesis 6:5,6: “Then the LORD saw that
the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was
sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His
The Bible sometimes uses “accommodating language” or what is also
referred to as “speaking in the fashion of man,” such as when it
says in Genesis 11:5, “The LORD came down to see the city and the
tower which the sons of men had built.” Did God have to literally
come down? Even from heaven, the LORD “sees all the sons of men”
(Psa. 33:13). And surely, the Lord knew -- before He even made man
-- of what man would do, which would result in the need for a
Savior. For Jesus' death on the cross is said to be according to
“the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23); and
when speaking of being “not redeemed with perishable things like
silver or gold...but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished
and spotless, the blood of Christ,” Peter goes on to say, “For He
was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared
in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:18-20).
So, apparently, God wanted to have a people for Himself – even
though it would also include some grief on His part along the way!
Psalm 78:40, a historical psalm, declares, “How often they rebelled
against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert!”
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His
presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them,
And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. But they
rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to
become their enemy, He fought against them” (Isa. 63:10).
According to WebMD, “Grief and grieving are the natural response to
a major loss, such as the death of a loved one.” How, therefore,
could God be grieving over others unless they had been of importance
and value to Him, and were now a great loss?
Being a God of justice, the Lord cannot condone or overlook
transgression. So those who remain in their sin, refusing to repent,
will have to suffer the consequences; but that is not what the Lord
desires to carry out – but He must! For as He says in Ezekiel 33:11:
“Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn
from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why
then will you die, O house of Israel?'”
And what about when man dies “spiritually,” as Adam and Eve did on
the day they took the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil? (See Gen. 2:17.) Sin results in spiritual
death, which has been defined as a separation from God. See Isaiah
59:1,2. James writes: “...each one is tempted when he is
carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has
conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it
brings forth death” (James 1:14,15). “For the wages of sin is
death...” (Rom. 6:23). So the point is, would not God be just
as grieved over those who have spiritually died because of sin as He
was toward those whose sin had resulted in a physical death?
To grieve over those you love is also seen of Jesus in Luke
19:41-44: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept
over it, saying, 'If you had known in this day, even you, the things
which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a
barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every
side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within
you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because
you did not recognize the time of your visitation.'" The Lord's
heart had gone out to these who were heading toward suffering. He
wanted to save them, but they were unwilling.
This is also seen in Luke 13:34 where the Lord probably said
bemoaningly, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the
prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather
your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her
wings, and you would not have it!"
Jesus came to this world to also show what His Father in heaven is
like (cf. Jn. 14:7-11). For His love and concern for others is
identical to that of Jesus. Notice also the compassion Jesus
manifested toward those emotionally suffering over the death of
Lazarus. Jesus was there to raise Lazarus from the dead, but when He
saw Mary “weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He
was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, 'Where have
you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see'” (John
11:33-34). Then the next verse so tenderly tells us that “Jesus
wept.” Some who saw that had said, “See how He loved him!” (v. 36).
Yes, Lazarus was a good friend of the Lord's whom He loved; but was
not the Lord's weeping because of these others — or at least also —
and out of love and sympathy for them?
Isaiah prophesied about 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth into this
world and shows the extent to which He was willing to go, due to His
love for His Father and for humanity: “For He grew up before Him
like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has
no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor
appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and
forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And
like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did
not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows
He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken; Smitten of God,
and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He
was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being
fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like
sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But
the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” (Isa.
53:2-6). God loved us that much – and still does!
To express the grief God had toward His wayward people of Old
Testament times, He is sometimes depicted as a husband toward them,
and they as an unfaithful and adulterous wife, such as when God
speaks of “the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the
land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a
husband to them” (Jer. 31:32). And by their going after the false
gods of idolatry, they were then referred to as not only unfaithful,
but also as adulterers and harlots. “Therefore, thus says the Lord
GOD, 'Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back,
bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries” (Ezek.
23:35). “For they [Samaria and Jerusalem, v. 4] have committed
adultery, and blood is on their hands. Thus they have committed
adultery with their idols and even caused their sons, whom they bore
to Me, to pass through the fire to them as food” (v. 37; See also
To better understand the grief that God went through by His people
being disloyal toward Him and going after false gods, the Lord had
Hosea marry a woman prone to harlotry, “for the land commits
flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD” (Hos. 1:2). Her name was
“Gomer” (v. 3), and she did go after other lovers (Hos. 2:5); but
God said He would “hedge up her way with thorns” and “build a wall
against her so that she cannot find her paths. She will pursue her
lovers, but she will not overtake them; And she will seek them, but
will not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my first
husband, For it was better for me then than now!'” (Hos. 2:6-7). And
in spite of all the wrong she had done and all the grief she had
brought to Hosea, he still took her back — having paid the fee to do
so (Hos. 3:2)! How much more meaningful Hosea's message to the
people of His day — of God's love for them and His desire for them
to repent and return to Him — must have been for all those who had
known of Hosea's love for Gomer. For they were like her, in a manner
of speaking, being spiritual adulterers by their unfaithfulness to
God and going after the false gods of idolatry. But God still loved
them and wanted them to come to their senses, repent and return,
that He may welcome them again and His grief be turned to joy!
So let us each live, according to the gospel, so that we will not
bring grief to the Father, to the Son, nor to the Holy Spirit (Eph.
4:30)! For they do greatly care for each of us!
(All Scripture from the NASB.)
News & Notes
There will be a Gospel Meeting at the Golden Isles church of
Christ July 28-30 with Robert Harkrider. Friday &
Saturday: 7 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Location:
441 Touchstone Parkway, Brunswick.
The Marietta church of Christ will also be having a Gospel
Meeting July 28-30 with Josh Creel as the guest
speaker. Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. Sunday: 10
a.m., 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. The church meets at 8150 Driggers
Folks who can use prayer:
Mary Lou Prevatt has been moved into hospice care.
Shirley Davis’ feet have continued to be swollen. Her doctor,
whom she saw last Tuesday, cannot do the knee surgery until that
swelling goes down. She is also still having pain from her neck down
to her right arm, due to 3 vertebrae in her neck affecting her
nerves and will see another doctor about that on the 26th.
Then on the 2nd and 3rd of August she’ll be seeing a cardiovascular
doctor to check on the veins in her legs to see if stents are
needed. (Her previous appointment for stents had been
Mary Vandevander is in a 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;
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. 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
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