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).
1) Confessing Christ (Tom Edwards)
2) The Power of Influence (David Padfield)
3) News & Notes
How much more meaningful certain Bible passages can be when they
are considered in the light of their context rather than as
isolated quotations. For example, the familiar quote of the
words of Jesus from Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Therefore everyone who
confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father
who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also
deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
How often have we heard that passage without even taking into
consideration the context for why the Lord declared such?
We sometimes view a detached verse of the Bible from the
perspective of our own present-day situations, those familiar
conditions that we relate to. Therefore, in thinking of
confessing Christ in our time — and here in Waycross, Georgia — is
one thing; but in the context of which the Lord made that
statement, He is referring to a much different circumstance.
In the context, the Lord shows what times would be like during
that early period, and the ordeals that some Christians would be
up against. Notice, for instance, in the previous verses of
that chapter, His instruction to His twelve apostles when sending
them out to preach: “But beware of men, for they will hand you
over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you
will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a
testimony to them and to the Gentiles. … Brother will betray
brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise
up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be
hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured
to the end who will be saved” (Matt. 10:17-22).
To help His disciples face such persecutions and even martyrdom,
the Lord then tells them, “Do not fear those who kill the body but
are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28).
His followers could, therefore, draw comfort in knowing that the
most important part of them – their eternal soul – could not be
destroyed nor harmed by the foe.
And the Lord continues with His encouraging words to help
strengthen the disciples: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your
Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So
do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (vv.
29-31). We should be comforted in knowing how well God knows
us — and even in the smallest details of our lives — and
that to Him, we are worth something.
It was after Jesus told His apostles, “So do not fear; you are
more valuable than many sparrows,” that He then went on to say:
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also
confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever
denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is
in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).
So we are seeing in this a connection of confessing one’s faith in
Christ with persecution and even death. For acknowledging or
denying the Lord could make a great deal of difference in how the
Christian would be treated by the world — since there were times
in which confessing faith in Christ would lead to not only death,
but also a torturous one, while denying the Lord could save one’s
physical life at the cost of one’s soul.
Even while Jesus was on earth, some were not willing to admit
their belief in Him, due to what that could lead to. For
example: “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him,
but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for
fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved
the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John
Also, when the parents of the blind man whom Jesus healed were
questioned concerning their son’s healing, they would not answer
because “they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already
agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put
out of the synagogue” (Jn. 9:22).
The persecution, of course, became much worse than merely being
put out of the synagogue. It sometimes involved scourging;
imprisonment; loss of property; and, as mentioned above, even a
torturous death (cf. Acts 8:1-4; Acts 22:4-5; Acts 26:9-11).
Numerous examples of persecution are recorded in the New
Testament. Soon after the church was established, the
cruel treatment upon the Christians was first inflicted by the
Jews. Later, during Nero’s reign in A.D. 64, following the
great fire of Rome, Christians were persecuted and put to death in
that city. And when under the rule of Domitian, who reigned
from A.D. 81 to 96, Roman persecution was even worse in having
become more extensive, beyond the boundaries of Rome.
In metaphorically describing how bad the persecution had been in
Smyrna (a city in Asia Minor), Jesus states, “Do not fear what you
are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of
you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have
tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give
you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). The King James Version
renders “until” in this passage as “unto,” which better expresses
the willingness on the part of the Christian to remain faithful to
the Lord even if it resulted in death! Satan, of course, was
not literally the jailer in that city of Smyrna; but the evil that
was being inflicted upon the Christians, through persecution, was
by those who, in a manner of speaking, were in league with the
devil and his opposition to the gospel, though they probably had
no idea they were acting as his servants.
Similarly, in addressing the church at Pergamum, Jesus says, “I
know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast
to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas,
My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where
Satan dwells” (Rev. 2:13). Again, Satan did not actually
have a physical throne there; but the Lord is figuratively
indicating just how given over that city was to the opposition of
the gospel and the persecution toward those Christians who would
strive to obey the Lord. How much more wickedly could a city
be described than being one where Satan has his throne to rule
Even in our times and in some places of the world, we are hearing
more and more of people being persecuted and even put to death for
simply believing in the Deity of Jesus. Such atrocities have
been inflicted by those who are ignorant of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, or do not believe it, or simply refuse to submit to
it. But they will all give an account before God in the
great Judgment Day.
Let us continue to pray for the world that all will come to know
the saving message of the gospel. That all will believe it,
love it, and submit to it, that we may all strive to do our part
in making the world a better place and showing our love to God and
one another, and that His peace may abound.
May we each be encouraged by all those, down through time, who
continued to confess their faith in Christ — regardless of the
difficulties, the persecutions, and even the loss of their own
physical lives that it led to — and be motivated to do likewise in
acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ by our words and by our
(All Scriptures are from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
The Power of Influence
Webster defines the word influence as “the power of persons or
things to affect others, seen only in its effects.” Though the
word influence is only found one time in the King James Version,
its meaning is on every page.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that they
are the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13-16). There are many
interesting things you can say about this figure of speech. Salt
is totally worthless while sitting on a shelf, it has to be
applied. Salt can also lose its saltiness. When it loses its
power to flavor, it is good for nothing and must be discarded.
Paul told the brethren at Corinth they were an “epistle of Christ
known and read by all men” (2 Cor. 3:1-3). Whether we like it or
not, every Christian is an advertisement for Christ. It is rather
scary to think the honor of Christ is in the hands of his
disciples. Men of the world will judge Christ by the character of
Have you ever considered what type of an advertisement you
are? One of our songs suggests that…
“We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinners gospel, we are the scoffers’ creed,
We are the Lord’s last message, given in deed and word,
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?”
The majority of worldly people will pay very little attention to
what we say, but our actions will always be scrutinized.
When they think of our character and reputation, our actions will
speak louder than our words.
— Via the bulletin of the Collegevue church of Christ, November
News & Notes
Let us continue to remember the following in prayer:
Meadern Anderson whose brain tumor of about two years has
been recently giving her more trouble and requiring hospital
Belinda Medlock who has spent several weeks in the hospital
with pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
Kathy Crosby who is now healing from surgery she had on
James Green who is going through some difficult times.
Penny Medlock who has had to remain housebound for several
days while on a z-pack for sinus infection and a bad cough.
Pat Joyner whose health has been poor and has been
suffering much pain. Due to a pseudoaneurysm, her leg became
swollen and has been kept elevated for the last few weeks.
She is also in need of an aortic valve replacement and has other
Myrna Jordan has been a little under the weather.
Let us also remember in prayer the loved ones of those who
recently passed away: James “Buddy” Gornto, Mae Ila Highsmith
Todd, and Melissa Benson; and those with physical
ailments: Nolan McLaine, Charles Crosby, Shirley Davis,
Judy Daugherty, Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rachael
Gerbing, Jarvis Williams, Cedell Fletcher, and Mary
WordPress version of this 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
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
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912)
Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
(Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but
back to March 1990)